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Encourage VIslanders in diaspora to come home- Caller

- said it’s a better option than ‘bringing strangers’
A caller to the radio programme Speak out BVI with Doug Wheatley, aired on ZBVI 780 AM on May 21, 2019, suggested that Government embarks on an initiative to encourage Virgin Islanders living abroad to come home to contribute to the development of the Territory. Photo: VINO
Host of Speak Out BVI Mr Doug Wheatley has said it was an 'interesting suggestion' that Virgin Islanders in the diaspora be encouraged to come home and noted another commentator recently suggested something similar. Photo: VINO/File
Host of Speak Out BVI Mr Doug Wheatley has said it was an 'interesting suggestion' that Virgin Islanders in the diaspora be encouraged to come home and noted another commentator recently suggested something similar. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- A caller to the radio programme Speak out BVI with Doug Wheatley, aired on ZBVI 780 AM on May 21, 2019, suggested that Government embarks on an initiative to encourage Virgin Islanders living abroad to come home to contribute to the development of the Territory.

The discussion at the time was on the ‘fast track’ Residency and Belonger status Regularisation Programme rolled out by Government for eligible persons living and working in the Territory for 15 years and more.

“Maybe, instead of doing what the Premier [Honourable Andrew A. Fahie (R1)] wants to do, you should embark on an effort to bring the citizens home. There are lots of tradesmen, especially in St Thomas, that can come home. If you going to help these other people, you should help your own people.”

Offer them land

According to the male caller, Government can entice Virgin Islanders in the diaspora by offering them land. “So the Government should try to bring their own people home to populate the place and use their skills acquired abroad.”

It was the view of the caller that a lot of Virgin Islanders abroad want to come home; however, some of them are “not able” to make that effort since things are not as easy as it used to be in the 60s and 70s, “because everybody is going to America now.”

“People want to come home. Their children want to come and see the place and participate. We can do like Israel. They invited all their citizens home from anywhere in the world.  They can come home, participate and use their skills, and I think we can do that, instead of bringing strangers in and giving them those people’s lands. That what’s going to be happening, and I don’t think it is right. I don’t know who advised the Premier on this, he must have advisors, and I don’t know why all the other Members going along.”

Host Doug Wheatley said it was an “interesting suggestion” and noted another commentator recently suggested something similar.

21 Responses to “Encourage VIslanders in diaspora to come home- Caller”

  • Now you Know (22/05/2019, 07:21) Like (4) Dislike (11) Reply
    Ndp was bad news
  • Kingfish (22/05/2019, 08:39) Like (31) Dislike (5) Reply
    Easier said than done, I have heard this phase many times: "You left when things were bad and now that things are better you want to come back, we don't need you". Not too many people wish to be subjected to nasty comments like that.
  • Kingfish (22/05/2019, 08:39) Like (4) Dislike (3) Reply
    Easier said than done, I have heard this phase many times: "You left when things were bad and now that things are better you want to come back, we don't need you". Not too many people wish to be subjected to nasty comments like that.
    • Lilly (22/05/2019, 11:21) Like (14) Dislike (14) Reply
      Yes we need them. some people go off fir higher education and afterwards want to gain some experience and when they try to return there is very little hope. I know of several nurses who wanted to return home and applied several times and did not even receive an acknowledgment. Meanwhile the hospital is filled with people from elsewhere because someone from elsewhere is responsible for doing the hiring.
      • @lily (23/05/2019, 03:21) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
        That’s is false news because honerable Skelton made it madatory that any virgins islander who is a registered nurse automatically gets a job down at the hospital
    • Hmmm (22/05/2019, 15:22) Like (19) Dislike (0) Reply
      As a BVIslander who lived abroad and then returned home. It is a hard road, you are not welcome and must first prove that you are indeed a BVIslander and is here to contribute. I am having second thoughts about staying here as everyday is a struggle on an interpersonal level. we bvislanders are mean and negative to each other, muchless the expats.
  • l (22/05/2019, 09:02) Like (27) Dislike (4) Reply
    You can't just expect people to come home. They are overseas for a reason. They probably making more money overseas. If you offer them more money to come back home, what about us here who are just as qualified, or even more qualified? Am I going to get a raise? Also, where do you find land to give them? Most of the land is privately owned by families. Some of these same people have family with land. People live where they choose to live, including those who choose to come live here....... By the way, I'm a born B V Islander of several generations. I have nowhere else to call home.
    • Country first (22/05/2019, 11:18) Like (7) Dislike (1) Reply
      I - you make some very interesting points. Many BVIslanders are living away because it pleases them to do so. Some of them are now married to people from other countries / continents/ nations (Africa, America, India, Europe etc.) some of whom will not be accepted with the open arms that their spouse who is a BVIslander would, as such, they do not wish to make a home in the BVI. Many of my school mates and friends (indigenous BVIslanders) who moved away from the BVI have no desire to return. They love the BVI and visit when they can but do not wish to live here. An issue with BVI is the lack of opportunities for All. There are many young BVIslanders with great visions for the country, however, these people are not encouraged, it is sad to say but most of the times on account of "who they are for". When the frustration builds these young (and some old) people take their talents elsewhere and other nations benefit. The caller may have a point, however, re-introducing indigenous BVIslanders along with accepting new ones can only strengthen the country. Opening the floodgates or building a wall is not the way to go, I would suggest a thoughtful and balanced approach to the issue of immigration / migration which seems to be plaguing the world.
  • ok (22/05/2019, 10:41) Like (7) Dislike (6) Reply
    The Government themselves, which ever one, choose who they want to like. Don't treat their own right. Nothing against foreigners, but we aren't treated right in our own country and we are already out numbered, caused by our own Government who don't ever care about us.
  • Beach bum blue (22/05/2019, 10:58) Like (7) Dislike (2) Reply
    It’s about time we think smart .Thats a wonderful idea love it.god bless
  • NB (22/05/2019, 12:10) Like (5) Dislike (5) Reply
    Is this supposed to be 'Have a Laugh' column?
  • Don't be Side-tracked (22/05/2019, 15:00) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
    Why would BVIslanders who are law-abiding citizens not feel as though they can come back home whenever they choose? Would they be willing to stand in the lines that they meet and get along with the building-up of this Territory, as those of us who are here are doing? Would they be satisfied to leave their comfort-zone of jobs where they might be entitled to whatever benefits, experience, etc; salaries they are accustomed to, according to the country/state in which they are working; perhaps their children are enrolled in schools with certain privileges as US citizens, etc? People travel for different reasons and stay where they are for their reasons. The BVI has moved on from where it was 20 years ago, and anyone who picks up residence here now should not be made to expect that they can pick up at the level of where others are, who have been here toiling all along for the past 20 and more years.
    I am a hard-working BVIslander, who have toiled onward and upward through the night and anyone else who desires to have a fair chance of toiling and making a good life for themselves are welcomed to do so. Let us continue to get along and accomplish the work at hand.
  • Hynn (22/05/2019, 15:08) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    U don’t have nothing in place for nobody to come back cost of living is not easy so when the young man and woman goes to college when they finish to get a job they have to be related to the whole House of Parliament to get a job so what happen with the rest they have up and down the street doing what they didn’t went school for put things in place first and I will bring back my children to work for a decent pay check
    • beach bum (22/05/2019, 16:24) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      We have to work with each other.and make it happen cost of living is high everywhere.god bless let’s help each other.
  • Beach bum blue (22/05/2019, 16:14) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
    We need to have sign a petition of who wants to come back home and help our island .Im sure bvi islanders will be back by the thousands.god bless.
  • John Tom (22/05/2019, 17:47) Like (9) Dislike (1) Reply
    “Encourage VIslanders in diaspora to come home”, is an excellent recommendation. So many were given government scholarships and choose not to come back and serve their beautiful country. However, when an expatriate full that position its a problem. Its quite alright for them to live in the US and reap benefits but the same should not be extended to an expatriate. How fair is that??..
  • Diaspora (22/05/2019, 18:51) Like (5) Dislike (1) Reply
    Every small locale share the same problem as the BVI is having, ie, recruiting and retaining locals. The BVI is a small economy and outside of service sector jobs there are few opportunities. This lack of opportunity plus the opportunity to earn more, hone skills, enjoy better standard of living and quality of life........etc are contributing factors to the severe brain and skill drain. Other factors that cause people to leave is self hatred(we hate to see each other get along; prefer others over our own locals), and focus on titles (surname; success is a function of one’s title Social stratification is another issue, though it is not prevalent as it use to be. Additionally, being disparaged for leaving to better one self and as running away when things were bad and now wanting to return when things improve to take away opportunities from people who stayed and suck salt is not helpful. Returning home is challenging and is not walk in the park. Once you leave, you are essentially persona non grata; people want to see you come back in a box or to visit. Talking from personal experience.

