Some taxi drivers and tour operators were inadvertently sharing incorrect information about the Territory’s main economic pillar — financial services — to visitors, and as a remedial measure the Financial Services Implementation Unit (FSIU) gave ten point facts presentation to 60 taxi drivers and tour operators.
Following the presentation Director of FSIU Mr. Kedrick Malone explained that the discussion was necessary because taxi operators are important ambassadors who are crucial in financial services awareness campaign.
“They interact daily with residents and visitors: financial services will invariably be part of some conversations. Therefore, it is important that they are equipped with facts about the industry to help spread that knowledge. We are keen to create a society where a greater percentage of residents better understand the industry and its importance to the BVI,” Mr. Malone said.
He admitted that there are many misconceptions about financial services and the information sessions with taxi operators helped to dispel those. A leaflet listing 10 salient points about financial services was shared with participants.
“The presentations delivered served as the starting point for any conversation on financial services but we went a step further by compiling a list of 10 basic facts that persons should know as it relates to financial services. We encouraged the taxi operators to keep these close at hand and refer to them often to ensure that they are sharing factual information and not inaccuracies,” Mr. Malone said following the workshop.
Inaccurate information Disseminated
In an interview with The Island Sun newspaper prior to the workshop, Malone disclosed that the level of awareness that the BVI Forward campaign hoped to achieve with frontline tourism ambassadors such as taxi drivers was not fully achieved.
Mr. Malone disclosed that people told the FSIU about the incorrect information that the taxi drivers were disseminating, and in response the Unit welcomed the opportunity to present information to the taxi drivers. “Members of the public told us that people were saying things like ‘oh yeah BVI is a good place to come and stash your money,’ and all those kinds of things,” he said.
“They are not doing it (giving wrong information) in a malicious way, but they are just repeating what they hear. They say it to tourists and the tourists are gonna reinforce the way the tourists think. So we definitely see that (workshop) as an important event to help taxi drivers understand … why we have companies,” the FSIU Director stated.
Additionally, Malone said that the education campaign extends to social media and the press. He explained that the FSIU is pushing to educate the public on this vital industry and is simplifying the language to ensure understanding.