Premier and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Hon. D. Orlando Smith announced that the hindrance of local bands from performing in the United States Virgin Islands (USVI) is an issue that the Government is still interested in seeing resolved.
Premier Smith told members of the media on 8 October that the discussions will need to recommence in consideration of the fact that there was an administration change in that Territory.
Hon. Smith explained that although talks with USVI legislators on the matter had taken place in the past, the issue will need to be readdressed because of the change: “There was a change of government recently, so we have now re-engage with the new government in St. Thomas to continue working on the matter,” the Premier said.
When asked why the issue continues to be discussed with little results, the BVI Leader explained: “Part of the difficulty we have with the USVI and the BVI is that some of the areas of government are governed by the United States Federal Government, like the immigration and customs for example, whereas here it is local government. So that is causing some of the complications.”
“And so if there are regulations established by the federal government, then St. Thomas will have to apply to the federal government for them to – maybe — be able to change those regulations. But we have been making slow progress,” Hon. Smith added.
The Inter-Virgin Islands Council meeting provides a forum for the two Virgin Islands to hold discussions on matters of interests, and one of the topics discussed at last year’s meeting was the treatment of BVI artistes. This issue reached a boiling point previously resulting in the BVI Festival and Fairs Committee cancelling an event that was scheduled to take place in the USVI after reported difficulties to obtain necessary clearance for local artistes.
During the last Inter Virgin Islands Council Meeting that was held here in 8 May 2014 the matter was discussed, however a detailed mention on what steps will be taken to alleviate the concerns of the BVI entertainers in relations to the way they are treated when they attempt to perform in the neighbouring Territory was not provided. Nonetheless, it was indicated that the then USVI Governor the Hon. John P. de Jongh Jr., responded favourably to the presentation that was made by Minister for Education and Culture, Hon. Myron Walwyn at the Council Meeting.