The decision comes as Minister for Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration, Honourable Vincent O. Wheatley (R9) has introduced an initiative where officers from the department are now mandated to visit the Sister Islands at least once per quarter.
Hon Wheatley, speaking to Virgin Islands News Online (VINO) in an invited comment, said: ‘The initiative came out of the recent public meetings where residents complained of having to travel to Tortola for certain services. The pandemic has made the need to visit various departments even more urgent so we decided to go to the sister islands instead of having them come all the time.”
The Minister’s comment came following a visit to the islands to engage with residents and business owners, where he noted that over the years, the Sister Islands have been neglected in service areas due to limited financial resources.
“The time taken to visit Jost van Dyke and Anegada further exposed the desperate need for regular visits,” Hon Wheatley said, according to a GIS release.
Meanwhile, Deputy Labour Commissioner, Mrs Michelle A. McLean noted that the initiative is moving in the right direction and every effort will be made to ensure that there are further visits.
“Businesses on these islands continue to feel the full impact of the pandemic as they are mostly dependent on tourism and, with minimal tourist interactions, business owners continue to struggle. Most of the concerns voiced by the employers were relative to their staff and the end of the layoff period,” she said.