Members of the Opposition are accused of misleading residents by falsely portraying that the Virgin Islands Party (VIP) administration plans to ‘sell out’ the country to foreign investors through the proposed Virgin Islands Investment Act, 2020.
Premier and Finance Minister Hon. Andrew Fahie
said that based on the contributions made by the members during the debate, they did not read the bill.
“There are persons who are out there trying to scandalize this bill as if it’s only looking to bring in foreign investment because the word investment is there…we were programmed to think investment only means foreign investment…that we as locals cannot be investors in our own country…persons get up in this House and play and pray on that,” he said during the wrap of the debate this afternoon, August 23.
said government has no intentions of selling out the BVI. He said the bill is aimed at setting clear perimeters for both local and foreign investments.
“What this Act does is create a transparent and clear framework for investment in the territory thereby strengthening good governance. Right now, there are no existing guidelines on how to invest in the BVI whether foreign or local or a combination of both. So, the Act doesn’t lean on one side alone of foreign investment, it has a section on that,” he explained.
said the actions of the members of the opposition were unfortunate and clearly to mislead the people.
“I challenge them to go to the public, they did not read this bill. There is no way in this bill that you were giving away the Virgin Islands
…to hear the opposition get up and making it sound that way, except for the leader of the opposition (Hon. Marlon Penn) who kind of said he worked on it,” he said. Hon. Penn had indicated his support for the bill and pointed out that he had worked on the bill under the former National Democratic Party (NDP) administration.
reiterated that his government is focused on bringing good governance as it relates to investment.
“Whether it is local investment only, local and foreign investment as a partnership or if a foreign investor comes in so they will know clearly what the rules are even before they invest,” he explained.
He added, “they will know clearly too what are some of the incentives for the local investors, the partnership investors and the foreign investors if they come to invest. Right now, there are hardly any laws that helps local investors that you could use.”
Members are now in committee examining the bill clause by clause.
“When I heard the preaching as if we are selling away the BVI with this Act, we giving away the country to investors, we are not going to recognize the country in years to come, I can unequivocally say that they didn’t read the bill but they sound good,” the Finance Minister opined.