BVI News

Stopping revenue outflow key to controlling BVI prices — Thomas

Local businessman Michael Thomas.

Business owner Michael Thomas has argued that the government should not implement price control in the BVI without first being able to control the vast amount of revenue leaving the territory.

Thomas voiced his concerns on the Talking Points radio show about the BVI government’s approach to price control without addressing the substantial issue affecting the territory.

“You can’t control pricing until you figure out how to keep the revenues that leave this country on a daily basis,” Thomas stated.

Thomas, who has extensive experience in both retail and construction industries, believes that government support played a crucial role in creating a thriving local market in the past. However, he thinks that recent changes have favoured external interests instead of local ones, weakening the local economy. 

Thomas argued that the government’s ability to enforce effective price controls is hampered by its inability to stem the flow of funds from the BVI to larger markets, such as the US and other Caribbean nations. This outflow significantly disrupts local currency circulation, a crucial factor for economic stability and growth.

He concluded that for price control measures to be truly effective, the government must first bolster the local economy by retaining more revenue within its borders. He warns that ‘without these foundational changes, attempts at price control are likely to falter, perpetuating the strain on both consumers and businesses in the BVI.’

Thomas also pointed to the historical context of business development in the BVI, tracing his father’s establishment of their family business and its evolution into a significant local enterprise. 


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  1. How? says:

    What exactly does Mr. Thomas propose?

    Much of the outflow is remittances from workers to their families overseas, since the BVI makes it so difficult for the families to live and work here. If you want the workers and Immigration system to stay as it is, then remittances must flow out.

    A better solution is to allow workers families to live and thrive here, and so spend most of their money here!

    Like 31
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    • Interesting. says:

      Like you, I am unsure what exactly is Mr. Thomas trying to say here; however, I agree with you take.

      What I find fascinating is that governmental policies inclusive of immigration and labor makes it difficult for expats to live here along with their families.

      What choice these folks have relative to their families back home? They have family to support like every other person.

      Whatever money they make and try to send home, the former Premier spearheaded a tax on Money Gram and Western Union transfers which is mean spirited in my view.

      What this government and some people need to understand is this: You cannot tell people how to spend their own money.

      IMO, there are forces in this country he are trying to control everything. They don’t want expats here, and if they are allowed, these people are faced with many restrictions. What do these people want? The BVI is not North Korea.

      If you want money to stay within the BVI, do not create conditions that are contrary to that goal and then turn around and complain about money leaving the country. That makes no sense.

      Any money leaving the BVI is being driven by the conditions that are being created by the government. The government created these conditions, and this is the predictable result. It is what it is.

      Like 28
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  2. BVI Observer says:

    Price controls have worked so well in……..Cuba……Venezuela…..haven’t they? This is the way to go??

    Like 14
    • Cato says:

      Price control is working so well in those listed countries that the people are willing to risk their lives to migrate to the BVI without permission.

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  3. TurtleDove says:

    Not sure what outflow you are refering to? Wish you were a little more specific.

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  4. outflow says:

    work permit holders sending money home that revenue cannot be stemmed as allowing their familes in to live is why the country is in such a mess. Schools over burdened, hospitals, clinic, all these things.

    Now the revenue streams that leave due to shopping online are already charged and bring revenue in taxtes to the government.

    The foreign business investors taking their porfits out of the territory that is due to locals like the gentleman selling their lands for a quck buck and now complaining that others are making money

    Like 4
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  5. Quietly Watching says:

    I vote for hiring our school leavers fresh out of High School for your entry-level positions instead of bringing in persons from overseas on work permit. Lots of money flowing out, yes. I agree. Especially since Fillipinos are being hired more than locals in their own country. Oh, but I forgot, locals don’t want to work. Well hopefully they won’t want to steal either since nobody seems to care about them. You, Mr. Thomas included. Talking foolishness about people who want to work. Importing labor to pack a damn shelf. You treat your employees well and encourage them and be a good boss and human, your employees will do their best to please you and do a good job, local or expat. But certainly locals should have first preference. Not seeing that with any employers around here now.

