Governor Augustus Jaspert’s lack of assent to the Cannabis Licensing Bill has caused the BVI to lose what has been described as its largest-ever deal in the history of its financial services industry.
Agriculture Minister Dr Natalio Wheatley made that announcement during a recent sitting of the House Of Assembly.
“Our financial services lost the biggest deal in their history because this law was not assented to. One of our greatest financial services companies here, lost the biggest deal in their history because this law was not assented to,” Dr Wheatley said.
While Wheatley didn’t reveal the name of the local company or details of the proposed deal, he is not the first elected leader who’s said the BVI has been losing potential investors due to the lack of assent to the Cannabis Bill.
Literal hungry in BVI
Wheatley also said approval of the Cannabis Bill could ease the pressures of his constituents — some of whom are experiencing literal hunger due to unemployment.
“I have persons texting me just a little while ago, telling me they’re hungry. Asking if I can do something for them. I had to call a restaurant to say ‘let this person come and pick up some food and I’ll pay you tomorrow’. This is the type of thing that is happening. You’re hurting these persons from being able to get jobs. The government would be able to make lots of tax revenue,” Wheatley argued.
The Cannabis Licensing Act sets the framework for the establishment of a medical marijuana industry in the BVI. It was approved by the House of Assembly in July of this year but hasn’t received assent from the Governor.
Earlier this month, Governor Jaspert released a statement explaining that approval of the Cannabis Licensing Bill is now out of his control as he has passed it on to the UK Foreign Office.
Governor Jaspert also said BVI lawmakers now have to work with UK officials to establish the law.
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