As he moves to secure a fresh mandate from voters at the upcoming general elections, Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley has set his sights firmly on finding new and innovative ways of growing the territory’s revenue base.
One of the means of achieving this goal was through targeting a relatively untapped resource in the form of wealthy persons that live among residents in the territory, the Premier indicated.
Dr Wheatley explained that a Resilience Fund — a programme he said was set up in partnership with members of the community — is expected to be announced by his government within the next two months as a means of addressing that challenge.
“We have many wealthy people who live in the BVI,” Dr Wheatley explained last evening on the VIP Let’s talk radio programme. “And a lot of these wealthy persons in the United States of America are able to get tax write-offs when they make a charitable donation. But most of those charitable donations, they don’t get the tax write-off in the Virgin Islands
He continued: “Very soon, some of the wealthy individuals who reside in the Virgin Islands
will be able to make charitable donations to things like our recreational facilities, things like our schools,” said the premier while noting Meade Malone as “one of the persons helping to move this forward”.
According to Dr Wheatley, many persons might be completely unaware of the type of wealthy persons that actually live and spend most of their time in the territory.
He suggested these wealthy persons can address challenges such as building schools, educational and recreational programmes, struggling single mothers and social programmes, which he argued can help to strengthen the fabric of the society.
What is the Resilience Fund?
But this is not the first time the Resilience Fund was being introduced. Originally conceptualised as the BVI Restoration Fund, former Premier Andrew Fahie
explained back in 2020 that the initial fund was designed as an institution to provide disaster relief to the territory and to help repair and rebuild critical infrastructure after hurricanes Irma and Maria caused widespread damage.
However, that fund never got off the ground fully after it was first introduced in 2017 as the brainchild of Malone.
“For various reasons, the Fund never became operational,” Fahie
told the House of Assembly back in June 2020, “and this may have contributed to the potential loss of interest, and consequently donations, as time lapsed.”
He continued: “I have always said that I do not believe in seeing good ideas being shelved no matter who were the originators of those ideas.”Fahie
related at the time that contributors were willing to support such a programme as long as they could see that the Fund is properly managed and that there is transparency and accountability. He described the revamped Fund initiative as “a grand opportunity for US contributors to partner with the Virgin Islands
” and said the BVI looked forward to being a beneficiary of such donations.