As published on virginislandsnewsonline.com, Sunday October 27, 2019.
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI - Even as the local telecommunications sector is in need of a major overhaul, Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) has indicated that several technology companies are looking to set up base in the Virgin Islands as his government continues to push for the diversification of the local economy.
"Several digital companies have expressed interest in bringing their bases of operations to the BVI. That is why we have begun exploring all options–old and new–for ensuring reliable connectivity," Hon Fahie said in a media statement released on October 23, 2019.
Further in the statement entitled 'BVI on Development Path Looking Towards Regional Cooperation', the Premier said his government is also looking into the airlift industry, to bring more services into the territory.
"Discussions are underway with airlift providers who are anxious to begin operating in the BVI. Similarly, we have begun the process of reaching out to major hotel brands to let them know that there are opportunities here. We are exploring other new industries that can be introduced to the territory that will bring benefit to our people while being respectful of our natural environment."
The Premier's drive into pushing a diversified local economy comes with calls to VI businesses and the public service sector to build resilience based on a number of factors, including the VI as a member of the British Overseas Territories (OTs) facing 'external pressures' and the position of the country in the Atlantic hurricane belt.
"My message to local and regional business interests is to prepare yourselves. If your venture requires a foreign partner, find one now and start the process. If you are foreign-based and you have something the BVI needs, make your BVI connection. There is a lot of work to be done and a lot of opportunities for getting involved," he said.
Virgin Islands News Online (VINO) reached out to Premier Fahie for the names of the technology companies interested in the VI; however, no response was received up to publication time.
"People of the BVI and people of the region, visualise yourself in a dynamic, prosperous space, full of economic prospect, and where the quality of life is high and dreams are achieved. This is the future we will build together," Hon Fahie said.
He noted that in order to do that, the territory must open up the channels for communication, for trade, for partnership, for security, and for creating opportunities for all its people.