Got TIPS or BREAKING NEWS? Please call 1-284-442-8000 or Email ALL news to:newsvino@outlook.com; ads call 1-284-440-6666

Premier Smith defends controversial 'open for business' statement

- despite criticism Premier Smith said his statement was correct as finance services sector was up & running
Premier and Minister of Finance Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL) has stated that the open for business statement was correct because a significant section of the economy, largely the financial services sector was doing business soon after hurricane Irma. Photo: YouTube
Former Permanent Secretary and Businessman, Mr Julian Willock has disagreed with the statement by Premier and Minister of Finance, Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL), right, that the Territory is back on its feet and open for business. Photo: VINO/File
Former Permanent Secretary and Businessman, Mr Julian Willock has disagreed with the statement by Premier and Minister of Finance, Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL), right, that the Territory is back on its feet and open for business. Photo: VINO/File
Premier Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL) was heavily criticised for his 'open for business' statement made a month ago during a press conference. Photo: YouTube
Premier Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL) was heavily criticised for his 'open for business' statement made a month ago during a press conference. Photo: YouTube
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI - With many people jobless, homeless, without adequate food and water, the conditions of the roads in a horrible state and many places yet to be properly cleaned up following hurricanes Irma and Maria, there was much criticism when Premier and Minister of Finance Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL) made a statement back in October that the 'BVI is open for business'.

Many expressed that his statement did not reflect the territory's current situation. 

However, Premier Smith sought to explain during a live radio broadcast on ZBVI AM 780 on Sunday, November 19, 2017 what he meant, defending his statement.

The Finance Minister stated that the open for business statement was correct because a significant section of the economy, largely the financial services sector, was doing business soon after hurricane Irma.

He explained, "That sector was up and running within 24 to 48 hours. It was able to be up and running because of the resiliency that was built into the system. The Registry, which is a significant part of corporate affairs, there were backup systems and so they were able to function. Corporate services can operate from anywhere. So they were able to travel outside of the BVI and continue their work."

Hon Smith further expressed that some 70 percent of the sector's employees who left the territory have returned and the financial services sector continues to return to normalcy.

"The point I was making about 'open for business', a large portion of the economy was open for business. Then shortly after we had shops opening, we had restaurants opening," clarified the Premier.

"Comment did not reflect the reality" - Hon Fahie

Meanwhile, Honourable Andrew A. Fahie, Opposition Leader and First District Representative criticised the Premier for his statement, expressing that the comment did not reflect the reality of what the people of the territory is going through, adding that fake analysis could hurt the leadership of the territory.

The Opposition Leader said, "Not building on a foundation of truth will cause hope and respect for leadership to die a quick and natural death. I firmly believe that the best days of the BVI are not our yesterdays, but rather our tomorrows, provided that we allow the new BVI to be built on a foundation of truth."

The reality on the ground

Another strong critic of Premier Smith's statement is former Permanent Secretary and Businessman, Mr Julian Willock.

“Now that is a serious statement. The definition of being back on your feet is that the challenges and issues that you suffer before are now corrected and that is not the case,” Mr Willock stated on Honestly Speaking on ZBVI 780 AM radio on Tuesday October 31, 2017.

Giving a feel of what the reality is on the ground for many persons, Mr Willock argued that persons are still sleeping in their cars as well as on boats due to their homes being destroyed by Hurricane Irma.

He added that there is also the issue of loss of jobs, “the issue of a cash economy and the cost of running generators due to the lack of electricity.”

“There are still people who are homeless in our country, there are still people living in homes that leak and they have to mop up every day. There are people driving cars with either windshield gone…there are people with no cars and have to rent if they can still afford.”

7 Responses to “Premier Smith defends controversial 'open for business' statement”

  • voter (21/11/2017, 08:23) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Smith TIME is up
    • Action Speaks (21/11/2017, 11:32) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      Talk about Jobs. Not one Minister address these issues. 1/ Rite Way work layoff. (Unnecessary, Reckless).. 2/ Cable TV poor or non Service and work layoff..3/ Flow. Poor service and their no or non effort to restore their internet ( internet is key in business restoration)..
  • one eye (21/11/2017, 09:17) Like (0) Dislike (2) Reply
    I hate that photo with his collar up on the jacket
  • Street reporter (21/11/2017, 11:26) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    Whats the immediate plans to fix the roads. The Roads should be top priority. We can't open for business until the roads are better.. Cruise ships cannot come until the roads are better... Some of the Roads are rougher than stormy seas... The Road need to be concreted.. 4 inches concrete 1 inch Asphalt service on a pre dry concrete with a light roller bind them together.. Again. With all of our high ways less than a hundred yards from the sea we sholid not be having these floods and with very little rain..Our engineering is poor our engineers need to take another look
    .
  • John (21/11/2017, 11:42) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    That resiliency should have been built into the government.
  • concerned citizen (21/11/2017, 17:41) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Street Reporter pointed out very important aspects of the roads: the roads need to be concreted; and drains from the roads need to be running to the sea. I cannot believe that those concerned with the building of roads do not know that the water from rains just want to run to the sea. Provide clear passageways to the sea for the water to run off. Cover those passageways level and properly so that we can traverse over them safely.
  • ramong (22/11/2017, 02:51) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Just about tired of this man.


Create a comment


Create a comment

Disclaimer: Virgin Islands News Online (VINO) welcomes your thoughts, feedback, views, bloggs and opinions. However, by posting a blogg you are agreeing to post comments or bloggs that are relevant to the topic, and that are not defamatory, liable, obscene, racist, abusive, sexist, anti-Semitic, threatening, hateful or an invasion of privacy. Violators may be excluded permanently from making contributions. Please view our declaimer above this article. We thank you in advance for complying with VINO's policy.

Weather


Follow Us On

Disclaimer: All comments posted on Virgin Islands News Online (VINO) are the sole views and opinions of the commentators and or bloggers and do not in anyway represent the views and opinions of the Board of Directors, Management and Staff of Virgin Islands News Online and its parent company.