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‘Cease & desist from sending expats home’- Dr Smith to CIO

- says unless they have committed a crime
Premier Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL), left, wants his [Acting] Chief Immigration Officer, Ian B. Penn, right, cease and desist from sending skilled expatriates home unless they have committed a crime. Photo: VINO/GIS
Some of the persons in attendance at the 23rd annual celebration and 18th wreath laying ceremony to pay homage to the Territory’s first Chief Minister at the West End cemetery in Capoon’s Bay, Tortola, on March 5, 2018. Photo: VINO
Some of the persons in attendance at the 23rd annual celebration and 18th wreath laying ceremony to pay homage to the Territory’s first Chief Minister at the West End cemetery in Capoon’s Bay, Tortola, on March 5, 2018. Photo: VINO
Some of the persons in attendance at the 23rd annual celebration and 18th wreath laying ceremony to pay homage to the Territory’s first Chief Minister at the West End cemetery in Capoon’s Bay, Tortola, on March 5, 2018. Photo: VINO
Some of the persons in attendance at the 23rd annual celebration and 18th wreath laying ceremony to pay homage to the Territory’s first Chief Minister at the West End cemetery in Capoon’s Bay, Tortola, on March 5, 2018. Photo: VINO
From left: Premier Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL) Keynote speaker and former Deputy Governor V. Inez Archibald, Minister for Education and Culture Hon Myron V. Walwyn (AL), Opposition Leader and First District Representative Hon Andrew A. Fahie, Acting Permanent Secretary in the Deputy Governor’s Office Mrs Carolyn Stoutt-Igwe and Cabinet Secretary Ms Sandra I. Ward. Photo: VINO
From left: Premier Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL) Keynote speaker and former Deputy Governor V. Inez Archibald, Minister for Education and Culture Hon Myron V. Walwyn (AL), Opposition Leader and First District Representative Hon Andrew A. Fahie, Acting Permanent Secretary in the Deputy Governor’s Office Mrs Carolyn Stoutt-Igwe and Cabinet Secretary Ms Sandra I. Ward. Photo: VINO
Members of the audience showing their appreciation for a song about Hurricane Irma by Mr Elmore Stoutt. Photo: VINO
Members of the audience showing their appreciation for a song about Hurricane Irma by Mr Elmore Stoutt. Photo: VINO
CAPOON’S BAY, Tortola, VI- Saying that the Territory’s first Chief Minister, the late H. Lavity Stoutt, was a man of inclusiveness and who embraced the contribution of expatriates to the development of the modern Virgin Islands, Premier Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL) said the Territory, including officials of Government, should also have an attitude of gratitude for their contribution and not seek to chase them away from the Territory.

Premier Smith was speaking at the 23rd annual celebration and 18th wreath laying ceremony to pay homage to the Territory’s first Chief Minister at the West End cemetery in Capoon’s Bay, Tortola, on March 5, 2018.

The occasion was held under the theme “What would H. Lavity Stoutt do? Right here! Right now!”

“Our duty is to be careful of what we say especially at this time [as] we cannot afford to lose our friends who have been doing good here and who show love for the BVI.”

Cease & desist

According to the Premier, who is also responsible for Immigration, he is adamant that only those skilled expats who have committed crimes should be sent home.

“I have already heard of persons being asked to leave the Territory. I want my Chief Immigration Officer to cease and desist from this practice unless these persons have committed a crime,” Premier Smith said.

According to him, if the Virgin Islands is to move forward successfully, “we have to do so with a spirit of inclusiveness and a spirit of unity.”

“We need all hands on deck at this time and it is what the late H.L. Stoutt would have wanted,” Premier Smith stated, adding that the late Chief Minister was a man of action and inclusiveness and who never forgot to say thanks.”

Something wrong with that formula

Many expats have been sharing their stories on social media how Immigration Department was asking them to leave even though they would have been in the Territory for more than five years and are now seeking work after becoming jobless following the hurricanes of September 2017. Some of them have said employers had already offered them jobs.

Immigration Department had also controversially stated in January that it was conducting heightened inspections on households of persons renewing work permits or seeking to change jobs in the Territory.

