BVI News

Labour reform: Foreign companies must give locals top positions to operate in BVI

Premier Andrew Fahie

Investors who establish new businesses in the British Virgin Islands will soon be required to grant their company’s senior management positions to BVIslanders/Belongers.

Premier Andrew Fahie said this will be done through changes to the territory’s existing Labour and Immigration laws.

He made the remarks during a community meeting in the Valley on Virgin Gorda last Thursday.

He said: “We have some new investment programmes coming and we are going to welcome investors. But we also made something clear today in Cabinet that it ain’t going to be the old-time investing.”

“They have to make sure — and we have to make sure through Labour reform and Immigration reform — that the senior posts when you come to invest, your company going to have our people in those senior posts.”

Premier Fahie said this will be part of the investor’s contribution to the territory.

“So once you come, we are going to give you some incentives, but you are going to give us some major things too.”

The Premier did not specify what incentives government will give in return but said the reform strategy is part of building the locals to ensure the territory “will always be strong”.

The Premier’s announcement of the reform comes amid years of complaints that top government positions such as the Commissioner of Police, Attorney General and Director of Public Prosecution are held by non-locals.

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  1. A pity says:

    This is how you will continue to make the BVI suffer, killing our business sector and continuing the feeling of entitlement of BVI landers. There is slick pickings in this territory for educated, professional, hardworking individuals. Focus on education first.

    Like 74
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    • Anonymous says:

      Once again, bring your money, invest it and we will do as we want with it. No viable company will invest anything in the Territory under these conditions. The demise is slowly taking shape. Close the doors to new citizenship, force unqualified employees on businesses, no financial sector and be abusive to the tourists. This will all play out well for the future of the Territory

      Like 52
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      • Go siddung says:

        Well if you vet locals and they not qualified for the post THEN you can bring in an outsider that is PROVEN to be more educated and experienced. Not because you’re pale or speak the queens english how they want.

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        • QE says:

          Speaking the Queens English will certainly be a requirement for most foreign owned companies. They have to be able to understand their emoyee and be able to rely on their employee to be able to communicate effectively with the outside world.

      • Read says:

        What makes you believe that the Hon. Premier wants unqualified locals in top positions? This is not what was stated. It is your own prejudice that allows you to believe that anyone would want someone who is unqualified to hold a senior position. Check you own bad thoughts.

        Like 22
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      • Rubber Duck says:

        The kind of high skill, hi tech businesses, like research and development in the computer and medical fields ,that could be attracted to BVI, are not going to come with ludicrous racist laws like these.

        Let them come and teach local people, but it is stupid to believe they are going to come and appoint unqualified locals to run them. A pipe dream Mr Fahie.

    • Truths says:

      “Fahie is right

      “They come here and expect to practice segregation in their employment practices- trust me we can afford to pick and choose and if they don’t like it they can go back to where they can employ only whites – we have no problem with that- let them clear off with their racial practices – we are better off without these racist businesses – WE DON”T NEED THEM HERE- we will be just fine if they do not come here.”

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    • Please says:

      So you too feel ‘entitled’ yourselves…to own the highest positions in another man’s country? To live like king and queens in another man’s kingdom? Entitled to have my people cleaning your dirty houses on our beautiful Islands as you live off our natural resources and order us around like slaves? …and you feel entitled to tell our leaders how to govern their country!

      Like 1
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    • Myth says:

      That is soooo far from the truth.

    • Future says:

      Foolish Talk. Look at Cayman and then talk. This ensures ex-pats don’t come and take all high positions leaving scraps to BVIslanders.

  2. Right, but.... says:

    You’re asking outside investors (how is that defined, exactly) to turn over senior management positions to Belongers, but what happens when there are no qualified/competent belongers available (thanks to a long history in poor educational investment)? Investor can choose to invest elsewhere after due diligence establishing limitations of belonger labor pool.

    Like 51
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    • Stopit!! says:

      And it is known that many firms keep saying there are no qualified Virgin Islanders just because they want to bring in their friends and give them positions, and their only qualification is “pale.”It is also a fact that many expats who come in for some jobs don’t know nothing and has to be trained by Virgin Islanders.
      People don’t want to face it, but there is a race issue in the VI and one which will become a bigger issue. The issue is between UK nationals and Virgin Islanders. UK nationals are not satisfied being second class citizens in this country. Their aim is to rule over us as in days of yore. But we shall not bow to colonialism again. It will be the downfall of our people and we must respect the sacrifice of our forefathers. Let the UK nationals stay in the UK and live with the Muslims. Virgin Islands was our ancestral gift for enduring slavery. Never again, never shall there be enslavement of our people again in these islands.

