BVI Leader, Premier and Minister for Finance Hon. Andrew Fahie disclosed that a number of financial services matters are in the pipeline for 2020 including evaluations. All of these issues must be addressed to avoid being blacklisted. Hon. Fahie disclosed that government has gotten in front of the matter with the passage of legislation.
The Premier during the debate of the BVI Business Companies (Amendment) Act, 2019 on 17 December told the House that once again the financial services goal has been shifted and the Territory is doing what it must to remain on the cutting edge. Hon. Fahie mentioned that more requirements from the international bodies are being pushed: “They shift the goal post on you again and we learned that lately, so this House will be updated on some things very soon.” Hon. Fahie stated.
Mr. Fahie mentioned that in December countries around the region who are in financial services were also in their parliaments trying to pass legislation to be compliant and this was not affecting only the BVI: “There seems to be a concerted effort among international organizations to deal with all small island states who are in this industry to try to bring us to our knees.”
Considering major matters are in the pipeline for the Territory’s main economic pillar Hon. Fahie issued a challenge to the Opposition that they should bring any plan they have for discussion. “I don’t want to preach any doom and gloom to the financial services because I believe in staying positive, but I also know that the only way to move forward is going to be diversifying the economy. I challenge the Opposition that is so caring, that were in the Government over the last 16 years to please bring me whatever plan they have so that we can move forward with it.”
Hon. Fahie added: “Since they were in power so long [bring their plan]on how to diversify the economy, how to get passed these areas of concern in financial services; especially in the last eight consecutive years when they had the government. I just would like the plan, and if you had the plan I would like to know why it wasn’t implemented…Why it wasn’t started.”
The Premier explained that he will accept the Opposition’s request to meet and accept any good ideas put forward. Further Hon. Fahie gave kudos to the Leader of the Opposition Hon. Marlon Penn who he said did work on some of the financial services bills that were before the House of Assembly. “I thank him for the work that he has done and we have continued to finish off the work.”
While noting that Hon. Penn saw what the industry needed a year ago Hon. Fahie questioned why the previous administration did not pay attention to the now Leader of the Opposition’s proposals. “Research shows that the Leader of the Opposition did some of those works… Some of those (bills) started in early 2018 and before…”
While directing his comments to Hon. Penn, the Premier said, “You did a lot of work back then. I could understand his dilemma because he saw the future but only he alone was seeing …and could not get it out …that is why I will bring you along to work with us, because one year and three months ago you went down the road seeing the future.”
The Premier further lauded the legislations that were started by Hon. Penn and said that the Government will get them passed.