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'For years we played chess with people’s lives'- Premier Fahie

- said Gov’t cannot continue to regularise people just for votes
Premier and Minister of Finance Honourable Andrew A. Fahie (R1), as promised, has been responding to concerns about the residency and belongership ‘fast track initiative’ via the Facebook page Premier’s Special Projects. Photo: GIS/File
Some of the questions Premier and Minister of Finance Honourable Andrew A. Fahie (R1) has been faced with and which he has responded to via the Facebook page Premier’s Special Projects. Photo: GIS/File
Some of the questions Premier and Minister of Finance Honourable Andrew A. Fahie (R1) has been faced with and which he has responded to via the Facebook page Premier’s Special Projects. Photo: GIS/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI - Amid criticisms and concerns from locals towards the residency and belongership ‘fast track initiative’, Premier and Minister of Finance, Honourable Andrew A. Fahie (R1), as promised, has been responding to those concerns via the Facebook page 'Premier’s Special Projects.'

One of the questions Premier Fahie responded to on May 9, 2019, was whether he had conducted studies on the programme, which kicks in on Monday, May 13 and ends on Friday, May 31, 2019.

The regularisation programme is for eligible persons living and working in the Virgin Islands (VI) for 15 years and more.

‘This is not the way we treat people’ - Hon Fahie

According to Hon Fahie, “For years we have been playing chess with the lives of people, regularising them based on votes and before an election. This is not the way we treat people. History teaches us this when our forefathers left home to work, some even stayed and made those places their homes.”

The Leader of Government Business added that his Government is exercising courage and fairness, and not making decisions for political points.

“For long we have been hearing about policies being evaluated, re-evaluated, evaluated and then re-evaluated. We are doing the opposite. We are being bold and are making the decisions that others were afraid to do because of conflict of interest and personal interest. We cannot continue to play with people’s lives,” he said.

Premier Fahie reminded that persons being considered are not persons that just arrived in the Territory but those that are resident in the Virgin Islands (VI) for 15 or more years with no police record.

“They are not strangers being invited in. They are our church brothers and sisters, colleagues, friends, coworkers, limin' partners, neighbours. Many know no other home and for them this (BVI) is home.”

Does the Premier care about implications?

One of the criticisms of the short-term policy is that there may be implications for the Territory and persons wanted to know whether Government had seriously taken that into consideration before rolling out the fast track regularisation initiative.

Premier Fahie responded by saying he is a “BVIslander” with both parents also being indigenous.

“As BVIslanders, our forebearers always taught us to do what is right and the Bible says do unto others as you would have them do unto you. In this case, for those who want to truly make BVI their home and have been making a concerted effort in many ways contributing to this economy, as a country we must do what is right.” 

33 Responses to “'For years we played chess with people’s lives'- Premier Fahie”

  • fact (11/05/2019, 13:22) Like (55) Dislike (7) Reply
    We support our premier
    • Comment (12/05/2019, 09:22) Like (4) Dislike (17) Reply

      Tell me is the government of the BVI truly for its citizens affairs? Every citizen in the BVI must read this comparison report and judge for yourself. BVI is it not time for us to speak up? Truly if you have lived in a country for over 20+ years you should be afforded rights in that country, but for everyone else it is NOW time to close the Door!

      Bermuda is approximately (665 mi) with a population of 61,070 - migrant workers accounted for 20% of the total population.

      British Virgin Islands is approximately (59 sq mi) BVI population 31,758 -In 2004, migrant workers accounted for 50% of the total population.