    Like 21
    • @Quietly says:

      It’s obvious that you do not own or run a business in the BVI, making that blanket statement. I would say 95% of all good working locals are already engaged so new businesses won’t have access to them. Start a business now and see if within 6 months you can practice what you preach.

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      • @@Quietly says:

        It depends on what you call a ‘good working local’. Expats are hired sight unseen. So if you have persons graduating from high school, in numbers of over 200 each year and you cannot find ‘good working locals’ to work, then the problem can’t be the locals, especially for entry level jobs. You see, I have no problem with bringing someone if you require a special skil not found here, but lots of our young people are looking for work and being turned down for three to six jobs only to be outguned by expats who don’t even have a high school diploma. This cannot bode well for a country. I hate to say it, but the evil one will always find work for idle hands to do. Even some expats now are idle and still here. So you bring them, they do not work out and are left to run around Town looking for another job. The truth is, businesses of yesteryear wrote to the High School and asked them to send them students that excelled in a certain area and interviewed up to three persons for those positions. Now, it is to easy to listen to Expat No. 1 on the job that they know someone who can come and do the job well. We have to try harder to do right by these young people. Frankly, I am frequenting businesses who are at least trying. The Pacific is too far away to beat my cousins, friends and family out of work.

      • Stupes says:

        No business have to hire locals, but expect locals to patronize their businesses. I went to a store one day, and all the Asian i asked for help could say was “hold on”. He then brought someone for me to speak with. Who interviewed him? Wonder if he was able to read the so called advertisement or it was written in his language.

        One of these days, the businesses will feel the pinch from the local public. Give it time.

  6. CTL says:

    Is this the same man who were against NDP for allowing Residents to bring in everything duty free after the Hurricanes in 2017 including Businesses and he did not pass on any savings to the locals for his duty free items? in fact he increased his prices and blamed the slow process of shipping and clearing of stuff to the Territory during that time.

    Like 22
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  7. My Monopoly board says:

    Buy BVI Spend your money on low quality over priced , no warranty no returns, items here on island enjoy.

    Like 18
  8. Ha says:

    He means money flowing out to buy stuff from overseas not people sending money home. Dude needs to think again.
    If I can buy all the things he sales and bring them in for less than he sale it then his price is too high.
    The question is why is he charging the higher prices – is he making it all as profit or is there other costs of business that make it more expensive for him?
    Bear in mind that CTL buys their products cheaper than I can buy them in the US, that their shipping prices will be cheaper as well due to bulk discounts so if is cheaper for them to land a product here than it is for me.
    Where is the mark up going?
    Also there is less money in the economy because the supermarkets are ripping people off and people have to eat before they pay for anything else.

    Like 17
  9. Reality Check says:

    As 99% of what CTL sells is imported, is he saying he is going to stop stocking his store? There is so little manufacturing here because the costs are so high it is impossible to not import, meaning you are sending money out to buy the goods.
    Very confusing article!!

    Like 18
    • @Reality Check says:

      I am dumbfounded by the article myself. Unless there is some hidden factory in BVI from which CTL purchases their stock, this man is basically accusing the government of doing the very thing that he himself is guilty of. There is a word for that. I believe it is called a “hypocrite”. Sad days ahead.

      Like 16
  10. Joker says:

    Another concerned BVIslander making comments which serve a purely personal interest…. suck it up people of BVI and be grateful for what you get at whatever price!!

    Like 10
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  11. hmm says:

    decreasing money supply should lead to deflation. energy prices up because of oil prices being up globally. move to renewables and away from oil dependency

  12. Lilly says:

    It sounds to me like Mr Thomas is saying that the port fees are too high, so he is paying high fees to bring in his containers. While I agree with him that the port fees are high, he need to also pay close attention to his policies and procedures at his store. Every business wants to make a profit, including the ports. If I buy something from his store and needs to return it (unopened) I have to pay a stocking fee for him to put it back on his half empty shelf.

