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‘Expats will probably have to go back home’ – Dr Pickering

-says gov’t will not be able to pay expats if the Bill stands
Expatriate showing his support at the Decision March. Photo: VINO
Dr The Honourable Kedrick D. Pickering (R7), Deputy Premier and Minister for Natural Resources and Labour, strongly expressed that if this Bill stands, many expatriates will have to leave the VI because the government will not be able to pay them. Photo: VINO
Dr The Honourable Kedrick D. Pickering (R7), Deputy Premier and Minister for Natural Resources and Labour, strongly expressed that if this Bill stands, many expatriates will have to leave the VI because the government will not be able to pay them. Photo: VINO
Thousand of residents marching against the Bill that will affect the territory's main economic pillar. Photo: VINO
Thousand of residents marching against the Bill that will affect the territory's main economic pillar. Photo: VINO
Persons signing the petition at the Decision March on May 24, 2018. Photo: VINO
Persons signing the petition at the Decision March on May 24, 2018. Photo: VINO
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI - As the people of the Virgin Islands (VI) fight against the establishment of the public registers of beneficial ownership, Dr The Honourable Kedrick D. Pickering (R7), Deputy Premier and Minister for Natural Resources and Labour, strongly expressed that if this Bill stands, many expatriates will have to leave the VI because the government will not be able to pay them.

He was at the time addressing a crowd of protestors that gathered at Government House following the Decision March on May 24, 2018.

He further stated that if expatriates are forced to leave the territory, there will be a negative impact on the economic pillar of financial services.

“Listen to this carefully people, if this bill is allowed to stand it means that government’s revenues are going to literally disappear. It means that we will not be able to offer government services and it means that we are likely to lose jobs. It also means that people who come here to work will probably have to go back home because we cannot afford to pay them even if we want them to work.”

He continued, “We are here to defend that pillar of our economy, the financial services because we are the ones, all those of us here whether you born here or you ain’t born here; whether you come here to live or come to visit or come to work.”

Overwhelmed by the support

Hon Pickering during his speech admitted that he was “overwhelmed” by the support from the people of the VI, while adding that this decision will affect everyone.

“This ain’t something that is going to affect VIP, NDP, rich people or poor people; it is going to affect all of us. And so, it is extremely important, that is why somebody like me is overwhelmed here this afternoon to see the support from our people standing up for what is right,” explained the Deputy Premier.

“Since 1975 we have not received a penny from the UK”

While lamenting that persons like the late Honourable Willard Wheatley and the late Honourable Cyril B. Romney worked very hard to take the territory out of “grant and aid”, he stated that the VI had not received funding from the UK government since 1975.

“Now they want to tell us how we must run our life, it is wrong, and we must tell them it is wrong. In 1984 when the double taxation treaty between ourselves and the U.S was cancelled abruptly, it was people like the late Cyril B. Romney and others of the day, who started looking for new revenue streams and that is the onset and genesis of our financial service's ladies and gentlemen.”

Mixed reactions from expats about Decision March

Meanwhile, many expatriates have expressed that they did not march because they “are not from here”, while some expressed a sense of fear of what would happen to them if they decided to march.

One expatriate told our newsroom that he march for his son who was born in the Virgin Islands because he wants his son to be able to come back home to live after he finishes his study abroad.

“I am not here to march. I am just on the side to watch what is happening,” said another expatriate from St. Vincent who wishes to remain anonymous.

A young lady expressed that she was marching because he boss encouraged her to march, adding that she has some knowledge about what is happening but admits that she does not fully understand.

“I wouldn’t mind getting some more in-depth details about the decision that was made so I can better understand,” she said.

28 Responses to “‘Expats will probably have to go back home’ – Dr Pickering”

  • Hmm (28/05/2018, 11:53) Like (25) Dislike (1) Reply
    Let me pack up n head to UK
    • Back to pack (28/05/2018, 14:36) Like (7) Dislike (1) Reply
      Not from England, on my first visit to England I liked it and said one day I am going to live in England. Now is the time for me to make that move.
  • BlindSpot (28/05/2018, 11:57) Like (30) Dislike (3) Reply
    So, he want to defend financial services, AND take us independent?
    I know one thing, if he keep talking about independence, and if he takes us there, aint no expats sticking around for that car crash. Financial, construction, the others - all a dem gone!
  • 123 (28/05/2018, 12:18) Like (12) Dislike (1) Reply
    this is getting serious man
  • What U Doing? (28/05/2018, 12:23) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    "... In 1984 when the double taxation treaty between ourselves and the U.S was cancelled abruptly, it was people like the late Cyril Romney and others of the day, who started looking for new revenue streams ..."