      Now view the Bermuda government’s policies below:

      Bermuda: Business Environment
      Residence And Property

      Children born in Bermuda, without either parent being Bermudian by birth or status at the time, are not Bermudian. They are NOT allowed to register to vote in any election after they become 18 years old. All British Commonwealth nationals including Australians, Britons, Canadians, New Zealanders and West Indians and all other non Bermudians of good character and reputation who have been long term residents of Bermuda for 20 or more years but were refused Bermuda status if they applied for it and were not registered to vote in 1979, are NOT allowed to register to vote.
      There is no longer any mechanism providing for any other individuals who may also be long term residents of Bermuda, but who do not have close family ties with Bermudians, to become local citizens. Without this designation, they can never vote. And because they cannot, nor can they ever own mid priced real estate by Bermuda's standards. They are limited to the top 5% in price and Annual Rentable Value (ARV).
      However, a few concessions were granted in 2002 to some non-Bermudians with over 20 years of continuous residence and demonstrated good character and conduct. They took effect on October 31, 2002 with the enactment of the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Act 2002. Having a qualifying Bermudian connection is key to getting status after 20 years. Otherwise, there is no chance at all of getting Bermuda Status (citizenship). At the time of writing, about 400 people - 100 all of whose brothers and sisters are Bermudians; 80 parents of whose children are Bermudians; and 220 who were registered as voters on the Parliamentary Register before May 1, 1976 - are entitled to apply for Bermuda Status. All others with over 20 years of continuous residence can apply for Permanent Resident Certificate (PRC). Those with a Working Resident Certificate (WRC) - introduced in 1998 - must still apply for a PLC as some years have passed since they proved their eligibility. Having a PRC will provide security of employment and residence to long term residents. But having either a PRC or WRC does not entitle any non-Bermudian to buy lower or mid-priced real estate. They continue to be limited to the top 5% in price and Annual Rentable Value (ARV).
      The Bermuda Immigration and Protection Act 1956 requires that a non-Bermudian, not being married to a Bermudian, must obtain a work permit, and this will only be granted if there is no suitably qualified Bermudian. Positions must first be advertised locally before a permit is applied for, although this requirement is often waived for senior positions. Work permits are normally granted for one year (longer in the case of senior posts). Permits are not normally given to people with more than two children.
      The cost of a work permit is met by the future employer, and varies according to the proposed length of employment. Effective 1st April 2010, work permits costs range from USD721 for a one-year permit to USD5,150 for a five-year permit. The soon-to-be-introduced ten-year permit will cost USD20,000. The ten-year permit was announced during a speech to the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce by Minister for Economy, Trade and Industry, Kim Wilson in late April, 2011.
      Foreigners are more or less unable to buy land or property, other than houses with an Annual Rental Value (ARV) in excess of BMD177,000.
      In June 2007, the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Amendment Act 2007 and seven related Regulations come into force representing the first complete overhaul and modernization of Part VI of the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Act 1956 since the Act came into effect. It marks the culmination of the legislative process through which this Part was amended to bring into law what was the Government’s land policy and, in particular, to address the problem of “fronting”, by which means non-Bermudians have gained control over land in Bermuda either while avoiding the licensing regime or in defiance of the Government’s land-holding policy. Additionally, the Regulations ensconce in law certain administrative rules supporting Part VI of the 1956 Act.
      Purchase of properties by non-Bermudians requires a license from the Minister, and payment of a fee of 25% (at the time of writing) of the value of the property.
      NB: This is a very abbreviated summary of the complex rules governing property purchase or rental in Bermuda.
      • A True Leader takes the lead (12/05/2019, 13:43) Like (29) Dislike (3) Reply
        @comment. Hon. Fahie is the “unconventional” Premier necessary for these times, not only for the Virgin Islands, but throughout the Caribbean. He is setting precedence for others nations to “reassess” how they have been treating our Caribbean Brothers and Sisters who seek to survive and live and take care of their families like any other descendants of once enslaved people.

        There is no coincidence that he was invited to St. Kitts, and there he spoke about Unity between our Caribbean diaspora. We are but a spec among the giant global nations, and as such, it is time for one leader in the diaspora to challenge the mindsets of our Caribbean leaders to think beyond the they verses us mentality.

        We are but One People who share similar experiences.

        Today, our little nation is on the Caribbean stage (and the World) setting precedence in Sports, Constitutional Issues, and yes- Residency Grace of Regularization for our Caribbean Brothers and Sisters who have lived among us all these years. This is bigger than all the other Caribbean islands who have been conditioned to think one way for the benefit of others who do not have our best interest, as a collective, at heart.

