BVI News

Sister Islands more dependent on Tortola post-hurricanes

Virgin Gorda resident Shereen Flax-Charles

Residents on Virgin Gorda are complaining that they have become considerably more dependent on the main island of Tortola to get access to certain commodities.

Only a handful of businesses remained open on Virgin Gorda after Hurricanes Irma and Maria smashed into the island.

Residents on the sister island said they are now forced to travel excessively to Tortola to conduct business such as paying bills and doing transactions with government departments.

They described the problems as an ‘expensive’ inconvenience.

“Before Irma it was bad, and now it is even worse and I think that we can do a lot better … While we may not be able to hire more people, there must be a way for those businesses to come to us,” said outspoken Virgin Gorda resident and Calypsonian, Shereen Flax-Charles.

She said the islands of Jost Van Dyke and Anegada are experiencing similar problems.

Director of Projects in the Ministry of Finance, Dr Drexel Glasgow assured sister island residents that government will implement an Internet-based system as a solution.

He explained that the system will allow persons to do certain government transactions online without having to travel between islands.

Banking Woes

Meanwhile, Virgin Gorda residents also described banking as a major issue on the island and called for further assistance to address that problem.

Since CIBC First Caribbean bank closed its Virgin Gorda branch last November, only one banking facility is operating on the island.

Residents are now complaining that they are ‘restricted’ because one bank cannot adequately service Virgin Gorda; especially as it relates to ATMs and cash distribution.

“I don’t know how much leverage that government has in terms of the private institutions, but we really need the option to have another bank,” one resident said.

Avenue for entrepreneurship

In response, Chairman of the Disaster Recovery Coordination Committee (DRCC) Brodrick Penn government will try to hold talks with stakeholders in the banking sector to bridge that gap.

Penn, however, noted that “government cannot make them carry out the service,” he said.

He further said: “In this process of recovery, we keep talking about innovation, this is an opportunity for somebody to not necessarily provide banking services, but some type of limited services.”

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17 Comments

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  1. Gene Poole says:

    Why do I find this to be amusing ?
    Even a bit disturbing.
    Entitlement issues,maybe?
    Oh dear…
    Too much money? Lawd.
    Wonder how their grandparents survived.

    • Poole Cleaner says:

      I’d say that the rest of the VI is entitled at the sake of hardworking Virgin Gordians AND their grandparents. But that’s just me. The needs of us and of our grandparents are not the same. The things we need, they didn’t. Like proper access to banks, ease of paying our bills so etc. But ya’ll wouldn’t know about that. Entitled, I guess at the sake of Virgin Gorda.

  2. Albion says:

    Trust me, it is not a lot better for people on Tortola. Everything you need is hard to get these days.

    • Medusa says:

      And at least you guys don’t have to pay $30 just to catch a boat to get basic things done. This article isn’t about Tortola. It’s about VIRGIN GORDA RESIDENTS and our inconveniences.

      • Wendy says:

        Some folks in Tortola should be so lucky. Roundtrip from West End to Town is $ 50. No ATM in the West End. No bank nor banks. Paying water and sewage requires a second mortgage to pay for a roundtrip to East End. And this is the norm before during and presently after IRma. Complaints and laments have yet to result in any relief.

      • Well says:

        In that case, feel better.

  3. Many says:

    find it not amusing, but culturally sardonic.

    They worked hard and made many rich, but never got paid even though they were ENTITLED to be.

    Dear oh!

    Money they never had. Their labour was never paid for, neither in 1517, 1617, 1717, 1817, 1917 and 2017 the wage is still basically a slave wage.

    Really wondering, you should, how they grandparents and their ancestors survive

  4. Anegada says:

    Well those that feels it know it..

    Here in Anegada is no different or worst.

    $50 to go town plus these ferry taking advantages from us.

    Cut back on the time going and coming.

  5. Chris. says:

    Most of you blogging do not understand what Sherene was saying. Since irma if you want to pay an electric bill or other bill you have to go on a ferry at 8 am to Tortola and then wait until 1.30 to get a boat back. It is the same if you have a bank account at any bank except scotia and need to cash a check. This is very disruptive to life as you are trying to get things working at home and lose a whole day to pay a bill.

  6. Tourism says:

    Few persons in the BVI know that Virgin Gorda and the other sister islands are what really drive our tourism product. However, when it comes to residents of sister islands getting basic needs and services it’s a problem, its an entitlement issue, and now you hear “its bad for us too on tortola?” Ni@@a please.

    There wasnt adequate distribution before irma, there was no distribution right after irma and now it looks like we have no hope of getting proper banking services.

    If a bank wants to operate in the BVI but refuses to give ANY loans they should pack up and get out. If a bank wants to operate here and its not putting ATMs on Virgin Gorda, Anegada and Jost Van Dyke, get out.

    This is the Virgin Islands it is not the dependent territory of Tortola. Tortola cannot survive on its own, it would flop. But I bet you the sister islands can though. We need to start the process of collecting our own tourism dollars and managing our own affairs. For far too many years the Givernment of Virgin Islands has been collecting 100 million+ from tourism and spending 5 in the sister islands. We need to collect our own money and spend it ourselves, that will solve the problem of “entitlement”.

    • Virgin Gordian says:

      For far too long VG has been the beneficiary of nothing but lip service from the Central Government. I think we need to organize as Virgin Gordians and look out for ourselves.

  7. Plain out says:

    Tortola the main Island IS mooching off the other sister Islands.

  8. Trust me says:

    Here is where proper representation comes in.It’s we see ourself worth in V.G.

  9. Trust me says:

    Here is where proper representation comes in.It’s time we see ourself worth in V.G.

  10. Watcher says:

    Every other country in the civilised world implemented on line payments systems decades ago. It is shameful that the BVI is so backward. And you have to believe that the reason is to protect non jobs that on line payment systems would replace.

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