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      • Peace says:

        As a UK expat living here I am sensitive and aware of your feelings towards the UK’s evil treatment of your forefathers and respect the stance you take with that. I do work hard here though, make a positive impact in the country through my work, helped clear up the territory following Irma with the predominalty ex-pat group called the wombles picking up trash all over the island at times on our hands and knees. I would hope that if you actually met UK expats like myself you would have a different view. Diversity makes us strong, the BVI needs to simply look after the people that make a positive contribution because without those people the country would be a in a worse position, simple as that. Lets cut out the racial divide, it helps nobody.

        Like 18
        • Truth be told says:

          UK nationals don’t want to live in the UK after they qualify and get a couple of years training because the competition here is extraordinary and so the salaries are ridiculously low. Commuting to and from work everyday is like being in hell. Therefore they want to be in the BVI and to top it off they get paid the BIGGER salaries because of their short international experience, colour of skin and sound of their happy voice because they have never suffered the way black people continue to have to struggle and fight. So I support the what the Premier is doing. And there are quite a few hard working and qualified locals and other Caribbean nationals who live in the territory that should be given preference.

          Like 4
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        • @Peace says:

          Well, great! Can you then please talk with your expat friends and neighbors and tell them to stop segregating themselves from the Culture and Native People of the Virgin Islands? Stop ’collectively’ assisting the community when they feel it best? Stop purchasing clusters of property where only they live among themselves? Stop segregating their schools with high enrollment payment that only their high paying jobs can afford? Stop treating their dogs better than mankind? … And let them know that they are always welcome to attend church service with us when they can. Thank you!

          Like 3
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          • joke says:

            Stop treating their dogs better than mankind?
            What on earth does the way I treat my dog or my cat have anything to do with you?
            Anyone that is incapable of showing respect and empathy to any fellow living creature (human or animal) does not deserve my respect.

    • Well... says:

      We will educate local persons to occupy these high level positions and remove expats from their temp. positions.

  3. Lily Ann says:

    To All Foreign Companies… I SCREAM DONT DO IT !! Do not hire BVI Landers, They have ZERO Manners and work ettiquette !!! And yes, I’m from here as well, small job, but BIG heart towards customers!!!

    Like 58
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    • true says:

      you might be born here but you aint from here with that attitude, thats down island thinking about entitlement if one of your parents aint from here then you aint from here.

      Like 20
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      • Hottie says:

        This is the sort of comments that demonstrates why the BVI is in such a mess. Ignorant foolishness and stupidness.

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    • Oh please says:

      Speak for yourself if you don’t have manners.

      Like 10
    • Absolutely says:

      You hit the point there. Absolutely true.

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    • smh says:

      You boasting you born here but yet u trying to call down your own? And thats the problem with we bv islanders…. we trying to uplift & support others but our own. How much of them expats care bout u? When them partying and drinking is them OWN they partying with. I see y our country aint getting no where.

      Like 6
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    • Rayn says:

      I think one can decide to employ qualify individual from anywhere he likes. But good behavior is expected.recently,two employed locals went to unleash robbery on the expat in VG This does not speak well.What of their attitude to work?

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  4. Oh says:

    Lord! This is great news! So long over due. Hope it will be enforced.

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  5. Michael says:

    Great way to get money flowing into the BVI – not!

    So let me just get this straight, you want investors to put their money up and oh, by the way give everyone in the BVI a senior business position for which they have no experience, sounds ludicrous. What happens when money stops flowing in, you still going to demand that senior position. You guys sound like liberal Americans.

    Like 50
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    • East lady says:

      Those whom are qualify needs to apply. There are qualified BVI Islanders and Belongers. Many BVI Islanders have traveled abroad and educated themselves and came back to the BVI and was unable to find jobs in their profession …because many of the jobs were given to non BVI islanders permanent (position) eg Gov. & Statuary boards..Is that fair? Would you like this to happen if you were living in your country?

