Honourable Smith, during his debate on the Virgin Islands Investment Act 2020, at the continuation of the Eleventh Sitting of the Third Session of the Fourth House of Assembly (HoA) of the Virgin Islands at Save the Seed Energy Centre in Duff's Bottom on August 19, 2021, said he was speaking from experience because he did not come from money and had to work hard to become the man he is today.
“Mr Speaker, I want to keep it real; a lot of times, what happens here in the BVI is that some people don’t want to see some people make it because they believe all the wealth only belongs to them. I am saying this from somebody who comes from nothing to somebody,” Honourable Smith said.
“I work hard to reach where I am today, but when we have our own people trying to bring our own people down, that’s our downfall, and that’s why we are always going to be where we are. Unless we start working together and stop trying to keep each other down it's going to always be a problem no matter what investors we bring in here.”
He said persons would go to lengths to ‘bad talk’ each other even as far as to the investors who would be willing to invest in them.
“Anybody who has ambition who wants to make their livelihood, go out there and work for what they want, you need to give them an equal opportunity; we cannot choose who we want to be millionaires,” he stated.
“Because what’s going to happen is an investor coming to invest with Honourable De Castro, unless I don’t like Hon. De Castro, I am going to make sure to keep she down. So it’s our mentality is what have us where we are now.”
The Deputy Speaker said motivated young people also face another challenge- being falsely labelled as drug dealers.
“When some of our young people try to do that, first thing they want to say is label all our young people here, that they are drug dealers. That’s what they trying to do; every young person that try to make it here in the BVI, everyone. If they have a house, a car, them a drug dealer, we have to stop! We have some very intelligent, ambitious people here in the Virgin Islands that we need to support, and we need to stop labeling people,” an irate Honourable Smith said.
The Deputy Speaker and At Large Representative also questioned why the Virgin Islands Investment Act 2020 was not already passed in the House before.
“Why wasn’t this law passed before? Is it because some people felt like it would interfere with them getting something out of it? You have to ask these questions, why was this Bill not passed before? What stopped the Bill from being passed?” he asked.
The Bill modernises the framework for attracting and driving investments in the VI “, and we all know that we need investments in the VI in all forms,” Premier and Minister of Finance Honourable Andrew A. Fahie (R1) said about the Act.
“It aims to create a stable and balanced environment where persons local and foreign, who wish to invest in the VI, can feel welcome, comfortable, and confident because the systems are operating in an efficient and transparent manner with good governance,” he added.