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Economic reality in the VI: Welcome to the raw truth

Kenneth G. Gladstone. Photo: Provided
This article is brought to you by: TANDOOR RESTAURANT. Photo: Provided
This article is brought to you by: TANDOOR RESTAURANT. Photo: Provided
Kenneth G. Gladstone

Coronavirus shockwaves have prompted unprecedented lockdowns which left many nations reeling from economic displacement which has impoverished many, and governments are left in a tailspin trying to make sense of it all.

The alarming reality of half-dead COVID-riddled economies stand tall on the list, and while the people suffer, the search for resolve continues. The demagogues of our world using this as the perfect opportunity, continue to suck the blood of helpless people, and it is very clear that COVID-19 has provided the perfect platform for international capitalism designed to flush nations down the sewer of irreversible poverty for ultimate control. If immediate, practical action is not taken by well-thinking people everywhere to preserve life and decency, the entire world will witness the greatest pandemic ever.

The [British] Virgin Islands have not escaped this dilemma.

Premier and Minister of Finance, Honourable Andrew A. Fahie (R1) outlined many plans for economic development territory-wide, which has amplified the need for clear cut short-term, medium-term and long-term people-based economic plans if economic growth is to be achieved. While the impression is given that economic restoration is in motion, the current reality of the failing middle class and the impoverished lower class provides enough evidence of the misery caused by COVID-19. The struggling population now wonders if its pain will ever be understood by government, as people-focused plans are yet to be implemented to address the need of the common man. The fact is, if immediate, drastic action is not taken to open all possibilities for ALL PEOPLE within the territory to engage in immediate economic transformation, there will be serious trouble before the middle of 2021. 

The Main Problems in the VI

The VI is not deprived of intellect, neither is there a shortage of manpower. However, age-old local xenophobic fear continues to cripple local development and strangle economic diversity, resulting in economic stalemate which continues to retard economic growth. The result: Increased criminal activity and a poorer standard of living for so-called entitled locals which is now creating territorial frustration, and unless immediate action is taken to implement people-based programmes to generate economic opportunities so families can continue to earn a living and preserve life regardless of COVID-19, things are set to get very serious. Microeconomic growth is the foundation for territorial economic stability which eliminates the need for survival crimes, provides higher living standards for many, and restores hope.

The Mindset

Secondly, there is a very high percentage of intellectual waste in the VI. People of potent intellectual capacity are kicked aside simply because they are “not from here,” deemed unworthy to contribute and be recognised nationally if they are “not from here.” On the flip side, strong nations like Canada continue to invite great minds to their shores which is key to economic growth, and President-Elect Joe R. Biden has vowed to regularise racist immigration laws. The VI is no comparison to Canada or the USA, however, these key factors must be noted. Entitled xenophobes seem permanently blinded to this fact. However, the sooner the VI government becomes woke to the magnitude of harm this segregationist mentality is inflicting on the territory, the sooner we will be able to steer the territory away from the cesspool into which it is heading.

Nothing remains the same. Therefore, the ‘local and belonger’ gospel must cease if immediate attention is to be given to ‘strategic activation and integration of untapped intellect’ to save the COVID-riddled VI economy from collapse.  Many may not survive to tell the tale and this won’t be because of COVID-19. We must integrate now to save the territory from collapse. Locals cannot do it alone!

The marginalisation of immigrant brothers and sisters in the VI is not only a gruesome evil, it is 100% anti-productive. To pretend about this while we scream to the heavens in prayer meetings, hiding the sin under our cloaks, is not only hypocritical, it’s wicked! The VI will never be a better place until we turn from our wicked ways. (2 Chronicles 7:14).

Highlighting The Facts

While countries must take steps to protect their own interests, common sense teaches this: If strategies designed to protect local interests become a barrier to economic growth and development, this must be closely examined and addressed. Closedmindedness to non-local intelligence continues to create serious economic retardation across the VI, and this must be examined.

