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2nd & 3rd readings of Immigration & Passport (Amendment) Act ‘deleted’

- Premier Andrew A. Fahie said he has listened to the will of the people
The Second and Third Readings for the Bill entitled Immigration and Passport (Amendment) Act has been pulled from the Order Paper at the Third Sitting of the First Session of the Fourth House of Assembly (HoA) of the Virgin Islands today, May 17, 2019. Photo: VINO
According to Premier and Minister of Finance Honourable Andrew A. Fahie (R1), his Government is willing to respect the voices of the people of the Virgin Islands so that common grounds can be found on the issue of immigration. Photo: GIS/File
According to Premier and Minister of Finance Honourable Andrew A. Fahie (R1), his Government is willing to respect the voices of the people of the Virgin Islands so that common grounds can be found on the issue of immigration. Photo: GIS/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- The Second and Third Readings for the Bill entitled Immigration and Passport (Amendment) Act has been pulled from the Order Paper at the Third Sitting of the First Session of the Fourth House of Assembly (HoA) of the Virgin Islands today, May 17, 2019.

The Amendments were necessary for the successful implementation of the ‘fast track’ Residency and Belongership Status Regularisation Initiative, introduced by the Government of the Virgin Islands for expats living and working in the Virgin Islands for 15 years and more.

The removal of the Second and Third Readings comes amid calls from locals expressing strong opposition to the Bill being “rushed” through Parliament and wanted Premier and Minister of Finance Honourable Andrew A. Fahie (R1) to have more consultations on the regularisation programme.

Persons had gone has far as starting petitions and even picketing in front the House of Assembly today, May 17, 2019.

Gov't willing to listen more

According to Premier Fahie, his Government is willing respect the voices of the people of the Virgin Islands so that common grounds can be found.

“And as the leader of this Territory, after sitting with my colleagues and scratched it out, have decided to give more time this week to listen more, to hear more solutions but to also come up with a common ground on the way forward.

“Hence, Mr Speaker, you amend the order paper to delete item viii (7) and viii (8) from the Order of the Day so that we can have further consultations.”

Premier Fahie said he was proud to have a country such as the Virgin Islands where there can be fruitful discussions about the immigration matter being tackled.

“As a leader of the Territory I believe in you always have to listen to the views of the people and if we need to pull back the throttle a little bit to listen a little more and hopefully come up with a product that everyone can live with, and if not at least most persons can because you can never please everyone.’

“Get ready for fruitful discussions”

The Leader of Government Business said he has spent a lot of time on the issue, has prayed hard on it, contemplated, taken a lot of advice, “and it is these times you have to go to God for the most wisdom on how to move forward in the best interest of your people and of the Territory as a whole.”

He urged the people of the Virgin Islands to “get ready this week” for some fruitful discussions “because we are going to do it this week and we are going to do it right without us getting in any divide or any more divide.”

He also encouraged persons to “come with a mindset to unite the Virgin Islands because only when we unite the Virgin Islands can we build a strong Territory. I am a firm believer that we can’t fix our country unless we fix our people.”

More details to follow.

31 Responses to “2nd & 3rd readings of Immigration & Passport (Amendment) Act ‘deleted’”

  • qc (17/05/2019, 21:06) Like (37) Dislike (14) Reply
    Now this is a government that listen
  • Quiet Warrior (17/05/2019, 22:53) Like (16) Dislike (36) Reply
    There are times when legislation needs to be rushed through the HOA, ie, national emergencies, crisis.....etc. Though the Immigration and Passport Act changes are important, it is not a national emergency item. Trying to rush this piece of legislation through the HOA without proper consultation with the PEOPLE and proper vetting was not an effective course of action. This was an unforced error and a self-inflicted wound caused by the Premier. The Premier seemed to be rushing to get much done within his first 90 days. And in doing so, he is making himself look amateurish, highlighting his inexperience, showcasing weakness in ineffective leadership and management skills.......etc.

    As noted in other blogs, a leader taking hold of any organization must first conduct a current situation analysis and assess the findings before making any major changes. That is basic management and leadership. It is also basic leadership and management to operate from a national strategic development plan, not from the seat of the pants or skirt. The VIP first few months in office is riddled with much seat of the pants/skirt decision makings. Ministers are going a 100 miles trying to impress the electorate. Perhaps Some greeness. Does anyone remember the race between the hare and the tortoise? That fable has value and is applicable.

    Further, there is strategic planning timeline that goes like this: vision/mission, goals and objectives, strategies and tactics, and operations. In bringing this piece of legislation to the HOA, the Premier appeared to have jumped straight to tactics. Premier needs to recall the training offered at Florida A&M University. True, the Rattler will Strike, Strike and Strike again. But the Rattler must take effective aim to strike the target in the bulls eye. This process was a fire, ready, aim fiasco.