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      • Yes says:

        Trust management is a seven month course. With continued study and practice any normal person can do it. It’s not exactly rocket science.

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        • 4 years says:

          It’s 4 year course to get a TEP qualification, plus you need at least a bachelors degree and years of experience. Not a rocket science, but to get a senior position you need to work for that.

  6. Kingfish says:

    The death of the BVI will be on the hands of the VIP.

    Like 24
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    • How? says:

      They’re catering to the same people that are bawling that bvislanders don’t get any position. So the bvislanders are the ones killing their own country so to speak. I am from here so nobody come for me

      Like 9
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    • East lady says:

      Those whom are qualify needs to apply. There are qualified BVI Islanders and Belongers. Many BVI Islanders have traveled abroad and educated themselves and came back to the BVI and was unable to find jobs in their profession …because many of the jobs were given to non BVI islanders permanent (position) eg Gov. & Statuary boards..Is that fair? Would you like this to happen if you were living in your country?

      Like 4
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    • My country says:

      If there is death of the BVI, it will be when the UK try to give all their citizens Belongership here. Guess what, tell the UK we say, “her plan shall fail.” We shall be prepared to jump ship and tell them watch the covenant between the true children of Israel and the Most High come alive again.

  7. Hm says:

    Heard is a St Vincent man murder that lady last night send them home. Andrew need to get this labor and immigration law fix to much the st Vincentians coming in here

    Like 5
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  8. Mike Weib says:

    Not only the trust companies but there’s a lot of discrimination against BVI natives in the yachting sector also.The government needs to look at that also.

    Like 16
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  9. small island says:

    The enticement that is missing….incentives will need to bring the well educated, experienced BVI landers from their over seas lives and encourage them to settle here. $$$$

    Like 14
  10. true says:

    This needs to be looked at more, don’t force them to employ directly but they must employ and train someone to take over the management positions say in 2 oe 3 years? Just a suggestion.

    Like 23
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    • Huh says:

      2 or 3 years to train somebody to fulfill a management position – only in the BVI could this be a serious suggestion.

      Like 13
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      • true says:

        not a fish out of school, but someone who has experience and then they can gain this companies this with training, simple really , just like the thought processor your answer

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  11. Anonymous says:

    This is business.Investors did not earn their money by giving management of their money away on the critera of nationality.Positions of management must be earned based on qualifications and or experience.That is how it is done in rhe 21st century. There is no need for this silly policy it sends a wrong message to unqualified applicants and employees who are make themselves fools in the work place.Just ask investors to advertise for vacancies locally and prove that local who applied was not qualified for the position, before approving work permit.

    Like 29
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  12. LOL says:

    This is all smoke. What I would like to see him propose is a proper training initiative so that locals can benefit but you cannot expect Little Dix, Peter Island and other top star facilities to just hire locals in management positions’just because’. I sense that there’s some fine print in there that the Premier is not alluding to, i.e. where qualified locals are found then yes, but otherwise they can bring who they want. Don’t read too much into this.

    Like 17
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  13. QUALIFIED says:


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    • ??? says:

      And what are these qualified persons doing now? Counting paperclips and surfing the internet in a GOVT job does not really suggest that a person is qualified to be a manager in the private sector!

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      • !!! says:


        There are qualified, experienced locals with excellent work ethic that works in the private sector! Job ads in the paper is merely a formality to abide by the two weeks even though the company already has a foreigner lined up with the contract signed.

        What about foreign Compliance Officers out of the Territory for more than 6 months which is a breach of the FSC regulations and Labor Code.

        The whole Immigration & Labor system needs revamping that is fair but must bare in mind that qualified and experienced VIslanders must come first instead treating us as second class citizens in their own home. Nowhere else in this world can we travel and go making demands; so why the F should we allow it here!! VIP get ayo $hit together and FIX THIS!

        Like 3
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  14. Ausar says:



    Dont mind the noisemakers on this one, Premier!

    Bvislanders have been displaced in our land for too long,especially in Labor, and now is the time for change!

    Incentives given,BVIslnder management, REQUIRED!!


    Thank you, Premier Fahie, for once again securing the homeland for Bvislanders; those at home and those abroad!