Let’s look at trade. The documented bias even on the Trade License Application Checklist is a blatant example of inequality and cannot be overlooked. Four simple steps for locals and belongers applying for a trade license versus eight requirements for immigrants seeking to do the very same! Local and belonger licenses from what I am told, are processed in a matter of weeks while the immigrant’s applications in many cases are shoved to the back shelf. Is this a good reflection of equality for local economic growth? Aren’t immigrants living in the same place as locals and belongers? Who benefits most when BVI businesses do well? Is Premier Fahie really serious about economic growth? If so, how will this happen with this degree of inequity in place? I brought the license matter to his attention without a response to date.

INEQUALITY and INEQUITY must be eliminated if spontaneous national growth is to happen. These are toxic prohibitors of economic growth. True socio-economic development will only happen when immigrants like locals and belongers are given a fair and equal chance to contribute to national development. Immigrants affected by inequality and inequity are exploited, and this is a violation of their basic human rights.

Jumpstarting Economic Growth

From what we are seeing across the territory, these are the general recommendations:


  1. Establish one set of requirements for everyone (locals, belongers and immigrants alike) who wish to apply for business licenses. This promotes EQUITY and will propel territory-wide economic growth.


  1. Examine ways to expedite the application process to get things moving.


  1. Remove taxation from imported equipment and raw materials shipped in specifically for this purpose.


  1. While we expect functional guidelines to be in place, give incentives to IMMIGRANTS WITH WONDERFUL DEVELOPMENTAL IDEAS ALREADY LIVING WITHIN THE TERRITORY. This is an immediate boost for economic growth. Give our people a reason to uplift the territory! Economic diversity is the wind which keeps the local economy alive.

There is no need for the local economy to collapse when there is an endless reservoir of potent intellect at our disposal.  The more we unite, the stronger we become. We cannot continue to disregard people simply because they are not ‘from here’ when the territory is depending on ‘PEOPLE POWER’ to grow and stand against the tough times ahead!  There is limitless capacity for economic growth within the territory, but we must understand the potent capacity of PEOPLE POWER. All families across the territory are depending on this. You don’t have to take my word for it. One thing is certain… locals cannot do it alone. Never have, never will!

Thanks for reading.

More next week.


Weekly Articles Written by Kenneth (Kenny G) Gladstone and Published by PSI Network Since 2017.

Article Published November 10, 2020.

This article is brought to you by: TANDOOR RESTAURANT

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7 Responses to “Economic reality in the VI: Welcome to the raw truth”

  • Ghost (26/11/2020, 12:59) Like (4) Dislike (3) Reply
    Mr. Gladstone, you’ve said a lot and I hear what you’ve said that things should be balanced..however you and I both know that a country looks out for its own “first”.. no one is saying that “Expats” should not be considered for certain jobs but if there are qualified locals they should be given first priority..part of the problem is that when Expats (and I speak of All Expats regardless of origin) are given positions especially Gov’t-held positions they don’t ever want to relinquish the post even when it can be filled by a local and again this understand.. but the question becomes is this right to not relinquish the reins..every person should be able to hold a position within their own country to which they are qualified for ..
    Also you speak as though it’s just locals against expats and this is not true .. it’s across the board; or you don’t hear the way some of them call down the locals.. it’s wrong on all fronts and this is also another reason why some locals do not like expats.. another reason is that some expats go to another man’s country and they don’t know how to humble themselves and be thankful for the opportunity to live there.. you speak of the Trade Dept and from your article it sounded like hearsay as to them shelving expats can’t write about something if you don’t know it to be a fact..
    Now as to the part about some of us invoking God and hiding the sin under our cloaks- though very wrong for we are to serve God in truth; again this isn’t just locals, it’s expats as well.. this article is a very bias article and it’s skewed in favor of expats as though locals have marginalized them and it’s not vice-versa.. one thing you said that’s correct is that we All must and should come together to rebuild our economy but know this: that it should never be at the expense of a local being left behind.. we should all learn how to live together peacefully and in love lifting and building each other up so that none is left behind..
  • Rubber Duck (26/11/2020, 15:01) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    The worlds most successful economies do not have business licenses and trade permits.