    Moreover, migrating to developed countries at a certain point becomes a trap. For example, most people leave home with the intention of returning after a few years. Then life happens. If you have children, the return is delayed until the children graduate from high school or when they graduate from college or when you retire from work. Then you throw in grandchildren, health issues/health care, security, changing landscape, changing population.......etc and you stay where you are for your remaining days. Nonetheless, every effort should be exerted to recruit and retain locals; it is not an insurmountable effort.
    • @Diaspora (23/05/2019, 07:56) Like (1) Dislike (2) Reply
      @Diaspora, true but ah yu does go away and forget about the BVI. It becomes too simple and small for ah yu. Ah yu like to love it from afar, tell us on the ground how to do tings. There are drug store cowboys and so too there are drugstore Virgin Islanders living in enclaves abroad, adopting the culture of host countries. Ah yu make me sick. It is a binary choice; you either want to come or not.
      • African Enclave (23/05/2019, 14:48) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
        Nuff BVIINO Virgin Islanders in Rock, NY, MIA, Atl, Torono, UK.....etc. Many don’t even give a thought to BVI, don’t know didly about what is happening in the VI, ashame to embrace the BVI, thumb their noses at the place and people and come back may be for the funeral of close relatives or to quarrel about land. I would not put too much hope on those who emigrated to immigrate back to the VI. Quicker to see a green donkey flying over Road Town. The ones who stayed better get up off dem backside and fight for their rights like other people do? Why do immigrants to the BVI get vex when Virgin Islanders look out for their homeland? Do their homelands have open borders? No. These countries have restrictions, attitudes towards outsiders, ie, Antigua, Barbados, Santo Domingo, St. Martin...,,..etc. Once upon a time, the big islands look down on the small islands, Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad, Guyana, DR....etc. Ain’t karma a bitch.
  • wize up (22/05/2019, 21:35) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
    not playing any political games but NDP did in fact disenfranchise the VI-People: the set that were granted an opportunity saw it fit to no longer give VI people the opportunity to prosper of fail: one of last VI people that was given a substantive post was Malone at TRC: dr smith was was made the chief medical officer over dr thomas: skelton was handed BVI electricity: matavious was given Financial services: social security was given to ms skelton: HMP mr Frett: Sea/air ports the creque brothers: police Malone/Fraser: those days are gone
  • WHY? (24/05/2019, 09:49) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Those who have been gone for a while have made lives elsewhere (much like many expats have done here). Why should they return? Living here is expensive, education for their kids not so great, limited work opportunities, and as others have pointed out, there seems to be an environment of mean spiritedness among locals.


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