BVI News

Premier responds to UK inquiry: ‘Britain will know our position’

Premier and Minister of Finance Dr D Orlando Smith

The National Democratic Party government has finally weighed in on a UK-sanctioned ‘inquiry’ that has triggered mixed feelings among persons with interests in the British Virgin Islands.

The inquiry concerns the touchy subject of the future of Britain’s constitutional relationship with the BVI and other Overseas Territories (OTs).

While making his first public address on the matter which the UK announced nearly a month ago, Premier Dr D Orlando Smith described the inquiry as an ‘important initiative’ by the UK’s Foreign Affairs Committee.

The Premier suggested that he welcomed the inquiry, which he said gives the BVI an opportunity to address pressing issues.

“Among other things, we will seek to ensure that the [UK] Committee understands our position on the recent threat of an Order in Council and why this has the potential to have such an adverse impact on the partnership between us.”

Effectively, an Order in Council is a forceful command made in the name of Her Majesty the Queen. Failure to comply with that command can result in the UK exerting diplomatic pressure on the BVI.

The UK is threatening to serve an Order in Council because the BVI continues to resist Britain’s ultimatum that the territory should implement public registers by December 2020.

Despite a continued ‘tense’ BVI-UK relationship – which the Premier said has ‘created a sense of unease’ – Dr Smith said government remains hopeful. He further noted the value of the BVI to the UK.

“BVI domiciled business and finance activity generates roughly £3 billion per year in tax revenue for the UK and supports 150,000 jobs in that country. We hope therefore that our partnership will only continue to positively develop to the benefit of all our communities,” said Dr Smith, who further noted the reciprocated support the UK has provided to the BVI, especially after the 2017 hurricanes.

The inquiry

The UK launched the inquiry claiming they are struggling to find a balance between ‘respecting the principle of self-governance’ and ‘ensuring the security and stability’ of British Overseas Territories. The UK suggested it was prompted to launch the inquiry because of the growing strain between it and OTs such as the BVI.

As part of the inquiry, any person or group in the BVI can submit their thoughts about the governance of OTs, financing of OTs, and how the relationship between the UK and its OTs benefit each party, among other things.

In this respect, Opposition Leader Andrew Fahie said he is advancing plans to hold community meetings to gather the views of BVI residents in relation to what the territory’s relationship with Britain should look like, going forward. Those responses will be documented and submitted as part of the UK inquiry, Fahie said.

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  1. resident says:

    doc its time to go i respect your service to the country but we need new leadership and not ndp

    Like 18
    Dislike 5
    • Capt Kirk says:

      Mr Premier, the grand title no longer fits the job. You weren’t the one who changed it but some of us think our next leader should think of himself as one of us. You have demonstrated that you are human and capable of great errors at our expense.

      We think that the next leader should not only be more transparent but should change the title to something closer to the job. “Premiers” are typically from Communist countries. We need a new title that reflects the job and has a closer connection to the people.

      We need a title that imparts dignity but also reflects the leader’s commitment to be a strong manager who is capable of engaging the people in thoughtful planning and demonstrates best practices including due dillegence and applies accountibilty to his/her actions.

      Let’s think of some good suggestions and change this elitist title to something that reflects what we are looking for in our leader. Suggestions please….

  2. Once again says:

    Once again if it wasn’t for Fahie then we wouldn’t have known about this and the ndp government would have submitted their personal position as if it was from we the people.

    Like 18
    Dislike 7
  3. SHame says:

    This press release is just out of pure shame that they were once again exposed with their under hand ways.

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    Dislike 5
  4. My take says:

    Governance is made easy when you involve the people. Look at the NDP process verses Fahie’s process and you the people of the BVI please decide which one truly cares about we the people!

    Like 16
    Dislike 4
  5. One word says:


    Like 12
    Dislike 4
  6. Brad Boynes says:

    Just about sick of Orlando Smith as a the leader of this Territory.

    Like 13
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  7. Watch on says:

    This is just about politics. If the ndp truly cared about people then they should have come out and say let us join forces with the efforts of FAHIE.

    Like 7
    Dislike 5
  8. Don't worry.... says:

    a NEW NDP is on the horizon! In a few weeks the BVI will have hope again, be patient until the dust clears.

    Like 5
    Dislike 12
  9. Look here says:

    I hope they let the bvi go as much as some people here want independence so bad let them strip ayo of the UK and bvi passports as both are the queens property..

    Like 4
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    • British Citzen says:

      “Look here”, that is rubbish. They can release the BVI if they want to and cancel the UK territories passports after the independent virgin islands get their own.

      But they cannot take away the main UK passport or British Citizenship from those who already have them. The international diplomatic pressure on them will be too much for even they to bear. The EU does not like the UK and would probably sanction them if they tried that crap.

  10. Well says:

    It is a result of the BVI and other territories expressed complaints and suggestions which has resulted in the UK examination of its relationship. So what is the BVi supposed to say now. It has already said all that was to be said and wait for a response from the UK which is exactly what they are now doing. All the current critiques the naysayers were against complaints to the BVi when BVI took action so keep your late opinions and and to yourselves. This affair has gotten to this stage without your support.

  11. Retired says:

    The Premier said “BVI domiciled business and finance activity generates roughly £3 billion per year in tax revenue for the UK and supports 150,000 jobs in that country.”

    I find the statement extremely hard to believe. Where, how and who can verify this statement?

    Like 6
    Dislike 1
  12. Anonymous says:

    The Committee concerning the Inquiry is asking for public written submissions/”evidence” with a deadline of 3 September 2018

    Do people in the BVI have a position? Send your supporting documentation there.

  13. A Better Virgin Islands says:

    The Committee concerning the Inquiry is asking for public written submissions/”evidence” with a deadline of 3 September 2018

    Do people in the BVI have a position? Send your supporting documentation there.

  14. Woww says:

    If you want ndp win thumbs down

    If you want vip win thumbs up

  15. Reality says:

    ok so the “No Direction Party” just woke up again? thanks to Fahie showing them that they are supposed to be leading, rather than sleeping and now again making grand gestures to the press….how predictable. Words as usual but zero action, look at the state of the roads,sewage,infrastructure,drainage,schools, ferry terminal at West End….the list is an embarrassment – no wonder the UK is glad we push for independence!!!

  16. Ausar says:

    Yes, I agree that we need a comprehensive review of Kingdom/Virgin Islands relations, but I’m afraid such a review could prove futile.

    As it now stands,the Kingdom has decided that Financial Services must go and any opposition to that order yields a lashing, of sorts, by the Kingdom.

    Virgin Islanders are interested in better human rights relations for children born in the territory of non-citizen parents and that too is considered unattainable by the Kingdom

    These two issues are most bearing on the minds of Virgin Islanders but are considered at best illusive by the Kingdom

    It’s clear that the Kingdom only wants to hear about issues that are in their best interest, but not neccessarily Virgin Islanders’.

    Quite a futile proposition, but for whatever it’s worth, scripted dialogues are always welcomed!

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