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‘No time to play politics’ – Julian Willock

- encourages everyone to support the march to send a message to the UK
Julian Willock, businessman and former permanent secretary, expressed that the national march planned for May 24, 2018 is not about politics but rather to send a clear message to the United kingdom (UK) that the Virgin Islands (VI) will not establish to make public the register of Beneficial Owners for companies in the territory. Photo: VINO/File
The Virgin Islands is one of the most regulated financial services jurisdictions in the world. Photo: VINO/File
The Virgin Islands is one of the most regulated financial services jurisdictions in the world. Photo: VINO/File
Honourable Marlon A. Penn (R8), Junior Minister for Trade and Investment Promotion, was also a guest on the show. Photo: VINO/File
Honourable Marlon A. Penn (R8), Junior Minister for Trade and Investment Promotion, was also a guest on the show. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI– “For the last 30 years, everything that the international community has asked the BVI to do we have done. In the House of Assembly most of the bills are to regulate the Financial Services sector. So we are well regulated and it’s kind of disappointing that the UK parliament will still pass the bill.”

This is according to Julian Willock, businessman and former Permanent Secretary, while appearing as a guest on the radio programme Umoja on May 10, 2018 on ZBVI 780 AM. The host of the show was Cromwell Smith aka Edju En Ka. Honourable Marlon A. Penn (R8), Junior Minister for Trade and Investment Promotion, was also a guest on the show.

The businessman believes that the Virgin Islands should only comply if it is a global standard to have Public Registers of Beneficial Ownership in financial services jurisdictions.

He said, “The BVI is not sitting here saying that we have no interest in what happened with the legislation, what we are saying is if you want global standard let all of us go together to implement and benefit from all these global standard. The crown dependencies have been exempted. If the standard is global and we have met everything, why not pull them along too and why you are now putting this on us and all our competitors can now have the benefit of all these companies if they happen to pull out of the BVI.”

Responding to a question on what would happen to the territory if the 60 percent which comes from Financial Services, is dropped from government revenue, Mr Willock explained that the VI economy would be devastated.

“If that 60 percent is dropped from government revenue it means lay off of civil servants and the inability to pay pension. It means the inability for us to have a job to be able to pay our mortgage and that would mean that the bank will take our house. It means that the young man who normally gets a contract, that is no more, and that is the practical reality if that bill is implemented. It’s going to devastate the BVI economy,” he explained.

“No time to play politics”

Meanwhile, the political aspirant pointed out that this is “not a time to play politics” but “a bread and butter issue for us” and to send a message to the United Kingdom (UK), while encouraging all persons in the territory to come out and support the march against the UK decision.

“This march is very important and it is going to send a clear message that the BVI wants to protect our legitimate business. We want to protect our way of life, our economic right. So that’s why it is important that on May 24 that everybody come out and support this march because it is a survival of people,” he said.

Dispelling what persons in the community are questioning as to the purpose of the march, the former Permanent Secretary expressed that history shows marches have had significant impact on policy making.

“There are people who will say to us that a march will not do anything but throughout history marches throughout the world have made a difference. All of the marches had significant effect on policy making, whether external or local. I think that the streets of the BVI from the Sunday Morning Well to the Government House should be filled with people sending a clear message that we will not sit down and go back to the dark ages.”

9 Responses to “‘No time to play politics’ – Julian Willock”

  • wise up (12/05/2018, 16:05) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
    why can’t we develop a fishing industry: after a hurricane we don’t have to repay the sea: this territory once supplied the USVI with food(whatever happened to those days)..progress is a good something but unregulated progress got us where we are today: look at our GDP over the years but today we at a standstill: we need to stop settling for the crumbs from the table of other(as an example; the sailing industry is located in our territory) but not owned by our people-should the current folks pull anchor what will we as developing community do(organize another march) & sailing are two good industries our folks should be the backbone of..nothing personal(the very same way other are making millions per annum using our water and all get obtain are the various fees...crumbs)
  • Political Observer (PO) (12/05/2018, 16:07) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
    Agree that lost of a significant portion of the 60% of the national income financial services contribute to the economy would devastate the economy, degrade the standard of living and quality of life. Nonetheless, financial services is a fragile service industry and it was just a matter of time before it started to dip; its decline has been on the radar screen all along. Faced with this reality, more aggressive action should have been taken by successive governments to diversify the economy. The economy has to be diversified; decline of one sector should not cause the degradation of the whole economy.

    Ok. The action taken by the House of Common by itself will have an adverse effect on the economy. However, it is just the first of the legislative process; does not the House of Lords still have to vote on the legislation? Did not the House of Lords previously voted against similar pieces of legislation? So is not highly likely that it may vote against the legislation again? Further, instead of telegraphing now what action it will take or not take, would it not be more strategic for government to use the diplomatic changes to register the VI concerns? The VI is an OT of the UK, agreeing to be under the UK umbrella. As such, it concurred to abide by lawful directives issued by the UK. Does refusal to comply with the directive give the UK cause to take over the BVI as it did with TCI, albeit for a different reason?

    True, an international standard would be ideal but the UK does not set standards for the world. The UK has the authority to issue directives for OTs and other areas. Agree that Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey should have the same rules. If they are already confirming with the register of beneficial ownership then it should not be a problem to include them in the legislation, dispelling the appearance of racism and discrimination. Is independence a viable option for the VI?
  • concern (12/05/2018, 16:36) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
    So we go independent. What happens to our UK passport initiative?
  • sam the man (12/05/2018, 16:50) Like (1) Dislike (6) Reply
    JW you did a great job with smurf on the radio both of you men are the future of this country
  • voter (12/05/2018, 18:55) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
    Esteem when you going March for bvi people's right against this political gang?
  • Suffocating and stressed (12/05/2018, 19:32) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    Please forgive me for venting under this topic, but I believe that all members of the House of Assembly should come to spend the next month (which is how long I assume we would be bombarded with smoke) in the Western area of the island, as a sign of solidarity with the People of the Western side of the island.

    This deserves a class action law suit!!! Just plain horrible. We are like sheep being slaughtered.
  • voter (13/05/2018, 07:33) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    Clap Clap Clap Clap we will support
    • @ voter (14/05/2018, 19:17) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
      People like Willock is who we need in a time like this, country above self
  • orange (13/05/2018, 09:40) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    The politics will play out.

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