“Something is coming down the pipeline… you will see men from boy!” Minister for Education and Culture, Hon. Myron Walwyn announced in the House of Assembly on 20 April as he disclosed that a stance will soon need to be made to protect local businesses from an impending threat.
Hon. Walwyn announced that Members of the House of Assembly have always spoken about protecting certain businesses for locals and he said that he makes no apology for his stance.
“We have to develop certain policies in the country, business policies to protect local people and local investment…it happens everywhere else and we should do the very same thing we shouldn’t be ashamed of it.”
“I spoke about and I am sure other members would have done it about protecting certain businesses in the country for its people, and I am not afraid to say it because every country in the world does the same thing,” the Minister stated.
Hon. Walwyn said that he makes the comment because of things that are materializing that threatens local business and will require a stance: “There are some things coming down the pipeline that I will be very vocal on when the time comes about, companies coming in here that are trying to displace our local people,” he said.
“We can’t allow certain companies to come into the Virgin Islands with all of their money and take over what we have here and put all those local businesses, those small mom and pop stores out of business,” the Legislator declared.
He said one of the things about the Territory everyone should appreciate is the fact that there are no franchises, which allows for citizens to play a role in the economy.
“We don’t have no KFC here, we don’t have no Walmart here, and the rest of whatever else; because being an integral part of the economic development in the country is one of the legacies of a Virgin Islander; and we have to hold on to that as much as we can,” he stated.
In explaining that actions will be soon required to protect the current way, Hon. Walwyn told his colleagues: “There is something coming down the pipeline and I am going to stand at the forefront of it because it is our job as Legislators not to talk — talk is cheap, money buy land — to stand up and protect the interest of this country for its people because we cannot just simply be consumers in our own country.”
“We have to be more, that is the legacy of a Virgin Islander, and so when this thing comes down the pipeline I want to see who will stand because then you will see men from boy. Then we will see Madame Speaker,” the Education and Culture Minister announced.
Premier and Minister for Finance, Dr. the Hon. D. Orlando Smith agreed with Hon. Walwyn’s comment and said that he intends to have a discussion on protecting local businesses with Junior Minister of Trade, Hon. Marlon Penn.
“It is something that we ought to have a look at in this Territory. In fact I have been speaking to the Junior Minister of Trade about getting together and working on that particular issue,” he said.
The BVI Leader said that the point of protection of local businesses is an important one and he agreed that other countries take care of local businesses. “We have to make sure Madame Speaker to do what, we must to protect our businesses because as you know the local businesses are the life blood of our economy and while we must welcome investors in certain areas we have to – while we are doing that – make sure that our local businesses continue to prosper,” the Premier stated.