        These are unconventional times and require unconventional thinking if we expect to become sustainable within all this global chaos. One leader must take the lead for others to reflect and realize the wisdom for such actions.

        Today is not the time to be doing the same things and expecting different results for our people.
        • @A True Leader takes the lead (12/05/2019, 22:27) Like (6) Dislike (10) Reply
          No dear, the Premier is not doing anything new what he is doing is the old status quo. It is time he and the rest understand that the people of the BVI run this nation and not them. A new page is turning we want change now!!
      • Correction... (12/05/2019, 23:09) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        Bermuda - Although usually referred to in the singular, the territory consists of 181 islands, with a total area of (20.6 square miles).
      • facts (13/05/2019, 06:42) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        British Overseas Territory
        Area: 53.2 km²
        Population: 65,441 (2017) World Bank
  • Love (11/05/2019, 14:55) Like (44) Dislike (6) Reply
    This is a PREMIER with a conscience.Thank you Honourable premier You are a god sent.
  • concern (11/05/2019, 15:34) Like (17) Dislike (47) Reply
    I’m thinking about the amount of people that is going towards getting belonger. It’s ridiculous because you have a backlog already there, why not get rid of those and come again six months time? Anyone who have interest in the BVI would see that this is not good. People getting belonger their children automatically get belonger who is underage. Where in this small country will there be space for so many people?
    What happen to the people of the bvi.
    It is a sad thing, what does the opposition have to say about this?
    • Be Blessed! (11/05/2019, 16:57) Like (33) Dislike (3) Reply
      Dear writer I understand your concerns and point taken. These are people that are living, working, paying taxes and contributing to the development of the country. The time has come for these people to be rewarded for there hard work and dedication. No need to worry, please remember we are here for a season this world is not our home. God is using the premeier to bless his people who have been crying out to him for justice. God has heard to cry of his people. Read the scriptures a government that takes care of Gods people will be bless. This is biblical support the move. We shall continue to live together in peace and harmony. Give unto Ceaser what is Ceaser's and to God what is his.
      • wize up (12/05/2019, 22:00) Like (16) Dislike (2) Reply
        @ be blessed: no disrespect but people from the west indies living in our territory are treated far differently to the people from Europe residing among us: I presume because the europeans have more cash flow and influence on the political leadership they are treated far different to the West Indians:some of our forefathers left the shores of this territory and took-up residence in various west indian islands and sent funding back to this BVI: some europeans comes to the BVI make land purchases thereafter restricts the citizen of our territory from trespassing; some Europeans are granted water rights and those beach we who from here can no longer go to those beaches: the west indians mingles with us; teach our children in various schools; health care sectors; rent our property while most of the europeans reside in their private villas: gated communities: develop private exercise gyms: private bike clubs in our territory: let me add this; after those two hurricanes it’s the Caribbean People that assisted with rebuilding while our own nationals took the first mode of transportation to Atlanta; New York: no disrespect to anyone because I have family members and I usually see them when they come home for funerals and they all from right here however they living in another jurisdiction for many many years
        • @wize up (13/05/2019, 20:22) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
          You talk as if the ‘other’ Caribbean population in our country helped to rebuild your nation for free; out of the kindness of their hearts like good Christian missionary workers. No my dear, they did not. Humans are humans black, white, and the other. Money talks and US dollars especially and not many can walk away from the dollar bill. Additionally, there were also many persons from other Caribbean islands that left the country after the storms and many were forced to leave at our boarders after being caught with stolen goods.
    • @concern (11/05/2019, 17:23) Like (30) Dislike (4) Reply
      The highest Respect should be given to Honorable Premier Fahie for making such a Bold move.

      More are with him than against him and those who wish to do him harm.

      It is the right thing to do. Let it be etched here, that in the present and not so distant future this single act done by this Premier will gain some of the most positive and significant results toward the uplifting of a downtrodden people and garner a more holistic and sustainable effort together, towards the building of our beloved country we all call home.

