BVI News

Wheatley enters ‘verbal’ agreement with Tortola construction firms to employ VG residents


Two Tortola-based construction companies that were recently contracted to execute three public projects on Virgin Gorda have agreed to provide jobs to as many residents of the sister island as possible, throughout the life of those projects.  

Quality Construction and Metro Construction made this verbal agreement with Representative of the Ninth District where Virgin Gorda is located, Vincent Wheatley. 

Wheatley, who is also Minister of Labour, told BVI News he was the one to approach the two companies with the proposal. 

“I told them, ‘look, there is lots of unemployment in Virgin Gorda. You are Tortola companies [but] instead of bringing all your crew over to Virgin Gorda, leave some of your guys on Tortola and hire Virgin Gorda contractors or labourers’. Bringing workers from Tortola, you know there’s a cost to that, so to minimize the costs, use workers from Virgin Gorda who are currently unemployed,” he said.

“So we had an agreement, and they are going to try their best to hire as much Virgin Gordians as possible or practical,” he added.

Wheatley made this post on Facebook on Thursday, May 7.

Metro Construction is contracted to reconstruct the Flax Administration Building, while Quality Construction is contracted to completely rebuild the John E George Building in North Sound and two school blocks at the Bregado Flax Educational Centre.

Individuals, companies can apply

The Ninth District Representative said interested persons or companies would have to apply and be interviewed for the jobs.

In the case of the companies that specialize in a particular area and may already have their crew, Wheatley said: “They (Metro Construction and Quality Construction) could subcontract the companies or hire labourers. But there is a process to go through, which is the interview process.”

Unemployment numbers

The district representative, in the meantime, said he is still assessing the level of unemployment on the island since the COVID-19 pandemic that has caused multiple job losses.

“I don’t have a full understanding yet because after my speech [about coronavirus-related layoffs and terminations on Sunday, quite a few companies have sent in their information and I decided that I will collate the information on Friday and Monday,” he explained.

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  1. hmmmm says:

    As a contractor, you are responsible and liable for the quality of work done on a contract. Every minute counts and every there’s a cost attached to that. A contractor already knows his crew, how each works and what tasks each can be specifically entrusted with and you assign those works. When you experiment with other people on a major job, they already into their own habits. You got to see their input. Time is money. If they do anything wrong, you got to demolish and rebuild it. Everybody always skilled when you ask them, but watch them work and its a next thing. This isn’t the place to have lessons. I understand the plight but you going pay more than ferry fare if you go along with this. You know your man them.

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  2. Windy says:

    @hmmmm, none of that applies here.

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  3. laughable says:

    The contractor suppose to leave his men without work to put other people on the site because they live Virgin Gorda? When he put in his bid he would have already priced the cost of travel. Minister, you know what is like to got a man on your job not producing? The whole goal can suffer because of one man. Any successful contractor done know how he guys produce and I agree with the first comment

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    • Facts says:

      @ laughable bro my thoughts exactly you dont see these politicians believe the resident a fools which verbal contract like that’s would be honored because there stupid to fall for something they want you to be stupid to fall for it to.

  4. Bulls**t says:

    Is this a political stunt and a cover for the kick backs?

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  5. Diaspora says:

    Some elements of a basic contract include offer, acceptance, consideration, capacity, legality…….etc. If a contractor is living up to his/her contractual obligations, why is government verbally or otherwise dictating how the contractor should proceed. Is not the contracts prescriptive, ie, government issued plans and specification on what needs to be done, not how they should be done?

    If the contractor wanted contractors to give preferential hiring to Virgin Gorda residents, it should have been in the contract. Now, it seems as if pressure is being exerted on contractors to do so. Put what you want in a contract, enforce the contract and expect to get what is in the contract. I know it is a small territory and politics rule.

    Did not the Tortola-based contractors based their bids on their crews commuting from Tortola to VG? And if they are using VG workers, will a deductive change order be executed to reduce the cost to taxpayers?

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    • @Diaspora says:

      @Diaspora, a deductive change order? What are you smoking not in this life time. Most contractors don’t live up to their contracts, contracts rarely come in on time without liquidated damages, on or under budget and they want taxpayers to more for their incompetence. Wake up from the dream my friend. I hear you though, for it is a good question and try.

  6. boss hog says:

    No company should get any government contracts unless a percentage of their workforce are locals. This is a common and acceptable practice throughout the world and should be included in any contracts from the government.

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    • But says:

      But the locals too lazy to work. That’s why all the expats here. The locals don’t show up, sit around, do nothing waiting to get paid. They taught this from birth. If not true there would be no expats on island because all the locals would be working.

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      • Diaspora says:

        @But, you are entitled to your opinion about locals being lazy. However, if you cannot find some lazy people and some that feel entitled in the US, UK, Antigua, St. Kitts, DR, Jamaica, Philippines, St. Vincent, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, USVI, Anguilla, Haiti……etc, I will eat my leather hard shoes. Further, even if every VIrgin Islander of workable age was working, the VI would still have to import expat labour.

