BVI News

New conditions to be added to trade licenses of int’l investors — Premier

Premier Andrew Fahie

Premier Andrew Fahie has said a number of conditions are to be added to the trade licenses of persons who enter the British Virgin Islands and wish to set up new businesses.

Premier Fahie made that comment at a recent media conference that saw 30 locals being employed under government’s ‘1,000 jobs in 1,000 days’ initiative. They have been employed to Allison Petrus’ newly-established PG Gas service station in Fish Bay

He said: “We will be the authors and engineers of our fate in these Virgin Islands and we will welcome others to come along with us. So even those who are investors like Mr Petrus, you too can come. But, no longer would you just get your trade license and go and sing ‘Hakuna Matata’ and think it is ok and we hope that you invest in us. It will be attached to some conditions.”

Must give back to the community

Outlining some of those conditions, Premier Fahie said each will benefit the territory in various ways.

“You either are going to adopt a school, you either going adopt a community, you either going to invest in the rebuilding of some kind of school, you’re going to invest in some part of the young people’s lives,” Premier Fahie said in a statement directed at would-be investors who hope to start businesses in the BVI.

“No longer will millions be made in this country and our people see the economic benefit, and the ‘haves and have nots’ gap continue to widen but yet we feel good because we see the prosperity but we can’t touch it or be part of it. Those days are coming to an end,” Premier Fahie added.

Fahie, in the meantime, said he is mindful that said such ‘bold’ moves in these areas where business owners are directly impacted usually results in backlash from some members of the public. 

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31 Comments

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  1. Dear Mr. Premier says:

    I trust you have thought long and hard about the posdible consequences of your new initiative.

    World wide corporate social responsibility (CSR) has always been a voluntary initiative, I’ve never seen a model were government forces an investor to develop a CSR program. I trust you understand that in the grand scheme of things, other islands appears to be more attractive for investment than the BVI. More natural resources (land) better access ( a develop airport)

    While i understand what you are proposing you have to ensure that you are not cutting your nose to spoil your face.

    Concerned

    Like 59
    Dislike 5
    • Black Nationalist says:

      Investors finding US more than we’re searching for them 1st of all. Second, certain type of “Int’l” investors want to make their profits and stay away from locals. OH Really? Adopt a school in yuh backside invest in the islands besides your personal profit or SCAT YUH MS.

      Like 5
      Dislike 24
      • @Black says:

        You are so invested in your racism and hatred of whites that you can’t see past your own a**hole. There are no investors seeking to do business in the BVI. The only business they are interested in is setting up an offshore company to hide their money and assets. Other than that there is absolutely no desire on the part of anyone to invest in this Territory. Further, the Territory is a risky business opportunity since the Financial Sector is disappearing making the entire government unstable. However you keep thinking your racist thoughts for one day you and those like you will be screaming for the expat investors. Think I’m wrong? Ring up the Bahamians and ask them.

        Like 23
        Dislike 8
        • @@Black says:

          What small, shallow illogical thinking. Guess you control the investors of the world. Your dislike for the people and government is showing. get it together!

          Like 1
          Dislike 6
        • Future says:

          Wonder how much you truly know. The BVI is attractive because of its low taxes and fees. For example a Work permit for a partner in Cayman is $45k in BVI we have a cap of $10k. BVI is a beautiful place and many see the beauty even if you do now. This is why we have Little Dix Bay and Necker, both investors in the BVI. In most companies giving back to the community is part of a business budget, but some company owners are greedy and think less of our locals.

    • Dorothy says:

      Why place the responsibility to adopt and maintain schools on the uncertain backs of foreign investors? Why not assume the responsibility ourselves? We are capable of that.

      Like 28
      • well sah says:

        If they can be responsible for making their own profit here rather than in their own homeland

        Then they can be responsible for giving back to their adopted place of business.

        Like 3
        Dislike 6
    • Broom says:

      You can’t think long and hard about things you don’t understand and that’s where it starts and ends with this set of elected officials. The wheels are falling off slowly.

      Like 3
      Dislike 1
  2. Black Nationalist says:

    I don’t comment ever but this Premier is on FIRE! People 1st outsiders last and you best be appreciative for being here.

    Like 8
    Dislike 37
  3. Diaspora says:

    Agree with Premier Andrew A. Fahie, R-1 and MoF, that businesses doing business in the VI should give back to the community, not just take from it. Nonetheless, corporate social responsibility should be encouraged, not forced; it should come from the heart, business culture, psyche….etc. The VI is an open, capitalist economy.