    Like 7
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  15. Smuggler says:

    Everyone has their views and concerns,our premier never been defeated at the poles this means alot he knows what he is doing and where his directions are. He has took a stand for foreigners and locals since as chief but a wealthy island without the indigenous grasping their entitlement is a psychological conquered island now finally there’s motivation and hope for everyone. Just take a deep look around the bvi and compare our local logistics with the neighboring Caribbean islands.

  16. @LOL says:

    You are absolutely correct. You know the thinking, common practice and psychology inside and out.

    No matter how qualified there will be a Virgin Islander, there will only be room at top level management for the other. That has been centuries old common practice.

    Meanwhile, there may a token face if we are lucky.That is usually, again common appeasement practice.

    Hope the premier is aware of such and address them in the fine print final negotiations.

    Training, training , advancement and promotions must be critical long term building blocks of any negotiations, if we are short in areas of upper manamement expertise.

    Nonetheless, good to see the focus, though many will want the investment priviledges, but against the beneficial proposals for the people.

    Like 4
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  17. I’m coming says:

    I plan to come down and invest in a new company. It is going to be the “Ganga Smoking Rude MoFo Reckless Driving Scooter and Loitering Company”. Wonder if I can staff the top positions locally. Think I’ll also open the “Banging Stepchild Corporation” too.

    Like 21
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  18. Facts says:

    Hoping this will entice BVI islanders to return home.

    • VICKIE says:

      Facts I don’t think they will come back a lot of BVI people have come back home with experience came back home and apply for jobs and the so call Christians turn them down they return to the USA and most of them have top jobs with the LOACL and FEDERAL GOVERNMENT it happen under both governments. They had prefer to bring in people and their family. I know a lot about it because one close to me were grill like a criminal by a Christian woman and were turn away today she is a supervisor of a wing in a hospital. We have a serious problem here with our own and out siders who in charge of hiring.

      Like 9
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  19. son of the soil says:

    well it’s about time

    Like 5
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  20. Blackman says:

    Some Politicians lawyers and other wicked people from bvi is don’t want us here and we must come invest and give the wicked ones top jobs inthe company let those animals invest and create their own business and have their top positions sooner or later time will tell God is good

    Like 7
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  21. Like a Virgin. says:

    How much locals Branson got in top positions over Necker and Mosquito? Or is Branson a local company??

    Like 5
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    • God's creation says:

      Hey bvi wickedness will prevail but only for a little while God don’t sleep he is listening

      Like 5
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    • Ausar says:

      “Like a Virgin”, whether Branson has Belongers in top positions, I may not know. And while he may be considered by many to be local, I say he’s not.

      Therefore, he too should be made to observe the revision of the labour code and hire Belongers in upper management positions.

      Let’s hope the Belongers chosen for these positions will include those of Africoid origins and not solely those of Asiatic and/or Caucasoid origins!

      Like 2
      Dislike 6
  22. Busy Bee says:

    I agree completely, the queue of belonger chartered accountants, MBAs and attorneys seeking work is sooooooo long! It’s depressing.

    Like 9
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  23. Fahie is right says:

    They come here and expect to practice segregation in their employment practices- trust me we can afford to pick and choose and if they don’t like it they can go back to where they can employ only whites – we have no problem with that- let them clear off with their racial practices – we are better off without these racist businesses – WE DON”T NEED THEM HERE- we will be just fine if they do not come here

    Like 6
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  24. One people says:

    It’s problem for expat living here for over 15 years to get status but its not a problem for bvilanders to be the head of a business that is owned by a expat , u set of wicked vampires I pray all investors with draw and go into other countries . One more irma is coming and it Will be even more dangerous than the previous one in 2017 there will be no place to run and hide , change from your wicked ways before its too late . Disaster is coming judgment is coming .

    Like 15
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  25. Exp says:

    Before it, they should look at the country culture, belongers don’t respect the environmental, traffic law, etc. They’ve a lot of advantages, paying less taxes to buy properties, to get a trade license.
    The reform should be to have right people at the right places with the fair rights, so we can see a progress.

    Like 9
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  26. Political Observer (PO’ says:

    Locals being given preferential hiring for job in which they are qualified and experienced is not something unique to the BVI; it is a practice through out the region from the Bahamas to Guyana to Jamaica to Barbados to Trinidad and Tobago. This requirement is not an entitlement proposal; clearly, the local hires will have to be meet at least the minimum qualifications and experience levels.

