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Downsizing of Financial Services entities being noted by Premier Smith

- Says Govt has to find ways to address it
Premier Dr the Honourable D. Orlando Smith speaking to residents of the Fifth District at a community meeting in Huntums Ghut last evening November 7, 2012. At right is Fifth District Representative Hon. Delores Christopher. Photo: VINO
HUNTUMS GHUT, Tortola, VI- Noting that the economic pillar- financial services sector- continues to perform well for the people of the Virgin Islands, Premier Dr the Honourable D. Orlando Smith has , however, noted with concern that several companies in that sector have been downsizing.

Speaking to residents of the Fifth District at a community meeting in Huntums Ghut on November 7, 2012 Hon. Smith said the downsizing has created some employment and that Government must look at the issue with the hope of also finding ways to keep those businesses in the Territory.  

“Unfortunately, over the past several months and even recently we are seeing that some of the companies are downsizing and as a result of that there is some unemployment in that area. But as a country we have to look at that issue and see what action we can do to encourage those companies to retain their businesses here so that they could continue to have employment,” Premier Smith remarked.

Only yesterday November 7, 2012 Virgin Islands News Online reported that recently there have been several layoffs of local employees by Trust companies that have been downsizing or reportedly outsourcing jobs to other countries.

Former laid off employees of the local Trust Company TMF had told this news site that some 15 of them were laid off from their jobs from July of this year up to November 2, 2012.

It is this news site’s understanding that TMF, with its headquarters in London, England, had over the years acquired two other Trust Companies- Commonwealth and Equity Trusts, which could have also contributed to the downsizing and laying off of local employees.

There are reports also that the company, because of the downsizing, has allegedly outsourced some of the jobs to Sri Lanka.

The local manager of the company, Mrs. Linda Romney Leue, could not be reached for comments as of press time.

This news site is also working on other stories of major layoffs since last year, including by a telecommunications giant and another major Trust company as well as many local businesses that have closed their doors within the past 11 months. 


Meanwhile, Premier said it is hoped that as US economy recovers so would the VI’s as more tourists hopefully would choose the Territory as their vacation destination.

He noted that a more strategic, intense and effective promotion campaign has been embarked upon by the BVI Tourist Board and that positive results are already being seen, including increased booking of flights to the Virgin Islands from the United Kingdom over the past several months.

Noting now that the election is over in the US, Premier Smith said improvements in bookings is also expected to dramatically increased up north.

He also spoke about a new Director of Tourism being appointed in the United Kingdom as well as a new advertising agency to promote the Territory in the UK.

In light of an expected improved tourism season, Premier Smith noted that developmental work is ongoing at Brandy Wine Bay beach and Government is looking to see what can be done at Cane Garden Bay beach to make it more attractive.

The Hon. Premier, who holds the portfolio for Tourism, also spoke about implementing beach policy management “so that when visitors come they would be able to have a good time on a beach that is well managed.”