    True, international businesses wanting to do business in the VI and it is given pioneer status and other incentives should come with some guarantee and performance -based criteria, ie, creating X number of jobs by a certain date, having locals understudy senior staff with the intent of promoting to those positions…..etc

    Like 16
    Dislike 8
    • Black Nationalist says:

      Show me a CAPITALIST with a heart smh the two don’t go together. CAPITALISM and FEELINGS? Really? I must assume you are not that naive. Anyways Int’l investors are more VAMPIRE than human let us be realistic. So if you going suck the blood out our country your arse will be there at the blood bank DONATING that same blood back. The END.

      Like 4
      Dislike 18
    • Not2Sure says:

      I am just curious – why limit this to foreign investors? Why not provide all trade licences have to include a commitment to corporate social responsibility in the Territory? Or is this just a recognitation that locally owned businesses are less willing to invest in their own communities at the expense of their personal profits?

      Like 31
      Dislike 3
  4. Stupiid says:

    This Fahie sits in his office thinking up ways to destroy the BVI. While it’s a nice thought to have an investor do the financing that the government should do, the investor is going to say, why should I invest here. Many, many other locations without the Fahie nonsense. Just shooting yourself in the foot. Once again it’s that negro mentality that everyone owes them. Try doing away with your bulls*** Belongership and perhaps investment would flood the Territory and take care of the financial woes. Instead you make it worse. To all investors, DON’T INVEST IN A SINKING SHIP!!!

    Like 29
    Dislike 5
  5. Black Nationalist says:

    Well STUPIID its a difference between investors looking or our Government searching. If the investor looking obviously they cant ask “WHY” they should invest. Only the investors WE invite will be allowed to ask that question. So in essence Investors can still SCAT YUH MS if you don’t like the rules. We are PARADISE and a so called “Tax Haven” they say we don’t look for investors they look for US.The people with the REAL LONG MONEY WHO ARE NOT INTERESTED in the rules will still do business. That is the reality so remove the blacklist BS talk like that is a bad thing to the REAL money makers.

    Like 3
    Dislike 18
    • @Black Nationalist says:

      @Black Nationalist, it seems like you excel at berating other people and their opinion(s) instead of presenting your opinions and engaging in a productive debate. According to you, Capitalist and heart are incompatible. So is Socialism or Communism compatible with heart? Hear is a news flash. The VI depends heavily on external investment and downturn in external economies create shocks in the local economy.

      If the VI built a culture of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), it will occur voluntary and will not need to be forced. Consumers are a strong force for ensuring businesses partake voluntarily in CSR.

      • hmm says:

        Black nationalist is talking sense but people dont want to see it due to their user name, or because they are foreigners with trade liscences themselves.

        Fact is that vi-landers are a minority in their own country.

        Fact is if a local owned business makes money that money IS going to the community, VI is big on family and some of yall dont like that.

        I whole heartedly agree on this motion to legislate foreign business owners to adopt a school or other form of supporting the VI

        As it is all they contribute is payroll tax and take up market share from locally owned businesses.

        CMON people even if you came here you have to admit this motion is in the best interest of the VI and its local population.

        Dislike 11
  6. Question says:

    How many locally owned businesses invest in the community?

    Like 29
  7. Its Not What U Do, but How U Do! says:

    Common Sense used to be Common; is it still? Like in a marital situation, each member in the marriage brings something to the table. There are two sides to every transaction: a Seller and a Buyer. In the 1960s the early birds investors got the worms; the pioneer Status, Hotel Aid incentives, tax exemption etc. Why? because we were an agrarian country and economy working towards transitioning to a more modern Service based economy. We needed the help and the investor saw the opportunity.
    In add to the incentives and give-aways we made, American investors, and others, benefitted by their Tax Code and could write off any losses as well as their get aways to hang out and vacation in their own properties.
    The movie, “The old man and the Sea” was shot here in the BVIs, but its said that before settling on the BVIs the search had taken the creators all over the Caribbean. When you are in that Strong Position like that, when you have what another needs or wants, you can name your price; call the shots, take it or leave it. See you later. But no, we are no where near there; (airport, medical, water/sewage, road, communications and other infrastructure) still not in place after Billions of Dollars sailed through our hands since the 30+ years in our two-pillars economy. Add to that BVI is still prone to hurricane and earthquake disasters and it takes upwards of two years to discuss and acquire a favorable Recovery loan. So while we do have some great favorable plusses on our side, (abundance of natural beauty, sun, sand and sea, our human resources, low crime rate, low taxes etc,). our hand is still lacking some strength; a couple aces.
    So Hon premier, there are other ways of accomplishing, if not all, some of our goals. Its called Negotiation. When one country is holding citizens of another country, they Negotiate. But then again, you don’t have to give away the kitchen, cupboards, sinks etc. There are still reasonable investors out there who can appreciate what we have, who we are and what we are working for. The Bvi had a few good investors earlier on who wasn’t looking to own or sell the country (Lawrence Rockefeller, LDB, Torolf Smedvig, The Peter Island, the Caries, Moorings, the Holking family, Bitter End Yacht Club)

  8. What!!! says:

    What with labour, immigration, work permits , now this. Can you think of any more ways to discourage investors from coming here?

