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Willock proposes Citizen by Investment; Lottery as possible revenue streams

- said revenue must be increased for Gov’t in order to repay loans for recovery effort
Virgin Islands’ businessman and former senior civil servant Mr Julian Willock has said the post hurricanes recovery plan recently released by the National Democratic Party (NDP) is lacking bold new revenue initiatives and has proposed four revenue streams for the Territory. Photo: VINO/File
Citizen by Investment is a programme that has been reaping great rewards for St Kitts and Nevis and Mr Julian Willock is proposing that this is something the VI could consider. Photo: Internet Source
Citizen by Investment is a programme that has been reaping great rewards for St Kitts and Nevis and Mr Julian Willock is proposing that this is something the VI could consider. Photo: Internet Source
Hurricane Irma especially devastated the Virgin Islands in September 2017. The Territory has since been seeking loans for its recovery. Photo: VINO
Hurricane Irma especially devastated the Virgin Islands in September 2017. The Territory has since been seeking loans for its recovery. Photo: VINO
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- A young businessman and former senior civil servant has criticised the post hurricanes recovery plan recently released by the National Democratic Party (NDP) for lacking what he terms a critical component- bold new revenue initiatives- but has also come forward with bold solutions to fill that void.

Government stated in its recovery proposal released to the media via the Government website in late December 2017 that it needed some $720M over the next five years to assist the Territory in its recovery efforts following the floods of August 2017 and 2 Category 5 hurricanes, Irma and Maria, of September 2017.

Premier and Minister of Finance Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL) has been on a whirlwind tour seeking loans for the recovery process, but not before conforming to strict borrowing guidelines set out by the United Kingdom in exchange for guarantees.

According to Mr Willock, in a statement released to local media houses on January 14, 2018, the hard truth is, during the recovery process, the Territory will have to borrow close to a billion dollars in loans. This debt, he added, is in addition to what was already borrowed before the hurricanes of 2017.

The former Permanent Secretary added that in order for the Virgin Islands (VI) to repay those loans and not leave its people worried about themselves or the future generation, there must be an increase in revenue coming to the government.

More Revenue needed

“If there is no revenue coming in, it means that we will default on those loans and history has shown what has happened before, and none of us want to go back.”

Mr Willock, who has not publicly declared his intentions for running for office in the next general elections but has been gaining popularity as a potential candidate for weighing in on critical debates on issues affecting the Territory and always equipped with possible solutions, said what is needed in these very challenging times are thoughtful and wise leadership and the next government or even anyone running for public office, should come with solutions, as it’s a time for courage and confidence.

4 possible revenue streams

Four revenue initiatives for discussions, consideration, debate and decisions were also proposed by Mr Willock, and it did not include taxing the people or raising work permit and immigration fees as the current government is always keen to do.

One of the initiatives is a national lottery system, similar to what the US Virgin Islands (USVI) has and can be found in many large cities around the world. “The income from this must be committed to education and social services.”

Mr Willock said Government should also consider a citizen by investment programme. “Now I know the pros and cons to this, but there are enough examples and best practices of how to do this right, even considering the St Kitts-Nevis model of which I have good knowledge. The revenue generated will be committed to roads and general infrastructure.”

A third proposal for revenue is the creation of small manufacturing operations on the sister islands. “Take for example, the Virgin Islands imports tons and tons of salt yearly, but we have a natural salt pond. Why can’t we make the salt on salt island work for us? Small manufacturing will create jobs, leading to persons paying taxes and contributing to generating government revenue to pay not only our post hurricanes recovery loans, but reducing our national debt, which is as of today, approximately $200 Million Dollars.”

The fourth revenue initiative proposed by Mr Willock is hotels collaborating with other international brands for additional and improved services. “Now that most of our major hotels on the sister islands like Virgin Gorda, some Cays and on Tortola have been damaged and destroyed by the hurricanes, what about facilitating our hotels lining up with some major brands, like the Marriott, Ritz Carlton and Hyatt to improve our tourism product and marketing?

“What about helping to encourage a Best Western at Maria’s By the Sea, or a Marriot Court Yard by Castle Maria?”

Mr Willock explained that Government can approach the current owners with some of these ideas, but in the end, locals who entertain any such considerations, must in the driver’s seat, maintaining their ownership positions. “With collaborations like these, we can produce more capital investments, create more jobs and improve our tourism diversity.”

