With the return of banking via Banco Popular to the sister island of Virgin Gorda after over 1 year without the service, former Premier, Dr D. Orlando Smith said his National Democratic Party (NDP) Government started the efforts and did all it could to bring banking back to the island.
The former Premier was at the time speaking to the Government Information Service (GIS) on the sidelines of the November 6, 2019, launch of Banco Popular in Valley, VG.
NDP started the effort - Dr Smith
In early August 2018, Virgin Islands News Online (VINO) had reported that the Scotiabank branch on Virgin Gorda (VG) was closing its door by the end of that month.
The bank officially closed on September 1, 2018, with Premier Dr D. Orlando Smith (AL)-in explaining the reason for the closure-saying that a revision of the bank’s mode of operation had been introduced regionally with greater emphasis on digital banking.
At the launch of Banco Popular, Dr Smith said that it was important that people in all communities have access to banking, as such, banking services are especially needed for people who live on the separate islands of the territory given the time and resources needed to travel to Tortola for those services.
"We saw it as a government and the government that came after us saw it as that important. And so, we put all our energies into getting this started," Dr Smith told GIS.
VG Brings Revenues
Meanwhile, Junior Minister for Tourism, Hon Shereen D. Flax-Charles (AL) said that as a resident of VG she was excited and pleased to see banking finally return.
"We've been without a bank for a long time, and as you know, Virgin Gorda as the Premier [Andrew A. Fahie (R1)] said, provides a lot of revenue to the government as well."
"It is a red-letter day for the entire Virgin Islands," she said. The Junior Minister for Tourism also noted that it is important that banking is now available for residents of the island and especially for tourists.