BVI News

Penn urges rethink on how gov’t does business with public

Opposition Leader, Marlon Penn

Health Minister Marlon Penn said government needs to rethink the way it does business with residents of the territory.

“Let’s reform the way that government operates; the way that government does business with the public, with the business community,” Penn said in the House of Assembly (HOA) recently.

Legislators were at the time debating the Business Licensing Act, 2020 which has introduced a number of rate increases for trade licences which legislators said would bring rates on par with other overseas territories in the region.

Penn said one of the largest costs of doing business in the territory involves the way that the public is able to receive some of the services they need to get from government as they conduct business.

“I don’t necessarily blame anybody for that, it’s a collective problem that we’ve had for decades,“ Penn stated.

According to the Eighth District Representative, it is a problem that needs to be fixed collectively as well.

“We as legislators and as policymakers have to set the pace. We have to determine what is expected in terms of the way forward. We have to set what is a new dispensation in terms of business operations in this territory moving forward,“ Penn argued.

Harness innovation and dig deeper

Penn also spoke of the need for government to harness the innovation that is available in the BVI and be able to build upon the next economic engine for the BVI.

“The opportunities are all around us, they are multitude. Through entertainment, logistics, technology – the opportunities are there,” Penn said.

He argued that even though the BVI imports 90 percent of goods to the BVI, the containers that bring them leave empty.

“You’re telling me that we could not have come up with some type of innovative product that we could ship back out of this territory?” Penn asked.

“Whether it’s through the technological space, whether it’s through the agricultural space, particularly with the fishing grounds that we have in the BVI – fishing is a 80 billion-dollar-a-year industry. We need to dig deeper. We’ve become very complacent as a people,” he added.

Penn said he felt the financial services sector and the money that it has brought in has made the people of the BVI extremely complacent, but said revenues and opportunities from the sector are now eroding.



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  1. Capt Ron says:

    Raising rates to match other destinations does not INCENTIVIZE investments in your country. This seems like a high school way of saying we good as Cayman cuz we cost the same. Cayman has running water, 24 hr electricity and no sewage in the streets. The BVI is NOT the same as Cayman.

    Like 26
  2. Don't be a fool says:

    No one around here has the capacity to catch enough fix for export, nor should they.

    Like 4
    Dislike 1
  3. Business owner says:

    Raising the cost to do business is the wrong way to expand business!!!!
    it is already expensive some small shops will close not the way forward.
    when you add up the trade licence, NHI , SSI and income tax its not worth it anymore.

    Like 16
  4. cantwind alone says:

    We could export garbage…You is the man now

    Like 11
    Dislike 1
  5. Whelk says:

    Make it monthly. Work 29 days,leave.
    a nonrefundable upfront fee of an amount no less than $15,000 for 3 years.
    Deportation rules remains unchanged.

    Like 1
    Dislike 1
  6. Irma chisit says:

    Send pallets back. We don’t need termite fodder.

  7. Chapel hill says:

    This man just just talking a bunch of hot air, up on his soap box stating the obvious and still yet no resolution. Smurf you got to comfortable in your position. Check mate.

  8. Thank you Hon Penn. says:

    Try calling the Switch board the past 3 days, it was a disaster. Can’t so many times before I get an answer. When the lady so answer it’s like she was in the Lions den. Not helpful. Not polite…Some people are just in the wrong Job.

  9. Online says:

    Experienced programmers from the UK should install the software and websites so most people can pay fees, taxes, etc. online. Eliminate all the waiting in line to pay simple monthly and annual bills to the government.

    Do not hire local inexperienced IT firms to develop and install this software or there will be another disaster like at the Labour Dept. last year.

  10. You do export says:

    Seems like many containers leave here full of white powder bails.

  11. Licker and Sticker says:

    This licensing act is a tool to keep the 1% establishment in place. With wages decreasing and the cost of setting up a business increasing, this spells out one thing: POVERTY. These As&Holes are either really stupid or evil.

    • Rubber Duck says:

      You are exactly right. The whole act is designed to protect the businesses of the ruling elite.

      Any Belonger should be able to open any business he likes without crooked politicians interfering. No trade livensesfor Belongers.

      That how it is in the most of the rest of the world.

      • Hmmm says:

        “A collective problem that’s been around for decades” says Marlon Penn. Yet, nothing has been done. There is no plan. Fisheries you say is an $ 80 billion a year industry (one assumes he means world wide) yet fishing stocks have been depelting world wide for decades. Agricultural products you want to export from a land that has scarce water, and even fewer large scale farmers? Maybe weed, but plenty of that is grown elsewhere.

        Try instead to make Tropical take back the pallets that blight the Territory. They won’t do it unless you pay them for it, and they won’t ship anything unless it’s in a pallet

      • Hey Rubber D says:

        Everywhere, in the US at least, you need a business license to operate lawfully. In certain cases, you also need licenses (as in contractors, electricians, plumbers, engineers, medical, etc.). Both apply regardless of your status. Do you really desire a society where Belongers can set up any business they want without any qualifications or vetting?

        • Business says:

          There are plenty “Contractors” or “Consultants” working in construction and most of them don’t know which end of the hammer is the business end. On another angle it will be interesting to see if the same folks not paying their employees NHI, Social Security or Payroll Taxes can afford the increased fees.

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