    You want to start a business off you go and do it. UK and USA included.

    There are no legitimate reasons for trade licenses .

    They are there to protect vested interests and often the monopolies of the relatives of those in power.

  • virginislander (26/11/2020, 16:41) Like (7) Dislike (5) Reply
    Dude carry your donkey go back to Jamaica with your thoughts and ideas BVI good we don’t need you all deplorable here telling us what to do.Jamaican can’t live in Jamaica it’s riddled with greed povity and bad minded people in the bvi they boast they can do everything but can’t do nothing a bunch of takeover artist..
  • This (26/11/2020, 20:31) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    So well said. This country celebrated Obama getting into office but it is bizarre because part of his manifesto was attacking us and our industries and also he is the son of immigrants. The people here have a real affinity for the BVI and it’s people. Many of the comments some commenters see as dissing the BVI are merely wished to help the BVI evolve for the good of its people. The negativity indeed holds BVI back but at the same time, it really helps those countries who now eat our bread to flourish. Those clients of six hundred thousand companies and a bunch of trusts we lost didn’t evaporate, they just found an alternative where they were better treated. Same for the tourism industry
  • OpenMind (27/11/2020, 16:28) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Very interesting contribution Sir Gladstone. Indeed the negative consequences of protectionism are far reaching and ultimately delivers disservice to all, regardless of where one is born. Yet due to primordial biases many continually default and cling to this ideology. It's basic natural instinct.
    On the contrary though, the evidence that free trade yields more favorable results for all, can be found in the Great nations of the USA and Canada as in your example.
    Whether the Virgin Islands will move on this, is highly unlikely in the short term. Unfortunately, the mental conditioning required will take a lot of time. Those BH with an open mind however, will agree that your thoughts are for genuine national development and not segregation. It will take time.

    “It is much more difficult to judge oneself than to judge others. If you succeed in judging yourself rightly, then you are indeed a man of true wisdom.”
  • The TRUTH (28/11/2020, 06:19) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    This piece is very bias. I will like Mr
    . Gladstone to write an honest report on what his personal conditions were in Jamaica that influenced his decision to migrate to the VI. Explain to us why you didnot see it fit to stay in Jamaica and contrubute your ideas to your country. Well let me give you a jumpstart Mr. Gladstone no one run from good.Speaking of protectionism, whenever an expat getop position in any organisation he or she always look out for their own family and country man. So please do not make it seems like it is wrong or evil for a country to put it's own first. No VIslander can go any where in the world and tell them how to run thei country. Most expats will never contribute willingly to the Vi the desire to have easy access to opportunities in the VI is to assist them into elevating themselves in their own country while at the same time they feel like the Virgin Islander should have nothing. Virgin Islanders have come to the realization that mos/ and I stress most expats have a takeover mentality.
  • um (29/11/2020, 20:32) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    The BVI has a right to look out for its own, however this recent and very extreme anti expat is being pushed by the powers that be for their own convience and it is destroying the BVI. The people pushing this are doing it for their own agendas, not the good of the BVI. By making stuff anti white, anti UK, anti Governor they are pushing through stuff that is making them and their people rich but not the BVI. They are in many ways dividing the BVI like Trump did to America. The new budget does not help the poor or middle class. There was no mention of the High School...but lots about airports and cruise ship piers. Many expats, especially in the financial area are leaving to Cayman (which people think is more welcoming and stable than the BVi) and the UK. This doesn't mean that there are more jobs available, it just means the BVI loses all the income from their spending. So roll on pushing this agenda and the downturn will be massive but the opportunites in jobs and business will not increase.

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