While declaring that the British Virgin Islands (BVI) was built on foreign direct investment, Junior Minister of Trade and Investment Promotion Marlon Penn said current legislation will be strengthened to better protect natives in some areas of commerce.
“That’s one of the things we are looking at in terms of the new trade legislation to earmark areas specific for Virgin Islanders especially where they have proven that they have the competencies and the ability to operate in those areas. There is something there [already] but we need to strengthen it; there needs to be some strength in that area,” Penn recently told the House of Assembly.
He did not specify the legislative changes being contemplated, but he noted that there are loopholes to be plugged.
“We need to do a better job in protecting our people and we are doing that, and there is a lot more that we can do and we should do. It needs to be a collective meeting of the minds to ensure that all of those loopholes are closed so that people are protected, so that we can have the quality of life that we have grown accustomed to, and continue to have that quality of life without persons impeding on our economic right to thrive and survive in our own society,” added Penn.
The right balance
The junior minister, in the meantime, assured that Government will not take any drastic action that may chase away foreign direct investment.
According to him, there should be a delicate balance.
“The BVI was built on foreign direct investment. Tourism is foreign direct investment; financial services is foreign direct investment. So therefore we have to find the right balance to ensure that, while we are protecting the local businesses and the local consumers, we don’t run away the investments that we need to sorta continue to grow the economy, to grow our tourism industry, to grow our financial services industry, [and] to grow the physical infrastructure in terms of telecoms and ICT (information and communication technologies). So there needs to be that delicate balance to ensure that those industries thrive as well as bring in the foreign direct investment,” Penn further told the House.
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