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Locals vs Expats

Jacqueline Wheatley Photo: Provided
By Jacqueline Wheatley

Is it typical? Is it offensive? The phrase "Island People" has become more used in a don't care manner than in former years, assuming it's the pretense or reality of both on the defensive end.

Many would agree it is traditionally used, as a means of identity. The war of words between the two, especially Caribbean expats and locals can be a defense for the right and wrong reasons. 

Beleaving these are a younger generation, who do not understand the history of us. Back in the day as we would say there were trade and work between some Islands. The shipwrights would say we going or coming from down island. About the late 50's to 60's,mainly Antigua, St Kitts/Nevis, Montserrat, Anguilla and St Vincent began to migrate to the [British] Virgin Islands (VI). 

We would admit by some locals, they were teased along with the name calling. Dispite that, these people became our neighbours, and we developed a close bond. They blend into our culture, knew everyone like our own and we exchange travel and culture. 

The hotel industry and personal Caucasian home's was the line of work for expats. The mental state of integration, was to provide for themselves and family members in their home land. Locals also work in this industry, and were dominated by the VI People. Our population increased slowly by them sending for other family members to work and school. After closure of some hotels, some locals sought refuge abroad, and some Caribbean expats returedn home. 

As higher education developed in the VI, domestic and trade work was discouraged from continuing by most parents and educators. Looking back we would say they did not know better, but taught it would be better. It did work for many as the VI boomed and politics was favorable for the masses until about the late 90's. We cry "lavity lavity" but after his death a shift in the mind set of governance has changed.

The VI has become "money over matters". The door of integration has opened to the world with no proper evaluation of indeviduals. Even though we benefit from the same skills that we once used, there is an unacceptable behavior that is brought among some. 

The punch line "Them doon war to do day wok" which is not a true statement for locals, is used to shut out locals and for expatriates as a means of survival. Caribbean leaders should drop this slave mentality of domestic work, and raise the standard of equal opportunity employment in their perspective countries.

The feedback of higher education has made some locals "high torted" local slang meaning high minded. In reality we have become our own oppressors. we compete with each other, rather than promote one another. We have created a habit of self validation within the system, driving your own people into the minority.

Policing by expatriates is nothing new to the VI as some may think. Political relations between the islands of Antigua and Barbados took on the role of training locals. Our local force was developed by a number of them coming to work in the VI in earlier years. Combined with locals they performed as if they belong to this country. Law breakers was in before the days end, not because it was slow, they were no-nonsense police. Newcomers should not be swayed by negative comments, but exemplify the same bravery.

We thank God for those who has come and made the VI your home as law abiding citizens, and extended your family among us. As we are in a new era of friendships it is due time we handle our affairs differently. 

The Immigration Department should take over these areas forthwith. Omit restraining orders from staying in the country, when it comes to domestic affairs, and if it becomes unaffordable to live in this country, return home until your sponsor can afford to bring you back. Whereas, negotiations should be made for prison time for heinous crimes committed to be spent in your home country. This will avoid many conflicts between locals and expatriates. 

For locals, there is only a small percent of us who remain culturally knit, have a love for its people and cares about progress. Talking about the VI, for some it is just a career choice. The younger generation especially have to be able to distinguish between the two.

