BVI News

Last-minute seaport decision will reflect poorly on BVI and its brand

Opposition Leader, Marlon Penn

The last-minute deferral of the reopening of the territory’s seaports to January 2021 came as no surprise to Opposition Leader Marlon Penn who said he believes the timing of the announcement will reflect poorly on the BVI as a destination and as a brand.

Penn made the comment while speaking to BVI News on Wednesday as he first acknowledged what he described as the ‘good work by the government and hard-working public servants’ to get the territory to this point.

However, he said the many discrepancies shown by the government through their decision-making is a clear indicator they have not gotten things right in many respects.

 “It signals that we are not prepared and this damages our global image, which has taken a hit lately with many negative and damaging stories in the regional and international press and we must get our act together and improve our image,” Penn stated.

“It also provides further financial strain on already cash strapped businesses (charter companies, ferry operators, etcetera) as well as travellers who prepared for the December 8 opening to learn less than 12 hours before that plans have changed at the last minute,” he added.

Changes should not be made hours prior

Penn said it will be natural to experience some negative impacts from the decision, due to the direct effect it will have on the many tourists who have already paid their monies to travel to the BVI via ferry service from the neighbouring United States Virgin Islands (USVI).

“The reality is that many of our guests make their travel decisions based on cost and convenience, and this more-so during this COVID-19 era. Coupled with the fact that more than 75% of our guests travel through the USVI, we will see a huge impact on our arrival numbers especially because the period in question is our busiest time,” Penn said.

“Businesses and the travelling community needs some certainty to function, this requires planning on the part of government. Yes, we understand that there will be changes but these changes cannot come hours before the implementation of major decisions taken months earlier,” he further argued.

Confirms there is no real plan

The Opposition Leader said the chain of events confirms what he and other members of the Opposition have been stating over the last few months that the government does not have a comprehensive plan in place.

He said he believes if the government had heeded to the advice presented in the Opposition’s plan to open up the territory in the slower seasonal months of August or September, the government would be in a better position to make better and more informed decisions.

“It would have given us some time to stress-test our protocols and systems and make the necessary adjustments in a less demanding period versus opening in the heart of our tourist season where mistakes are more costly and harder to recover from,” he stated.

“After more than 10 months of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, the government lacks a clear, comprehensive and cohesive plan to address the two legs of this pandemic — health and safety, and economics. So the hiccups and constant false-starts we are seeing now are not surprising and all stems from this administration’s lack of planning and kneejerk, reactionary, decision-making,” Penn stated.

Failure of workable plan may force a second stimulus

He further said the lack of a workable plan with the right equilibrium to both protect the lives of residents and livelihoods of local businesses — which he said now virtually on life support — may result in the government having to issue a second round of stimulus cheques.

“The livelihood of these persons is at stake and they can ill-afford these false starts. My support and concern particularly go out to the residents of the sister islands of Jost Van Dyke, Anegada and Virgin Gorda whose livelihoods are particularly wrapped up in tourism. Some of whom, based on this decision, would have lost employment for an entire year. A year without a paycheque and the ability to provide for themselves and their families,” the Opposition Leader stated.

“If the circumstances on the ground don’t improve, it would mean having to provide a second round of stimulus to keep these businesses, their employees and families afloat. If not, many of them will have to make the unfortunate decision to close their doors, which I hope it never has to come to,” he added.

The BVI officially reopened its borders to tourism on December 1, which allows tourists to travel into the territory only via the Terrance B Lettsome International Airport.

The seaport reopening has been delayed till January 21, 2021.


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  1. VI Gyal says:

    The government was not to make an announcement for the 8th in the first place. it was too soon.

    Like 17
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    • Devil says:

      The last minute increase of coronavirus in the USVI didn’t give a warning too. Like this man just waiting for the corona to explode.

      Like 14
      Dislike 9
  2. .... says:

    go play your 8th district party and leave politics alone make sure them got on mask and social distancing while drinking

    Like 11
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  3. Hour says:

    Marlon, so does the bad looks of your district and you sitting on the block.

    Like 15
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    • Oh please! PWD Worker says:

      So tell the Minister for Transportation who who is stifling the work of the 8th. All the cleaning contracts gone 5th District and the ones where Government have members. All in an attempt to try and make Hon. Penn look bad. And the ones that do get done the atlarge members bypassing the rep. Same things being done to Hon. Turnbull in the 2nd.

      You think making the people suffer is going to make these Rep look bad, I have news for you. We will deal with the VIP with their nonsense. Hon. Penn and Hon. Turnbull hold your head up. Time longer than twine.

      Like 11
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    • @hour says:

      Stop talking p!$$! If ahyou don’t have anything add to the conversation why don’t you keep quite.

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  4. vip heckler says:

    The VIP is a one man gang

    Like 17
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  5. Grinch says:

    Don’t worry you head opposition leader. The virus a coming. It and the drugs coming. Take it easy rude boy.

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  6. Meh Son says:

    Waiting on Fahie to hail fire and brimstone on your head for criticizing the King.

