BVI News

I’m being kicked out though I saved lives, says UK native

‘I saved people’s lives and to turn around and to say p*ss off … It just seems like a kick in the nut’ — Richard Stein. (Photo Provided)

Expatriate worker Richard Stein said he saved two lives when Hurricane Irma smashed into the British Virgin Islands last year. But, he said the Immigration Department has rewarded his valour with an order to leave the territory.

According to the UK national, he went to the Immigration Department last week and revealed that he was laid off after the hurricanes.

He said he had time to remain in the territory up to August 2018 but Immigration officials instructed him to leave in two weeks.

Stein was only three weeks in the territory when the British Virgin Islands saw two of its most destructive hurricanes in modern history.

The Dive Instructor was employed by a local company that was based at Peter Island Resort and Spa. However, it was ravaged by the hurricanes and has since closed for repair works.

I saved lives on Jost Van Dyke

In an interview with BVI News on Tuesday, Stein − a boat owner− said he used a VHF (very high frequency) radio on his vessel and single-handedly sent out a distress call to the United States Coast Guard and the Royal Navy to assist impacted residents on the island of Jost Van Dyke.

The coast guards responded and brought troupes, relief supplies, and helicopters to the island.

He said his distress call led to the rescue of an elderly woman known as Gertrude and another injured woman. They were transported out of the territory for medical treatment, he told BVI News.

“No one had food, people were literally starving. I saved people’s lives and to turn around and to say p*ss off … It just seems like a kick in the nut. It’s like saving lives does not get recognition,” he said.

Honoured to help

However, the UK national said he was happy to have helped residents in their time of need.

“It was an honour to serve the people. I don’t really talk about it that much, I just try to be humble about it,” he continued.

Stein admitted that he loved the BVI and would like to remain to help with recovery efforts.

“Obviously, I am not a millionaire so I can’t survive forever without working. But it would be nice to work in the territory and to help out more.”

Stein currently lives on his boat in West End.

Fahie wants answers

Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Andrew Fahie will be challenging the government about why select expatriates who lost their jobs after the hurricanes are still being sent from the territory even though other local employers are willing to hire.

He will be putting questions to the Premier Dr D Orlando Smith on the issue when the House of Assembly sits on Thursday, March 1.

Since the hurricanes, the Immigration Department has been the subject of much criticism, for what is being described as cumbersome policies and procedures.

Calls to Immigration up to press time this morning went unanswered.


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  1. Oh says:

    So, he was only here for 3 weeks when Irma hit, he had extensions and can’t find a job, what does he want Immigration to do?

    • Jobs says:

      He had time stamped in his passport which was tied to his employment – a year – August 2018. He no longer has a job – i.e. means to take care of himself, he said it himself – what is immigration to do?

      I really do sympathise, but there’s a bit of bullying that seems to take place with volunteers who are trying to be humble that I frankly don’t understand and don’t have an appetite for. The BVI is a Territory with laws. It’s small and tiny looking, but it’s still a Territory.

    • Island man says:

      Come on bro, God will bless you for saving the lives of his people but you do not have a job and you are not a bvilanders or belonger. Brother you have to go home. The British immigration would have done the same to any other.
      No love lost but have a safe flight home.

  2. Proud Virgin Islander says:

    Prayer warriors keep praying.

    Our behaviour is out of hand; the violence….the policies..
    UK it’s time…
    I’m fedup now

  3. Sam the man says:

    Sadly typical behaviour not respecting those that contribute, make a difference – the “No Direction Party” just talks that’s all…valuable people like him will just leave and not return – Shame on gov’t – you just pontificate but have no substance or real qualities – at least Anfrew Fahie recognises the importance of expats – you need to v quickly wake up and smell the coffee – your governance is not even mediocre it is shambolic and poor…

    • Oh says:

      Please stop talking BS! The man has been here 6 months without a job and because he assisted with some efforts after the hurricane Immigration should ignore the laws? It’s obvious he has gotten extensions to be here until now. The only reason they would tell him to leave is if he hasn’t been offered employment. If it was a black Jamaican cleaner would we be here singing the same song?

    • Dude says:

      hate ppl coming here talking about the NDp and VIP….its an Immigration matter, poor premier more than likely knows nothing about this..cast blame on the Immigration department…they are just following their policies..