The move, disclosed by then Acting Chief Immigration Officer Geraldine Ritter-Freeman at a consultation meeting on the Recovery and Development Plan of the Virgin Islands (VI), received overwhelming criticisms from residents as well as persons overseas, who were of the opinion it was a backward step, discriminatory and insensitive to the plight of persons affected by the hurricanes but who were determined to honestly get on with their livelihoods.

“We have a Surveillance Unit that always does site inspections. We have had to ramp that up, of course, because of the situation with the hurricanes and homes being destroyed. We want to ensure that persons are living in favourable conditions before we approve them to remain in the territory,” Ritter-Freeman had said.

However, at a press conference on February 8, 2018 at the Office of the Premier, Central Administration Complex on Wickham’s Cay I, Tortola, Dr Smith announced that household inspections had been discontinued.

During the First Sitting of the Third Session of the Third House of Assembly of the Virgin Islands on Thursday, March 1, 2018 Opposition Leader and First District Representative, Honourable Andrew A. Fahie asked Premier Smith why expatriates were being asked to leave the territory.

“If persons that are here are leaving because they have completed their task and they are looking work and then told that they don’t have work now based on how things went with Irma and they have been here for years and we know them. Why are we bringing in more than we put out to come to get work, isn’t something wrong with that formula?”

Dr Smith had replied” “Expatriates currently residing in the territory who were offered engagement with companies requiring employees for the hurricane relief work with the employer are not being asked to currently leave the territory.”

33 Responses to “‘Cease & desist from sending expats home’- Dr Smith to CIO”

  • i from here (06/03/2018, 08:47) Like (28) Dislike (36) Reply
    Wow the wholesale give away of the bvi has started for some votes smh
  • Hmmm (06/03/2018, 09:01) Like (21) Dislike (19) Reply
    Pure Madness
  • Ichabod (06/03/2018, 09:17) Like (34) Dislike (6) Reply
    Whatever the written and official policies are that is what Immigration should do is my opinion. To do otherwise could come back and bite them in tushh, Follow the law. Go by the book. The only way things will be fair and impartial.
  • Elections (06/03/2018, 09:20) Like (30) Dislike (11) Reply
    We expats are not stupid . Dont use us for your election tactics . NOW you care ? Too late
    • Goody (06/03/2018, 10:07) Like (20) Dislike (14) Reply
      Does that mean you are leaving.? Stop teasing.
      Not fair.
      • Elections (06/03/2018, 14:37) Like (7) Dislike (1) Reply
        Yes .. Not appreciated ...and crime infested ..we leaving
      • Time (06/03/2018, 20:51) Like (3) Dislike (2) Reply
        Does that mean you guys will finally stop being lazy and stop being lazy self entitled asshats?
  • pat (06/03/2018, 09:26) Like (11) Dislike (30) Reply
    This is not right this is now a free for all
  • BUT... (06/03/2018, 09:32) Like (35) Dislike (0) Reply
    ....What about those that can't find a job and do not have the finances to sustain themselves and family staying in the BVI. Then what? I think it should be that skilled expats should be given an extended period to find jobs and if they can't find them they will have to leave. Adding to that is their names will be kept in a database and in the event the find employment while they're back home, they have a fast tracked way of getting back to the BVI having been known to us, being qualified in their field and more importantly, not having a criminal record. It's not rocket science and the politicking is sickening.
  • Shorty (06/03/2018, 09:42) Like (31) Dislike (17) Reply
    So our legislators create laws and turn around and what others to break them for their own personal gain. This is the reason why are in the predicament in this territory. We have qualified skilled workers assigned to various department but because they refuse to break the law and conform to the pressures of our elected officials they are removed. Here we have the Premier of this Territory clearly asking the Chief Immigration Officer to break the laws of the land point blank period. If our elected officials have no intentions to amend the immigration act then I urge the Chief Immigration Officer to uphold a standard and follow the Immigration Laws. At the end of the day when anything happens only his head will be on the block for legal action among other things. These elected ministers need to seek God and turn from their wicked ways.
    • Sure (06/03/2018, 09:59) Like (21) Dislike (0) Reply
      Exactly! Why not amend the necessary laws instead of this today, tomorrow nonsense.
    • Bohannon (06/03/2018, 12:04) Like (18) Dislike (0) Reply
      Ill just lay this here.The Acting Chief ain't no guy hill.
  • Yourself (06/03/2018, 09:51) Like (9) Dislike (19) Reply
    You only care about yourself . Go away with that
  • Well Then! (06/03/2018, 10:00) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
    “What would H. Lavity Stoutt do? Right here! Right now!” So, what's the answer??
    • Fools (06/03/2018, 12:25) Like (16) Dislike (1) Reply

