“It’s not a gimmick or a show…) Premier and Minister for Finance, Hon. Andrew Fahie declared at the launch of the 1000 jobs in 1000 days initiative which seeks to provide employment for Virgin Islanders. 

The 1000 Jobs in 1000 Days initiative was one of the campaign promises that was made by the Government. The Initiative which was launched on 21 August attracted a large number of jobseekers and had some employers who are participating also in attendance. 

While explaining that the initiative is a way to ensure that the people of the Territory benefit from various developments, Hon. Fahie said that there are persons who may question the initiative: “I get the feeling that some of you feel that this is another political gimmick and that you will not get your hands on a job, and that this is just a fanfare, but I want to assure that this will not be a show,” Hon. Fahie declared. 

In assuring that the programme will be monitored, the Premier disclosed that responsibility was already given to a senior member of his staff: “I have instructed our Deputy Secretary – This assignment with Labour and Immigration I am assigning it to you full time for a weekly report because we are extremely serious about making sure that each and every Virgin islander, Belonger that is not working, that has the passion to work, the desire to work to improve themselves get that opportunity. I want to assure you as the Premier with my other Ministers,” Hon. Fahie said. 

The Premier further explained that the initiative aims to ensure that all job seeking Virgin Islanders find meaningful employment, in the BVI and is not just about filling spaces.. “I want to assure all and sundry that what the Government is talking about is not just filling up space, and imposing persons upon businesses, because your government appreciates that a business has to run like a business, and wastage is a drain on the bottom line – simply put when you go to work, work.” 

 “Persons placed through this and other initiatives must show real commitment. They must make the effort to perform accordingly to expectations. This is why there will be monitoring for the performance of employees and employers of the programme,” he added. 

Each of the applicants are expected to participate in a one week bootcamp which will provide training and other forms of preparation for the world of work.  However, the Premier said that he expects that employers will provide on the job training as well where applicable and support their employees to succeed not just for the sake of having them complete the one year.  

Meanwhile Minister with responsibility for Labour Hon. Vincent Wheatley explained that is not going to be a case of just sticking persons in any job, but rather a matching of suitable roles and suitable candidates: “One has to have the qualification required for a post in order to become hired in that position, in order to perform at that required level,” Hon. Wheatley pointed out. 

Hon. Wheatley further noted that the Initiative was created in response to complaints of how Virgin Islanders are treated in the job market: “We are aware of the sentiments and perceptions that our Virgin Islanders and Belongers are not being treated fairly in the job market. This programme is a direct response by the government to address this concern.” 

“What will be happening is that through this exercise we will have valuable information on both the job seekers and the vacant opportunities which will help the staff at the Department of Labour and Workforce Development to more effectively engage and match applicants with posts for which they are suitably qualified,” Hon. Wheatley added.