    Moreover, as a to the bone Virgin Islander, I had high hope and great expectations for the Premier and VIP. But it seemed to have stepped off with left foot instead of the traditional right foot. It is trying to do too much too quickly to impress too many people too quickly. To the VIP, I say slow your roll and success will come soon enough. IMO the Premier is using personality to get things done. He is operating like a transactional leader instead of being an ideological and philosophical leader. The Premier should approach policies and legislation like sausage making; it is a process that takes time. As a reminder to the Premier and VIP, the VI has a parliamentary democracy/representative democracy. Members are elected to represent the people and they must consult and listen to the people. The BVI is not a unitary state. Listen to the people, take time, go back to the drawing board. Regrettably, the Premier has wasted some political capital. This is a great time for the Opposition with the government shooting itself in the foot.
    • Quiet Rebel (18/05/2019, 11:19) Like (2) Dislike (13) Reply
      Cuz, ditto. It is so surprising that the VI Premier, a veteran of both government and opposition and fought so ferociously to be the leader of the VIP and ultimately the Premier with a VIP victory, was so ill-prepared and not more battle-ready to lead the territory well into the 21st Century. Having demonstrated so much ambition to be the top dog, it is surprising that the Premier didn’t study the success and failures of leaders the world over. It seems that the Premier confused the positional power of the Premier with the true power of the people. The reaction to this well-intentioned but flawed approach was so obvious. A green first termer would have known better. The BVI I saw a representative democracy but that should not be confused that representatives can or should take action without effective consultation of the people. Immigration is a universal problem and challenge. Large countries, ie, UK, US are struggling to cope with immigration. This issue needs to be discussed, debated........etc.
  • time (18/05/2019, 01:57) Like (19) Dislike (32) Reply
    Guess what, the white expats with the $$ will get status despite the above. Heard the days after the announcement.

    Stay awake people. The white expats not on sociL media bashing anyone. They bash us amongst themself and make calls directly to the top.
    • wize up (18/05/2019, 07:21) Like (10) Dislike (2) Reply
      @ time: it is my opinion as well so I somewhat agree with your blog: progress is a good thing but some among us come with their aggressive and outrageous conduct: those who came back in the 60s entered the territory and mix with our way of living; these days people come here and BVI People must conform to their way life: it’s so amazing how a little place like the British Virgin Islands have some many people fighting to live here: including people from those called develop countries:
  • look (18/05/2019, 05:10) Like (17) Dislike (3) Reply
    I hope Immigration or which ever Department is processing Residence and Belongership is paying attention to years on Island. I know of families that left the island for 2-3 years return and continue to count years as if they have not left and are applying.

    I know persons will be dishonest and say passports (which has proof of travel) were destroyed in hurricane but I am sure the department can request information from Tax department or social security, job letter, school letters etc.

    It should be continuous number of years with only exception being hurricanes.
  • Charlo y (18/05/2019, 07:34) Like (9) Dislike (1) Reply
    It is good but what to the children who was born here cannot get a passport it’s not fair
    • usa (18/05/2019, 08:28) Like (1) Dislike (3) Reply
      Mine has one.
      • Charlo y (18/05/2019, 11:30) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
        Yeah that’s what I talking about we only care about we self yours have to hell with rest premier do ur thing u cannot please everyone
    • solution (20/05/2019, 22:24) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      They have to go back to the country from which their family came to get one. They are not from here.
  • Citizen (18/05/2019, 07:55) Like (23) Dislike (1) Reply
    People Listen, the people of the BVI have all right to decide the fate of their country on the way forward. The Premier has tried but there must be consultation with the ones who elected him as their leader. Note! crimes are on the increase throughout the Caribbean and there must be some sort of filtration as to who should be allow to carry representation of ones state. I don't really favor Trump but he has a point. That is, protecting the interest of Americans. There are some foreigners that are down-right criminals in their country who are here hiding behind the system. The BVI people are right, take your time and make a Proper assessment of every applicant.
    Being in someone's country does not guarantee citizenship. You must know that. Amen
  • Citizen (18/05/2019, 07:55) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    People Listen, the people of the BVI have all right to decide the fate of their country on the way forward. The Premier has tried but there must be consultation with the ones who elected him as their leader. Note! crimes are on the increase throughout the Caribbean and there must be some sort of filtration as to who should be allow to carry representation of ones state. I don't really favor Trump but he has a point. That is, protecting the interest of Americans. There are some foreigners that are down-right criminals in their country who are here hiding behind the system. The BVI people are right, take your time and make a Proper assessment of every applicant.
    Being in someone's country does not guarantee citizenship. You must know that. Amen
  • Challenger (18/05/2019, 08:24) Like (5) Dislike (4) Reply
    @time.
    why does colour come in to this. you just have to look at the photos in the news papers over the year of those privilaged enough to receive belongership...naturalization...hardly a white fame among them. ive been suggesting on blogs this last few weeks that belongership be made harder to get...have to proove you contribute to the community...have to ahve residency for at minimum 5 years before you can apply......
    bet you cant guess what colour i am.
    with respect to all out there.
  • Charley Rose (18/05/2019, 08:29) Like (19) Dislike (12) Reply
    I am surprised by the attitude of some individuals in response to the initiative being introduced by the Hon. Premier. Having lived in this territory for almost thirty years without status. First of all I must express my thanks and appreciation to the government of the Virgin Islands for granting me the privilege to reside and worked in the territory.