      • Little do you know says:

        The immigration depaetment is governed by the premier.ijs

        • Poison. says:

          Yes but not the day to day policies. That’s an immigration matter. Do you think that everyone who wants to say will have their case sent to the premiers office. Stop with your foolishness.

    • Brad Boynes says:

      Sami the man shut your dam stinking mouth.

  4. Snoppy says:

    You should never have gone to immigration because here, ‘honest is NOT the best policy’.

    • *** says:

      If it was a Santo or Guyanese person we would have 50 comments about getting their asses out of here. A milk white man with a sob story and everybody gone f—— crazy. “I’m a UK white man, I helped people after the storm, I shouldn’t have to abide by your laws!”

      • Rubber Duck says:

        The guy is a citizen of the country you all think is obliged to help you. And has.

        • @Rubber Duck says:

          Because they took more than they got…we still were not paid for our slave labour pre-1834…so BAM…nobody deporting him…he just needs to leave, find a job and come back…how come he aint up Peter Island asking them for severance pay…that’s because the LAW says he is NOT entitled to it cos he aint work for them for 12 months….GIVE ME A BREAK HERE PEOPLE…I disagree with this guy’s approach…SOCIAL MEDIA WILL NOT HELP YOU…be respectful and go quietly

          • A man says:

            In fact it is very much debatable what the British took in terms of value pre-1834. It wasn’t a very successful colony, which makes it all the worse that it (i) involved slavery which is despicable and (ii) didn’t even make any money.

          • Rubber Duck says:

            You want to be paid for your great great grandaddiy’s work?

            How far back do you want to go?

            Should Israel be suing the Egyptians?

    • employer says:

      we report to immigration and labour those we have let go

  5. watcher says:

    Labour are forcing employers to make staff redundant while the employers are battling to get their businesses open. By the time the businesses re-open the staff will be gone. The anti business, anti growth, anti prosperity Labour department will no doubt make it very difficult to re-hire the skilled and experienced workers. There should have been a one year grace period so that people could remain while their employers fixed their businesses. There should also be a new Labour commissioner who is a business person ,not a “ lawyer”.

    • *** says:

      That is true but not the case with this guy. If someone was here for 5 years working and currently awaiting their business place to be repaired and reopen with a sure job, Labour/Immigration should make provisions for that person given the circumstances. This man says he arrived just before the storm, lost his job and up to now can’t get another job but wants to remain here? How?

      • watcher says:

        Well interesting you said 5 years because that is the time all the civilised world takes to make immigrants citizens.

        BVI is trying to kick people out who have been here 20 years.

        That is not civilised or just.

    • Sorry - Immigration takes this one...#2 says:

      Not for new employees to the island…c’mon….fair is fair

  6. Yep! says:

    There two sides to every story!

  7. Rubber Duck says:

    Apply for a cruising permit and be a tourist for a year or two. Then someone will offer you a job and and you can get a work permit. You have to play these people at their own game.

    • What? says:

      Who the heck are you referring to as ‘these people’? The law is the LAW! This is the problem, you all come on here with your holier than thou attitudes as if the laws do not apply to you because you are from the so called ‘mother’ country? Then you expect people to deal with you professionally after that behavior? ‘These people’? WOW!

    • Better still.... says:

      The idea with a cruising permit is good, but even better: Apply for a BVI Licence for your boat at Customs. If the boat is under 50ft it cost you 600.00 for the year. You can stay on anchor on your boat for max. 6 months and then extend. Hopefully you have a job in the meantime. Thank you for saving Gertrude’s life. She is a dear friend

  8. Nice try says:

    But I thought everybody was running away from the BVI.

    Or could it be that that guys like him see our determination to bounce back and want to be here to profit on the massive opportunities that are coming?

    You can’t blame the guy for trying.

    • Nobody important says:

      Although I believe there is some truth to what you are saying as I have met people who fit that description.
      I have also met the person in the article. We met right after Irma and I listened to him on the VHF during the whole rescue ordeal.
      You couldn’t be more wrong about his character or his intentions.
      Immigration laws just or not have to be followed though.

  9. Sorry - Immigration takes this one... says:

    Dude, I have to side with Immigration on this. You just came not even a year. You lost your job within 2 months of coming…you have not found a job in the 5 months after Irma. They are not deporting you. They are saying that you can come back when you get a job. Please…don’t trying to pressure the department unjustly to get what you want by using social media/the media. Thanks for saving the lives…but don’t go sounding your trumpet of the alms you gave. I’m sure the people thanked you…find a job and you can come back. Immigration takes this win.

