Some businesses in the Territory are on life support, according to former Minister for Education Mr Myron Walwyn in his outlining of the economic recovery of the Territory in this COVID 19 pandemonium.
On 7 September while a guest on ‘Edju Enka’s Umoja – Current Matters’ programme Attorney Walwyn explained that the extended closure of the Territory’s borders is causing the first pillar of the BVI’s economy to flatline with many businesses heading to the point of no return.
The former legislator stated, “A significant number of persons that I have spoken are on life support. As I said, depending on the type of business that you have…because you don’t have any fresh monies coming in and you are only relying on the local economic activities that have now been reduced you could imagine the situation that you have. Then you have certain overhead expenses that you have to pay.”
The businessman and lawyer disclosed that some of the companies in the sailing sector, which was the first to rebound and resuscitate tourism in the BVI following the 2017 disasters are about to flee the Territory. He explained that the companies which have not been able to welcome guests since March are feeling frustrated and considering relocating elsewhere.
In recapping what he heard on the matter Walwyn said, “I have heard serious conversations with yachting companies here that they are moving, they are going to be leaving the Territory. They want to leave because there is this great uncertainty as to what we are doing so we have to be very careful with those types of situations. We have to get people back to work.”
Returning to his call for a territorial recovery plan the former legislator said: “If you have a plan then we will understand, we will be able to follow the plan and the thing is there should be no fear in developing a plan because your plan will change especially when you are dealing with a situation like this. It is a fluid situation that you are dealing with all the time and you tweak your plan based on whether things go up or whether things go down. If we all were on the same page and understood what was happening, I think it would make life a lot easier for all of us…When you are in this type of situation that you are in for the long haul a plan is essential.”
Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs have made their decisions and are unlikely to change course because the uncertainty has increased with time and business is at the lowest ebb in decades.
While explaining that lockdowns are hurting small businesses Mr Walwyn stated: “I want to see us move away from this lockdown scenario. I want to see us do a better job at managing the situation working on social behavioural modification.”
He further commented that he would like to see the government continue with its border protection initiatives and the Task Force that was established for COVID 19 protection and safety measures enforcement continue to do its work. Overall, Mr Walwyn said that he wants to see the government help business owners to keep their businesses open.
Further, Walwyn explained that there are ways to open up and revive the tourism sector with minimum risks and he emphasized that some of the Caribbean countries are already doing this.