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'Protect rights & privileges of BVIslanders' - Skelton-Cline

- Calls for constitutional safeguards in that regard
With Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) moving to implement the ‘fast track initiative’ for persons seeking to attain residency status and belongership in the Virgin Islands (VI), man of the cloth and ZBVI radio host, Claude O. Skelton-Cline says that with that, the rights of indigenous Virgin Islanders must be protected. Photo: Facebook
Yesterday Tuesday, May 7, 2019, at a press conference at the BVI Arbitration Centre in Wickham’s Cay II, Premier and Minister of Finance Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) announced a series of requirements for the regularisation programme and that applications will begin May 13, 2019. Photo: GIS
Yesterday Tuesday, May 7, 2019, at a press conference at the BVI Arbitration Centre in Wickham’s Cay II, Premier and Minister of Finance Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) announced a series of requirements for the regularisation programme and that applications will begin May 13, 2019. Photo: GIS
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – With Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) moving to implement the ‘fast track initiative’ for persons seeking to attain residency status and belongership in the Virgin Islands (VI), man of the cloth and host of the talk show programme, Honestly Speaking, Mr Claude O. Skelton-Cline said consideration must be given to ensure the rights of indigenous Virgin Islanders are protected.

Yesterday Tuesday, May 7, 2019, at a press conference in Wickham’s Cay II, the Premier announced a series of requirements for the programme and that applications will begin May 13, 2019, “these persons are here, have been here and ain't going anywhere,” Hon Fahie implored.

The initiative, which has been in the pipeline since during the Virgin Islands Party (VIP) campaign trail post-election, February 2019, will see many—especially Eastern Caribbean residents—finally getting a chance to get legal status in the Territory. 

Immigration Reform

“It important that we get our whole immigration reform, it’s important that we have the accurate pieces of legislation and policies in place that is known to all,” Skelton-Cline told his listening audience on the Tuesday, May 7 edition of “Honestly Speaking” on ZBVI 780am and streamed on the show's facebook page.

“Each person will know the specific category that they stand, in terms of their immigration status in the jurisdiction, they will know the responsibility and rewards of those specific status… and that they can live as fruitful and functional citizens in this Territory,” he said in approval of the policy being implemented by the VIP administration and led by the Premier. 

“Of course we also heard him caution, that yes, there are concerns from what we might term indigenous persons. That means persons like myself who have grandparents, and great grandparents and great great grandparents on both sides of my family,” he said.

Further, the man of the cloth warned, “there must be things done constitutionally that protects the rights and privileges of Indigenous persons and BVIslanders in General.” 

One BVI – Skelton-Cline

However, even as Skelton-Cline sought to maintain the status quo in relation to indigenous persons having more rights than those who may benefit from the ‘fast track initiative’, he said the Territory is one.

“We are in fact one BVI and part of the effort of the Premier and this government… is to solidify in legal terms, immigration terms, the status of those persons who been in the pipeline but for one reason or another they have not yet received their status.”  

“We are in fact one as a Caribbean people, we are all a part of the African diaspora, we all have the same heritage from the continent of Africa and we have more in common than we have in differences,” he further said.

