BVI News

Layoffs not surprising, premier indicates

Premier and Minister of Finance Dr D Orlando Smith

Premier and Minister of Finance Dr D Orlando Smith has indicated that he is not surprised that persons have been losing their jobs following Hurricane Irma, adding that attempts are being made to increase economic activities to absorb persons being made unemployed.

“We appreciate that there would have been some layoffs, because essentially many of the services – many of the businesses have been closed for some time. Look at some of the hotels; for example Bitter End [Yacht Club] is gone and so there would have been layoffs.”

“We have to try to increase the economic activity in the country in order to be able to [absorb] these people,” Premier Smith told journalists at a recent press briefing, adding that he has been meeting with various industry players, and providing incentives such as tax waver on the importation of goods such as construction materials.

Employment initiative launched

The Labour Department, in the meantime, said it has launched an initiative that will help to align persons with possible jobs within the territory’s labour force. The programme is dubbed: Coming to a District Near You.

“Persons who register with the programme will be given the opportunity to be included in our existing database, which employers utilise to source qualified candidates to fill vacancies,” said Labour Commissioner Janice Rymer.

The Labour Department is reaching out to BVIIslanders and Belongers through the initiative, said the Government Information Service. It said it is also targeting expats who the Immigration Department has granted permission to seek alternate employment. “Persons are asked to bring their passports in order to verify their immigration status,” the government further said.

Registration for the programme will take place in each of the nine districts.

According to the government, the programme began in the First Electoral District on Sunday (October 8), and is scheduled to continue in the remaining districts from 9am to 4pm on Thursday, October 12. These are the locations:

Second District          –     To be announced

Third District             –         Valerie O. Thomas Community Centre

Fourth District           –         The Band Stand

Fifth District                –         The Basketball Court located across from the Church of God of Prophecy

Sixth District               –          Ground Floor of the Virgin Islands School of Technical Studies

Seventh District          –           The Stickett

Eighth District            –          Entrance to Parham Town

Ninth District              –           The Vanterpool Building (The Valley) and North Sound (to be announced).

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