Minister of Labor, Vincent Wheatley called out a local businessman who allegedly disrespected his role as the overseeing Minister of Labor during an inspection visit. This was revealed a few minutes ago within the Minister’s address to the House of Assembly. The Minister said that the visit was inspired by complaints received at the Labour … Continued
The Minister said that the visit was inspired by complaints received at the Labour department. The Minister and his team then proceeded with an unannounced spot check at the business, only to meet the employees standing outside in the sun with the gates chained. The employees were there to uplift documentation to claim their benefits under Government’s stimulus plan.
Appalled, the Minister then attempted to call and message the manager but those efforts went unanswered. The Minister and his team eventually entered the property and told the security to let the Manager know he’s there. After waiting for some time, it was clear that the manager had no intentions of entertaining the Minister.
Minister Wheatley was then advised by the Labor Commissioner, who was also in his presence to “go upstairs and knock,” but refused saying “no, this is a minister of Government at your (the businessman) place of business in the BVI, I shouldn’t be begging you to see you.”
On that note the Minister left the property and relayed that he feels highly disrespected. Minister Wheatley recounted that the business owner eventually sent an email “totally discounting” the fact that he was there.
“The level of disrespect. I mean, I don’t understand what certain people think about in this country. We work together with investors and employees but you cannot be in here as an investor and think you can do what you want because we need you? And we’re not going to survive without your presence?” Minister Wheatley said.
The Minister promised that the matter will be handled expeditiously.
“And it’s not going to end there, I can assure you of that, but the level of disrespect that an investor would show a Minister of Government, I find that totally unacceptable. And I will be dealing with this matter because you’re still in this country and you intend to do business in this country and I think if you’re going to be in this country and do business in this country, at least respect,” he said.
Minister Wheatley is also concerned about the welfare of the employees adding, “If you’re going to disrespect me a Minister, an elected representative, I could imagine the poor employees.”
The Minister stated that he is happy that he had an opportunity to witness the hostility first hand since many of the complaints received by his department are usually of false nature.
“Yes it was unannounced but you know I was there. I went to two businesses and the other owner came and went through the effects of COVID
-19 on his business”
Shocked, the Minister said “I could have never dreamed this could happen in my BVI.”
He further claimed that many employers are exploiting the rights of BVIslanders and Belongers, saying those are the ones who are seemingly abused first. He added that many locals are not afforded fair job opportunities by some of these entrepreneurs and expressed that they are using the COVID
-19 situation to disadvantage employees.
The Minister further expounded on his humble beginnings, adding “I know where we come from…sardine and soda crackers aint no trouble to me, so if they think that without their presence here we’re going to go hungry and die, therefore we should just take whatever they dish out, whatever abuse they want to dish out here, that we will take it. Well no, that is the wrong set you’re dealing with to say the least.”
“I am not prepared in the least, to tolerate an abusive situation in this country under a pandemic”
The incident occurred last Thursday.