41 Responses to “Downsizing of Financial Services entities being noted by Premier Smith”

  • critic (08/11/2012, 08:20) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    pure fluff
    • 360 (08/11/2012, 10:17) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      It was just a matter of time before something like this happened..yea bluffing the people as usual!!!!
    • Release (08/11/2012, 10:58) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Please people, I'm tired of reading and hearing these stories about our locals getting laid off and small local businesses closing their doors. Would someone Take care on the local people PLEASE!!!!!
    • right on (08/11/2012, 20:10) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Hate to admit it, but ur right critic
  • 1 (08/11/2012, 08:31) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    our people getting laid off left right and center and it Sucks
    • follow the leader (08/11/2012, 22:50) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Globally companies as well as governments are slashing jobs....BVI will have to follow suite
  • facts man (08/11/2012, 08:34) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    As government grows bigger and bigger and increase its fees and duties in order to pay its civil servants the private sector will have to increase their revenues and cut their expenses. Most naturally, there will be increased unemployment from the private sector due to the global recession and this VERY LARGE government in need of monies to support it-self
  • farmer (08/11/2012, 08:41) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Isn't it ironic that we have a major unemployment crisis in the BVI and dr smith trying to sweet it up about downsizing..can't wait until the next election!!!!
  • Not2Sure (08/11/2012, 08:44) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    The Premier is right to be concerned, but hopefully he is doing more than just wringing his hands and hoping for the best. He and his Government need to take urgent steps to make the BVI an easier place to do business. At the moment firms in the financial services sector have every possible incentive to downsize in the BVI and move work elsewhere. The Government needs to fix this, and rapidly, before it starts to snowball.
    • Crank Shaft (08/11/2012, 09:50) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      I don't usually agree with you but you have hit the nail on the head. It is a lot more expensive and tedious to do business from within the BVI. Now with technology, businesses are finding it a lot cheaper and more efficient to outsource back office business while keeping a 'shell' office in BVI. If this trend continues it will mean big trouble for the BVI not only people who lose their jobs in the sector, but Government jobs will be at risk as well. Why do you ask? Well, if Government has to deal with staggering unemployment coupled with less revenue as a result of business leaving, then how will they continue to maintain the bloated civil service? How will they continue to offer care at the Hospital? Take care of elderly? Roads? Education? Social welfare? It will have a domino effect. We all have something to lose so it should be looked into ASAP. This is one issue where politics should be put aside for betterment of the Territory at-large. I hope as you say he's not just talking the talk like most pols do and actually has a plan to tackle it. They may start by talking with the ARA and folks in the industry to find out what the BVI can do to keep business here, while still ensuring that qualified locals get a fair shot.
      • ABC (08/11/2012, 17:20) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        Not2Sure and Crank Shaft your contributions here could not be more timely. The question here is, who is listening!! We only recently removed one group who could not appreciate or understand what this is all about other than when the Treasury was strap for cash. They were replaced with a group of a higher calibre who we hoped would have taken us on a new path. One would have thought that this group would have seen the need to utilize the valuable human resources which are available in the private sector at the drop of a hat, with a view to getting us on track and moving the process forward. But no, pride and greed have hand cuffed us and placed us on a path which will eventually distroy the economy of this country. Dr Smith may mean well but his colleagues are listening and dancing to their own music. Except drastic steps are taken by our leaders to chart a new course, it would not be long before we are left with sad memories of a lost opportunity.
  • ccc (08/11/2012, 08:46) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    the answer to downsizing NDP is less work permits
    • wrong (08/11/2012, 10:05) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      You obviously have no idea so why bother to comment??? Businesses will leave the BVI swiftly if their operating costs are higher than elsewhere, couple this with difficulties of gettting work permits etc and we can say goodbye. We need to allow them to operate in an easier efficient manner, have 3 or 5 year work permits, make permits easier to get etc. A lot of these overseas staff earn big bucks and a lot of it stays in the BVI at stores, bars, restaurants, apartment rent, school fees etc this all helps our economy. Do not be so quick to drive expats away.
      • BVI Business (08/11/2012, 10:45) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        Doing business in the BVI is getting more difficult every year. We are seriously looking to relocate our offices from the BVI. The cost of and difficulty of getting work permits is our concern. From the sounds of it, there are a number of BV Islanders that would like us to leave as well. When we move our office, we will take away 8 positions from this territory as well as the associated taxes permits and fees. Not to mention the impact to local businesses such as grocery stores and the like. Just saying.
        • Business manager (08/11/2012, 15:20) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
          We are moving as well. The locals are rude and don't want us here. to difficult to get permits and too much red tapes. We are moving to somewhere easier to operate and hopefully friendlier.
        • right wing (08/11/2012, 20:21) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
          I really hope you are wrong......

    • my two cents (08/11/2012, 20:40) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      what about no work permits issued for workers under 20K that amount is below the poverty line and we will not import poverty so no worry no work permit paying under 20K how about that?

  • Ex Banker (08/11/2012, 08:59) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Wrong!!! The answer is less bureaucratic BS at the top levels AND teaching the govt. workers who handle all the bereaucratic BS to lose their "attitude" and actually be more helpful to those trying to improve the local economy!!!
  • weed (08/11/2012, 09:59) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Say what you may, but at the end of the day there are certain companies that are run by ex pats who would much rather threaten to move their business or cut off an arm, than hire a Virgin Islander
    • Online Now (08/11/2012, 10:50) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Name the companies! Really, if it is true, please call names so you could have a debate.
  • the big question (08/11/2012, 10:03) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    after seening how the NDP treat civil servanst the question is now is any consideration going to be given to locals getting a job to put bread on their table for their families?
    • @ the big question (08/11/2012, 20:06) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      I agree with you the NDP have burnt up all the goodwill of the people and NOTHING can save them from being thrown out of office, the next time around....
  • Student (08/11/2012, 10:24) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    You hit the nail on the head WEED. They don't care how qualified a local come they rather bring in their own people. Lots more to go home and they have the heart to say they giving a great package. Our banks will be soon Real Estate Agents her in the BVI
    • witch doc (08/11/2012, 14:26) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      We have a rather limited pool of locals for the work force after all.
  • NDP voter (08/11/2012, 10:40) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    the million plus dollars govt spent getting people to cut bush (now some of us can't get paid) would have been far better spent on training/retraining.

  • Shara Parlin (08/11/2012, 10:45) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    As an employer, maybe the Labour Dept can answer the following questions, as I am minded that the public is not being told the truth here:

    1- How many B V Isladers have been referred and placed into jobs by the Labour Dept over the last 12 months?