10 Responses to “'Protect rights & privileges of BVIslanders' - Skelton-Cline ”

  • Really (08/05/2019, 11:28) Like (24) Dislike (1) Reply
    I think it is a good move by the Premier.
    We have people living here in the BVI for centuries and can’t get proper status come on people!!!
    There must be a BALANCE…..If we want the economy to grow and be fruitful as we all preach, we must have a BALANCE. We can’t have people living in the BVI for a hundred years paying taxes and making other contributions without proper status. We can’t continue to promote ‘Nature’s Little Secret’ and cannot foresee growth within our country. Perfect example, we experienced two category 5 hurricanes back to back in 2017 and there is no way in hell that a hand full of construction workers in the BVI would have been able to restore this country. People from all corners of the earth came in to assist whether by wind or by force. This born here thing is a sad story that needs to be banished seriously. What does born here or son of the soil even mean? 99.99% of born here have roots from other islands whether down, up, across, inside, outside whatever. We will travel abroad to further our education, further our careers, set up a home etc. Every country have their own status requirement some more stringent than others but there must be a BALANCE. It’s time to change the atmosphere in the BVI and build a better BVI to secure all our futures. The Premier has taken the lead and others should follow and set an example.
    At present look how funny it is:
    Crazy Bank rates
    Crazy insurance
    Crazy Taxes
    Crazy prices
    Companies downsizing
    Pay cuts
  • @ Really (08/05/2019, 12:01) Like (18) Dislike (9) Reply
    I do agree with you but you should also know that while we are embracing those that come to this place and have been here for a very long time, they have a home (their country) they can return to and continue to live as they please when the crap hit the roof, something many local people hear them reiterate from time to time. Where does the Local Virgin Islanders have to go when everything in this place goes hay wire??? I think this is the issue and what must be addressed to safe guard the local people. It really has nothing to do with from here and not from here...
    • @ @Really (08/05/2019, 18:08) Like (6) Dislike (3) Reply
      You speak the absolute truth and until we face that fact that local Virgin Islanders have no where else to go, we will continue to go around in circles.
  • Disinterested (08/05/2019, 14:02) Like (12) Dislike (4) Reply
    There is no shortage of political “anxiety” swirling around. There is an urgency to do too much too quickly and to impress too many too quickly; it is like a bull in a China shop scenario. Too many decisions are being made from the seat of the pants and not from a central plan. This approach comes with a cost, ie, the law of unintended consequences. As many other bloggers have suggested, the government should take a deliberate pause, take care of basic operations and develop a central plan from which to operate. It should have had such a plan coming to power; it scrambling like it is surprise it won. If it is continues with this approach, it may indeed be a one-term government. The government cannot keep every resident happy; it needs to do the right things for the territory, not just attempting to do things right. It is an impossible task to try to make everybody happy. Develop a territorial plan, a territorial road map, that will serve the territory not just for next 4=years but for decades to come. Fix yourself and act like you deserve to be governing. Don’t disappoint the people that put their trust in you. No hard feelings; just a little tough love; keeping it real. By the way, not averse with people attaining residency; develop a plan and work the plan.
    • @Disinterested (08/05/2019, 18:16) Like (4) Dislike (6) Reply
      Your name says it all. There is much work to be done and many plans and road maps to be followed. The Premier is right to deal with matters such as this Residency and Belonger Status which have been outstanding for some people for many, many years. As the team works together, several decisions can be acted upon at once and most of the people will be pleased. You seem to want them to just sit down to plan out for decades to come and yet you speak of one term. They are right to do what they know the people elected them to do - work for the people.
  • Agree (08/05/2019, 16:12) Like (15) Dislike (7) Reply
    This is not a good idea. An initiative of this magnitude needs preparation. The effects will come back to haunt us.
  • The TRUTH (08/05/2019, 17:27) Like (3) Dislike (10) Reply
    Andrew confuse....BVI in trouble.
  • Eagle and Buffalo (08/05/2019, 23:16) Like (4) Dislike (2) Reply
    In the last election, there was a severe thirst and hunger for change; well, the election did result in change. The VIP won with an 8-5 advantage. Though 7 of the 8 winning candidates were “green,” with the victory, there was great expectations for the new government. However, the lack of leadership experience is on display. The leadership is demonstrated unhealthy healther-skelter, scatter shot approach to governing is not what voters were expecting. Voters were expecting a planned, structured governing..........etc process. Instead, it is getting a myriad of disconnected and discrete policies. Clearly, there is a lack of a concerted plan. Someone much smarter than me says: if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. In regards to solid and strategic planning , the performance thus far is not impressive. As noted earlier, the greenest and inexperience is glaring.

    Lets lead like eagles, not careen off the cliff like buffaloes.
  • BUTTERFLY (10/05/2019, 01:06) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    This announcement is no more than a statement that the Govt will give effect to the law as it stands. The Premier is quite right in what he says about division and discrimination. The truth is that a large part of the prosperity of the BVI depends on ExPat labour (for reasons that ought to have been remedied long ago) and the BVI needs to be able to attract and retain workers who can do what’s needed. Status is a factor in this - particularly where the BVI’s competitors for that labour are offering very attractive packages which include residency and status for the workers and their children born in location
  • Why scared? (10/05/2019, 15:37) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Why are BV Islanders spreading so much hate about this to other BV Islanders?? Many BV Islanders hold 2 passports and have families from other places. It is the correct thing to do and will mean more people invest in the country- although again there are many well off BV Islanders who also invest in other countries than just the BVI. The Premier is looking at a long term plan and realises that this will bring more growth to the BVI in the long run. It will also help to bring the BVI into one nation rather than the divided and bitter place that many are in right now. If you own a house and /or a business and your kids are from here and your life is in the BVI then you deserve to be a part of the BVI.

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