      How can these people who have contributed to the building of our country, with children born in the territory, be relegated to begging for some basic human dignity after all these years. The wickedness of the few has finally been overturned.

      The pyramid has indeed been flipped and our Premier is “undeniably” the capstone of sound reasoning and fairness along with his team, in these trying times of the loud few who are so adamant against change. Continue to steer the course Premier- more are with you and your team, than those against.

    • Citizen (11/05/2019, 17:39) Like (19) Dislike (5) Reply
      My Friend the people you are talking about is already leaving here with their children. What's the difference? Have a good HEART with a little love.
      • @-citizen (12/05/2019, 09:40) Like (6) Dislike (2) Reply
        You sound so evil. You should have a heart? You love your country and so do we, and not because it is a rich country. So we should sit down and allow our country to fall from our hands because some of our citizens have left? When you return to your country and others have taken it over because the citizens desired not to speak up I hope you don’t have a ‘HEART’ ATTACK!
    • Who Knows?? (11/05/2019, 21:10) Like (14) Dislike (3) Reply
      What an uninformed comment. No need to be concerned, the people who are eligible for the status have been living here already for more han 15 years and the "people of the BVI" have not beem displaced.
    • Stupes (11/05/2019, 21:48) Like (13) Dislike (2) Reply
      Are you a fool? Please expand on the harm this is creating. Like, every other decision made in life there are outcomes- good or bad, I’m sure there are stipulations that will govern such a decision. Secondly, stop being selfish! I’m sure your kids received government scholarships 10 years ago and yet to come home to contribute to OUR social security and NHI that’s really taking care of your own ppl! It’s those same outsiders you want to keep out or feel should not be privileged to have such titles are the ones contributing religiously to the betterment of this “little island/country” you are referring to! Thirdly, this place needs investment- not just from the same “wealthy” ones we keep hearing about owning and controlling so much -o! My bad, perhaps you are one of them! You feel threatened?? Get rid of the slavery mentality and look at this as a step forward for the BVI, cuz its these same people you’re referring to gonna be the ones finally investing and spreading the joy like Santa on Christmas morning. Y’all so afraid of being kind ? People like you make me sick to my stomach. Let’s hope that with the mentality you have it ain’t an outsider save your life down Peebles, cuz again - your kids or relative ain’t returned home since 1999 to provide services down Peebles
      • Wow (12/05/2019, 04:12) Like (6) Dislike (6) Reply
        @Stupes It is hate like this that is expressed every day towards Virgin Islanders that contribute to them feeling threatened. I know their are some among us who genuinely care for the BVI and its people but from your expression you are not one of them.
    • @Concerned (12/05/2019, 09:29) Like (3) Dislike (8) Reply
      I agree with your comment completely, but maybe the citizens of this territory will finally be motivated to speak out publicly about these issues and not wait for the next election motorcade to express themselves. Writing to the Premier, express your concerns to your district reps. Demand public meetings and don’t give up until there is immigration reform in the BVI.
    • To Concern (12/05/2019, 09:32) Like (11) Dislike (0) Reply
      What space are you talking about? We are talking about people who have lived here for 15 to 30 years, and even more in some cases.
    • very sad (13/05/2019, 10:34) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
      All these people are resident here already. You do not need more space for them.
  • Non BVI Longer (11/05/2019, 19:20) Like (8) Dislike (2) Reply
    The back log will be first. Theses people have had applications in too for more than fifteen years. They are eligible too. Not everyone who applies will be approved. We must remember this
    • Reply (12/05/2019, 09:01) Like (18) Dislike (3) Reply
      Ndp would have never done this for the island people