      This whole Lavity thing is NONSENSE! Nobody got more push back from the people and opposing politicians than Lavity. As soon as he died and they realized the fruits from lots of his labour all of a sudden he is considered a hero. If Hon Stoutt was governing in this technological age he would be getting the same foolish push back and backlash for every single decision. He was one who supported the investment club start up, the college when everyone was content on going overseas and saying we didn't need one, the govt complex and many other things he started and was chastised for. Now we acting like everyone loved him and what he did when he was here. Bunch of hypocrites. Now is the time to move the country forward and stop the power struggle. 6 months after we all thought the islands were gone for good and we still bickering like @#$&*les.

  • Wendy (06/03/2018, 10:17) Like (23) Dislike (1) Reply
    I am in total agreement.
    What's up with Orlando?.
    This is out of character for him.
    And Walwyn chiming in with his second de motion. I know what's s up with Walwyn on this issue so no surprise there.
    But Mr Premier, he had to be talking out his head.He read the wrong memo.
    Anyway,personnel, in my opinion, will do well to follow the written policies. Only then will they have a leg to stand on . Anything else will come back with regret.
  • Ian be careful (06/03/2018, 10:27) Like (15) Dislike (0) Reply
    Now the way for our premier to instruct his subordinates and department heads is not via public gathering. As in every other aspect where laws must be followed, if there is going to be a lightening up, then there is a proper way to do so. If he meets with his CIO and they discuss these matters and then give written confirmation of what he is mandated to do until further notice, then that's what he should do. If you give written instructions and they are not followed, then its something else. So, the question is: Did our premier give Mrs. Ritter-Freeman such written instructions which were not followed? Don't run your mouth on a public mike. The same way with customs, you can't come on the radio and say there will be duty free concessions, and then expect the Comptroller of Customs to act on that.
  • NoSa (06/03/2018, 10:32) Like (19) Dislike (3) Reply
    If what Premier said is what I believe he said, then Immigration personnel should have a work stoppage. Either that or ignore what he said and do your job the way it is written in black and white.
    I wonder if Lorna knows about this. Premier gone bazodee!
  • Ichabod (06/03/2018, 10:57) Like (11) Dislike (1) Reply
    The wypeople tightening the noose around our necks.
    Folks our elected officials need our support now more than ever.
    Not even a gift but a loan and still pressure on our Gov to maraud us, Have mercy Jesus or whoever,
    Gov Kaspar, please sir, don't start nothing and there won't be nothing hear me.
  • Bohannon (06/03/2018, 11:17) Like (27) Dislike (1) Reply
    THIS IS WHOLLY ILLEGAL. And the Premier knows this.
  • Mark (06/03/2018, 11:20) Like (6) Dislike (1) Reply
    This man was asleep or he just cam from under a rock? Is not him who is responsible for immigration? Where we're he for the past 5mths when this was the order of the day?
  • Hmm (06/03/2018, 11:32) Like (19) Dislike (4) Reply
    Firstly, I would like to say that it's a shame that we can't have a function without becoming political. And people wonder why people don't participate in community activities? A day to honour a great man who is now dead and we can't escape politics for one day. It always has to be about us and the government, nothing else. Queen show, it's politics. Graduation, it's politics. Can we not have functions where it is exactly what we say it is and nothing extra?

    A reoccurring theme I've noticed with this ruling government that I don't like is they are very subversive when it comes to law and order. They intentionally sow seeds of misinformation to cause discourse and divisiveness is the community. The good doctor knows why the expats are being sent home. He's smart and we all know this party likes to remind us on their education. Yet still they all act like they've got no damn sense.