12 Responses to “Locals vs Expats”

  • Xxx (05/04/2021, 10:10) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    An interesting read
  • Da juice (05/04/2021, 10:43) Like (4) Dislike (1) Reply
    Good information, but a wonder if this present administration would be able to look into some matters that was not dealth with fearly a lot of person feeling hard done by immigration n labor
  • GTFOH (05/04/2021, 11:51) Like (18) Dislike (0) Reply
    "Island man" has been a slang that I've heard all my life since the 80's. Even people that were not from here used the term. As children, We mostly used the term to describe the way people dressed especially when they wore clothes with many different colors (didn't match) or had accents that were different than us. Despite the teasing we all got along because everybody knew each other. The problems started when the population exploded from 10,000 to 30,000 and then everybody started seeing each other as competition for jobs, apartments, land etc. instead of neighbours then people start to get defensive and saying that locals are lazy then locals retaliated by saying I from here more, you aint from here and all that kind of stuff. It didn't help when this generation of expats started using the BVI as a temporary place to get some money and leave. A lot of the past generation made the BVI their home and actually built homes here. Their children subsequently were born here so strong relationships developed between the local and expats from 30+ yrs ago.
    • BuzzBvi (05/04/2021, 18:13) Like (10) Dislike (7) Reply
      And many of the recent generations made bvi their home and built houses here but even after 20, 30 years do not get status. Many of their children born here but treated as outsiders because that is what BVislanders choose to believe and created a system to enforce it. The problem may not be from the outside. Culture is the culture you create and live. In the BVi that has been one of exclusion and the results of that become more apparent everyday. It is an odd place where many of the people of here do not live here, but have power here, and the people that live their lives here, build their homes here, have their children here, can never be of here and will never have a voice, a vote or power here. Think we are starting to see what that society and its culture looks like.
      • GTFOH (06/04/2021, 14:02) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
        Status is not automatic. Some people think that because they are here for a long time that they can sit back and do nothing and be granted status without applying. Most people that requested that were here for 30 years are given belonger status if they have no criminal record. Belongers can vote. The child of a belonger will be a belonger. Fahie cleared the backlog of those that fit the criteria if they applied so if anybody don’t have status now they probably didn’t want it or was living in a bubble. Anybody living 20 yes plus that applied, follow the procedures were granted. I think it was over 2000 people if I recall correctly that got either residency or belongership.
  • Bingo (05/04/2021, 13:42) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    "The door has opened to the world with no proper evaluation of individuals.
    ....There is an unacceptable b e hav I our that is brought among some ".
    Considering that the behaviour being referred to can be seen as the catalyst for the poverty and lack of development in the islands from where the infusion of immigrants has arrived and unfotunately,unfortunately, obliterated the character of the BVI which was its resource redp I ndinle for its economic success.
    Naturally, resentment and anger emerge as VIslanders are swimming in the muck and debris of lost value of their identity and culture,quality of life and the real possibility of losing their successful economy to become another "less than" in the island chain of paradise.
  • Pac man (05/04/2021, 15:37) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    The BVI have truly become money over matters. Good example, the world is going through a pandemic and many are diregarding that fact it only matters if the ports can open so we ca make money regardles of how many will be exposed to the virus that will cause death to many. There are many who screaming for things to get back to normal but refuse to take the vaccine. I sympathise with any Government of the day. Because people now adays want their cake even after they niam it.
  • @ really (05/04/2021, 16:27) Like (3) Dislike (3) Reply
    Hypocrisy is the name of the game / there is GOOD and bad IN everyone / if you commit a crime you should be held accountable regardless of who you are or where you are from and by the way we came and meet THIS land and WE will go and leave this land / there are peopl here who are PROMOTING hatred and it's not the BRITS PERHAPS YOU SHOULD LOOK WITHIN
    • @ @ Really (06/04/2021, 15:15) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
      The BRITS are knee-deep in hatred promoting, and not only in the BVI but in many other OTs.
  • RedStorm (05/04/2021, 17:35) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply

    I am wondering when the writer use the word " these people" if any thoughts of discrimination came to mind. The words use many times with adults and children in their language of expat to create a lower class of people with limited wealth and opportunity. Its like whites discriminating against black by calling them a certain name. I believe it is time adults reverse the narrative and replace it with suitable words. If we are to survive as Caribbean people the narrative should changed.
    Engage youth and children in relative conversation to show them how to lift people up , instead of creating pathways to bring them down, so that one class of people are seen superior. History would show that there is a group of people who would exercise a preying methodology on natives until they get what they want and those are not the Caribbean brothers and sisters. So I believe we should spend time in defend what natives has worked so hard to achieve instead on fixing the eyes of the matter on expats.
  • @ RedStorm (05/04/2021, 19:09) Like (5) Dislike (2) Reply
    You wrote.
    "there is a group of people who would apply a preying methdology on natives until they get what they want and those are not Caribbesn brothers and sisters.
    I beg to differ. I would argue that the preying is what has created the divide among the Caribbean folks. Predators prey and a large police force becomes necessary,natives now locking everyhing including their lives for fear of that too being dnstchex...aaah...I can only guess why you are of your opinion.
  • guy hill (05/04/2021, 20:47) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    Good write up Ms.Wheatley. Pretty accurate.

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