    Like 10
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  7. Pulling At Straws says:

    At least they tried. COVID is very fluid, sudden changes are expected. Remedial actions are being arranged for persons who were already booked. Chupes, come better than this Mr. Opposition.

    Like 13
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    • @ pulling at straws says:

      This is a bamboo stick not a straw. People make plans monthsin advance and you’re going change course 12 hrs before opening and think this is ok!? This how the BVI intends to conduct its affairs?

      Keep with the fluid line while persons in the Tourism industry suffers because of this administrations ineptness. Continue to be an enabler of the countries demise.

      Opposition for Gods sake keep calling out these people before they kills all from starvation and not Covid.

      Like 16
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      • Just looking on says:

        Before tourism people didn’t starve in the BVI

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        • Alias says:

          Good thing you have your guaranteed government salary and pension you did not have to contribute a dime to.
          Keep voting for your own benefits rather than the benefit to this country/ territory.
          Can you please share that next envelope you receive!

          • You can only be a blind Johnny come lately says:

            Alias, the people in this territory did not starve before tourism. That is simple truth and there was not a single envelope passing around. The colonial administrators were not ones for handouts. That is also a simple truth. Must be your Johnny come lately lack of knowledge about this territory and your singular dependence on tourism that has you so hard up. Hopefully when this covid situation balloons by Christmas we won’t be passing condolences in your family’s direction. Not a receiver of any envelope, any grant, nor any other assistance and I see the need to proceed with caution, big pay days or not. Fails how some people never see truth with eyes wide open. I guess you prefer to your eyes wide shut watching God according to Zora.

  8. OMG says:

    So a family of 4 people in the air flying to St Thomas gets stranded, Flights options are limited $252 per person. Once a day on a small plane. Option 2 stay in a hotel and fly to Puerto Rico then Beef Island $195 Per person plus hotel bills. This just added $1000 to $1500 inc hotel and lost another day from the vacation. This is only one Way.

    The portal does not work as you have to call someone to push through the pending submission as you need to have printed approval for the arrival documents. People have been turned away because of this in Puerto Rico.

    When the charter industry inform the Government that there are 2500 people arriving in week one to the BVI and could they cope with the amount of people arriving the answer was 100% YES.

    Needless to say there were a lot of concerns about the protocols and volume of people as they estimated 90 mins per person processing.

    It is truly unbelievable that the government implementing these rules have no idea how the country works and damage they have done to the country and the image they are proving to the rest of the world.

    The Charter companies are fielding calls, Rebooking flights, Calling to find answers which should all be published from the government to allow easy to follow protocols. A simple google of our neighboring island shows a clear and defined process and the system is working.

    It’s good to see that we do import COVID and its detected on the protocols which are in place and apart from the illegal entry there has been limited spread of the virus.

    The system works but your administration of the process leaves a lot to be desired.

    Like 33
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    • P says:

      I know about that our elected members lock us out of the country when others country send for their people from where ever they was. They lock us out in infected countries for months it cost a lot to be out thousands of dollars. Then the plane ride was $265.00 per person for 10 minutens to Beef Island. Well saw.

  9. schemers says:

    The Brand was tarnished long ago

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  10. Home Boy says:

    I honestly think it was a big mistake announcing the Sea Port opening so soon. Then at the last minute, just the night before the date make the announcement that the port will not be opening until January 2021. That is not good at all, poor judgement call on the part of the Government.

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  11. HA says:

    2nd stimulus? Hundreds of businesses that were approved since August still haven’t received a cheque and based on the amounts being awarded it does NOTHING for most brick and mortar businesses.

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  12. Nothing new says:

    Clown government

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  13. SMI says:

    Devil: Bushtit Puerto Rico have far more cases than the USVI, He should have waited to see how the December 1 opening went before giving a date for the sea port

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  14. In Agreement says:

    People of the BVI wake up. Hon. Penn is right. This leaves a bad brand on the BVI.

    The airport system that’s in place was working perfect. Why reinvent the wheel. All that was needed was to add the covid testing and other measures, but let it remain the same.

    The Premier was to now focus on the seaport for the next opening phase.

    After that announcement, persons planned their travels, spent their monies and was eagerly waiting to travel. It’s unfair that on Dec. 7 that he comes out with a briefing changing the date.

    Put yourself in that traveler’s shoes. There were many visitors left stranded yesterday in STT because of our lack of planning.

    VIP has no vision, it’s a one man show, premier is petty and a di*****r.

    VIP must GO!

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  15. #@@ says:

    I am sooo sick of people not working together. This is not just the Government. The Government have persons in place to do the ground work. Heads of department to give them feed back and information to help them to move forward. If the Head of these departments knew that things were not ready, they should have had a conversation with the Government before so this does not look poorly on us. Sometimes I think the Head of these departments want the Government to go down looking bad. But all of us will suffer in this.smh

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  16. Treasure says:

    This premier is a jackas**
    He think ppl get money to waste
    He failed to realize that tourist make bookings to come here through the seaport and now he change his plan last moment
    The same s***t he did when was the airport
    No common sense
    The entire world is open and taking the risk
    Only the f**king bvi get pride
    Oh wait my bad I mean only Andrew fahie the i***t get no sense
    Ppl are not dying like before life has to go on
    But in the bvi ppl will die of starvation and homeless
    Big f** s**t Andrew enjoy the government seat cause you’re not going to sit on it next election

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  17. Anonymous says:

    And put in what? Not over my dead body.