    Hey Doc., any new revenue streams ... start looking ...
  • just asking... (28/05/2018, 12:24) Like (10) Dislike (1) Reply
    and what will locals do?
  • Please go (28/05/2018, 12:49) Like (10) Dislike (35) Reply
    Please I beg you go. All of you. We will survive and rebuild.
  • ReX FeRal (28/05/2018, 12:50) Like (13) Dislike (1) Reply
    Another emotional rant from this ingrate.
  • In other words... (28/05/2018, 13:41) Like (23) Dislike (1) Reply
    Firsty, government lack of revenue maybe a cause (for those expats working in government) but not a huge cause of a lot of expats having to leave. I see this comment as a diplomatic way of saying that when a lot of these private financial institutions downsize (a lot of locals work at these entities) the Labour Department will obviously have to cater for locals that will be out of jobs and desperately in need- in effect affecting new and work permit renewals. Secondly, a lot of these financial institutions are ran by expats so obviously if things go belly up, they'll be the first to go-by choice not because government has no money to pay them as they don't work for the government in the first place.

    This is quite scary but understandable as they must lookout for their own before the outsiders. I'm thinking why would government hire expats when they have locals anyway? Reason, most expats that are government hired are higher educated individuals with a particular speciality-doctors, nurses, some lawyers, teachers, civil engineers, advisors etc. Would they be downsizing on these folks? This is such a troubling and ticklish matter as a lot of these disciplines cannot be filled by just regular highschool educated joes or someone just out of the finance sector. All this talk talk talk, the government needs to act act act, brainstorm and prepare a contingency plan for just in case. They say they are refusing to comply unless these sanctions are international standards but they were given two years preparation, not two months. UK caught us blindly with this. We must now sensibly prepare in the interim.
  • Rubber Duck (28/05/2018, 13:58) Like (30) Dislike (0) Reply
    Burn your British Passport in protest Pickering.
  • So glad (28/05/2018, 14:44) Like (9) Dislike (15) Reply
    I feel sorry for the people that want out of Tortola but have no way out. I am so glad I was able to move my kids and mother to Florida.
    • No Backbone (28/05/2018, 16:00) Like (10) Dislike (24) Reply
      Big hypocrite. If you were a true native you would know how important it is for all to stay together and stand up. Build our country back together! Let’s hope there are no school shootings by your kids school. You’ve now taught them when it gets tough, to pack up, run and hide.
      • So glad (28/05/2018, 20:31) Like (5) Dislike (10) Reply
        @No Backbone, you need to shut the F!#k up already. b_&ch if you want to clap back, clap back at me. Keep . Don't. Put my kids in this. I did what was best for my family. And by the way, what makes you think Tortola schools is immune to a school shooting, it can happen anywhere fool.
      • !!!!!## (29/05/2018, 06:34) Like (5) Dislike (5) Reply
        @No Backbone You are such a damn fool. I am native and I am tired of you ignorant people. If I find a way out, you bet to believe I will be leaving to. Why the H÷ll you don't stand up and fight for better schools/education, better health care and for people who are retired and can't get their full pension. But no, you talking negative about a mother who decide to move her mother and kids away for a better life. You should never say or wish bad on people kids. That just goes to show how ignorant most of you in Tortola are. What you need to do is go start preppig for the hurricane that is going to hit soon.
  • YOLO (28/05/2018, 16:20) Like (28) Dislike (0) Reply
    All I know VIP NDP get ready because this is what happen when you don't play by the rules this what happen when you are robing the country for years no fall back plan no nothing thank you but did a perfect job
  • brain (28/05/2018, 16:44) Like (22) Dislike (0) Reply
    Now that this is what the UK is seeking, let us use this as a revenue-generating mechanism. Declaring the registers become public information will not only cause mass genocide but also exodus but we should not fear with this, let us use these avenues to our benefit. While the industry is largely jeopardised, incorporate a new legislation to raise all fees for searches in the thousands that would turn away the need or urge to search or attempt to. If it is one thing that the UK did not do is had a hand in the robust legislation we created, use this to our advantage and infiltrate the system. We should continue to fight for the island, rebuild it to Roles Royce levels and red carpet and use the resources we have, expat or not, as we all need to work together and do not give in. Strength in numbers, education and masterminds and we can do it. ONEBVI
  • bystander (28/05/2018, 17:02) Like (36) Dislike (1) Reply
    The British shouldn't have passed this piece of legislation for a lot of reasons, but saying $200m of revenue will go overnight because of it, is scare mongering. Clients aren't saying that. The business of just selling companies and doing nothing more complicated was a dying model already. The crooked business that needed secrecy has gone already because there hasn't been true secrecy for years with the UBO rules being enforced. What can work is more high value added work, for a smaller number of companies, where you charge more for ongoing work for each one. What is going on with the demonstration etc is the building of a distraction for local consumption, to use as an excuse for the fact the post Irma re-construction has been, and is, woeful. What will kill the financial, legal and tourism sectors is terrible, dangerous, infrastructure and terrible communications, especially internet. Unless the infrastructure gets fixed and improved the BVI really will be relying on subsistence agriculture and fishing, with a little bit of yacht chartering.
  • Since 1975 (28/05/2018, 18:51) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
    The BVI stopped receiving aid because it could support itself since know better than this....our gdp per capita is $42,000 the second higest in the caribbean after the caymans. $42,000 is higher than japan, italy, spain, canada and even the u.k it self! The third highest gdp per capita in the western hemisphere belongs to the bvi.....burmuda comes in first at $82,000 then america at $56,000 the the bvi at $42,000. Why would a place with those numbers need support? Treshold is about $10,000. Anguilla and monserrat still gets aid from the uk. We only needed aid duringbthe aftermathnof irma. It seems like this guy is playing mind games..
    • wondering (29/05/2018, 06:30) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
      The financial industry's highly paid executives is what makes the $42k so high. The minimum wage makes the majority of households poor. Think about it.
    • Since 1975 (29/05/2018, 06:32) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      Correction: bvi is after caymans at the fourth higest in the western hemisphere. Caymans is $43,000
  • island man (28/05/2018, 19:12) Like (13) Dislike (3) Reply
    Which expat is Pickering talking about? Is it the owner of Oil-Nut Bay? the foreign Bank Managers? The managers of the Trust Companies? all the share holders of Nanny Cay Marina? He is talking nonsense! 70% of the Caribbean expat work for $6:00 per hour so it cannot be them. so they cannot have any serious impact in the economy. 100% of Whites expat work for over $25:00 per hour so it got to be these people he is talking about. Now when you ask them to leave I do hope the BVI government have some form of resources and employment for Islanders. we could only talk, talk. when fire lights I do hope you have enough water from your broken cistern...
    Note: foreigners market this economy, they attract visitors like Obama and yyou get the fame from their hard dollars, so please thank then talk... Leave the Caribbean nationals alone, you will need them again in times of disaster.
    • Rubber Duck (29/05/2018, 06:42) Like (9) Dislike (6) Reply
      Nonsense that 100% of white ex pats earn over $25 per hour. There are plenty of white waiters, bar people, boat workers who don’t earn anything like that. But you are right that if Pickering and others wants to kick expats out, white and black , the BVI is finished.
  • parent (28/05/2018, 20:43) Like (3) Dislike (4) Reply
    @no back bone, you sound so ignorant. If people want to leave they leave. In other words, MYOB/ mind your own business and stay out of things that does not concern you.
  • We are home! (28/05/2018, 23:16) Like (15) Dislike (1) Reply
    Irrespective of your backward labour and immigration laws, our families and jobs are here (by the skin of their teeth). If BVI continues to screw things up, our clients and JOBS will leave. At that stage, we will be transferred if lucky to the competitor jurisdiction or be unemployed having spent considerable years maintaining the BVI financial services economy despite all of the unnecessary challenges. BVIslanders will have a similar choice to make, follow the job and compete on merit elsewhere to get it or find something else to do.

