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'Fast Track Initiative' causing division, but Premier is right – Caller

- Male caller reiterates, ‘why the rush?’ given backlog of persons seeking to get regularised
On the Thursday, May 16 edition of ‘Hard Talk’ on Tola Radio VI, Host Julio S. Henry with guests Mr Elton Callwood and Ramoamasagana Pemberton aka ‘Masa’, the topic got heated over ‘why the rush’ when a caller interjected to add his voice to the conversation. Photo: Facebook
Following questions of 'Why the Rush?' The Premier and Minister of Finance had asked “Why not the rush?
Following questions of 'Why the Rush?' The Premier and Minister of Finance had asked “Why not the rush?" at a Monday, May 13, 2019, regularisation meeting at the Multi-Purpose Sports Complex in Road Town, Tortola. "If a person has been here 20, 30, 40 years and has not been regularised, that in itself cannot be what God is asking us to do…and that is what I feel in my heart,” Premier Fahie said. Photo: Facebook
“I think our Priority is our recovery… it is a problem and as a government, part of their responsibility is to try to address all the problems, these problems do not need to be such a highlighted situation,” he said in reference to the backlash created from the new immigration initiative. Photo: VINO/File
“I think our Priority is our recovery… it is a problem and as a government, part of their responsibility is to try to address all the problems, these problems do not need to be such a highlighted situation,” he said in reference to the backlash created from the new immigration initiative. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – As the debate over immigration reform in the Virgin Islands (VI) continues, it appears that the Virgin Islands Party (VIP) ‘Fast Track Initiative’ led by Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) is creating some amount of rift over whether the move by the administration to regularise expats living and working in the Virgin Islands for 15 years and more should be priority at this time.

The announcement first made on Tuesday, May 7, 2019, saw the Premier announcing open applications for persons seeking to attain Residency status and Belongership in the Virgin Islands for two weeks, starting Monday, May 13, 2019, and closing on Friday, May 31, 2019, at 6:00 pm.

However, on the Thursday, May 16, 2019, edition of ‘Hard Talk’ on Tola Radio VI, Host Julio S. Henry with guests Mr Elton Callwood and Ramoamasagana Pemberton aka ‘Masa’, the topic got heated over ‘Why the rush?’ when a caller interjected to add his voice to the conversation.

Premier Fahie had asked “Why not the rush?" at a Monday, May 13, 2019, regularisation meeting at the Multi-Purpose Sports Complex in Road Town, Tortola.

"If a person has been here 20, 30, 40 years and has not been regularised, that in itself cannot be what God is asking us to do…and that is what I feel in my heart,” Premier Fahie said.

Premier is right – Caller

According to the ‘Hard Talk’ Caller, “I just want to speak to the issue that I see is growing, because of this Belonger and regularisation situation. It seems like it’s causing a major division in the country because a group of BVIlanders choose to articulate their position, and maybe it wasn’t articulated well so now the response is Them vs Us,” he stated.

“In principle, what the Premier is doing is the right things, you cannot have persons contributing and in a country with a sense of uncertainty. The problem is how we going about it, why the rush?”

However, the caller was of the opinion that rather than push the programme now, deal with the backlog then implement the ‘Fast track initiative, “deal with the backlog, and while they dealing with the backlog you fix the legislation to prevent this problem moving forward… why the rush?" he reiterated.

Deal with Priorities

The caller noted that it is not a case of locals not wanting to regularise persons but it is just not a priority at the moment.

“But the people need to know, it is not an Us vs Them,” he said, “We have allowed persons into the territory before my time, so we do not have a prejudice against non-Islanders.”  

On the matter of priority, both the hosts and guests agreed that the Territory should be focusing on rebuilding after the devastation of hurricanes Irma and Maria of 2017.

“I think our priority is our recovery… it is a problem and as a government, part of their responsibility is to try to address all the problems. These problems do not need to be such a highlighted situation,” the caller said in reference to the backlash created from the new immigration initiative.

He said further, the VIP administration should have focused on why there is such an issue in terms of a long process to get regularised in the first place and which has led to the backlog.

“Deal with the backlog but do not compound the problem by adding more applications to backlog applications already,” he said in closing. 

Premier Fahie, in acknowledging a backlog, had indicated that with the Fast Track Initiative, existing applicants would get auto-entry into the programme.

2 Responses to “'Fast Track Initiative' causing division, but Premier is right – Caller ”

  • thank you (17/05/2019, 15:01) Like (19) Dislike (7) Reply
    The caller is correct and I think that’s what most people are saying. I can’t understand why people fail to understand and is cussing the locals like that. I’m an expat and I live here over 20 years and I don’t believe in the rush. Why put more on plenty that is already in. Come on people keep calm and respect the country and it’s pe
  • always (17/05/2019, 18:23) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    The expats who cursing the locals are the ones who always doing it. They feel like the locals should not have a say in their country. We are seeing who think they are entitled now.


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