By Davion Smith, BVI News Journalist
Government wants local financial service providers who temporarily relocated to other jurisdictions after the September 2017 hurricanes to return to the British Virgin Islands by the end of this month.
These financial service providers were allowed to operate outside the BVI if the hurricanes had affected their local base of operations.
They were legally permitted to operate in other countries because of the Financial Services (Continuity of Business) Act, which passed in the House of Assembly after the hurricanes.
You’ve received enough time
But, while delivering the Throne Speech on Thursday (March 1), Governor Augustus Jaspert said it is time for these providers to return.
“Our government believes that it has provided reasonable accommodation to the territory’s financial services players to transition out of and back into the territory as we continue to recover from the effects of the two hurricanes we experienced in September 2017.”
“It is our government’s hope, therefore, that the financial service businesses that have taken advantage of and benefitted from the sunshine period will now be making preparations to return to the territory no later than the 31st of March 2018 to continue their business operations as required by the various financial services legislation,” the governor said.
Good reason need to stay away
According to the aforementioned Continuity of Business Act, a financial service provider must give ‘good reason’ for not returning.
Otherwise, the provider that fails to return will “be deemed to have left the Virgin Islands permanently and shall be liable to be treated as such,” Section 7, subsection 7 of the Act said.
A number of financial service providers relocated to jurisdictions such as the Cayman Islands after last year’s disasters and still continue to operate from there.
Though operating outside of the territory, they are still subject to BVI laws.
The local financial service industry accounts for roughly 60 percent of government’s annual revenue and contributes significantly to the BVI’s gross domestic product.
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