BVI News

No talk shop! Smith eyes real gains with business community

Deputy Premier Lorna Smith.

Deputy Premier Lorna Smith is assuring residents that she expects tangible results from speaking with business owners in the community during her engagements in the coming weeks.

“I am a doer, not a talker,” the Labour Minister said during a recent JTV News interview. “So while it is important to identify the issues, it is also important to act on them to the extent that they can be acted on.“

Most of all, though, Smith said she wants to build and strengthen the business community of the territory. “Entrepreneurship in the BVI is the driver of the economy, and we want to do what we can,“ she added.

Smith’s Business Round Table meetings are slated to begin with Districts 4 and 5 today, June 21 at the Maria’s by the Sea Hotel and Smith said she wants to forge ahead with strengthening ties with the sector.

The Labour Minister stated that she has heard several concerns in the past from members of the business community, and this prompted our decision to set up engagements.

Touching on some of those issues that she heard, Smith said: “People have concerns in relation to labour, making sure that there’s adequate labour through the work permit system. I haven’t heard anything recently in relation to trade licenses, but that has come up over a period of time.”

She expressed that businesses have also shared concerns about finding proper financing and noted that this in itself can be a challenge. Once areas for financing can be identified, the Labour Minster said this is something the government will work on.

“It’s very important for us to identify how the government can best support the business community throughout the territory,” Smith added.

She indicated that she is also meeting with human resources managers from various businesses to hear what their concerns are and said a number of stakeholders will be present during those meetings.

Among these will be the Labour Commissioner, Head of the Trade Department, and district representatives, among others.


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  1. All of self says:

    Everything out of this woman’s mouth is I. That was the behaviour I saw when she campaigned with the NDP and that is her behaviour now that she joined VIP for her personal advancement. Would she alone give the business community what they want? Isn’t she a part of a government? Is she the Minister of Finance? But yet she is not talker but a doer as if she alone will fix it. The woman is all about herself.

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  2. Reality Check says:

    Three months for work permits is absurd and is strangling businesses that need labour now. Work permit approved and 2.5 weeks before Immigration will stamp it???
    Get these two working together so it is a “one-stop” process, at the same time. Either put your work permit people in Immigration or the Immigration people in Labour, but get the processes joined so it all happens quickly.
    This is what businesses need!!!

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  3. teeth and tongue says:

    She is on one page while the Premier is on another hence why they already had two big cuss-outs

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  4. Voters says:

    Should we trust her again?

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  5. @voters says:

    We should not have trusted her the first time around!! Known fact.

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  6. ... says:

    you all just jealious she joined the VIP the other three parties with fu**y man was pure confusion.

    We with Lorna because she in our corner

    Like 7
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  7. Albion says:

    They need to solve the work permit delay problem. If you don’t want to grant work permits at all, that is one thing. But if you decide you are going to grant them, but you just drag your heels for months on end, that is just sloppy and lazy government service – and that needs to get tightened up.

    Ultimately, whatever the policy is on work permits, they need a functioning labour market and that means processing the work permits that are approved within some kind of reasonable time frame. Other Caribbean countries can manage this within two weeks – why can’t we?

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  8. Rubber Duck says:

    No issue with trade licenses. ?It just took a belonger 4 months to get a license for a simple business.

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  9. Bermuda says:

    In Bermuda, the Labor Department will periodically publish a list of professions where they will simply not consider new work permit applications for the upcoming period of 6 months, this list changes from time to time, depending on the economy’s needs. Employers know not to bother applying for work permits in those fields because they know they simply will not be approved. This is far more sensible thank the application being slow-paddled over months, before ultimately being rejected which is the current approach.

    In Bermuda, there is also a list of professions where there are disproportionately high numbers of work permit holders (currently nursing, accountants, gardeners, chefs etc). Bermuda has a National Training Plan which aims to upskill Bermudians into those professions, ultimately with the aim of reducing their need for ex-pats to fill those roles.

    I wish Lorna would look at the grown-up and transparent approach taken by Bermuda and Cayman to their migrant workers. The approach taken by BVI authorities is opaque, uneven and frankly corrupt (if you know the right people, or pay the right fixer things get done, and done super-fast).

    All countries dislike migrants coming in and taking “their jobs” but this need can be managed through strategic planning and a fair and balanced process of application. Government departments have a key role in driving the economy: workers pay taxes, workers pay rent, workers buy groceries. All of these things drive the economy and stubbornness, lazyness, needless bureaucracy, failure to use modern technology as demonstrated by the current approach only hurts the BVI economy and the people of the BVI.

    Like 16
  10. Well says:

    She will gain useful information from the meetings but questionnaires should be added to give a deeper insight and a wider reach. There’s not enough time in the meetings to hear all the needs and concerns of all business. Trade department should be able to get this done since they have a database of businesses and have done other well designed forms before.

  11. Not Going Lie says:

    That Caption Frigging with my brain loll…cau wth yuh really trying say

  12. @…. says:

    This post sounds like one from the former wig wearer. Dude, you are irrelevant. A never been. Just disappear already. Nobody cares about you or what you got to say. Can’t you take a hint? Geez man

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  13. Licher and Sticher Good says:

    This 70 yr old looks like she should be home getting afternoon naps. She looks tired, I don’t expect much

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  14. Real Talk says:

    The Customs Cap System is a big problem for retailers. The system is down very often and businesses are charged exorbitant storage fees for merchandise they were unable to clear within the allotted time frame. And of course Businesses are forced to pass these fees onto their customers. How business friendly is this? Please fix it. Most of the government processes require re-engineering if we are to progress and policies and procedures need to be updated to create efficiency. I really don’t expect the folks that created the problem to be able to fix it, so waste of time in my humble opinion.

  15. Well says:

    She should switch back period

  16. Just saying says:


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