While a detailed explanation on what steps will be taken to alleviate the concerns of the BVI entertainers in relation to the way they are treated when they attempt to perform in the neighbouring Territory was not provided, it was indicated that the USVI Virgin Islands Governor the Hon. John P. de Jongh Jr., responded favourably to the presentation that was made by Minister for Education and Culture, Hon. Myron Walwyn at the Inter-Virgin Islands Council Meeting that was held on 8 May.
The Inter-Virgin Islands Council meeting provides a forum for the US and British Virgin Islands to hold discussions on matters of mutual interest, and one of the topics discussed at Thursday’s meeting was the treatment of BVI artistes, an issue that reached a boiling point a few days earlier resulting in the BVI Festival and Fairs Committee cancelling an event that was scheduled to take place in the USVI after reported difficulties to obtain necessary clearance for local artistes.
Hon. Walwyn reportedly pointed out the disparity between the process for USVI artistes to perform here in the Territory and for local artistes to perform in the USVI. He noted that local artistes are required to spend thousands of dollar to gain access to performance opportunities, which pales in comparison to the less than $125 work permit fee that USVI artistes’ pay in BVI.
In his wrap up statement of the meeting Premier Smith briefly commented on the discussion by saying: “We were quite hearkened with the quick response of the Governor (de Jongh) to Minister Walwyn’s request about the bands and that is the sort of cooperation that in our view will work to the benefit of both territories, both US and British Virgin Islands.”
Hon. Walwyn said that before the end of May he will lead a BVI delegation to St. Thomas to discuss the various aspects of the issue in a constructive and mutually beneficial manner.