Cabinet decided on 12 June that the Premier’s Office would launch the “Back to the Sea” programme, which is aimed at preparing Virgin Islanders to take employment in the marine industry no later than 30 June. 

The programme which was previouly mentioned by Premier and Minister for Finance Hon. Andrew Fahie is expected to move forward with the establishment of a referral registration programme for persons to register their interests to be trained in the marine industry. 

As a means of ensuring the programme’ success it was decided by Cabinet that the Government would subsidize training opportunities up to a total of $500,000 for each financial year for BV Islanders/Belongers who enroll and complete certification courses in the area of marine related studies. 

In fact, Cabinet stated that in an effort to empower the people of the BVI, the Premier’s Office and the Ministry responsible for Labour will ensure that BV Islanders/Belongers who are trained in the marine sector are given first preference for employment by employers within the marine industry. 

It was stated that the Premier’s Office will collaborate with the training services providers to enroll the first cohort of students at the next intake at the approved institutions and that the Premier’s Office, in collaboration with the Virgin Islands Shipping Registry and other relevant authorities, will keep the Cabinet informed. 

Cabinet said that it is expecting to be kept up to date with information such as the number of persons registering their interests for training, those referred to the training providers and those enrolled in the various training courses and the cost of the courses for enrolled persons; the budgeted subsidy for the training and the level of subsidy Government is willing to provide. 

Further Cabinet said that it would like to know the level of training the trainees require and the obligations of the parties, namely the Government, the trainees, the training institutions and employers, following acceptance into the training programme.