    I also listened to him talking about Immigration and Labour policies. Every business want Government’s policies tailored to suit them so they can import cheap labour while selling expensive stuff to the same people they are refusing to employ. Long run for meager horse.

    Like 13
  13. Brain fog says:

    Cognitive dysfunction, I think Michael has bitten off more than he can chew! Businesses (local) acquire second grade stuff and sell them for top of the shelf price. Customers are not as dumb as you’d like us to be and so we’d rather source our materials for ourselves. We will continue to shop St Maarten and Puerto Rico and if we are taxed, we’ll reject the sitting government that imposed those taxes. If your target is island people, I believe that your mama is from St Kitts.

    Like 8
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  14. Consumer says:

    Import prices are very high! Local prices are very high! Poor consumers are being squeezed no matter what.

  15. Samuel says:

    I prefer to get my stuff from China directly and pay a tenth of what CTL seems the same items for.

    Like 6
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  16. Really says:

    See them fighting for power cause they know not the hour.

  17. A Capitalist Who Loves the BVI says:

    There is a staggering amount of ignorance here that is illustrated by the hostile comments toward Mr. Thomas as a businessman. For those of you who think that his prices are “too high,” then start your own company and see what it takes to:

    – purchase goods overseas (not poking around on Amazon or Ebay on your “free time,” but rather, having to hire and pay a buyer to do that – and make sure that he or she doesn’t purchase too little or too much of anything.

    – have in place a logistics system to track your inventory and get it shipped, including hiring the personnel to get that done, and again, not like you as an individual consumer can do while you’re watching TV and shopping online and just click a button to ship it via Tropical, JetPack, or Aeropost.

    – pay someone (including payroll taxes) to work in your store(s), including stocking shelves and watching out for shoplifters, as well as the rent (or carrying costs for mortgage financing), capital costs for building upkeep, utilities, etc.

    – If you resent paying a restocking fee, then presumably you think that this cost should be “absorbed” by the store, which means that what really happens is that it gets passed on to all of the other customers (and those costs include paying someone to take in the item, check it for damage, and perform the accounting and inventorying to actually get the item back on the shelf).

    So if you think that it’s so easy to run such a business and you can do it better, go ahead and start your own and see how you fare when you have to actually PERFORM as a businessman or businesswoman – not just blather about it.

    Like 2
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  18. Corporation Tax says:

    Here is an idea: what about taxing the enormous profits made by CTL, Riteway, Aeropost etc?

    In UK & Jamaica the corporate tax rate is 25% of profits, in Canada its 9%. Somewhere in this range would be fine.

    Holding a valuable trade license like CTL is a license to print money: why should the community that enables this lucrative opportunity not receive a slice of the upside? How much do they contribute toward their massive waste disposal costs for example? These companies’ bring in huge amounts of packaging waste which then gets burnt or sent to landfill: let the polluter pay.

    • A Capitalist Who Loves the BVI says:

      They pay a fee for every load taken to the dump.

    • Not a businessman says:

      If you tax these companies, they will just pass that down to the consumers via price increases. They will get the same profit no matter what.

  19. Sense says:

    All the man is saying is that businesses cannot survive regularly muchless with price control being implemented if the business, which is an importer and resller, is paying more to bring stuff in than an individual customer. People will disagree with Michael now but will agree with him when they themselves start their own business. The saying “Who feels it, knows it!” is a very true one. Time alone for many of you, time alone.

    Like 1
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  20. FED-UP says:

    What is he talking about, when the former premiere had passed a five percent tax for all goods entering the territory for the first three months and followed by another three months, did any of the business even you CTL past on anything to the consumers.
    What revenue going out are you referring to,be more specific. From what I know there are no duty charge on anything leaving this territory with the acceptance of port two percentage upon departure.However if you are referring to the people’s hard earn money going through western union or money gram than you should be ashamed of yourself. We need price control. What should happen in this case the government should also considered in removing that freight charges altogether and charge duty base on the item if ever they implement price control.

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