“Honestly, as an organisation, while advocacy is our number-one priority, the conversations are not being had,” BVICCHA President Keiyia George said in a recent interview with ZBVI Radio.
“I can’t remember the last time I reached out to the Premier, but I am gonna put him on the spot right here,” she added. “It had to have been like this time last year where he promised me we were going to have a conversation.”
George said the BVICCHA had been trying to have a meeting with the Premier to discuss some things since 2020.
“When we did get those meetings in 2020, we went ahead and we put some things forward, they were moving along. Tweaks were made, changes were made… An extensive amount of time was spent on that and put forward and then it was, ‘we’re not gonna use it’, and whatever happened, happened,” she related.
According to the BVICCHA President, when the agency was again approached and asked to put another economic plan forward to government officials, the stance that the Board of Directors adopted was, “We’re not gonna do another plan sans support from them, to say that we’re not just gonna put all this work into it and then it’s, ‘never mind, we don’t want it’“.
George explained that she felt the agency had already done that and had been ‘burnt’.
Since the most recent request for a new economic plan from the BVICCHA, the President said she requested a meeting to have discussions with the Premier, but this hasn’t materialised.
Meanwhile, the Premier said at a recent press briefing that while he hasn’t had meetings with the BVICCHA, his government has been having meetings with businesses on a one-by-one basis to assist consumers.
“We didn’t have any meetings in terms of directly with the Chambers,“ Premier Fahie said when questioned about whether he met members of the BVICCHA.
“We have had meetings with many business owners, one by one. Some of them have written in, given their views and we’ll continue to have those meetings. But at the same time too we also have some data that will be able to allow us to do these initiatives that we are doing to be able to help all the people of the Virgin Islands,” Premier Fahie said.
“Of course,” the Premier said when asked if he intends to hold meetings with the BVICCHA.
“Well, we have meetings with all sectors, of course we’re going to have meetings with the Chambers, but at the same time we are going to continue to govern. But we’re going to continue meeting with everyone,“ he added.