      We giving vip 16 years in office bam
  • candy (12/05/2019, 06:52) Like (7) Dislike (6) Reply
    It seem like a fair idea. My question is why so much so fast. The system did not keep up before and now we has thousands people at the same time. How do we expect them to be processed right ? Do the right thing but do it properly and not hastily. I am not comfortable for the flood gates to be open cuz government hasn't been doing things right for long time. Two weeks for thousands don't make no sense at all !
  • one eye (12/05/2019, 06:55) Like (18) Dislike (1) Reply
    We support this initiative fahie keep focus we with you
    • courageous (12/05/2019, 11:38) Like (15) Dislike (0) Reply
      Great move. Clear out those outstanding resident and belongers applications first.. Some of those were under great oppression and victimization.... Take great courage to do this initiative.. Nuff nough respect and admiration four you Premiere..
  • Fight against good (12/05/2019, 11:32) Like (12) Dislike (1) Reply
    Who God bless no man curse. Follow your Godly calling Andrew. Do the good God put in your heart. In the end. Its God alone your health strength and prosperity come from.
  • back biters (12/05/2019, 17:38) Like (5) Dislike (1) Reply
    heard many of those who I thought done retired out of politics gone down by Isis to a meeting. Well sah
  • World citizen (13/05/2019, 07:32) Like (10) Dislike (1) Reply
    @ Comment.
    Sir or mam, please stop twisting things to make yourself look good! Bermuda is NOT 600 and something square miles. It is just over 50 something square miles - less than the BVI which is 59 square miles. BVI's population is around 30 000 while Bermuda's population is around 65 000 - twice as much as the BVI. And guess what? I don't hear them complaining that they are full.
    Actually, they are happy for this size population. They have a reasonable size local market. Just ask a business man the importance of having people around to support your business. Maybe u could have a talk with Elton.
    Lastly, do we need to use a country with such a discriminatory immigrant policy as our benchmark? What would have happened to many of us in the BVI if St. Thomas and Puerto Rico had similar policies in place? Do u think the immigrants in Bermuda are going to feel any patriotism towards that place? Do u think they are going to spend their money there? Do u think if something should happen, these people are going to stand up and fight for Bermuda? The answer is obvious.
    I have a good friend working there. He is well paid but guess what? He doesn't invest a cent in the country. Reason being there is no future there for him so he has bought a home in his native country and more recently one in Atlanta. Can we blame him? Couldn't all this money help to grow the economy of Bermuda?
    Hon. Premier, u r a wise man. What u r doing will benefit the BVI in the long run. We are not displacing anyone. We are not taking away anyone's birthright. All we want is to be able to continue contributing to this country without the fear of being sent back home.
    • @World citizen (13/05/2019, 19:58) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
      Unfortunately the reality is that this is a small nation and we can not accommodate the whole world’s citizens, nor can your mother countries. If so many persons from other regions would not be living in the BVI. Every country practice population control in order to safe guard its resources and citizens. The BVI is no exception just because ‘you’ have chosen to live here. Remember too that anyone that is GIVEN rights to a country can always be forced to leave that country in many situations.
  • Fran (13/05/2019, 09:04) Like (3) Dislike (6) Reply
    The facts are, the government when VIP was in office years before NDP, made the people suffer and feel hopeless. VIP was making us feel hopeless with their slogan “if you’re not with us, then you’re against us”. If we didn’t bow down to you then we would never be able to live here fairly and that is why NDP won the election. So please stop treating us as though we are stupid. If you only admit things were wrong then and you will try to fix this bullying attitude, then I would have respect for you as a honest person. Right now I am sick of the same finger pointing and want to see the changes that the people need. Stop beating a dead horse which is NDP and put your money where your mouth is.
    • Obviously (13/05/2019, 12:43) Like (4) Dislike (2) Reply
      Fran, you did not read the memo. As emphasized, “We do not have a money problem; what we had was a management problem, and inclusion is a perfect example of proper management first-priority for orientation around a shared visionary mission.
  • Challenger (13/05/2019, 22:13) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    backlog should have been cleared first.
    issuing amnesty for residency solves the problem of people being conserned that they dont have security that their permits will be renewed each year and hence...dont " invest" in te residency takes care of that.
    giving belongership away so easily is dangerous for the people of the british virgin islands. i think that once residency is aprooved...then the wait period to apply for belingershio should.have been INCREASED from 2 year to 5 years but with the assurance that they will be processed withing 6 months. dont give it all away VIP

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