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VIP Gov’t 'doing more than talk' to diversify local economy– Hon Wheatley

- said key to attracting investment from foreign-based Virgin Islanders is to grow the local economy
Minister for Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration Hon Vincent O. Wheatley (R9) said after years of ‘talks’ and nothing to diversify of the local economy, his Government has broken the cycle to take action towards achieving the goal. Photo: VINO/File
Referencing an analogy made by another legislator in the HoA that the VI was like a one-trick pony, Hon Wheatley said the territory is mostly reliant on Financial Services and Tourism for revenues. Photo: VINO/File
Referencing an analogy made by another legislator in the HoA that the VI was like a one-trick pony, Hon Wheatley said the territory is mostly reliant on Financial Services and Tourism for revenues. Photo: VINO/File
DUFF BOTTOM, Tortola, VI – Minister for Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration Hon Vincent O. Wheatley (R9) has said that after years of ‘talks’ and nothing to diversify the local economy, his Government has broken the cycle by taking action towards achieving the goal.

The Minister touched on the topic at Friday’s, August 19, 2021, Eleventh Sitting of the Third Session of the Fourth House of Assembly in Duff’s Bottom, Tortola.

More action, less talk 

“That word has been tossed around for a very very long time, diversify the economy… But the Member for the Fourth [Hon Mark H. Vanterpool] said, enough talk. But we are doing more than talk Mr Speaker, we are actually doing it now,” Hon Wheatley remarked.

He said in the case of the VI, the need to diversify the economy is for several reasons, “Old people say never put all your eggs in the same basket.”

The Minister was at the time debating the Virgin Islands Investment Act 2020, which was passed with amendments at Friday’s sitting. The bill has been in the making since the previous National Democratic Party (NDP) administration was in office.

Referencing an analogy made by another legislator in the HoA, that the VI was like a one-trick pony, Hon Wheatley said the territory is mostly reliant on financial services and tourism for revenues.

He said with both tourism and financial services being susceptible to global events and, like in the case of the COVID-19 pandemic, “Until we can grow our economy to at least a billion-dollar budget, we will never attract or retain good talent.”

Diversify to build a stronger economy - Hon Wheatley

Hon Wheatley proposed that if incentivised, wealthy [British] Virgin Islanders around the world will be willing to return to make investments in the business sector. 

The key therefore to attracting returning investments, according to Hon Wheatley, is to diversify the local economy to create more income-generating areas, given the current economy cannot pay global professionals what they can earn in other countries.

“So we must diversify the economy, so we can build a stronger economy, so we can get more of our people here and abroad involved. That’s what it is all about,” Hon Wheatley said in reference to the Virgin Islands Investment Act 2020.

32 Responses to “VIP Gov’t 'doing more than talk' to diversify local economy– Hon Wheatley”

  • window (24/08/2021, 17:08) Like (27) Dislike (6) Reply
    If we want to diversify the economy, consider settling 100 afghanis migrants into our community ASAP.
    • @ Window (24/08/2021, 21:50) Like (8) Dislike (3) Reply
      Window: Ha, ha, ha, ha, (Window of opportunity).
      I think I know what your thought is. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha. No way will this happen. Forget it. We have enough of those kind of mindsets here already. The majority us by far don't want them here. We are tire of being the dump ground for other countries refused mess.
      • @@window (25/08/2021, 06:19) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
        “We have enough of those kind of mindsets here already.”???

        And I thought the BVI was a Christian nation.

