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BVI suffering from ‘huge brain drain’

DeCastro. File photo

DeCastro. File photo

Sharie DeCastro, an educator, has raised concern that the British Virgin Islands (BVI) has been ‘suffering from a huge brain drain’.

Brain drain, in this context, means that many highly trained or qualified people have been leaving the territory to work in other countries usually for better pay or living conditions.

To help curb the situation, DeCastro called for what she described as simple and immediate solutions such as making ‘salary equivalent to specialty’.

She also urged the authorities to ‘stop favoritism in appointment and promotion’.

DeCastro, who also is a member of the Opposition Virgin Islands Party, noted the impact of a ‘huge brain drain’ on the BVI.

“The effects include, but are not limited to: loss of tax revenue, loss of potential future entrepreneurs, a shortage of important skilled workers… loss of innovative ideas, loss of the country’s investment in education, [and] the loss of critical health and education services,” she said in a post on social networking site Facebook.

DeCastro further reasoned that what she called the exodus of educated or professional natives of the BVI ‘may lead to loss of confidence in the economy, which will cause persons to desire to leave rather than stay’.

Meanwhile, during a job expo in October 2015, Minister of Labour Dr Kedrick Pickering noted that 60.7% of the BVI’s labour force comprises expatriates, who should only be allowed to fill vacancies that locals are not available to take up.

“In any context, what that means, is that this country has over-employment. So it is not fair enough for anybody to say that they can’t find a job,” Dr Pickering further told persons at the job expo.

Furthermore, Minister of Health and Social Development Ronnie Skelton, on several occasions, urged BVI natives who have gone overseas to study or work to return to their homeland and fill vacancies in the public healthcare sector.

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