    What the Labour Department has to guard against is companies setting qualifications higher than is required to effectively do the job. Employers do this to ensure only certain individuals can meet the qualifications. This is gaming the system and is targeted recruiting so as to avoid the discrimination tag. Another practice is to set pay below what locals will accept but will be grabbed by others. Further, some jobs are made redundant only to be repackaged as something else for targeted recruiting. What if there are no qualified locals?

    The company is authorized to hire external applicant(s). However, as is done in other locales, a local is hired as an understudy for a reasonable amount of time. Undoubtedly, not all senior positions in the company will be filled by qualified locals. This proposal is not intended to thrust locals into a Peter Principle situation, ie, promoting people to a level of incompetence. Moreover, all hires whether local or expat must be an asset to the company. Locals may have the key to get through the door but they must deliver/contribute to stay aboard.

    Here is a news flash to those who castigate locals as being rude, not customer friendly, incompetence, feel entitled …..etc. Well, every country has its share of people who wants to ride in the wagon, not pull it. In any locale, it is unfair to broad brush the whole because of a few.

    Like 24
    • Michael Helm says:

      I fully endorse what PO has stated so eloquently in the post above.
      For the record, I was invited in 1964 by Leavity Stoutt, during an official visit to the UK, to come, with my family, to the Virgin Islands, so I an architect would continue to invest in the future of the Islands. I was given formal permission to emigrate by the Administrator, Martin Stavely, I had permanent residence status, provided that during the first five years I wasn’t convicted to ! year or more in prison or fined $1,000 or more. As a student and afterwards, I Had benefited from the counselling, encouragement and criticism of elders of my profession. I came to believe that if one has a talent, one has a passion, one has a moral obligation to share it with others, to pass it on. My first office here had a Dutch door opening onto the gallery where people lined up for the cinema. Several of the young men started to chat with me through the open door and to show me, for my comment/review, their Mail order draughting courses. One was Ira Smith, another was Paul Whatley, who went on to work with me in his summer vacation from Architecture school in NY, also after qualifying. Later he was the contractor for Steele Point, perhaps the best known of my houses. Two other BVIslanders from the five or six who started working as trainee draughtsmen, went on, again by their own efforts, to qualify as architects in the US and eventually return to practice in the BVI. Edwin Adams and Delvin Mercer. They didn’t expect to start at the top. They, by their own endeavours and perhaps with some encouragement from me, achieved success having their own firms and recognition in their own country. For my part, I am, within myself and fifty three years later, proud of having perhaps help my profession now almost completely be composed of wonderful, talented BVIslander/belonger professional architects, of both sexes.Leavity had the vision to bring me her as a way to sow the seed from which this was to come to pass. There are no short cuts to a country achieving a well-balanced community. It takes evolution over time. By the way, has anyone actually researched how many firms in the Legal and Financial Services industries are NOT headed up or were NOT initially started by BVIslanders/Belongers? Ignorance is no excuse for Xenophobia and Racism.

  27. VG Resident says:

    Belongers need to understand a business. Look at the telecommunication in the BVi For years the internet has been a disaster and every year its going to improved. A locak is in charge of telecommunications in the BVi DO SOMETHING to get it working or allow companies into the BVI that will

    Like 11
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    • Satellite says:

      The end is nigh for these robbers.

      Shortly we shall start selling satellite internet and phone connection that works anywhere in the world. And that works faster and more reliably than the obsolete junk these thieves foist on the people of the BVI.

      And it will be far cheaper.

      Keep watching.

  28. really says:

    If a company loses money because of a incompetent manager or director would the government reimburse that company!!!!!

    Like 10
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  29. Seriously says:

    Do you really think investors will put their money in BVI and put incompetent people in positions? Seriously???! Where in the world these things happen. It is getting crazier in the BVI everyday. Goodluck to that. BVI is going down the drain. Expect no further investment.

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  30. Just my 2 cents says:

    Foreign Investors invest in a country to capitalize on strategic goals/objectives notwithstanding a desire to maximize on their financial returns.

    Its unconscionable to ask for my investment and then dictate to me that my senior positions must be given to locals. I applaud the initiative to have locals gainfully employed, however, something is fundamentally wrong here. What if the required skill-sets, experience, qualifications, etc., are not possessed locally?