        Your “mindset” sounds the opposite of Christian.
        • @@@Window: We do need economic diversity, not more economic, spiritual, and social burden, that will add more sress to ours. (25/08/2021, 13:02) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
          In our present time of hardship, uphill struggles, and economic stagnation, what make you and others of the same mindst like you think it is wise to overburden our meager economy at this time?
          If you still think that you are righteous, may I suggest to you that you take personal responsibility for 10 of the hundred Afghanistans that you have suggested.
          And those who agreed with you accept two (2) each on their personal experiences? WILL YOU? If you will, send your name/names, and personal financial strength to: Hon. Minister Wheatley Rep. (D9) ASAP.
    • Ms Kelly (26/08/2021, 09:27) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      We already and regrettably h have a uch too large a demographic that has brought nothing to the table. The resulting negative impact is increasingly evident as the VI sdownward. wnward.
      The Monaco model is a proven success for sll.
    • @ Window (26/08/2021, 10:02) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      The VI is already over the top with foreign and afghanee like humanity creatng an Afghanlike quality with eroding quality of life for th VI and its people and an obliterated and future.
  • Rubber Duck (24/08/2021, 17:42) Like (2) Dislike (30) Reply
    good job Vincent time the VIP tells their story! ONE WAY FORWARD
    • Not their story! (24/08/2021, 18:41) Like (12) Dislike (0) Reply
      Not all that glitters is gold. The real story will be told.
  • Entrepreneur (24/08/2021, 18:15) Like (29) Dislike (4) Reply
    What we want in diversifying our ecomony is innovation and creativity. Like new hotels with casinos. The upgrading of Ellis Thomas downs bigger purses for the horsemen. Develop major infrastructures like a serious highway from Beef Island to West End, a bridge from VG to Tortola and building a new airport for British Airways to land Beef Island from London Heathrow. Right now u guys just talking a lot of hot air.
    • Correct... (24/08/2021, 18:42) Like (11) Dislike (0) Reply
      Stealing other people's work without understanding the nitty gritty of how to make things actually work is a very dangerous tactic.
    • black (24/08/2021, 19:51) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
      They just talking talking talking. The opportunity has been given to them for over two years now and yet to get a response from the premier on moving forward. There is temporary and permanent jobs over 2000 jobs for people to be gainfully employed. Them ain't got the balls to agree to move forward. And the sad part is the government purse ain't going to be touched. All that needs to be fixed properly will be done once and for all . Greed is what is killing the country for the last 50 years that is why we are the way we are . It's time for the small man to rise up And make the BVI what it should have been. The play time is over time for real people to do real things.
      • @black (26/08/2021, 09:38) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        Toomany" small man" is what killing the place. Currently we desperately need big prison big police force for the " small man " pickney dem. Bvi need big man and big women with big pockets and big experience and proven big success and have children with big brains.
    • omg (25/08/2021, 06:12) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      Lawd you killing me with laughter
  • Falcon (24/08/2021, 19:24) Like (25) Dislike (0) Reply
    Why not start with the basics. The place is a DUMP ! Let's clean up what has become an international disgrace.
    • Good Advisor Free Of Charge Advisory (25/08/2021, 13:24) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      @ Falcon, show us respect neighbor This place is not a Dump, nor are we an international disgrace. Yes, there are plenty of undesirable happenings accuring here daily, but we don't fit your discriptive mole.
      Do you currently living here? If yes, then if this place is truly a "DUMP" , you are living in it. Be careful of being to wise in your own eyes. I urge you to first think before taking. God loves you.
    • Yep (26/08/2021, 09:40) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Start with the human refuge .
  • lol (24/08/2021, 19:39) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    Give one example!
  • Good Advisor Advisory Free of Charge. (24/08/2021, 19:46) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    Diversification without full participation is nothing less than eletism bubble. Approximately, I believe, about more than 90% of eligible workers and potential workers can contribute to our economy growth, if we divert away from the Eurocentric mindset of materialism. Hon. Wheatley made a strong argument, but is he and the others cabinet leaders willing to move at least 90 degree away from the norm, that see the few dominate the majority financially?
    Until he show the cat exiting the bag, it may only be a tape sound of a cat coming from the closed bag.

    Diversification of talents been strangled by ignorance and greed. Culprit No.1. politicians.
    How to break away from the spell you may ask.
    Schedule a number of districts meeting. Set dates, and invite people in each district to present the proof of their talent. After you have viewed, and carefully checked carefully those talents that have potential value of productibility, offer, if neede financial assistance with certain conditions, bribe-free.