    • ChicaChica says:

      Expat here from UK: sorry friend you just got here you need to head home. On this occasion Immigration got it right.

    • Stupes says:

      You better believe, he will be employed tomorrow even if his fellow UK citizens have to lie to employ him. That is his reason for writing an article.

  10. Sorry - Immigration takes this one...#2 says:

    And for the record he was given time unto August 2018 PROVIDED he remained employed with the particular employer…that time was CONDITIONAL…please…

    • EastMan says:

      I agree with you. The man looking to be residency next. You think any one want to go back to live in poverty stricken,cold,socially unjust freezer called England? Lol do no open the flood gates,rules are there for a reason. Over and out.

  11. Strupes says:

    You Never self proclaim to a hero .

  12. Being fair says:

    Mr. Stein, thank you for your help. It is a natural thing for anyone to help in any emergency situation once they have the capacity to do so. During our Irma horror, most of us helped where we can. Many of us did first aid, helped the wounded, tried to get people to hospital, used our bare hands to clear roads so people could get to hospital, fed the hungry, turned what was left of our homes into shelter and on and on. However, at the end of the day, that does not give us honorary citizenship.

  13. Dude says:

    Richard there are cases in the Uk similar to yours for instance for nationals of caribbean Islands who were drafted in to the armed forces in the UK. some were awarded medals for their bravery (saving lives, and getting the job done), some were injured in battle and guess what, the UK Government asked them to leave after their tour as they were never offered any form of citizenship for the UK.

    You need to understand we cannot accommodate everybody, the rules are the rules and its quite unfortunate but everyone cannot remain.

    We still have to find jobs for those who have a legal right to be there, this is our first priority. You can always return when things are normalized.

  14. WOW!!! says:

    Bye, no one owes you anything! Common behavior of some people keep them out!

  15. Stupes says:

    God knows what he is over Jost Van Dyke doing.

  16. A man says:

    Rick Stein, I love your restaurants, are you planning on opening in the old Pussers East?

  17. No nonsense says:

    Natures secret, nothing new after the hurricanes. The husband that earn a business, his wife an account that was laid off from her job and wanted to work with the husband. Immigration refused to give her time. They were looking after two BVI children in their own home. Put the house for sale, close the business, cut ties with the children and return to the UK
    What an upsided down picture?

  18. There.... says:

    Is such a thing as discretion, but for some reason officials here do not seem to be able to use it.

    • What? says:

      How do you know he is telling the entire story? There are lots of people still here on the island because of discretion by Immigration Dept.

  19. Stupes says:

    I’ve been here for 25 years and immigration can still tell me to cart my tail home who’s you stupes.

  20. WHY? says:

    And why only last week he went into Immigration to deal with the fact that he was laid off? Shouldn’t he have done that since in September/October 2017?

    • Retired says:

      Because Dr. Smith declared a 3 month amnesty for all entry & work permits after Irma. The amnesty expired on 6 Dec. 2017. The BVI was closed to visitors until 1 Nov. 2017 and then Immigration began processing entry permits in late Nov. 2017.

  21. Curious Cat says:

    You think he is the only one looking honorary status? Why do you think the emergency shelters were packed with those of his kind? Check to see how many free generators some of them had to make sure all their appliances could work at the same time. Check their cupboards for ration they took home that they didn’t need, and finally, he just broke the proverbial “ice” in expectation. Lots more to come. ‘Yo ain’t see notting yet’.

  22. Eyes says:

    Trump thru ICE just kicked out a man living for forty years in Ohio with several businesses. The man is from Jordan. Hey, anything is possible.

  23. Soo says:

    What would the UK have done?
    OR Just start a dive shop or something or work a local job lots being advertised.
    Butttt to have an extension revoked suddenly uhmmm something more in the mortar besides the pestle.

  24. Well says:

    I could’ve single handedly save 20 people in the UK or US, but the moment I lose my job and have no back up job offers, my ass will get deported.

  25. Wella says:

    Save your own life by leaving

  26. Arfan says:

    I know Richard & his family from Scotland, UK. I can vouch that he is a true Gentleman & genuinely a very humble person. He would be an asset to any community he lives in. He is also skilled & not the type to look for a free ride.
    If you are fortunate enough please get to know him & you will see what I mean.

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