    2- What were the job categories/positions that person were referred to with a break down on the amount of persons placed in each category?

    3- What is the criteria for the issueance of work permit renewal from the Department?

    4- Is the above criteria the same across the Board, or do special persons and companies get preferential treatment from the Commisoner and her staff?

  • jug (08/11/2012, 11:00) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Check NannyCay they letting off the Local to bring in the ENGLISH dem they don't like BLACK PEOPLE they only pretending
    • nonsense (08/11/2012, 13:45) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      what nonsense, more like has something to do with the work ethic and skill set required than anything to do with the color of someones skin
  • mother hen (08/11/2012, 11:03) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Dr. Smith go tell that to all the Public Officers that have had their careers destroyed by the likes of your ministers after the 2011 elections....
    • rest room (08/11/2012, 12:46) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      What is happening in the service is also happening in ALL the other stat bodies too.
  • Massive (08/11/2012, 12:10) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    The ignorant people on here posting nonsense need to realize this is exactly why the Republicans lost this Election. This is 2012, no longer will ignorance be the order of the day. People can now research things for themselves and get information in the flash of a second. This is not about race, it's about reality. The reality is that there's no absolute need for companies to have 100 staff here when it's cheaper to have 20 here and 80 overseas, that's just logic and math. If you own a company you would not want the Government telling you who you can hire. Most companies, headed by black or white are concerned about making money, they could give a shit what color you are as long as you are keeping their business profitable and clients returning. Attitude isn't black or white. White expats are fired and sent home by fellow white expats all the time for non-performance so stop behaving like it's a black thing. It's a productivity thing, an attitude thing, a performance thing. If you can't get your act together you won't have a job, it's simple! If you work for someone, make sure that you work so hard that you would be the last person on that job to be laid off.

    Please stop posting ignorance for the world to see. We all have freedom of speech and expression but when you know better do better. Everybody knows Dr. Smith cares for this country and what kind of person he is. Stop this nonsense about him destroying public servants because it's a lie. Let's focus on the bigger picture and that's making the BVI a world class destination for business which will ensure that our economy continues to grow and our people have a decent standard of life. Willful ignorance doesn't help anyone.
  • ghut massive (08/11/2012, 13:04) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    you want to tell me Deloris came to huntums's and said nothing about the 5th district? Isn't her community meeting for the concerns people have about the 5th district. Look like Dr Smith and the rest of them took her time to talk as
  • Eagle and Buffalo (08/11/2012, 14:21) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    The Premier is asserting that the US election is over and as a result the tourism industry may get a jolt. Yes, the election is over but the US economy is still not structurally sound. Further, just yesterday there were uncomfortable indications coming out of Europe that could slow the US recovery.

    Moreover, at home our economic pillars are fragile and showing some wear that should be cause for concern. The only thing that is constant in these two industries(tourism & financial) is change. Most companies undergo structural adjustments in response to market conditions. Hopefully, this is what driving the adjustment in the industry. Additionally, the tourism industry is tied to
    • two set of pay (08/11/2012, 21:13) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Please be clear that in the BVI GDP per person is not the same as income per person.

      • Eagle and Buffalo (11/11/2012, 14:47) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        @two set of play. True GDP per capita and income are not the same in the BVI. The GDP per capita ranges between $38-41K (2010 Census should provide a more accurate number). The GDP per capita is more like the median, ie, some income will be above and some below the median. Clearly, income levels in the BVI like in other countries vary. The GDP is a snap shot of the standard of living in the territory and not a true or accurate dispersion of the territory's revenue.
  • Business Sense (08/11/2012, 14:31) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    It does not take much business sense to realise the reason for outsourcing, BVI makes it very difficult to live, work and conduct business in its territories. Being a BVI lander it is hard to see how over the years we have allowed our youths' educational standards to fall along the wayside. They are the foundation of building the nation and yet they are very complacent and nonchalant with life and its course. If they realised they are stakeholders in this pie they would step up, but how can they when the leaders are not emphasizing on what is more important! With rent prices, cost of living and economic crunches haunting the budgets of the businessmen it will be harder to hire anyone vs outsourcing it to countries such as Sri Lanka and China. Unless the problems are handled from the root up we will never come face to face with resolving the "real" issues. What is also very strange is how long it took the officials to realise this was an actual problem when it has been going so long.
  • cut it (08/11/2012, 20:30) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    everywhere else in the world, gov expenditure (civil service) is being slashed.....yet this buffonn party NDP playin politricks promisin no job cuts???????????

  • cspan (09/11/2012, 05:23) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Dr. Smith you need to stand up for your people and your country what the trust companies are doing to our people is wrong!
  • lord (09/11/2012, 10:39) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Some of the same people complaining about not being able to get jobs are mostly the ones who have no qualifications and a poor attitude or qualifications and a poor attitude

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