    However, I must say that I am disappointed by the reaction of some people who are in opposition to the initiative by the Premier. As I travelled to many Caribbean countries and meeting Virgin Islanders residing in those countries without being marginalized. In New York I met Virgin Islanders, in Aruba, Dominica Republic, Antigua, New Jersey, Atlanta, Guyana and many other countries. They are welcomed and there in no division. Some students attend school in Trinidad, Jamaica, St. Thomas and the list goes on.

    In the dark days Virgin Islanders were travelling to Dominica Republic, Aruba, Barbados and Guyana for employment and some lived there until death. Some of the persons who are in opposition to this initiative married to expat men or women. Some expats living in their apartments, travelling in vehicles, working as maids and skill employees. Expats supporting supermarkets, and restaurants.

    What is it that cause this sudden hostility against black expats. Our problem here is not the black expats. The whites and Syrians are more threat to the territory than the Caribbean blacks. It is time for us to unite the territory and not divide us. If this is a political move, God will strike some of those persons down and the country will move on. I love this Premier. He is the best leader we ever had.
    • @ Charley Rose (18/05/2019, 09:08) Like (18) Dislike (4) Reply
      There is no hostility towards blacks expats. None at all. BVIslanders cherish what is theirs and have a right to their views and country.

      In the dark days BVIslanders travelled abroad for work but you will NEVER find an article or an incidence where they demanded rights from any of those countries or abused and debased those countries or their people in the manner that we have been treated here in our homes.

      People don't come here to "build up the BVI" they come here to better themselves. They have gained from being here. Why isn't that enough. Why must they have all. They have their homeland, this is ours.

      Why do we have to be defending our position repeated in our own home. This is our country. We have a right to it. What is the problem here.
      • Oh yes! (18/05/2019, 10:05) Like (12) Dislike (2) Reply
        Ding, Ding, Ding!

        We are not being hostile towards anyone. The problem is we are supposed to be quiet in our own country. Whenever we speak out, it doesn't matter on which topic, its like we offend persons. Its our country. We have opened the door for many to work and live here and for that we should be quiet not say what bothers us.

        This build up talk needs assessment. Like @Charley Rose said, people don't leave their countries to go build another. They leave to make a better life for themselves and their families. Nothing is wrong with that but the primary purpose for the move was not to build the another country. Such a suggestions means that it was done for free and out of love. Let's be real.... was it? Or was it for self-sustenance.

        WE dont personally have a problem with any expats living here. We have a problem with people coming here and telling us what we should do, and that we should be quiet. We also have a problem with this 'Tolians live in the UK and US without problems talk'. What does this mean? We should not live abroad because persons from other countries dont have that privilege? That we should vacate the BVI to make room for others because we have options?

        Tortola is the worst place, its people the most wicked and yet their is a fight to remain here. BVI people will live in other countries, and push up themselves for rights. Why? Its not our culture. We will live abroad and respect the rules and regulations in other countries. We don't FORCE our way in, kicking, tongue lashing and berating. We have too much pride and would rather go back BVI before we reach that level.

        None of the above was said to berate anyone. But man this thing have to stop. This thing about who here how long and aint get this or that have to stop. You left your country, refuse to 'build up' your own country and want to tell us what to do in ours. We don't want anyone to feel like they have to beg, but we don't want to feel like we don't have a say in our place either.
        • Jack-B-Quik (18/05/2019, 20:58) Like (1) Dislike (2) Reply
          Could someone please be kind enough and repost this again and again and again...
          Fact is, a serious conversation needs to be had. It really is hard being in your own place of birth, and not be free enough to express yourself for fear of bringing down the wrath of non-Virgin Islanders on top your head. So unfair.
    • True (18/05/2019, 09:18) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
      Great to see you calling on God after such a racist statement, wonderful christian that you are......
    • Flower (18/05/2019, 11:48) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply


