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Petition seeks to remove Immigration & Passport Act amendment from Order Paper

- As persons express their dissatisfaction with ‘rush’ to regularise expats
Two of the persons behind the petition calling for the removal of the Amendments to the Immigration and Passport Act on the Order Paper for the Friday May 17, 2019 House of Assembly (HoA) Sitting are Rosemary R. Rosan-Jones aka ‘Cindy’ and Attorney-at-Law Jamal S. Smith. Photo: VINO/Facebook
The petition challenging the 'fast track' regularisation initiative by the Government of the Virgin Islands has a goal of 1000 signatures. Photo:
The petition challenging the 'fast track' regularisation initiative by the Government of the Virgin Islands has a goal of 1000 signatures. Photo:
The ‘fast track’ residency and belonger status regularisation programme by Premier and Minister of Finance Honourable Andrew A. Fahie (R1) continues to face opposition from the ‘indigenous’ population of the Virgin Islands. Photo: VINO/File
The ‘fast track’ residency and belonger status regularisation programme by Premier and Minister of Finance Honourable Andrew A. Fahie (R1) continues to face opposition from the ‘indigenous’ population of the Virgin Islands. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- A petition calling for the removal of the Amendments to the Immigration and Passport Act on the Order Paper for the Friday May 17, 2019 House of Assembly (HoA) has been started.

The petition led by Rosemary R. Rosan-Jones aka ‘Cindy’ and supported by several others, including Attorney-at-Law Jamal S. Smith, cites a "rush" factor by Premier and Minister of Finance Honourable Andrew A. Fahie (R1) to regularise an unknown number of persons living in good standing in the Territory for fifteen and more years.

Public consultation needed- Petition

According to the petition, which has so garnered 82 signatures, Premier Fahie should not go forward with the process until he discusses the issues with the “indigenous” and already regularised population of the Territory.

"Additionally, we ask for: (A) the Amendment to the Immigration and Passport Act (Cap. 130) to allow for the regularisation of residency and belonger status be removed from the Order Paper for 17 May 2019; and (B) confirmation that a process of public consultation on the way forward will take place before any further action is taken."

In an attempt to justify concerns, the petition stated, "The proper ventilation of the issues involved by full and frank discussion with Virgin Islanders would reveal that not only Virgin Islanders would be affected by this, but also persons who have acquired their Belonger status through a legitimate process."

According to the petition, the Virgin Islands already adds hundreds of Residents and Belongers to its numbers every year. "The strategy cannot be about increasing those numbers, but must be about ensuring that the right people with the best interest of our people and society at heart are awarded this privilege."

The “rush” the process is “immoral”

The makers of the petition cited Bermuda, noting that it is a country that has only awarded 17 Belonger status in 50 years, "while we continue to provide many more and so to question our moral turpitude in this regard would be unreasonable. There is a great need to review our immigration policies, including Residency and Belonger status, but to rush this process that will cause irreparable harm to our society is immoral."

The document also pointed to the Virgin Islands Party's Manifesto for the recent general election. "The VIP Manifesto can be said to be a contract between the people and the Government with an overwhelming majority in the House of Assembly. In it, at page 23, your government promised to establish an Immigration and Labour Reform Committee to ensure that our systems are fair but always putting BVIslanders and Belongers first. Again, at page 85, your government recognises the challenge of immigration and promised a new comprehensive immigration policy, by conducting a comprehensive study on immigration, as well as review and revise the current immigration policy in relation to Permanent Residence and Belonger Status."

The petition further stated that on page 86 of the VIP Manifesto, there was a proposal to regularise the status of long-term residents without status, including persons reared in the Virgin Islands.

“However, while your government has started the regularisation process, you have strategically left BVIslanders and Belongers out of the equation, and have failed to put us first in your priorities by starting this process without a comprehensive study on immigration, or an Immigration and Labour Reform Committee, as you promised, nor have you consulted with Virgin Islanders."

The petition has a goal of 1000 signatures.

36 Responses to “Petition seeks to remove Immigration & Passport Act amendment from Order Paper”

  • Dim Sum (15/05/2019, 17:53) Like (93) Dislike (8) Reply
    But wait!?! Cindy where your toots from? Mehn you always complaining and have an axe to grind with every damn ting man!! Get a life nuh!
    • lol (15/05/2019, 18:21) Like (38) Dislike (0) Reply
      She need a roster
      • Winston (16/05/2019, 06:33) Like (14) Dislike (7) Reply
        The Premier has the very best of intentions and should be congratulated. The problem is how he is going about this very important matter , that deserves careful consideration and processing. It is ridiculous to expect us to do a proper job of this task in a couple of weeks.

