Premier and Minister for Finance, Hon. Andrew Fahie is desirous to foster a strategic, mutually-beneficial partnership with CARICOM countries which he said would result in economic prosperity for both the BVI and the region.

In a statement issued on 23 October Hon. Fahie announced that regional trade is a key part of the new BVI he envisions, and he announced that strides are being made to put Virgin Islanders in the driving seat of emerging industry and the main beneficiaries of the anticipated rewards.

Hon. Fahie stressed that it makes economic sense that the Territory should aim for greater alignment with its regional neighbours: “Our CARICOM neighbours have a lot to offer in terms of manufactured goods, professional services, skilled labour and partnerships that will have mutual benefits. The Caribbean region is very strong if our countries and our people work together,” Hon. Fahie announced.

The Premier announced that steps are going to be made to commence the fostering of this BVI/CARICOM trade alliance through communication with the various countries shortly. “We will be reaching out to the leaders in the region and business organizations to let them know that the BVI is serious about doing business and we are open for business. We need lumber, aggregates, construction materials, foodstuff and other products, which can be easily accessed by establishing an ocean freight trade route from Guyana, through Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, St Lucia, St Vincent, Dominica, the Virgin Islands and also Jamaica.”

While noting that this plan will benefit not only the BVI but its Caribbean neighbours as well Hon. Fahie declared: “A rising tide will lift all boats, and the BVI will take the lead in developing this. Our local shipping interests must take note and ready yourselves. Regional businesses must know that the BVI is a market and therefore by coming together, we can make it work for everyone. They too must get ready to trade.

“These linkages and logistics will be beneficial to our agricultural producers, our fisherfolks and other businesses as they grow and seek to connect with export markets. They will also be essential for supporting the other activities that are taking place in the BVI.” Hon. Fahie added.