Mrs Lorna G. Smith, OBE, the wife of former Premier, Dr D. Orlando Smith, OBE, has showered praise on the Virgin Islands Party (VIP) Government of Premier and Minister of Finance, Honourable Andrew A. Fahie for its recent bold move to grant status to more than 1500 expatriates in the Virgin Islands.
The eligible expats, who had to be living and working in the VI for 20 years and beyond to be considered, were given certificates of Residency and Belongership at a ceremony at the Multi-Purpose Sports Complex on December 16, 2019.
More than 1000 of the persons receiving status were from the ‘Fast Track’ Regularisation Programme spearheaded by Premier Fahie (R1), who had said, despite resistance from a handful of persons to the initiative, it was necessary to resolve long outstanding and overdue matters in order to reform immigration and labour systems.
Hon Fahie had also said he respected persons’ right to oppose but as leaders you have a choice. “You can face the problems that are there and let them become worse or make a decision- one that will not only solve the problem but united the BVI forever. We chose to unite the BVI forever.”
VIP Gov’t did ‘the right thing’- Lorna G. Smith
Meanwhile, the former First Lady, Mrs Smith was in full support of the regularisation initiative, according to her post made on LinkedIn on December 17, 2019.
“My heartiest congratulations and welcome to the hundreds of well deserving citizens who were granted Permanent Residence or Citizenship yesterday. You can finally call the #BVI home. You can now really fly the BVI banner high wherever you go.”
Mrs Smith wrote that she always advocated “professionally and privately” that this “privilege be given to you, as I know what it feels like from personal experience having been granted status more than 50 years ago.”
“I commend this Administration for their fortitude and courage to do the right thing!” Mrs Smith remarked.