Beautiful Virgin Islands

BVI, non-white OT’s being kept down intentionally — Hodge-Wright

BVI, non-white OT’s being kept down intentionally — Hodge-Wright

Guest host on the Talking Points radio programme, Maris Hodge-Wright, said she felt the UK may be intentionally suppressing the BVI because of its advances in the financial services industry.
While contending that the BVI has a relatively small money laundering footprint, Hodge-Wright suggested that it was the United Kingdom (UK) that should perhaps face greater scrutiny of its financial services industry.

“I think it’s almost intentional as a way of keeping us in line; the stuff that they do with due diligence and money laundering,” Hodge-Wright said.

The BVI has faced intense scrutiny over the years for its financial services industry – one of its two main economic pillars. Hodge-Wright suggested that UK Overseas Territories that are predominantly non-white are being targeted unfairly and said this was insulting.

“London and England has one of the biggest [banking jurisdictions], but they have put all of these restrictions on the Virgin Islands, Turks and Caicos, Cayman, Anguilla — wherever it’s done by countries of colour,” she argued.

“It’s like, ‘let us keep them down because … they’re advancing too fast in this’, and I think that it’s an insult,” Hodge-Wright added.

Meanwhile, Junior Minister for Culture and Tourism, Luce Hodge-Smith said she felt the proverbial goalpost was constantly being moved for the BVI in relation to its financial services requirements and responsibilities.

“What I’ve recognised is that, whenever they move the goalposts with financial services, we are very quick to address those issues,” she commented. “And whatever they bring forward to us and say, ‘this is what I want you to do’, we do it. But then when we do it, then they move the post again and then they decide that this is what you need to do.”

However, Hodge-Smith said she felt confident in the abilities of Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley and Deputy Premier Lorna Smith to represent the territory’s interests in that arena.

“The industry people that we have are very astute,” said Hodge-Smith. “And they know what they’re doing and I am very confident that we will address [any issues].”

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