    The amount of time you've spent in a country is irrelevant if you are a guest and aren't seen a productive. Every country has it's own basket of problems and if you're a guest who can't sustain himself/herself then that's another person the government needs to be responsible for. That's another mouth to feed and another home to find. It isn't fair to ask a government to do that for you when aren't a citizen.

    If a Virgin Islander went abroad and became a burden to that country, I would expect them to be shipped home. The Virgin Islands isn't acting outside of its rights, it isn't violating any human rights and it's not doing anything different that another country in the world isn't entitled to do under same or similar situations yet still we get demonized for acting in our own self-interest.

    Self-preservation and selfishness are not the same thing. Even so, both are necessary for survival. There has to be a limit to inclusivity because the Virgin Islands is small. Resources are limited and jobs are limited. You have to build with consideration of the future else all you will be building is your grave.

    How many people here, both locals and expats are willing to pick up the slack for the people who are being asked to leave? If tomorrow the government had to charge you 10% extra in payroll taxes to pay unemployment for these people who are being asked to leave, how many of you will support it and freely pay your taxes without a grumble? How many people can afford that in the first place? People should think about these things because that's exactly what will happen. Either the slack will have to be picked up for these people or the crime rate will go up because too many people will be in poverty, unable to support themselves.

    Being a politician doesn't put you above the law and for too long have we allowed our own politicians to act as though it does. This is what is driving and will continue to drive our destruction. People of the Virgin Islands, both local and expats, I urge you to listen to what you are hearing and read between the lines. The way we've been doing things is very destructive to us. This government is very destructive to us. If you foster an atmosphere where the law can be rendered moot and powerless at the whims of an individual you will only get anarchy or tyranny in the end. If you let your emotions blindly guide you, you can only fall in the end.

    Our ministers keep interfering with the people they put in charge to handle situations. Why have a CIO if you're going to tell him how to do his job and countermand his orders? If he's doing things properly and isn't breaking the law, then you have to let his judgement stand. Else what message will you be sending to the public and the outside world?

    I get that there are a lot of upset expats but the fact is, if you aren't a citizen of the country in which you reside, you can always be sent home. If you're here for a long time and are actually interested in being here even longer, I would encourage you to apply for citizenship. I'm a Virgin Islander and I understand that we can't do it all on our own, we're on a planet with 7bil other people so we need to find a way to be in this world but right is right and wrong is wrong. Expats, do things the right way. Voting is how you get a voice so become a citizen and vote.
    • BEAR IN MIND (06/03/2018, 19:55) Like (5) Dislike (1) Reply
      You think its just a matter of applying for citizenship and then Wham! you get it right? If you don't know, then know it now; many locals who are actually expats has been living in this territory for a long time and did apply for residency status (the first step to BOTC/belongers). Guess what? years has past since applying and they still cant get through. Those same people are affected by deportation. Some are now adults and have been here since they were children, they too face deportation. And MANY OF THE DEPORTATION IS NOT DUE TO CRIMINALITY OR LACK OF JOB. Many are given upcoming employment and they are still ask to leave because they would be changing jobs more than the ''once every five years rule''. Even if the hurricane was use as a reason for the change of job, some are ask to leave.

      • Hmm (06/03/2018, 20:47) Like (8) Dislike (2) Reply
        No, I don't think citizenship is an easy thing to get and to me, it shouldn't be. It's a commitment and a swearing of loyalty so it should be difficult to get because it should require a lot of considering and understanding. It should only be given with appreciation, acceptance and respect for the adopted culture and laws.

        I suspect a lot of expats don't apply for citizenship because of the way they talk about the system. When you ask about how they went about inquiring about citizenship, they are either wrong in the process or they behave as though it should have automatically be offered to them.

        It is for that reason I mentioned citizenship. That, and the fact that in these discussions, it hardly gets brought up by either side but I think it's a legitimate pathway to invest in. Why not consider citizenship if you live in a foreign place for 10 years or more? When it comes to immigration, the argument is usually about work permits but I hardly hear anyone arguing about being impeded when applying for citizenship. I think that discussion is worth having.

