The Premier said the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), which has impacted trade on a global scale, could also provide the proverbial silver lining for the region in terms of becoming self-sustainable.
He said COVID-19 pandemic, which is now present in almost every Caribbean island, is not “the only challenge” for the region to overcome.
“The present and projected economic impacts of this pandemic will prove to be another major test for us all. The very necessary social distancing protocols are affecting all workplaces from factories to administration offices. They are affecting sales, whether it is large businesses or small cottage operations. They are also affecting customers’ ability to access goods,” Premier Fahie said during to the online Intra-Regional Commerce and Trade Symposium.
He painted the picture that as stockpiles in warehouses around the world become depleted and raw materials are difficult to obtain, export could become few and far between, and the people of the region would be affected.
“You know as well as I do, my friends, that day is just around the bend … now that the coronavirus is here,” Fahie reasoned.
On that note, the Premier told the regional leaders that the opportunities are there to explore, and the British Virgin Islands is one of the markets “to pay attention to”.
“The BVI is a popular tourist destination, and we entertain a lot of boat charters, yachts and hotel guests. There is a high demand for quality food products – processed and unprocessed — as well as apparel and other goods. The possibilities are literally limitless in terms that it is almost a certainty that any goods produced in the region is needed in the BVI, right down to tissue paper,” the Premier stated.
The Premier then pointed out that if the region works collaboratively to deliver quality goods at competitive prices, it will not only stimulate business and economic growth but ensure that the people are clothed and fed and have jobs to sustain them.
The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.