A caller has criticized what he described as a constant trend of passing up qualified Virgin Islanders for top positions in local companies in preference of hiring Europeans and US Citizens instead.
The resident who bemoaned the situation on the 8 July edition of ZBVI’s Speak Out BVI radio program, announced that this was not a problem that started overnight and suggested that it stems from a mindset that Virgin Islanders are not good enough.
The caller told the Show’s host, Mr. Doug Wheatley: “It is a serious indictment against our people but …gentrification is the word, we are never going to be good enough for these positions.”
In explaining what he suggested was the genesis of the problem the caller said: “I think we need to step back a little, and see what has happened in terms of business ownership in our little country over the last 50/60 years…We as Virgin Islanders, we let go of what we had, we used to be in control, we owned the businesses, they were only small, but they were not good enough for us anymore it had to be big. You had your little store or your little boat but you can’t be in business anymore for some reason or the other it had to be big.”
The caller opined that there is some level of discrimination taking place in the local job market and alleged that this is the reason why Virgin Islanders are being overlooked: “There is still a lot discrimination going with jobs and who is qualified and who gets what package. You can have a local person fully qualified even if they get that job, I bet you they don’t get half the salary and half the packages that the person who they bring in from Europe or America will get. They bring them from the Caribbean sometimes and they can’t get it why because we don’t own the business,” the caller stated.
“We Virgin Islanders and Caribbean people on the whole got to start owning our businesses support our own, I don’t want to sound and I know people will say it’s racism and this and that, but it is not about that; it is common sense. Charity begins at home. You must build yourself up, support your own as well, and when you are in a position to say well I am going to make so and so my CEO, he has the qualification; and I have the power to make him CEO. If he only has the qualification and you don’t call a shot in the business you can’t get him that job, no matter how hard you try. That’s how bad it has become. Right now all we are, are job seekers. I hear a caller say our people should get that job, but we are not going to get that job as long as we are just job seekers and not owners of the job,” the caller added.
Another caller lent his voice to the discussion by stating that he is also worried about the trend of BV Islanders being passed over for jobs. He said that the Labour Code stipulates that locals should have priority in any job situation, but explained that this is sometimes not the case: “If you have someone from the BVI or the Caribbean who is a Belonger then the job should go to them, but it doesn’t seem as if that is happening at all.” “I think…a lot of the locals are becoming frustrated and it is sad, because you go to school to study; and you come back with you BA your MA and you still can’t get the job. That is very sad, and I think some people refuse to apply for certain positions; because they say, well I am not going to get it so it’s a waste of time.”