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Is Premier Smith heeding Omar W. Hodge’s warnings after the fact?

- by recently announcing that his Government will be proposing changes to the VI's residency & belongership policies?
The late legislator Omar W. Hodge, left, had been known to fight for resident expatriates in the Virgin Islands to be regularised. Premier Dr The Hon D. Orlando Smith (AL), right, recently announced that his government will be proposing changes to our residency and belongership policies in the first quarter of 2018 to address many long-standing and newly-emerging issues in this area. Photo:
The Virgin Islands is considered a melting pot of people from all over the world, including the Caribbean islands, United States of America, the Philippines and Europe. Photo: Internet Source
The Virgin Islands is considered a melting pot of people from all over the world, including the Caribbean islands, United States of America, the Philippines and Europe. Photo: Internet Source
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI - When the now deceased long serving legislator and member of the Virgin Islands Party (VIP) Honourable Omar Wallace Hodge sounded one of his usual warnings to the Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL) Administration to have non-VIslanders regularised or be hit by an “Earthquake”, did he foresee the devastation caused by the recent natural disasters or was it the obvious rift, as has been playing out on social media, that seems to be very strong between expatriates and locals?

Mr Hodge when given the opportunity to make remarks at the 46th Fundraising gala of the VIP on March 4, 2017 had this to say:

“It is through repeated trials, approbation, cooperation and a willingness to humble selves that we have brought these Virgin Islands from a bird sanctuary to a proper base of hope, and a strong hope for the future and when I said I am talking about the Virgin Islanders and the people who came here in search of a better life, the mixed Caribbean people, that’s why you see I am always fighting with every government to have this amnesty to properly regularise the people.”

“So I would like to urge Premier Orlando Smith to move with this now, you have to do this now or this earthquake is going to hit us, it’s going to do a lot of damage, I am telling you and I am hoping that Dr Orlando Smith, the Premier, [listens] because they have a report there where I took the strongest of what I had here in the country down to Prospect Reef for nearly a year to put a report together it right there…These people worked, they worked they helped us to build these Virgin Islands.”

On deaf ears?

This seems to have been taken lightly by the NDP leadership of the territory and then there were floods that caused major destructions on Tortola, followed by the major devastation of Hurricane Irma and next Hurricane Maria.

It meant that many expats, in the thousands, left the island as they had no bindings here and many are not likely to return. With the exodus has also gone a certain spending power, according to persons who spoke to this newsroom.
For those that have stayed, it is a battle to feel accepted as someone making a valuable contribution to the Territory.

Further, children born in the Territory have no rights as VIslanders, and even though they are made to sing the Territorial Song in schools and told to have National Pride, the truth remains they find it hard to do so when they are not treated as someone who belongs to the Territory.

However, before Mr Hodge closed his eyes, Premier Smith made an announcement, which many feels will set out to in some way other the other to do just what Mr Hodge recommended. Recently in a statement that pointed directly to the very set of persons Mr Hodge spoke for, expatriate residents in the territory, Premier Smith said, “Many of you, both here in the BVI and temporarily in other parts of the world, have made significant contributions to the development of the BVI. You are part of the BVI family and we are very grateful for your contributions.”

“My Government will, therefore, be proposing changes to our residency and belongership policies in the first quarter of 2018 to address many long-standing and newly-emerging issues in this area,” the Premier added.

According to the Premier, government had planned to roll out the changes by the end of 2017 but said the September 6 and 18, 2017 hurricanes shifted their focus but said that at the same time the hurricanes increased the need for government to resolve the issues with the territory’s residency and belongership policies.

Premier Smith was not specific about what those change/s will be but said government will consult with the public on the matter.

8 Responses to “Is Premier Smith heeding Omar W. Hodge’s warnings after the fact?”

  • i from here (05/01/2018, 11:21) Like (16) Dislike (16) Reply
    Poor locals look how we getting sold out
    • i not from here (06/01/2018, 21:15) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
      Better get a degree or certificate in a skill or something. One one hand, locals MUST be looked after and not abandoned, I mean come on...they're locals. Themz dah children of dah soil yo! However this "entitled" "I from here" mentality will not help locals for much longer (some expats believe this is due to inbreeding but meh) as this world is getting more and more one big village. Mark my words, soon and very soon whether you are a Hodges' unlces' auntys' sister twice removed, it will not get you or secure a job. It is whether you have the qualifications to work at said business because in the end, a smart (emphasis on smart) business owner will not give two flying fagiggles "who you fah" but can you make his or her business/organization Mmmmoney. The Bottom Line.
  • Roadtownrebel (05/01/2018, 11:32) Like (15) Dislike (3) Reply
    This is just another vote gimmick. Don't fall for it look at how born here persons, persons with immigration status are being treated by this gang.
  • go away (05/01/2018, 12:15) Like (17) Dislike (7) Reply
    Premier . please resign .
  • brad boynes. (05/01/2018, 16:39) Like (13) Dislike (6) Reply
    It time for the BVI to protect BVIslanders and those already granted status here.
  • chat (05/01/2018, 17:17) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    No please stay right where you are you didn't bring Irma they need to stop talking foolishness and look to god these are the last days
  • I am an expat (05/01/2018, 19:49) Like (7) Dislike (1) Reply
    One of the traits of a great leader is the way he treats "all people" Mr Hodge was truly the " people's man" his love for BVI Islanders were well noted in his many speeches in the House of Assemble, in the 6th district and anywhere he went However regardless of your nationality he will stop listen to you and will assist in anyway he could even when you couldn't" vote for him ". He was very passionate and sometimes he came over as being harsh in his statement s but he was truly a gentleman. I remember when he broke ...i think it was the maze? (sorry if i did not get it right ) that was the man. He was heavily condemned for his action but that who he was ...a passionate man who gets his point across but he was i repeat a gentleman...a leader. ..."The peoples man" .....a man for all people. May his soul rest in peace.
  • Why (08/01/2018, 09:28) Like (0) Dislike (2) Reply
    Are we going to have our land confiscated to give to these new people? Why do we have to make ourselves into a voting minority in order to please everyone else? These actions are only going to encourage others to move here.
    This is only a politician's thing. It is not the people's thing. Because, why should any people want to loose majority status in their own homeland? The influx will not end, but only increase.

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