BVI Leader Says Closer Regional Collaboration Is Crucial For Economic Growth

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ROAD TOWN (OCT 23, 2019): BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS PREMIER Andrew Fahie says his government is adopting a deliberate policy to strengthen trading relations with the rest of the countries in the Caribbean.

In a radio address Wednesday, Premier Fahie said deepening trading relations is a sure path to greater economic growth in his territory,

“We need lumber, aggregates, construction materials, foodstuff and other products, which can be easily accessed by establishing an ocean freight trade route from Guyana, through Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Dominica, the Virgin Islands and also Jamaica,” he said.

The BVI leader said his territory is now opened for more Caribbean business.

“Our local shipping interests must take note and ready (themselves). Regional businesses must know that the BVI is a market and therefore by coming together, we can make it work for everyone. They too must get ready to trade,’ he noted.

Premier Fahie, more than any recent BVI leader, is emphasizing a Caribbean-first strategy, with a new aggressive policy of his government to seek to expand the local economy that has traditionally looked northwards.

Road Town has stressed that the potential millions of dollars improving trading relations could generate will lead to stronger economic growth and improved employment in all the islands.

“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,” Fahie said in his address.

The BVI Premier who only took office nine months ago has added his voice as a strong proponent of regional co-operation, suggesting a policy shift from since he addressed an OECS meeting in Guadeloupe in March to a standing ovation.

This week Fahie again emphasized the increased activity is needed to expand the relatively small BVI economy, something he said that will be achieved by looking outward, instead of inward.

He declared: “Our CARICOM neighbours have a lot to offer in terms of manufactured goods, professional services, skilled labour and partnerships that will have mutual benefits. The Caribbean region is very strong if our countries and our people work together.”

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