        Please re-think the matter and approach it in a far less hasty manner
    • BVIslander (15/05/2019, 19:47) Like (17) Dislike (52) Reply
      I'm Glad someone is being the voice of the BVIslanders. Its our homeland but for some reason what we want don't matter. They have my support.
      • Blogger on point... (17/05/2019, 02:11) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
        I love this blogger’s comment:

        Simple Maths (16/05/2019, 13:07)
        I have drawn from both sides of the argument and can sympathise with all involved. What I don't understand is why talking and reasoning about this matter isn't the argument for both sides. 

The Expats are saying BVI people are unfair, etc. I don't think that they are. I think they are uninformed and would like to know exactly how this will play out, after having time to make suggestions for how the process should be implemented. That's democracy. Its their country. Why cant they have a say? Can they have a say in how other countries are run? The short answer is no. 

The further argument that BVI people have dual status - US/British. Why is that even an argument though? It's mere geography, and a maintained relationship with the UK that cultivates that. Most countries in the Caribbean had a similar opportunity to be British, and all the advantages that that affords but chose independence. How could that be an argument here now? By voting for self-determination, these countries made it harder to position themselves to be able to travel to the USA and the UK and by default, their children are not born there. How is this the BVI fault?

As it relates to regularization. Should persons in the territory be regularized? Yes, I think so, but it should be done in a manner which compliments many factors including the economy, size of country, impact on social welfare and culture, etc. Time lived in BVI is also an important consideration, but not a right. Valuable contribution to society is a better yardstick to measure by and any status conferred is a privilege. For clarification, a right cannot be revoked. Immigration status conferred can be revoked if certain factors are present and is therefore a privilege. 

I have seen so many derogatory comments towards BVI people because they have spoken out about this matter. I am not from BVI and I think its interesting that expats say BVI people are prejudiced, wicked, etc but still live among and have children with them. If you are feeling disadvantaged, why stay? Why argue for what is not yours? I came here to experience something different and happen to love the place and the people I have met here. The day I feel anything like what is expressed in the blogs, is the day I decide to leave. I don't understand why persons would complain, berate, curse a place and its people but be fighting to remain there. Something is very wrong with that.

I will end with I hope the government AND the people of the territory can find a happy medium. I also hope that expats and BVI people alike come together and TALK about this matter. Spewing negativity and beating each other up virtually makes no sense. At the end of the day, its their country and we, having decided to come here, have to understand and respect that. If we cannot, then its time to leave. Simple.
  • zoe (15/05/2019, 18:16) Like (47) Dislike (6) Reply
    Premier please stay the course
  • McClean (15/05/2019, 18:19) Like (44) Dislike (12) Reply
    What ever became of the allegations made against Jamal a few years ago?
  • Outspoken (15/05/2019, 18:24) Like (67) Dislike (16) Reply
    A set of haters of expatriate people in this little country.
  • Disinterested (15/05/2019, 18:48) Like (18) Dislike (14) Reply
    Circumstances sometimes thrust people into leadership positions but people being in the right place at the right time does not always make them an effective leader. Playing politics sometimes comes at high price. Jumping from vision/mission to tactics skipping goals, objectives, strategies.....etc is not effective governing, though it may be temporally good politics. Major changes to immigration should not be put on a “fast food” track. It requires much discussion, deliberations, debate, decision.......etc before effecting changes. The BVI is a representative democracy and the people should be consulted. This authoritarian style light of governing will definitely be short lived. One term likely if that. Not averse to long-term residents attaining full residency but there must be a timely and orderly process. Take time to do some strategic planning. Large countries can facilitate quick residency but even they are not moving full speed ahead. A fast food process will produce quick social changes/disruption that will impact locals and belongers alike. Experience matters; a coalition government was the best bet. A green team with a new toy is something else, is it not? Currently there is an 8-4 with 1 vacancy advantage . How long will it last with the seat of the pants governing? The high expectations, high hopes....etc capital is being expended quickly; it is lots of stuff, not just immigration. After the low hanging fruit is picked, then what? Many government fall into that sink hole. Anyway, awaiting the automatic, rapid fire volley.
    • Eagle and Buffalo (16/05/2019, 11:07) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      @Disinterested, real talk. Nuff tings packed in a single paragraph to be mined. Let’s stir the pot a likle. Among the following who would have been a more a strategic and effective change leader: Dr. Smith, Walwyn, Fraser, Fahie, Skelton, Dr. Pickering? Who won the race the tortoise or the hare? Effective strategic planning is severely lacking. Proactive planning trumps reaction every day of the week and twice on Sundays. What we have here is the proverbial dog catching up with the car and ?? All aspiring leaders whether a CEO of MNC or non-profit, principal, dept. head/director, president, prime minister, premier, dog catcher.....etc must plan for and have a strategic plan for if or when he/she takes hold of an organization. It is early yet tun ah missteps made. In making decisions, any leader must be armed with the current conditions on the ground before making a decision. The law of unintended consequences must be factored into the equation. How is amnesty define? Is not amnesty a reprieve for some wrong committed? Anyway getting on the right track is not insurmountable though.

