The job losses projected to happen in the financial services industry because of the Economic Substance (Companies and Limited Partnerships) Act that came into force on New Year’s Day, has created an even greater need for a trade school in the British Virgin Islands, says Education Minister Myron Walwyn.
As the title suggests, a ‘trade school’ would train or equip students with a trade or skill, and Walwyn said such a school could act as a cushion for the anticipated blowback on local financial services, which is the territory’s main revenue generator.
“As we move towards the situation with financial services and the challenges that will come, we need an institution that can retool people who would lose their jobs so that they can get into other industries,” he said while speaking in the House of Assembly last week.
The minister described the trade school as a supporting institution for the Virgin Islands School of Technical Studies in Baughers Bay, Tortola.
He further said the trade school would cater to “persons who are not in formal education but need some skills to transition”.
Walwyn had called for a trade school back in June 2017 but renewed those calls after global superpower group, the European Union, pressured the BVI to implement the economic substance law.
Under the Act, offshore companies are expected to physically set up office spaces in the territory if they are to continue doing business with/through the BVI.
While debating the bill last month, before it became law, Walwyn said: “There are a number of other issues that would be presented to us from that [legislation] — cultural issues, issues of space, the difficulty of companies moving and getting up from where they are located now, to come to the Virgin Islands.”