BVI News

Wheatley calls for unemployment insurance, business interruption law

Vincent Wheatley

Health & Social Development Minister Vincent Wheatley has called for the introduction of business interruption legislation and the establishment of unemployment insurance in the BVI.

In a recent House of Assembly sitting, Wheatley highlighted the urgent need for these measures, particularly given the region’s vulnerability to natural disasters.

“One of the things I’m very passionate about is the need for business protection legislation,” Wheatley said. “It’s so important to me that we introduce some sort of business interruption insurance, some kind of business protection.”

Reflecting on the significant impact of climate change and extreme weather events, Wheatley emphasized the necessity of business protection laws to support local entrepreneurs in times of crisis.

“Climate change is real, and the fact is we cannot take another category five [hurricane] here right now because we’re still trying to figure out which way is up,” he said, underscoring the urgency of building resilience against future disasters.

Wheatley compared the situation in the BVI with other jurisdictions, pointing out that countries like the United States and the United Kingdom have bankruptcy laws that offer businesses a chance to recover from financial distress. He advocated for a similar framework in the BVI to prevent business owners from being trapped in unsustainable situations. “It does not allow you to remain trapped in a business that really is not working,” Wheatley noted.

“Sometimes people get in trouble through recklessness. That happens too. But we cannot doom our people to a life of misery because we have not come up with some kind of business protection for them,” Wheatley argued. “Too many people here are in business only because they can’t find their way out. But to me, they’re going deeper and deeper into a hole that they don’t need to be in.”

The minister also stressed the importance of unemployment insurance, particularly as the territory faces the ongoing threat of hurricanes and other natural disasters. He mentioned that studies have been conducted to explore the feasibility of such a program and expressed hope that it could be implemented soon.

The call for these legislative measures comes at a critical time for the BVI, as the territory continues to recover from past hurricanes and prepares for future climate-related challenges. Wheatley underscored the interconnected nature of these issues, noting that climate change is an ongoing reality that the BVI must confront.

“Climate change is real, and we are all experiencing it. We know for a fact that we are being affected by climate change, and we know we are excluded from all the global funds to help us mitigate against it,” he explained.


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  1. BuzzBvi says:

    Maybe start by insuring Givernment property and let businesses insure themselves.

    Like 20
    Dislike 1
  2. Trevor says:

    Lovely ideas, but who would fund them?
    Offering another handout from an empty bowl…

    Like 26
    • @Trevor says:


      How can there be unemployment when more than 50% of the workforce is expats?

      Where is the vision to train and develop Belongers in critical industries/fields?

      Why the stupid rubber stamp that a Belonger understudies an Expat when no checks are carried out to ensure this is the truly happening?

      Where are the funds going to come from? Is it not the same businesses and taxpayers that will have to bear the ADDITIONAL costs?

      This man thinks people dumb!

      Like 3
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    • Just sayin says:

      My feelings exactly. Don’t put something on the table that isn’t feasible. Cousin Vinny should know that this both makes him look disengenuous and introduces the notion that he is incompetent.

  3. WTF says:

    Standard pie in the sky politician who has never run a business.

    Who will pay for this? Businesses are suffering already. The government clearly can’t afford it because they have wasted all their money on flights and parties. Look at our roads, schools, healthcare system. The hospital can barely afford to keep the lights on.

    Like 21
    Dislike 1
  4. SMFH says:

    Government are the biggest obstacle for businesses and continue to call for measures that make things worst for business without offering any solutions for betterment. PLEASE BRING THE VOTE OF NO CONFIDENCE TO GET RID OF THESE F**KING LUNATICS!!!!! These guys squandered 20 mil on fisher and farmer BS stimulus during covid when they had a chance to really assist businesses and 3 years later they are here with this bulls. Business interruption is NOT FREE or NOT CHEAP, you can tell these people are clueless. How many people in the Government owns or ever ran a business? *crickets*

    Like 18
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  5. 2 months says:

    Unlikely and of these suggestions will occur before the Order in Council disbands the HOA at the end of August.

  6. Fancy says:

    Tadaaaa this what you get when you vote for friends and family. Tadaaaa. Doesn’t have a clue how to tackle unemployment. He treating it like a hurricane. Right now it is minister.

  7. Resident says:

    How will this work when so few locally owned businesses are up to date with their taxes and social security obligations?

    How will further obligations be funded?