According to the young and vibrant political aspirant, Government’s idea of job creation is to stack the civil service and statutory bodies with more workers; however, his view of growing an economy and making its recovery solid and sustainable is to expand the private sector and create employment opportunities there, “and foster both local and foreign Investments and Entrepreneurs.”

See link to audio for revenue statement by Mr Julian Willock:

Click here to listen to audio.

36 Responses to “Willock proposes Citizen by Investment; Lottery as possible revenue streams”

  • lmao (16/01/2018, 09:05) Like (11) Dislike (4) Reply

    Yep easy as that. Get Marriott to flag your property and then tell them its all yours now and you will take it from here. There is no free lunch when it comes to business whether youre local or not!

    • ??? (16/01/2018, 20:21) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
      The only thing bold here, is the fact that he is proposing that new revenue should be raised.
      Willock has started a conversation.

      Citizens by Investments - Don't we have this already, it is called the Alien Land Holding Licence. Unfortunately, ours is a lot more cumbersome and not as generous. In any event, CbI is an option for independent countries.

      Gambling - should be expanded to include a "gaming zone" at the cruise pier so that cruise ships would consider overnighting in the VI. Not all passengers will gamble on board and some will come ashore and explore the nightlife. The money will be made in the restaurants, bars, taxis, and other establishment that cater to the tourist, not in the gambling.

      Light manufacturing - costs such as labour and electricity will probably make this uncompetitive. But if we build enough skills in areas where it make sense (boat repairs and maintenance, after all we are the sailing capital of the world), there may be opportunity.

      Branding - We just need more hotel rooms and of quality, whatever the brand name.

      Here are some for you, Mr Willock that are doable

      Look at the FIFA field and horsetrack for sport tourism. We have McMaster and Malone, some of the top athletes. Privatise the horsetrack. Let somebody who knows what they are doing, run it.

      Develop our history and our heritage. We had slavery, we overcame. A bird sanctuary was recommended for these islands, we turned them into prosperous country. There is great history.

      Privatise the greenhouses. Let somebody who knows what they are doing, run them.

      Privatise the fishing complex. Let somebody who knows what they are doing, run it.

      Privatise the port. Let somebody who knows what they are doing, run it.

      Privatise the hospital. Let somebody who knows what they are doing, run it.
  • Weda (16/01/2018, 09:16) Like (7) Dislike (3) Reply
    Grow the economy through investments and use the private sector to the fullest extent. Tap into the existing gurus already here, they did not make it to the top by guessing. Great ideas and even the deaf must listen.
  • Voted (16/01/2018, 09:22) Like (9) Dislike (20) Reply
    Well done esteemed
  • pat (16/01/2018, 09:32) Like (14) Dislike (23) Reply
    Like him or hate him the man speaking good solutions is what I want to here!
  • Former Resident (16/01/2018, 09:51) Like (7) Dislike (22) Reply
    All all the ideas proposed are actually viable except the National Lottery System.

    We should not encourage gambling instead residents should be encouraged to save and invest
  • way to go (16/01/2018, 10:00) Like (13) Dislike (3) Reply
    Good idea but make sure there is accountability in every move and transaction as it seems those over such or in charge of such tend to rob and pocket for personal gains
  • Lance (16/01/2018, 10:09) Like (18) Dislike (7) Reply
    It also breeds corruption and this gang are suspected of same.
  • new blood (16/01/2018, 10:18) Like (30) Dislike (28) Reply
    I am warming up to voting for Mr Willock but I got to see who he running with first
  • Can someone please explain to me... (16/01/2018, 10:35) Like (24) Dislike (0) Reply
    Why citizenship by investment is even on the table? We are UK citizens and last I check the UK doesn't sell their citizenship so how can we sell it?
    • @ can someone please explain to me (16/01/2018, 14:13) Like (9) Dislike (15) Reply
      fool they can get belonger status...Esteemed one is the only one talking ideas
      • Can someone.... (16/01/2018, 23:34) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
        Hello there, I know the computer screen is reflective but the internet is not a mirror. I am not Siri or your reflection. Do you understand what belonger status is and what it means? People who are belongers in the Virgin Islands are people who can one day qualify to be full British citizens. They are usually children born to expats in the Virgin Islands or children born to VIslanders outside the Virgin Islands. Either ways, these people are people who eventually become entitled to full citizenship without being naturalized when they become adults.