      Let’s lead like eagle, not careen off the cliff like buffaloes.
    • oops (16/05/2019, 17:10) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
      A long winded bunch of nothing. Where is the Laws on this? Where is the Policies on this. While the years were placed at 20 by NDP oh it was fine wasn’t it. The twenty years came and so many have qualify for certain status and were looked over, skipped, given the run around. Oh that’s fair that after meeting YOUR requirements still rejected. I bet you’re one of those anchor babies from the USVI. I am sorry for using this term but it is so often used against persons who were born here by person who are not from here (indigenous). Do you know how many people qualify for status since the immigration policy introduction in 2003? So what would you do ignore the laws. And you would be the same one causing when you see a long line at money gram or western union. See all you wish for is that people work, spend their money in your stores then leave without a penny. Is that the reason your people emigrated to other places? Is this why so many birth their kids in the usvi or the states?
  • National (15/05/2019, 19:03) Like (103) Dislike (18) Reply
    I am tired of this SAGA!!!! Tortolians go foreign and never return in the hope of getting a better life in the USA and UK. Some also got amnesty for over staying and have become good citizens of that country. Some of the expatriates living here are our Doctors, our children pediatricians, our teachers, engineers, hospitality workers, care givers, builders, some of the same people who rebuilding our homes after the hurricane, and the list can go on and on. Give the people dem a break man! They aint begging our government lodging. They working hard like us to survive and paying rent and their bills. They trying to pursue a good life here just like you. Why we Tolians so bad minded?

    Check you all history.. all yuh family dem from Guadeloupe, St Vincent, Anguilla, St Kitts just name out the Caribbean. You all have roots there. Tortola is a mixing pot of beautiful caring Caribbean people. I hate the racism we have in our hearts against expatriates. Where yuh husband from? where your wife from. I wish the US could impose a law on all Tolians who get their children in the US to be revoked like what Trump do to some in the US
    Let's live and dwell together in peace man.. Shox!!! Tortola is an Island. Its not a dam continent.

    The people living here for over 15 years giving back to our country and we have a problem. Send them back where they are from our economy will hutt. Hutt because our apartments are empty cause we local people don't like to pay all yuh high rental fees. The banks will bankrupt cause all the loans will be left unpaid. Let's appreciate and welcome the people dem and stop the noise.

    Fed up!

  • Anonymous (15/05/2019, 19:45) Like (85) Dislike (6) Reply
    Doesn’t Cindy have US citizenship via her children being born there?! Hypocrite much?
    • TABOO (15/05/2019, 20:24) Like (47) Dislike (2) Reply
      Yeah and I’m sure she said she lives in the US for 20yrs...
      I think the wrong person is stirring the pot
    • and... (15/05/2019, 21:53) Like (44) Dislike (2) Reply
      Isn’t her husband from Cayman. Expat
    • Guest (15/05/2019, 23:59) Like (0) Dislike (2) Reply
      What laws are you and the idiots hitting likes going to smdh....
    • l (16/05/2019, 09:00) Like (3) Dislike (8) Reply
      One cannot get US citizenship by virtue of their children being born there.
      • @I (16/05/2019, 16:41) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
        @I, when a US born child turn 21, he/she can file for parents. But stay tune. Trump, today rolled out a plan to reduce reduce chain migration from current 66% to 33%.
  • So so sad.. (15/05/2019, 20:21) Like (47) Dislike (8) Reply
    Why all this nonsense from these sensible people... Fahie please don't be distracted by those heartless attention seeking haters... As a matter a fact the next step is to remove visa restrictions from children so they can join their parents here for a vacation... Great for humanity . Family and the economy...
  • Trump (15/05/2019, 20:57) Like (22) Dislike (16) Reply
    who owns our costal waters. Who owns The boating industry in this country. Who are the real estate conglomerates in our country the white folks and most of us extremely proud and happy with these facts but the Caribbean People is a big problem to some of we. Some of our nationals were disenfranchise by the white folks. The average local man can no longer purchase land in this territory.wHow many of VI Landers are employed within the charter boat industry. this new government begging permission for the charter owner in our country to please employ locals. Most of the offshore enterprises are mostly white folks and some some of we have
    nothing to say in relation to such social issues but the Caribbean people bears the brunt of our frustration. Most of the Caribbean folks making minimum wages and is a problem to some of us: while the white folk up in here raping our country Just keeping the lowdown real!!! Talk that
  • Xxx (15/05/2019, 21:25) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
    Leave our people alone we can all get along
  • Disgusted (15/05/2019, 22:04) Like (52) Dislike (7) Reply
    I am sickened and disgusted by the level of hatred and bile being spewed openly to people who have resided here for 15, 20 and some 30 years. People who are already incorporated into the society or try to:

    You say we don’t mix - when you insult us at every opportunity and remind us that we have no rights to speak openly? To go back to where we come from?

