BVI News

Gov’t expected to engage consultant on ideal population goals

Immigration Minister Vincent Wheatley.

Government is expected to engage a consultant with the aim of achieving ideal population goals for the BVI and modernising the territory’s Immigration laws, among other things. 

Immigration & Labour Minister, Vincent Wheatley gave that indication to the Commission of Inquiry (COI) while responding to questions on what might have created the Immigration Department’s backlog of persons applying for Residency and Belongership statuses in the BVI. 

He told the Commission the issue was largely due to a human resources deficiency within the department. He said this deficiency is a decades-old issue.

The minister noted that the Immigration issue must feed into a conversation of what the BVI population would look like going forward. And according to Wheatley, this has major implications for several sectors in the BVI. 

“We know from studying various population models that certain businesses cannot thrive under certain populations,” he explained. “We are around 30,000 [residents] now. It limits our economic activity; that we know. [So we need to have] that bigger conversation of what are we willing to do [and] what population can be sustained.”

Holistic approach needed to address population growth

Wheatley further explained that growing the population meant considering things like economic activity, schooling, sewerage, water production, and power.

“Again, it goes back to what creates a backlog,” the minister stated. “Apart from the human resources we’re dealing with it, it has to do with the number of persons allowed to come into the country and how long they are allowed to stay before they can qualify to even being considered.”

He also said it must be a holistic approach that looks at how the BVI wanted to build its population. 

“Are we going to build a population on immigrants and imported labour, or are we going to build a population organically from inside? If you are getting enough locals for the workforce then you have less persons to import. There will never be a backlog if you’re importing few people and they are staying here long enough to get on the ladder to Belongership,” Wheatley said.

“Immigrants are not a very simple thing, and you have to tread very, very carefully,” the legislator stated; adding that the consultant will review all the variables and advise government accordingly.

“The consultant would do exactly that,” Minister Wheatley told the COI. “What is your ambition as a people [and] where are you trying to get to with the country — economics, your infrastructure, your environment, what population are you striving for? And based on what we feed to him or her, then they will say ‘well, this is the policy that you need to achieve that’.”

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17 Comments

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  1. Musa says:

    All this are great suggestions but not under your watchful team keep giving the status to criminals.

    Like 16
    Dislike 1
  2. before they can qualify to even being considered says:

    Well them family here.. coi we following u

    Like 7
    Dislike 1
  3. heckler says:

    Planning more fast tracking?

    Like 8
    Dislike 1
  4. Strange says:

    Just talk. I see no actions unless there’s a complete political change. If the local political will failed over the years, perhaps it’s time for a temporary British takeover.

    Like 17
    Dislike 3
  5. He a fool... says:

    Thank god he is not doing any of this thinking on his own! God bless all you consultants. None of these politicians can think they way out of a paper bag!

    Like 10
    Dislike 2
  6. Confused says:

    Not sure if Wheatley is talking about the number of people with Belongership/Residency Status or the Population or the BVI. The 2 are vastly different

  7. Lodger says:

    So its ok for BVIslanders to nip over to birth US citizens but we dont want to give anyone working here the same privilege.

    Like 22
    Dislike 3
  8. Why says:

    When you single handily destroyed the immigration system. Look what you have caused during NDP and your two years in office. All your policies had to be rolled back.

  9. Covid19 says:

    One day u all will be crying for people to stay…it will be emty apartments an a ghost town if u all aint change alyo wicked ways…

    Like 10
    Dislike 1
    • @covid19 says:

      We looking forward to replacement tenants with financial means and ability to afford our apartments and the knowledge of the connection between garbage and garbage disposal equipment.

  10. just a thought.. says:

    before buying all that brainpower into planning for better the sewage treatment, roads, utilities, education for the new population, why not take care of these for the existing people?

  11. Sam Studdard says:

    Cousin Vinny still dizzy from the onslaught of questioning he faced about the convicts getting a audience before cabinet.

    Like 1
    Dislike 1
  12. Rise says:

    Too many as it is currently.
    Quality is what matters.
    Building with the poor,illiterate,criminals and criminal minded as has been done is evidence of failure …just look.
    The VI has been degraded and denigrated to accommodate those who are now the majority.
    Build with quality and with money and education.
    Build with those that have and can give.

    Like 2
    Dislike 2
  13. Consider says:

    When the expatriates are all gone, close the labor and immigration departments no need for them and no money in government coffers.

  14. ok says:

    Another consultant, really!

  15. Thoughts says:

    A few thoughts here.
    1. What happened to the French man that was employed last year (or the year before) that was supposed to be reviewing the labor code?
    2. How can you stop importing skilled labor if you don’t invest in your own education system?
    3. Why is it ok for people to have lived here for nearly 20 years and pay into a system that they will never benefit from.
    4. The backlog is due to an HR deficiency in the Labour department? How hard can it be to verify someone’s position here? This is not a technical HR issue, this is more like a due diligence exercise.
    The list goes on…

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