        It is a universal law that as the standard of living and the quality of life in any country improves, there are certain jobs that most locals don’t do, especially in countries where there is a large immigrant population. It happened not only on island nations but in cities in developed countries. Check out the DR, Middle East countries, US (east coast, west coast, southwest), USVI, Antigua, UK…..etc.

        Another factor that contributes to expats being employed in greater numbers than locals is that are motivated to work for lower wages though they may be exploited. The exploited wages they earned are more often more than they would earn in their home countries.

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        • @Diaspora says:

          “It is a universal law that as the standard of living and the quality of life in any country improves, there are certain jobs that most locals don’t do, especially in countries where there is a large immigrant population.” Mi arm, A universal law. Lol

      • Wrong, Wrong! says:

        @But, please don’t be Ignorant. Little Dix Resort was built during the early 60s, in case you don’t know your history. Plumbers, electricians builders were imported from Barbados and whites trom the UK etc. A mere ten years later Peter Island Resort imported about 100+ whites from Norway to build the resort; although it was mostly a Prefab project. Since then nothing more than a little Wood work was taught at the EMSHS. Politicians who did a nere two terms in office are collecting something like 50% of their salaries for work and improvements not carried out. Hon.Myron Walwin, thanks to him unlike others in office more than 20 years, did and I must congratulate him for, commenced a Trade school ib Baughers Bay, I think. If you don’t know what you are talking about, just simply hold your breath and count to 50

    • VI Freshwater Yankee Stateside says:

      @ Boss Hog, roger that. Up here federal, state and local contracts have minimum % for women, minorities……etc. In the VI, to the maximum extent practical every government contract should have provision for local hires.

  7. vip heckler says:

    Are these jobs political? So if they don’t hire who the politician says then this is an indication that these contractors will never win a next bid…Huh! well sah!

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  8. worker man says:

    Only one contractor in bvi wow,this company gething all the work.them have a good link in the office

    • @worker says:

      These 2 contractors are one and the same. They are old family well connected. The bidding process is a laugh. If you had an out of the Territory contractor they would bring their management staff but all others would be local hires. You people too stupid to understand how construction works. You think a NY contractor doing a job in California brings all the workers with them? NO!! They hire local. Your all worried to give a job to an honest contractor. Well I guess to do that you need honest politicians.

    • 247365 says:

      Hire a Virgin Gorda contractor

    • Campagin 2023 Contributions says:

      Imagine that! The 9th district is 99.9% Tourism Dependent; no Trust Companies rental offices or apartments; no buildings leased to government except a floor at the Acara Building leased to the Tourist Board until Irma 2017. Our major hotels have been closed, due to the 2 major hurricanes since 2017 and the Corona virus. Little Dix reopened in February for a brief moment; only weeks until Covid-19. Biras Creek a 35-40 room resort hasn’t even begin to rebuild. Same with the Bitter End Resort; at least a 300+ employer. Sabah Rock after a rebuild and total upgrade, scheduled to have reopen around this time is now unopened “Until Further Notice”. YCCS damaged and unrepaired since Irma 2017, because of “Water Rights” issues.
      Virgin Gorda, like Nevis, until the 2015 was being treated like a Step Sister. We recently elected not one, but 2 representatives to look out for our interest. One ran on the premise that “He lives in the District, drives on the same pothole roads and smells the Seaweed just like the rest of us, yet after almost 18 months in office hasn’t opened the District office except a couple hours on Saturdays, a few times. After 40+ years of VIP government rule, we didn’t just blindly closed our eyes and voted VIP back into government, We voted for Change and a more Democratic form of government. VIP, please don’t be fooled by our Quiet reserved nature, We didn’t voted almost 900 votes that benefited members who didn’t otherwise stood a chance of being elected. Times have Changed; especially since Corona-19. Yes, we are One BVI; but won’t sit back and allow our Rights and Privileges to be trampled on. We recall projects awarded to districts on Tortola that were understood to be carried out mainly by builders in/from the districts awarded. Please VIP, be advised; more directly Hon Minister of Immigration, Labour, NRNL and SS, the ball is in your court. Please take heed of what happened to district 7th rep on Feb 25, 2019

  9. John says:

    Did a tender really put out on these projects?

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  10. Norris Turnbull says:

    Sorry Vincent but that is a CROCK of filth.

  11. Norris Turnbull says:

    All the companies are from the BV Freakin I

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    • @ NorrisTurnbull says:

      I totally agree with u and i dont kno if ur in the construction field but If u are, I hope if the govt gives vg companies all the work in tortola and u dont get any , u will sing that some song….

  12. Lisa says:

    Aren’t there qualified contractors in Virgin Gorda?
    I would think one would feed his people first, before he fed strangers,

  13. @ NorrisTurnbull says:

    I totally agree with u and i dont kno if ur in the construction field but If u are, I hope if the govt gives vg companies all the work in tortola and u dont get any , u will sing that some song….

  14. gh says:

    White boys.

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