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  18. Truth b told says:

    Honourable Marlon Penn. You are so busy trying to find fault of the govenrnment. They are doing their best to protect the people of the BVI. Do you see the rising cases in the US? There’s no way the BVI can handle what the USVI is dealing with right now. More focus should be put on fixing East End roads..pot holes mashing up people vehicles; and cleaning up the East End Community. I am not bias you and Honorable Wheatley need to do better

    Like 12
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  19. @truthbetold says:

    Yes yes yes Penn is always right….

    His wish will come through and he will be in his little devious hole.

  20. I give up says:

    I officially cancelled my trip to the BVI this morning. I didn’t want to cancel but it’s just not worth it anymore. I have airline tickets to STT and was planning to take the ferry over. The $175 per person for Covid testing is bad enough, but closing off the ferry terminals is ridiculous. There isn’t enough flight capacity to replace the ferries, and flights are $250 each way, so it’s not a good alternative at all. And all of this for the pleasure of swimming laps within 30 feet radius of my boat for 4 days straight, being forced to anchor in less than ideal anchorages, no going ashore, etc. And then having to hire someone to provision my boat at additional cost. It’s not a warm welcome by any stretched definition of the term. It will be a disaster for my family and forever tarnish their opinion of the BVI, a place I’ve been visiting and keeping my boat for 20 years. I also saw the reports on the news about innocent boaters being detained and fined because they crossed over an imaginary line while sailing on a tack to St. John. This is bad PR and management malpractice. No thanks…

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  21. :) says:

    All this guy does is complain. Fahie made an announcement, circumstances changed and he made an adjustment. He also made accommodations for everybody that was affected by the changes.

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  22. Mimi says:

    I tired of that 8D boy.
    He don’t have anything good to say. Why u didn’t speak out when u was in NDP.

    Like 8
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    • Broken Record says:

      Hon. Penn has a job to do and he need to continue doing it. This broken record about the NDP Andrew Fahie asked for the job of the leader of the country he got! Now he needs to do his job. All those tired excuses, he and his gang are incapable of running the country.

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  23. Seaports says:

    The VIP government will open the seaports to visitors after all the persons in the BVI are vaccinated against this pandemic Corona virus.

    • @Seaports says:

      It will be a cold day in h**l before that happens! A lot of persons don’t want to take that vaccine and would rather take their chances with C19.

  24. St Thomas is good for you. says:

    Keep your covid filled family in the covid filled territory of you covid filled home country. Bvi has not the resources to deal with an outbreak. It’s simple. My God your big USA can’t handle their mess but you vex because BVI trying to limit covid in their territory?

    And for your info the US Coast guard will board and charge anyone violating US imaginary border lines too. Do you think the US alone has a right to enforce their borders? Entitled idiot going on about bad PR…Your 20 year experience coming to the BVI has been a vacation
    And therefore always been separate from the normal day to day of living here. Your chance and any other tourist’s chance at a few days to send and post pics and act like the real world situation does not exist should not be at the risk of the people who live here. It’s simple.
    Bad PR and management malpractice are tags that belong to your outgoing President, no leader this side of the hemisphere can beat his record if they were trying.

    Like 1
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    • Wow says:

      A bit rude IMHO. BVI would have very little in the way of resources if it was not for outside money. When was the last time a BVI based boat was detained by US Coast Guard that was not involved in running money and or drugs (both from the outside)?
      Nobody likes the pandemic, but whether you like it or not, zero risk is not possible unless you want to keep everybody and everything out, and stop every one who leaves from ever coming back. BVIs would do well to consider USVI approach. Sure, there appears to be a resurgence of positive tests, but there are very few in hospital (only 1 in St. Thomas). That said, protocols may be modified as things develop, which has been key in keeping things going in St. Thomas (instead of complete shutdown BVI style).

    • Whatever says:

      You know where all those boats that used to fill your marinas and generate good paying jobs for BVI citizens are? ANTIGUA, that’s where.

  25. Long look me come from says:

    This is the weakest opposition leader in 29 years the guy just talk talk talk yet the vip doing so great for the people

    Like 10
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    • Big Check! says:

      I guess you’re one of those who got one of those big checks while the people who needs the help are just suffering. Hon. Penn keep focus and don’t study this clown who claim he l’s from long look.

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  26. Focus!! says:

    When last u do smth for 8th district marlon… so much people from them sides suffering n dont have jobs, muchless food… everybody doing for theirs except you… look its christmas not even smth for the kids u have, or a little book drive or smth… We come like we aint even togeather no more…You only for pahram town n its such a shame! Get to know all the people in your community and create opportunities for us! Go above and beyond! VIP will get whats coming for them… regardless of what you say or reply to them they still going do what they want and whenever they want… Focus on you and yours!

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