      Tortola people does go down island to live...only in America
    • Dark Days (20/05/2019, 23:23) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Shame on you Charley Rose. You seem to be still back in the dark days. First of all, the few people from the Virgin Islands who went to those countries could in no way tip the voting balance and they were not trying to become citizens and become the voting majority in those places. Except for the US, Virgin islanders do not move to those places you mentioned. They may go there to get an education but that is not the same thing as everyone coming here, lock stock and barrel. You may not have a problem with a foreign voting majority in the Virgin Islands, but Virgin Islanders do. We do not wish to return to the dark days.
  • Chris (18/05/2019, 09:20) Like (21) Dislike (2) Reply
    This is the perfect opportunity for the government to use the power of the referendum that is contained in the constitution. This is too important a step for anyone to take without proper consultation and let the people who care about this issue vote yes or no. Also consider some protection for the island where status can be revoked for criminal activity . Being a belonger is a privilege not a birth right. It should be respected by all parties.
  • wize up (18/05/2019, 09:50) Like (21) Dislike (2) Reply
    within in the next five years the United Kingdom will implement some new immigration policies which allows UK Citizens freedom of movement in this territory and Caribbean People will get grafted in under such policies. A substantial amount of citizens from Great Britain call this territory their home they also head lucrative businesses in the British Virgin Islands. despite their substantial economic contributions to this territory most of them can not vote or require authorization from labour/immigration to move freely in and out of the British Virgin Islands and that practice will change: That is why Hon Fahie is trying to jump the gun with this fast track initiative.....UK desires Belongers Status off the book: A number of UK Citizens have children born in the BVI and not very keen to sit back for 18 years before their children can have rights
  • four more years (18/05/2019, 12:13) Like (12) Dislike (1) Reply
    Long live Hon Fahie and the VIP
  • Charlo y (18/05/2019, 15:51) Like (9) Dislike (2) Reply
    I lived and work in the Bri I still love the bvibut the born here so they call themselves don’t like expats u could be doing all the good things do the shitty work all what they tell u I born here
    • Proud Carribean woman (18/05/2019, 23:35) Like (16) Dislike (1) Reply
      It’s sad I travelled all over and never met a country with people calling themselves I born here
      While I do respect their wishes
      I certainly don’t like the way they treat expats I rem after Irma everyone was under 1 level survival

      Nobody portrayed then their better than anyone
      As a Caribbean person I love all my ppl
      We treat anyone coming in n out of My country no diff to our own

      I don’t understand why they are soo hateful towards their own fellow mankind

      Soo much help after Irma from all the islands and they was very much happy for it

      • Oh yes! (19/05/2019, 09:07) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply

        I would personally like to thank all persons and countries who helped the BVI after Irma. We appreciate each and every one of you. I do mean that with sincerity.

        However, your comment made me pause. Pease understand that what I am about to say is not intended to bash anyone but the 'so much help from all islands and they was very much happy for it' comment I am compelled to touch on.

        So, the BVI has never helped any of these same countries in times of distress? If memory serves me correctly, we have and will continue to do so where and when we can. Comments like these fan the fire for this expat/bvi tug-or-war that is happening now. BVI has helped countries many times over and the one time we needed help its thrown in our faces by neighbours we still have to see daily and who would like us to be accepting of them, even when we are disrespected.

        These are the things the incite the argument and widen the division. Let's stop, think before we speak.

        I'm not engaging you for a debate. I'm just saying let's move forward more positively. It has to start somewhere, if even with two.

        God bless you and your family.





  • Not proud of my bvi (19/05/2019, 04:08) Like (12) Dislike (0) Reply

    I am trying to understand why in 2019 do we have so much self hate among us. If a child is born in country they should have a passport for that country no question asked . Also, if I live in a country, work in a country , pay bills taxes etc in country for 10 years plus why am I still treated like a outsider. Especially if I am a law abiding citizen. This must change now . We have this thing about the eastern Caribbean people when so many of men and women are dating or married to them and we still don’t think they are good enough. I know some will not like my view or this statement but all of this comes off to me like racism to me . This hatred toward people of the eastern Caribbean passed on from one generation to the next . The bvi will become a place where no one will stay but the small thinking people if we don’t stop this soon .heartbreaking . By the way my mother wasn’t born here and my father was and I can’t get sh*t from here .

    • office messanger (19/05/2019, 09:14) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
      @ not proud of my BVI/how come when the foreign investor come to our country purchase land or beach front property thereafter prevent us the citizens of this territory from coming close to their establishment no one have enough balls to protest/ is it because of the complexion of these investors but as you noted the poooor caribbean man or woman is such a threat to us. Just my 2 cents because I find it very funny and this is nothing new in our BVI. Once set of people enters our country and takes over our natural resources and every man and woman mouth shut while others enters the British Virgin Islands are classified as taking over the territory


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