    Like 11
  9. Bykr55 says:

    Maybe all those locals who forced foreigners to give them 10% of the business to allow them to open might want to look in the mirror when they ask people to invest in our country.

    Where is their 10% going other than to fund vacation trips and investments out of the jurisdiction?

    Like 7
    Dislike 1
  10. Taxes? says:

    Change the tax regime. Then more money might be available for public goods like education, health, roads etc. That is the standard way to raise money from others profits. Otherwise we all just gonna sink when financial sector dies and the criminals take their cash elsewhere

  11. Great idea says:

    And with all the money the government will save by making others pay for the running of the country, they could buy a plane and open up a route to Miami… Oh wait… Never mind

  12. Ausar says:

    To include Mr. Petrus and his company in this legislation, is sadness-total sadness.

    How many Belonger businesses, Premier, do you know that employs 60 people? Mr. Petrus is an off-island Belonger, and should be afforded the rights enjoyed by on-island Belongers!

    Its not his fault that his parents moved to St. Thomas, for economical reasons.You of all people, Premier Fahie, should know about the migratory patterns of our people, to the US Virgin Islands!

    And to ask them to donate financially to on- island institutions, with no controls as to how the monies is spent or who should conduct the repairs, is wrong!

    Find an alternative legislation, that addresses off-island Belongers in a much favourable manner, instead of stifling the progress, that Belongers coming home are trying to make!

    Like 1
    Dislike 1
  13. E. Leonard says:

    Government is a business, albeit it is a public enterprise that provides for the public good. The typical role of government includes a)promoting justice and the rule law, b) providing security, c)providing for the General well-being/welfare, d) protecting the environment, e)setting up framework to promote economic growth and development and f)enforcing contracts.

    Though government is a business, it cannot operate fully like other businesses; it cannot segment the market, for it has to serve all segments of the community. Nonetheless, like other businesses it a)takes in and spend money, b)consume goods and services, and c)hires employees. What services does government provide for the public good?

    Government typically provides services that residents that cannot effectively provide for themselves,ie, public safety(police, fire, security), roads, schools, social services, environmental protection, health services, utilities (water, sewage, electricity, drainage…..etc. Further, government outside of setting the framework for economic growth and sustainability injects money in the economy by awarding contracts and transferring funds to others through social services. Additionally, it can influence the economy through fiscal and monetary policies. In the VI, it does so primarily through fiscal policies, ie, lowering or raising taxes. How does government pay for the myriad of services it provides and residents expect?

    The BVI being a resource-poor locale government generates revenue primarily from a)taxes, b)fees, c)grants, and d) cost for services it provides. Further, to cover a)budgetary short falls, b)fund capital projects, and c)fund disaster recovery projects (storms of Sep 2017)……etc it may have to borrow money.

    Moreover, the BVI depends heavily on external investment to promote and sustain economic growth. It competes with other locales, ie, Singapore, Hong Kong, New Zealand, other regional countries ……etc for investment money so the ease of setting up business is a vital factor. Thus, it must strike a reasonable balance on setting the criteria for international businesses wanting to conduct business in the VI.

    Undoubtedly, businesses operating in the territory should give back to the community. Nonetheless, the VI should build a culture of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) for businesses. Culture built, it (giving back) will hopefully occur voluntarily. CSR is smart and successful businesses performing in a responsible, professional and sustainable manner. Good CSR is good for a business’ reputation and brand. Moreover, other businesses engaging in CSR, along with customers, will force/pressure reluctant businesses to engage in CSR.

    Like 17
    • Socrates says:

      Most of the added criteria for acquiring a trade license to conduct business is in the VI seems to about schools, ie, adopting a school, rebuilding a school…..etc. But you are saying that schools are the responsibility of government. So what is wrong with asking businesses who want to operate in the VI to contribute to schools? Should CSR be mandated or voluntary? Will the CSR mandates run potential businesses?

    • @E. Leonard says:

      @E. Leonard, boi ur précis (composition) teacher must use to say WTF. Lol. Nonetheless, good context for the CSR debate.

    • Centennial says:

      Born in 1998, I admittedly don’t know much about politics or government or the workings of government. Nonetheless, this blog show me that there is a process of how government works but I suspect it may not be that simple. Muchas gracias.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I am a foreign investor in the BVI and I am not against giving back in return for being allowed to run a business in the BVI.

    Like 2
    Dislike 2

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