    You say you feel threatened? Why? You ask what we have done to deserve this privilege? How have we contributed to the growth of the BVI?

    Shame on you. We pay taxes, do what we have to as honest law abiding citizens, build homes and have families with BVIslanders. Pray with you at church. Socialise with you at gatherings. Toiled with you to rebuild after Irma. Pay your mortgages with our rent. Yet we are not good enough to be considered for some kind of status. Just tolerated with an annual immigration stamp and wait patiently for another 15 years for consideration.

    • Hmmmmmmm (16/05/2019, 00:34) Like (4) Dislike (12) Reply
      Pray with you at church and whor* with another woman’s spouse.
      • @hmmm (16/05/2019, 09:31) Like (8) Dislike (3) Reply
        This is so funny. Lol. Once you take care of home, ain’t no one can come sniffing around anyone’s spouse-man or woman.
  • legal team (16/05/2019, 06:46) Like (25) Dislike (2) Reply
    where is it written in any BVI LAW or in the BVI Constitution, that the minister must consult with Virgin Islanders before amending the Immigration and Passport Ordinace,Cap.130?
    LAWYER, show me the law, so I can go and read it for myself.. If these residents in the BVI are no threat to the National Security of Her Majesty's Territories, what is the problem in regularizing their status?
    HON. MINISTER, four more years after this term, from 2023-2027 for the VIP.

    • F Lee Bailey (16/05/2019, 13:47) Like (0) Dislike (2) Reply
      @ legal team—-it is all about votes in this little territory——giving people status some might show their gratitude next election——meanwhile one can not piss-off those who have already voted your political party into office
  • This island need JESUS (16/05/2019, 07:21) Like (10) Dislike (1) Reply
    May God have mercy on this place the other governments from the other countries are watching to see how we threat their people, you all getting upset over stupidness one of these days you all going to you all grave and leave the bvi right behind here.This is my fathers world
  • Hmmmm (16/05/2019, 08:28) Like (8) Dislike (1) Reply
    Fahie if you don't do it. Hmmm. All these oppositions are NDP driven... If NDP does get back in.. This will be the first thing they do... NDP failed messed up and they are looking for a second chance to fix their wrong.
  • Virgin Islander (16/05/2019, 09:13) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    It's amazingly shocking to know the level of intelligence we have in these Virgin Islands. Hon. Premier while you are at it, please call an amnesty on stupidity. I think we need those same Europeans to teach us a thing or two. Blogger: Disinterested, I don't know you but maybe I do. I wish to say to you: Thanks, thanks, Thanks. I wish I could do it in person. "National", a mem Arseholeh.
  • musa (16/05/2019, 10:37) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    she is useless
  • Binocs (16/05/2019, 10:48) Like (26) Dislike (1) Reply
    Sadden by the things that was said last night at this press conference. Cannot believe the things that came out the mouths of the persons who came to discuss at this table.

    I was extremely taken aback at how they went on about people from the eastern Caribbean! The islands that are closest to you to lend a helping hand in your time of need!!! BVI is part of the Caribbean why are we tearing down and treating our fellow Caribbean brothers and sister in this manner?

    Nothing was said of the huge number of philipinos, Americans, brits who are here, and those are the people the planes were sent to evacuate from her after Irma.

    Caribbean people, black people we have to unite. Premiere Fahie was right when he said this. Are we not seeing what Is happening on a daily basis in the US UK EU?

    The hypocrisy of some of this people who are speaking on this topic is ridiculous. They are not even true BVI Islanders because they were not born on this soil. They are holders of dual citizenship. Their children are born on US soil and so they are able to go to the US and enjoy and take advantage of all the benefits that comes with US citizenship. Why can’t someone who has made the BVI their home for 20 plus years, pay taxes and be good peaceful persons in this country not get the opportunity to get their status regularized!!! STOP FIGHT WHAT ALLU YOU WOULD WANT FOR ALLU SELF AND ALLU CHILDREN If ALLU was in another mans country!!!!!!!!’

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