        If you happen to be an expat who attempted citizenship the right way but was denied then why were you denied? They usually tell you why, if not figure it out, ask about it. Were you not making enough money? Is it your criminal record or education background? Did you not appear to be serious about it? Did you appear to be adjusted to and accepting of our culture?

        Comeback and talk about this again when you've truly done everything in your power and can do no more. Then maybe it really is the system and not you.

        Again, nothing the BVI is doing is atypical. There are people in other parts of the world who literally spend half a century in a country, actively pursuing citizenship and never getting it. Sometimes even being asked to leave for one reason or another.

        It doesn't seem fair and surely it's aggravating when you're the victim of bureaucracy but it's not nastiness.

        [By the way, how welcoming would you feel if someone called you nasty but then wanted entry into your life and your house? How welcoming would you feel if someone thought the worst of you but only associated with you because they needed you or wanted to use you? What you would think about a person who subjected themselves to all sorts of ills just to make money and then allegedly gain nothing for it? Something to think about when using your words. They describe not only the target but the speaker as well.]

        A country has the right to protect itself and limit the movement of non-citizens in and out of its country. It doesn't take a disaster to enact this right either.

        If your friend invites you to their house and twenty mins while you're in the middle of having a good time they ask you to leave, it may seem like a crap thing to do but it's still your friend's house, their rules, their rights. Grumble all you like but you have to respect that fact else chaos erupts.

        If a Virgin Islander went anywhere else in the world and acted as entitled as some expats here do, I'm sure we'd hear the same things we say to expats here and possibly even worse.

        Again, I'm not saying this because this is where I'm from, I'm saying this because this is how the world works but somehow the narrative here gets presented as if this is fairytale land where everyone can come and do as they please with no repercussions. As though that's a practical way of running a country. Laws and limits aren't hatred but a necessity. When you go anywhere as a foreigner, you're welcome, not by your will but by the will of that country.

        • tom (07/03/2018, 13:23) Like (0) Dislike (6) Reply
          My people. We need to show some humanity here. Let’s not forget The BVI suffered major damage due to Irma. We need all the help we can get right now.
          • True (07/03/2018, 17:31) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
            Therefore it is absolutely necessary that the VI with its limited and depleted resources be given the task of stretching those resources to its own. Noting that expat have their countries that are capable and responsible for their citizens welfare and wellbeing please expat give the VI a relief, Your selfishness does not endear you to the creates even more animosity and resentment of your presence. And suspicions about your insistence on staying cannot be ignored,
  • BRAD BOYNES (06/03/2018, 12:32) Like (10) Dislike (1) Reply
    I want my Chief Immigration Officer to cease and desist from this practice unless these persons have committed a crime,” Premier Smith said.

    Ok, BUT did you give the Acting Chief Immigration this Illegal directive or just political pandering and embarrassing the young man? Orlando you are really sickening now for a leader of this country. & 7 million this.
  • Boo (06/03/2018, 15:22) Like (15) Dislike (0) Reply
    So immigration department is not governed by laws and regulations passed in the HOA or by the word which pursueth from the Minister's mouth?
  • .... (06/03/2018, 15:30) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    In that graveyard don't got no rum so what the hell the Premier drink.
  • LOL (06/03/2018, 18:45) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
    Ian's head looks like a pencil eraser..
  • Hon Fahie (07/03/2018, 13:47) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
    The only concern here for expatriates is VIP hats off to hon Andrew Fahie. He always concern hes the one post the question on here. Why expats getting send home. Hon Smith you is a good individual but you don't care who get a seat in your bus you know any bus full Take leadership. Look now they spoil you. Stop been political and do the right thing for the island. Too late cause you not going in pawpaw horn honking election season
    • Reply (07/03/2018, 15:55) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      Yes it is true that the VIP iunder its current leadeship, is keen on demonizing demolishing the VI and it's Constitution,Along with the rabid colonizers this is an opportune time for him to make payment on the debt which he he owes. It won't happen. The Universe will not grant permission. . Pay Attention!

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