The fast track Regularization Initiative that turned into a contentious matter that placed some locals against expats in the Territory will be recommencing. However, Premier and Minister for Finance Hon. Andrew Fahie explained that the process will be commencing with changes that reflect the wishes of the people of the Territory as was expressed to the government during consultation on the matter.
Hon. Fahie while speaking to a gathering in Virgin Gorda on 11 July on the hot topic of Consumer Protection legislation noted that the process for the Regularization Initiative which was announced on 7 May, and halted in June would commence with focus on third generation Virgin Islanders and residents of 20 years or more.
The Premier said: “When we were doing the Passport and Immigration Act we knew that based on the input of the people, we sought it; and I thank everyone that gave it. We did pass it [amendment to Act]in the House of Assembly in terms of the amendments that came forward and the fast track programme the very heart of the whole immigration and labour reform is under the Minister of Natural Resources and Labour.”
Hon. Fahie remarked that the consultation leading to the halting of the initiative was difficult and said that as a government they heeded the words of the people. “As Premier I took the charge because I told the Minister that this one will be — I don’t want you to get this kind of lash on your first go around. I’m on my sixth term I could put out my head a little further than you can in your first term.”
During the consultation with the business community on the Consumer Protection legislation on 9 July the Premier mentioned that the regularization process was going to focus on third generation Virgin Islanders by providing a fast track opportunity for them to receive their rights.
“We took all those write-ins, emails, we sat and we read all of them and made the adjustments. This week we’ll be making the announcement to state when the time is right for them to start to come in for the third generation BV Islanders to be able to come in and get Belongership,” Hon. Fahie said.
The Premier also noted that qualified non-belongers with other 20 years of residence will be able to receive their rights as well.