Back in early May, Labour Minister Vincent Wheatley said in national broadcast that 72 persons throughout the territory were terminated since the advent of COVID-19.
Fast-forward to August and that number now stands at 294, which represents more than four times what it was three months ago.
Wheatley said another 1,263 workers across the territory have been laid off.
A total of 10,694 persons make up the territory’s workforce and 8,962 have retained employment. Of that number, 175 persons were not categorised, the minister stated in a recent video interview.
The minister said roughly 85 percent of all local businesses in the territory are now operational since the internal reopening of the economy.
“Right now we have on our books 942 operational businesses. [The number of businesses that are] non-operational [is] 171.”
Of the total 1,113 businesses, 972 are on Tortola, 94 on Virgin Gorda, 24 on Jost Van Dyke, 13 on Anegada and 10 on the other islands within the territory.
It has been a well-known fact that non-locals made up most of the territory’s labour force but the latest count has shown that less than 30 percent of the territory’s workforce are BVIslanders or Belongers.
Wheatley said that as of August, 6,186 of the 10,694-person workforce are work permit holders, 3,161 are BVIslanders or Belongers, 926 are work permit-exempted holders and 421 are persons not properly categorised.
To put things into perspective, this means that nearly 67 percent of the BVI’s workforce consists of work permit holders and work permit exempted holders.
Individual rights are not subject to a public vote; a majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority.