More collaboration with a constant commitment to improving the lives of all citizens across both the United States Virgin Islands (USVI) and [British] Virgin Islands was one of the key takeaways from the recently concluded 8th Inter-Virgin Islands Council meeting held on February 4, 2020, in the conference room of Maria’s by the Sea.
The meeting, the first since the hurricanes of September 2017, saw USVI Governor Albery Bryan Jr remarking that it was a very productive day with the VI and USVI touching on a variety of issues that will be mutually beneficial to both countries.
Virgin Islands (BVI) Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon Andrew A. Fahie, also came in for high praises when the two leaders sat on the Tuesday, February 4, 2020, edition of ‘Honestly Speaking’ on ZBVI 780 AM.
‘He is a wordsmith’ – Gov Bryan Jr
“Every time I hear him [Andrew A. Fahie] speak, we are so in sync in terms of our outlook for the region, the way we think about our people and building strong resilient neighbours, families and individuals… his leadership and his bravery is always very admirable,” Governor Bryan Jr told the listening audience, noting that Hon Fahie was a wordsmith.
The Governor continued, “This is the time in the whole country you really have to stand up for what you believe in, it’s the evolution of politics in our region, where we’re moving from a lot of idle talks… it’s really a time for action, so I’m really pleased to have this meeting with him and the entire cabinet, all the ministers.”
Premier Fahie said that since taking the helm of Government in the VI, it has been a very difficult year with shared similarities of challenges that the USVI Governor had faced in his first year of office.
“We cannot fix in a year what has been broken for quite some time, no one is going to make me feel otherwise and I know that Governor Bryan feels the same way being in for a year, a lot of persons think it’s just microwave, you just go and three minutes you get it fixed,” Hon Fahie said.
Immigration & Tourism
Governor Bryan in a YouTube video released at the conclusion of the Inter-Virgin Islands Council meeting remarked, “One thing that I think is key was the strong familiar ties that lie between the British and the US Virgin Islands and our constant commitment to making sure that both our people are resilient in the face of any challenges.”
He said as both countries grow their tourism markets and products, immigration is envisaged to be a major issue and one that could see greater collaboration.
“A lot of people come through our shores, use these waters in terms of getting into this part of the region, so we both have challenges there in terms of who comes in and out of the Territory,” the Governor said.
USVI/VI relations moving forward
Further, he said boosting the human resources and youths with capital investments in areas like education provides new opportunities and areas for collaboration to create wealth.
The Governor noted that there will also be areas for collaborations like finding solutions to the landfill, waste management, brain drain, and water issues that have also plagued the USVI as well.
“Most especially in energy, we talked a lot about that… about how we can help the BVI solve some of their problems by acting as a friend and lobbyist, not only in London but in Washington on their behalf… trying to get our government to help,” he said.
Premier Fahie said a working committee between the two countries will also try to meet at least once a month to formulate solutions to more issues.