    Like 13
  8. Guess What? says:

    Based on my understanding and the experience with those devastating hurricanes, it seems there was no genuine insurance coverage in practice. Essentially, insurance companies provided funds to property owners to repair or fix damaged properties, resembling secured loans that are now being repaid through significantly higher premiums. The premiums paid over the years before the hurricanes seemingly resulted in profit for the insurance companies. How else can one explain the astronomical increase in insurance premiums after the hurricanes, which in some cases, rose by as much as 300%?

    The insurance model taught in schools involves pooling risks, where many individuals or entities pay premiums into a collective fund. This fund is then used to compensate the financial losses of the few who experience insured events. If this principle still holds, no insurance company should increase premiums after covering financial risks. Additionally, the increased costs for unemployment insurance will further strain small businesses financially. Can they survive under these circumstances? Review of the laws governing insurance businesses should be the first step…

    Like 9
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    • @Guess What says:

      I never looked at it this way but you are absolutely correct in your assessment. We thought we got settlements but what we got were loans to rebuild and are now paying it back at even higher rates than the mortgages. My premium increased 400% since IrMaria.

      Like 8
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    • Resident says:

      @Guess What
      The flaw in your thinking is it assumes the risks have not increased, which they have. The costs of labor and materials have also increased, so the cost to rebuild is much higher.

      We figure we broke even: our insurance payout probably covered 45 years of premiums. Our premium went up by about 50%, and we increased our coverage.

      While insurance spreads the risks among policyholders, it needs to cover the average losses in a given year. The premiums also need to cover increased risk. Each storm provides more information about those risks. For example, some types of construction prove better, and some locations prove riskier.

      Like 3
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  9. Sooooo. says:

    so even outlining a framework to begin talks on how to achieve unemloyemnt insurance and business interruption is not feasible ? something that actually protects business, Populance and the economy is not feasible? This sounds alot like the people in the US that talk about small Govt. this and Govt that but the first disaster running looking FEMA.

    Like 1
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  10. Disband government says:

    Uk taking over the country cannot get worse than this
    Let the chips fall
    Tired of this nonsense.
    People going to hospital for a fresh wound from a cutlass wound and is sent home because it is the clinic job
    Clinics closed

    How worse can it get

  11. WEW says:

    Who owns the majority of the businesses ? The big family names / politicians. Need I say more

  12. Labour Laws need to change says:

    The labour laws have nothing to protect business owners in the event of a natural disaster. If the business is destroyed or damaged and the employer is left with nothing and no way to continue employment, the employees are still entitled to termination pay. Making it even harder for the employers forced to come up with termination pay and harder to come back after a disaster. When a disaster forces the employer to cease business they should not be penalised as if they terminated an employee. No where else in the World does this happen! All burden on the business. Employees should pay for that insurance you are talking about here. And the laws should be updated to the real world.

  13. Hahaha! says:

    Business interruption legislation??? Wow. Does he mean business continuity planning? Something that been existing in the private sector since the flood of Noah? Ah boyyy…election is when? Please vote with sense next time around because this is embarrassing.

    Like 2
    Dislike 1
  14. Dave says:

    The legislation around the marine sector has been pretty good at interrupting business. Perhaps they can take some notes there on how to better screw us up. It sounds like they’re cooking up something new in that regard anyway!

  15. Truth says:

    The Honourable Minister does not understand what he is asking for. These are irresponsible statements made by a politician who is trying to appeal to people who does not have sufficient understanding of the subject matter and they are likely to fall forth headlines.

  16. The monster says:


  17. Really says:

    There are business-interruption insurances. I do have it with my basic insurance. This insurance also pays for employee’s pay for a certain amount of time. What he suggests is that the public is supposed to pay for all of that instead of the businesses getting insured and paying the premiums.

  18. Who is Fooling Who? says:

    All these subjects this Minister is bringing to the fore are not truly his Ideas. It is just a farcade
    to fool some into believing that he cares. Dr. Pickering brought in a Consultant from Italy soon after Hurricanes Irma and Maria to work on that same unemployment Benefit Initiative. The Report must be somewhere on a Shelf or Cabinet. Find it and tell the people you are reviewing it and will report the findings or you have already reviewed it and agree with the Contents. Don’t make it sounds like your Idea. It is a great Idea and should be carefully thought out and implemented.

    • Ning says:

      Well you certainly aren’t fooling anyone. Clearly stated in the hateful, pulling down and bad-minded way that we here in the BVI are know for. What the hell difference does it make where the idea comes from as long as it is beneficial to the country? You have already admitted that it is a good idea and something that is needed. The only important factor here is not who’s idea it is but who does the WORK to get it done.

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