        I know bald head and his cronies have been chanting a lie for the past eight years to divide the territory and guilt Virgin Islanders into asking for something that cannot be given but there’s a reason we have almost not control over who is and isn’t a Virgin Islander.

        Again I ask, how can we sell something that isn’t legally ours to give away?
      • Well (19/01/2018, 03:48) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
        Sounds like an act of desperation. Are these new citizens going to be voting? If so, do we really need these people to further upset the balance of power?
  • Sawda (16/01/2018, 10:35) Like (6) Dislike (12) Reply
    You go Willock you is the only person that brought anything sensible to the table so far..If you borrowing ,there will be death Doctor Smith, and more death Please work with the existing Hotels and Resorts to bring Tourism back to life..With out Tourism we are dead.Help put your voters back to work ,that's the plan we need to see..
  • E. Leonard (16/01/2018, 11:14) Like (15) Dislike (8) Reply
    Though he has not yet declared his candidacy for elected office, his (Julian) approached should be the model for anyone intending to stand for elected office. One cannot wait until an election date is set to introduce his/herself to the community, to go on a listening tour. This should be done well in advance of election date being announced. The time after election is announced should be used to close the sale/deal. Willock is using the 3D approach: Discover, Debate and Decide.

    Now here my take on his proposals: lottery, investment citizenship, light manufacturing, hotel collaboration. True, many locales have lotteries but the jury is still out on their contribution to and impact on the community. Our westerly neighbor, USVI, has a larger population(103,000) and has a lottery, yet it is struggling economically. The BVI has a population of approx 30,000 and the question is what willl it cost to operate a national lottery and how much money will it contribute to the government coffers. It is about the numbers. Citizenship investment produces short term cash flow. How many citizenships can we sell? How much money will flow into the Treasury annually? What is potential diplomacy risk? Will the UK be on board? How will the social fabric be impacted? Did not one of our regional sister countries had some problems with a northern neighbor in regards to economic citizenship?

    Light manufacturing could be a boost to the economy? Will the manufactured products be for home consumption or for exports? How would the locally manufactured products compete with imported products. True, Salt Island, my ancestral home land, has a salt pond, and could be a source of local salt. What is the annual cost of salt import? How much will salt from Salt Island reduce the import bill? How many people will be employed in the local production? How much will the production plant cost to operate annually? Will the selling point be organic salt (if there is such a thing)? Local hotels collaborating with international brands needs further exploration. Futhermore, all the proposals need further exploration.

    No doubt the BVI has much needs and will need to borrow a ton of money to address those needs. The loans may be higher than the annual GDP; the ratio of debt may exceed 100%. This is not an ideal position to be in. The ratio should be much lower. The borrowed money should be expended on critical and prioritized needs capital projects. Residents will have to decide if they want to expend $250M of scarce resources on extending TBLIA.
    • Disinterested (18/01/2018, 09:34) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      @E. Leonard, “Willock is using the 3D approach: Discover, Debate and Decide.” Lol!
  • 15 years (16/01/2018, 12:15) Like (12) Dislike (4) Reply
    For over 15 years I have been saying that we need other income in case the financial sector pulls out, but no official I said it to listened. They pretend to be Christians but yet I know they are not. What I recommend is:
    1) take a small island away from here and make it gambling which most tourists love
    2) a state lottery is what is wanted here too
    3) legalize marijuana which most tourists come here looking for, and stop arresting our youths..make revenue!
    4) put public toilets on every beach and allow vendors on all. Tourists enjoy local foods and ask for it.
    5) stop being phoney christians and make the BVI a great destination for travelers
    6) allow residents at a town meeting say what they feel will work here since we talk to tourists all the time.
    7) Don’t forget us struggling residents who need income to get our lives back on track. We need all of the above!!!
    • @15 years (16/01/2018, 21:12) Like (2) Dislike (3) Reply
      You are why i don't drink alcohol or smoke weed.
      • 15 years (18/01/2018, 18:10) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
        @ @15years.....maybe you should. All joking aside, this is what the tourists want and the only way for it to touch you is if you go over to the chosen island and involve yourself. All of these things will bring in revenue for the government on a very large scale.
  • Other ideas (16/01/2018, 13:24) Like (10) Dislike (1) Reply
    National lottery, Citizen by Investment, Small Island Manufacturing, Brand licensing? This is a nice try, but these are not for the BVI as they will not create enough jobs. There are some big issues with each of these.

