Virgin Islands Party (VIP) Territorial At-Large candidate Carvin Malone wants to invest more in the state-owned H Lavity Stoutt Community College (HLSCC), whose financial malnourishment he said has indirectly contributed to the territory’s labour and human resource issues.
He reasoned in an interview with BVI News that proper investment in the college will lead to more locals being better trained to populate the various industries of the BVI workforce.
“They (HLSCC) are gasping for breath for the level of funding required to keep the programmes that they have moving.”
He said investing in the college is a priority considering the major demand for workers that will arise after local resorts and businesses are all rebuilt.
“When these places are up again they’ll need over 500 to 1,000 employees … This is now the time to prepare our people for the opportunities that will become open again,” Malone said.
Better training for locals means less imported workers
He said if the BVI prepares its locals ahead of time, it would consequently “issue fewer work permits, not more”. Malone described this as ‘buying labour from home’.
He reasoned that fewer work permits would result in less strain on the Labour Department which, over the years, have been inundated with work permit applications.
“There is no country that can have all of the labour needed to do all of what it needs. But, if you have a specific and geared investment policy towards developing your human resources then you can basically have the labour force available when there is a new project to be built, when there is a new captain needed, when there is a new trust company manager needed, or when expertise is needed in an industry.”
Malone said being able to access labour locally will also result in more funds remaining in the BVI.
Expats wire millions out of BVI monthly
He described the amount of money that expatriates export back to their home countries as “tremendous”.
“You would be shocked with the number. Millions of dollars leave the shore every month.”
He made it clear that he has no ill-will against work permit holders.
Last month, Labour Minister Dr Kedrick Pickering said the Department of Labour approved 3,693 applications between October 2017 and November 2018 under the Work Permit Waiver for Skilled Workers Initiative and the Skilled Workers Programme.
He said the total number of active work permits as at December 31, 2018, was 9,079. Of that total, 4,321 were new permits. The rest were renewals.
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