“It’s the working conditions they wouldn’t tolerate,” Fraser said in the House of Assembly (HOA) recently.
Fraser said he admired the fact that there are some companies that are doing the right thing in ensuring that Virgin Islanders are kept gainfully employed.
However, he said there are others who prefer not to go through this and use other people they can easily exploit, something the legislator felt that the Labour Department has an obligation to ensure does not take place.
Fraser also argued that laws being enacted should ensure that locals are properly enfranchised in the businesses they are a part of.
“Our people are good in just about everything. Virgin Islanders are among the most versatile individuals you’re going to find anywhere in the world,” he stated.
“They are loyal, they’re good at what they do. All they need is an opportunity” he continued.
Fraser said he sometimes goes to businesses and sees persons who have been working there for 15 or 20 years but have no ownership stake in the business, yet they are the ones who manage the storeroom, purchase goods and control the inventory, among other things.
According to Fraser, this does not happen anywhere else in the developed world except in places like this.
“Yes, it is right for us to mandate that businesses coming to the territory to do business should have partners, local partners, but those partners should not be used as fronts. They should be meaningful partners,” Fraser stated.
The legislator said this is something that is done effectively in other parts of the world.
“The aim and the goal is that at some point, that person or that affiliate that you have will indeed become the sole owner of that business,” Fraser said.
Fraser related an anecdote of a visit he made to a business and was told that the business had an employee that had been in the industry for some 30 years, and was told this demonstrated its stability and competence.
“I said to them, you ought to make this person a partner. They ought to have shares in this business,” Fraser stated.