    I can understand and appreciate setting a hiring ratio for locals:expatriates, however, handing over senior management position for investment rights, this is utter nonsensical. There are many other countries more welcoming to foreign investors.

    If the premier is desirous of having locals in senior management positions throughout the workforce, then there must be a radical redesign not only in our education system, but the general mentality of our people. A change from an ‘entitlement’ and ‘from here’ mentality to one of aspiration, perseverance, determination and achievement.

    Even if consideration is given to the having locals managing senior public service portfolios, this appears impossible since our local people may fail to meet the quantum and the desired technical, professional, educational and other competence required.

    An alternative must be considered as I believe much needed foreign investment is needed to grow and develop the BVI. We need to break away from the ‘Investment Club’ to serious investors.

    Like 9
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    • Blessings says:

      everybody coming on here sound soo sweet now until the shoe is on the other foot. Wait till when you all get your “Belongers” you will then sing a different tune…. May God bless us all.

  31. E. Leonard says:

    It would be a let down of locals if government didn’t put legislation (Labour Code) in place to facilitate preferential hiring of qualified and experienced locals, as is the normal practice in other places. The labour participation rate should positively and commensurately reflect qualified locals in senior positions. True, the BVI depends heavily on external investment; external investors should be courted but the courting must be a win-win for the BVI and its people.

    Interestingly, there seems to be some concerns that requiring the hiring of qualified and experienced locals in senior positions will drive investors away. However, businesses /investors are in the business of making money/profit. And if the BVI is a great place to work/invest, live, play and turn at least the minimum targeted profit margin, investors probably would not care if their work force is local or expat. It is about return on investment (ROI); if the ROI is not there, they (investors) are not coming and if they do come and ROI falls below the minimum established rate, they will pull up anchor and sail away. It is about the Benjamins.

    Moreover, the spot light is targeted on locals; regrettably, they are viewed by some as being lazy, unproductive, incompetent, slackers …..etc. The entitled tag is also being fling around. Locals/Belongers must prove the doubters wrong; they must work feverishly and aggressively to acquire the requisite qualifications, training, certification, experience,skills, knowledge ……..etc. Hired in senior positions, locals must ensure they are assets for the company. Though it may not be something they asked for, Locals/Belongers have to carry the burden/responsibility for the local population. They must exceed expectations.

    • Political Observer (PO) says:

      The BVI has emerged from the shadows of being a little sleepy hollow, bird sanctuary. It boasts of having one of highest standard of living, quality of life and per capita income in the region. Something has gone awry in the BVI. For example, locals seemed to have been cast on the dung heap and doubts cast whether qualified locals should even receive preferential hiring for available senior positions. WTF!

      WTF, indeed. Nevertheless, we cannot put critics on blast for labeling us as being lazy, nonproductive, prima donnas, feeling entitled…….etc, for we put ourselve in that position. As a Virgin Islander, here is my rationale for this conclusion. The BVI started the transition from an agro economy to a service economy in the 60s. The change created many new jobs and job skills. Nonetheless, the territory did a poor job in preparing locals for these new jobs, ie, technical, craft… ….etc. Locals are concentrated in low-med pay admin jobs while expats control technical, craft, senior positions. Take a look at the construction field; it is dominated by expats; it is not the expats fault, for they are only filling a void, filling a need. It is work that has to be done so someone has to do it. Someone has convinced locals that there is a stigma to working outdoors. Here is a news fiash; electricians, plumbers, auto mechanics, IT, masons, carpenters, air conditioning techs…….etc earn a decent living. Someone has to construct the mansions, repair and maintain cars……etc. we live in, work in, shop in and drive.

      Moreover, I’m puzzled by some expats attitude towards locals. Why would one want to live in a country filled with low life’s, lazy, non-productive……etc people? If it were I, I would just catch the first thing sailing or flying. One may not agree with local culture but it (people) should be respected. True, respect has to be earned. So locals too must show respect to expats.

      • jono says:

        Many expats have left the country, completely exasperated with it. I believe more are leaving now, more than ever.
        They live in the BVI in spite of the problems, not because of them.

        There is one big business on Tortola already completely staffed with Tortolans, in all the high positions.

        Look at the history of how well that has worked.

  32. Shame says:

    Money talk b**ls**t walk .. Educate your people them first before you talk nonsense.

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