Premier and Minister of Finance, Honourable Andrew A Fahie, has issued a call to action for all Belongers and Residents to join forces in the mission to transform the BVI into a major regional economy within the next five years.
Premier Fahie said the 2020 Budget, which was passed in the House of Assembly recently, was formulated around a national
vision to transform the BVI into a leading regional economy by 2025 through Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Local and Foreign Investment. He said this must be the goal of all Virgin Islanders, “whether your citizenship is five minutes old or 50 years old or more; whether you like the current Government administration or not.”
Honourable Fahie said he would not sugar-coat the reality that the BVI’s economy, which is the source of the standard and quality of life of all citizens, faces serious threats. Revenues from financial services, he said, have dropped in recent years due to changes in the industry “that were imposed upon us from outside forces.” He pointed out that while BVI Finance is creating innovative ways for generating new, lucrative business opportunities in the redefined landscape of that sector, the Territory must take a cautious approach and operate on the assumption that revenues from this sector will not return to previous levels.
The Premier added that the BVI’s tourism industry remains strong and vibrant, and is performing above expectations. He said this industry has potential for tremendous growth and, with hard work, can offset the drop in financial services revenue.
But, Premier Fahie said, this is not enough. He said the Government is pushing to strengthen the Territory’s economic foundation through diversification, declaring, “The BVI is in transformation mode!”
He explained: “We are exploring digital technology and digital business opportunities. We are encouraging entrepreneurship and the development of new industries. We are opening up
opportunities for our people to get the training and qualifications they need to start new businesses and to manage and grow businesses successfully.”
According to the Premier, Virgin Islanders must unleash their entrepreneurial and innovative spirit. “Open your creative eye, scout those business opportunities and put your plans in motion–whether it is in green energy, smart technology, online businesses, farming, education or provision of goods and services to the expanding tourism sector. Your Government says Virgin Islanders must benefit tangibly and significantly from this transformation exercise, and we mean it,” he said.
Honouable Fahie said the goal and focus of all Virgin Islanders must be to make sure that the Territory achieves economic soundness to face the challenges ahead and to allow all citizens to enjoy a high quality of life.
“Our individual and collective future depends on the success of this mission. We are going to get only one bite at that cherry and failure is not an option. All hands must be on deck. All shoulders must be to the wheel. Everyone who calls the BVI home must work hand in hand, in the spirit of BVI Love,” he said.
“We cannot afford to major in minor issues. We cannot be consumed by fear of the unknown, and paralysed by the thought of change. The world is constantly changing and we have to
continuously adapt. We have to make sure that we are always competitive.”
The Premier said across the globe countries and economies are falling apart because they refuse to change. “BVI must not and will not be one of those statistics,” he urged.