    Diversity of talents for good of all is truly is an idea long overdue need in the B.V.I. The elitist mindset is a prideful, selfish over ambitious one. It feeds crimes everywhere where it is practice. Because of this and other unjust practices, the CoI work in the B.V.I is ongoing. Believe me or not.
  • Jane (24/08/2021, 21:39) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
    21 November 2021 will be 1000 days since the election. How many of those 1000 jobs happened out of interest?
  • gkwdkcdka (24/08/2021, 21:53) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
  • Heckler (24/08/2021, 22:11) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
    we lost 1000 jobs in 1000
  • tri party opposition (24/08/2021, 22:13) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
    The VIP is campaigning in the house
  • Looked at the Investment Act... (24/08/2021, 23:09) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    Nice try but it is not ready. At least refer to a proper piece of legislation as a guide when trying to draft something of substance. Shameful...
  • NHI (24/08/2021, 23:11) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
    When will they set nhi to be one rate for the year instead of every pay check they get they take it out . When will they decrease the amount of payroll tax from 8% . To a lesser percentage . Ppl are suffering they go to work everyday n work hard n it’s Little to show . You go to the supermarket your whole pay check is dead .. when will they raise the minimum wage again?
    • the rock (26/08/2021, 05:18) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      A bottle of orange juice is $8.00 minimum wage $6.00, need i say more!
  • Get Real (25/08/2021, 04:25) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    Get Real about this thing. There are some rich people here but they are not willing to put their money into productive investments. They prefer to walk around and buy up all the reasonably price real estate. International investors will not be willing to invest in larges scale productive enterprise in the BVI because of the Labour, market, labor pool and the labour environment generally. Even in the Traditional hotel industry we have had one investment in a 5 star hotel in 20 years. If you are going to try and attract international investors then you have to create an investor friendly environment . We have not. It is not just about passing a law. Most of the other components must be there. So our next bet is to attract rich locals abroad who are willing to invest small and medium size businesses. I wish you luck with that one because being successful entrepreneurs they have become use to doing business in an efficient environment and we have no idea what that means down here. Lets take the albatross around our neck, Prospect, It is a superb location for a 5 star hotel have we being able to find an investor to invest 100million to transform that property? Prospect is now in near total ruins and with each passing year another 20 million will be needed to transform the property.
  • If you want to encourage invesmenr (25/08/2021, 07:30) Like (15) Dislike (0) Reply
    1. Hold a snap election and dont allow anyone whos ever been in BVI politics before to run.
    2. Get serious on crime enforcement and put an end the Narco State the BVI has become
    3. Invest heavily in infrastructure and improve roads, schools, solid waste processing, and water distribution
    4. Give real incentives for investors to locate to the BVI if they train, hire and reinvest in the community.
    • Snap elections hmmm (25/08/2021, 10:01) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
      Those 3 ladies sitting back on the bench quietly satisfy with just a salary, hold so much power in their hands, they have no idea...Snap elections, they can make it happen..change they can make it happen, . If they can come together as one..
  • Dreamer (25/08/2021, 10:03) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    @Entrepreneur, You are really out of your mind, a bridge from VG to Tortola you must have had a dream. A new airport for British Airways to land Beef Island from London Heathrow. Right now I think you are talking a lot of hot air.
  • stop (25/08/2021, 10:28) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    @NHI, How can you be talking about a decrease of the payroll tax from 8%, when we have one of the lowest payroll tax, where will the government get money from to maintain the BVI or their pockets.
  • WHAT!!! (25/08/2021, 12:18) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    If you truly wanted to attract investors you would get rid of a lot of the useless red tape that you make people go through. Right now all your doing is discouraging investments by making it so difficult.
  • Aparthie (26/08/2021, 02:29) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Let’s get sweetheart deals for those overseas belongers who made their success in uk and USA, back home and keep it all in the family while we vilify the expats of those very countries that gave your brain drained countrymen opportunity to get to where they may be sources of capital..but alas, they are educated and knowledgeable, and unfortunately, like the DFIwhich is shrinking from our shores from the drivel issued by our elected cockatoos, they are too learned to risk their savings on a game of graft laiden, familial roulette as a logical investment.

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