A number of illegal and unregistered businesses have started to spring up across the British Virgin Islands.
Junior Minister with responsibility for Trade, Marlon Penn said these illegal businesses are mostly being run by persons who lost their jobs after the hurricanes.
Though noting that operating illegitimate businesses can threaten the health and safety of residents and visitors, Penn said government will not be shutting down these businesses.
“Coming out of Irma, persons have lost jobs and persons are finding a way to earn a living and we have to be sympathetic to that.”
“We have to find a way to work together, collaborate, and try to get persons to do things the structural way to help them grow. From this little [business] idea that they want to start just to survive, could end up being one of the bigger, better businesses in our territory,” Penn reasoned.
Meanwhile, Director of Trade, Karia Christopher has described the emergence of illegal businesses as a big issue.
She said the Department of Trade plans to increase its team of inspectors to find and educate these ‘underground’ businessmen and women.
“The person who is in charge of the inspection right now has a great rapport with the underground persons here and so the first thing is not to go and attack them. We are very cognizant of that fact. Its all about not invoking fear into these people,” Christopher said.
“I hope that we will not have to implement drastic measures without first educating the public and then we await directions from the policymakers.”
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