    We have serious delays with the use of the loan funds, backed by the UK, and it’s holding us all back. We have people wasting months in the labour and immigration process when it ought to be turned around in a week or two unless there is a glaring problem with the application. Employers wanting to bring work back here are effectively being blocked. This is revenue lost for government, landlords, shops and services. TheLabour law allows 3 year permits but somehow these are not given out - that’s three times the revenue up front...

    Is the UK law constitutionally offensive? Yes, and it should be challenged by a capable team. Is that the reason we are in trouble? Not really. The messed up systems and corruption have been challenging business here for years only now it’s more serious. Our refusal to welcome work permit residents as part of the team, even when they are doing their bit coming back in difficult circumstances and putting is massive hours to serve clients and keep them in BVI and then putting time in on weekends clearing up after others who could not care less about the BVI and have no pride in their home, is holding us back. This has to change now lest we all need to apply for work permits in Cayman, Bermuda, Nevis, Jersey, Guernsey, Delaware, Hong Kong, Mauritius in the near future.
  • wow (29/05/2018, 06:38) Like (4) Dislike (2) Reply
    Very stupid thing to say. Foreigners make up more than half the bvi population. Watch landlords lose business. Watch the population drop by several thousands again. Who ever made this statement is going by a sick discriminatory narrative. Scare mongering thats all.
  • Well (29/05/2018, 08:37) Like (3) Dislike (3) Reply
    There won't be anyone on the island.
  • Really (30/05/2018, 12:29) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    He seems to have missed the point. The highly paid expats in the financial industry go where the money is, and take their companies where there is the greatest profit margin. I doubt they are concerned with this threat. The Government should be planning alternative employment and initiatives for locals not threatening those that have provided BVI income for so long.
  • Yes (30/05/2018, 12:54) Like (3) Dislike (2) Reply
    Expats especially the professional ones could move and get hired where the jobs are. Who are then left here when the lawyers, the accountants, the people in the financial industry leave? Who are going to sustain the social security, the nhi, the work permit fees, the payroll taxes, etc. Who are going to rent the homes, eat at the restaurants? This territory will be in deep shit!

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