|MINISTER CONTINUES TO
SEEK SUPPORT FOR THE DRAFT BVI LABOUR CODE
Minister for Natural Resources and Labour, the Hon. Julian Fraser, continues his efforts
to drum-up support for the draft Labour Code Bill 2001, according to a GIS release.
On Monday evening, 18th February, he met local businesspersons at the
Prospect Reef Hotel conference room. Minister Fraser told them it was important for
Belongers and non-Belongers to rally behind the Bill.
In his presentation, the Labour Minister also outlined areas of most concern to him, where
the draft Bill is concerned - the provision for term limits and the tribunal.
Section 29 of the draft Labour Code Bill 2001 provides for
the Minister to appoint an Arbitration Tribunal to settle disputes and complaints he
receives. At the moment, Mr. Fraser said, the process of dealing with disputes is time
consuming and puts too much pressure on the Minister.
The Minister would be better served if he is excused from the burdens of dealing
with the many complaints and let them be handled by a tribunal, the Labour Minister
said. Under the existing arrangement, he stressed, many of the disputes remain unsettled
and amounts to a big sacrifice in time and effort by the Minister.
Where term limits are concerned Minister Fraser said the
proposed measure of a five-year limit on work permits is needed to cope with the situation
where persons on work permits end up residing. He gave statistics over the last five years
that show a large percentage of persons deciding to stay in the BVI, after receiving work
Over the last five years we had a total of 802 work
permits issued. Of those 802 work permits issued, 334 people decided to stay on in the
territory, which is 43 percent, he disclosed.
According to Minister Fraser, members of the local business
community must understand where government is heading with the draft Labour Code Bill
2001, and he said its imperative for them to speak with one voice in support. He is
also calling for full opposition support when the Bill is read again in the Legislative
It is not yet known when the draft Labour Code Bill 2001 will
be read a second and third time in the Legislative Council, but it has already received a
Minister Fraser said he does not want to be a lone campaigner
in pushing for the new Labour Code to become law, but he wants it to pass with unanimous
support from legislators and the BVI population in general.
The Minister believes that the Bill empowers BVIslanders, and the majority of persons at
the meeting voiced support for most parts of the Bill.
Copyrighted © 2001
by SUN ENTERPRISES (B.V.I.) LTD.
PUBLISHERS OF THE ISLAND SUN Newspaper.
All rights reserved.