    Not sure if the lottery is any different to casino gambling, the Citizen program could jeopardize our US visa waiver privilege, Small island manufacturing will not be competitive with large scale and automated manufacturing, the hotel brand licensing is no different to franchising and could kill our small villa industry.

    Better to revive organic agriculture/fishing with farm land leasing and modern fisheries complexes. Also spread out the cruise tourism industry with new docks at select locations on the main islands. Or maybe the cruise ship passengers can dock at one location and transfer to dedicated excursions/day trips by local Speedy's type catamarans to the other islands.

    • Frazer and Willock (16/01/2018, 15:21) Like (9) Dislike (12) Reply
      Time to get together with Frazer Mr Willock and deliver us.. Get that new party going. New Ideas, Bold leadership become apart of the Caribbean community.. Unity is our hope.. Its the strength we need to move forward..
  • wize up (16/01/2018, 13:29) Like (3) Dislike (5) Reply
    most things are usually “said” than “done”: politican need to lean towards the educating of our sons & daughters first; then all this foreign investments: when the big boys are invited to our country our own people usually get the minium wage jobs while the others sits in the managerial positions: we need investment; as a matter of fact we had investment/investors from back in the late 50s(so nothing new there)...we need to focus more on education for the people so they have what is required to manage and not only wash dishes and sweep the floor for the same investors(smoke that!!!)
  • Not2Sure (16/01/2018, 14:16) Like (19) Dislike (2) Reply
    While I agree with Willock I want this to come after the government changed, for the last thing I want to see is more revenue for the NDP to thief and do self-enrichment
  • Agree with willick (16/01/2018, 15:17) Like (24) Dislike (0) Reply
    The BVI has fallen behind because of greed, selfishness and the mentality that they are better than the rest of the Caribbean. Time we get wise fall in line and learn... The BVI cannot succeed in Isolation....
  • i from here (16/01/2018, 15:47) Like (1) Dislike (9) Reply
    But the lottery system ain't Boss idea ?
    • @ i from here (16/01/2018, 21:19) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
      No Willock while in virgin gorda last month spoke to my family about that!
  • hog city (16/01/2018, 16:49) Like (7) Dislike (1) Reply
    He got my vote so if he knows what's best he better join the new party
  • MEME (16/01/2018, 17:39) Like (1) Dislike (7) Reply
    Aryo encouraging gambling instead of praying for God to keep a way hurricane and Tsunami and other major disaster from Tortola. May God help us all.
  • Josiahsbay (16/01/2018, 17:43) Like (3) Dislike (3) Reply
    No new ideas here, what's could be new is people might consider examining them.
  • 2019 (17/01/2018, 09:27) Like (4) Dislike (2) Reply
    Here is 1 horse out the gate and he sounding good
  • Stuppess (17/01/2018, 13:00) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Obviously, we don't take time to read enough current world news or if that is too much, read the Caribbean news. (subscribe to Caribean360).

    While CBI may seems like a good idea, it is a short term solution to the cash deficit with long term ramifications.
    Ask anyone of the Caribbean nations that have implemented the program and currently operate same. For example, without the proper checks and balances in place, SKB had to recall a large number of the passports because they were negligent in performing the required DD and inserting the correct place of birth/nationality for some of the persons they issued these passports too, not to mention that they issued them for persons who were from sanctioned countries. They fall out was just that the people of that federation almost got visa restricted for travel by places like Britain and Canada.

    Further to that, some thought was required before make this particular proposal, since citizenship is an independent country's sovereign right to grant. Key word: independent. Are we?

    For the people that ran with this idea or any of the others for that matter....your duty.. when someone puts an idea before to ask why? How? when? WHY?!

    Your duty is to be reasonable and logical, not run with an idea because it is sensational and fantastical.

    Think people.
    • @ stuppes (18/01/2018, 05:43) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
      Of course more work needs to be done, but I am encouraged by Julian Willock as he is the best hope for the VIP
  • Really? (18/01/2018, 18:17) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    @MEME, Really? There you go blaming God again. No matter how good a Christian people are, there will always be natural occurances on earth. You really need to read more on how these storms happen. It has nothing to do with sinners, which by the way, we all are, yes, including you.

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