30 Apr 2012BVICCHA Seeks Greater Partnership with the UK
The Board of Directors of the BVI Chamber of Commerce and Hotel Association hosted a luncheon meeting with Mr. Henry Bellingham, M.P., Parliamentary Undersecretary of State for the Overseas Territories on Tuesday, 24 April 2012 at the Treasure Isle Hotel.
The Board of Directors of the BVI Chamber of Commerce and Hotel Association hosted a luncheon meeting with Mr. Henry Bellingham, M.P., Parliamentary Undersecretary of State for the Overseas Territories on Tuesday, 24 April 2012 at the Treasure Isle Hotel. Mr. Bellingham was accompanied by His Excellency, Governor Boyd McCleary and Miss Louise Constantine, Mr. Bellingham's Private Secretary.
According to the Chairman of the BVICCHA, Mr. Jamal Smith, in his welcome remarks, "We . . . are honored to . . . host this working lunch with Mr. Bellingham to discuss issues of mutual importance between the business community of the Virgin Islands and the UK, especially as Britain considers the publication of its White Paper on a new relationship with its Overseas Territories." Mr. Smith added that while there was adequate dialogue on the 1999 White Paper that shapes the present relationship, less than 15 years later there was no evidence that the Overseas Territories have been asking for any new relationship, as opposed to a change in the tone of the dialogue between them, and so anxiously awaited the publication of the White Paper.
Mr. Bellingham highlighted the relationship between the BVI and Hertfordshire County Council, especially in preparations leading up to the 2012 Olympic Games. Governor Boyd McCleary agreed to work with the Board while he is away from the Territory from 25 April to 13 May to explore the possibility of establishing business links in Britain through their counterparts either in Hertfordshire or another region in the UK. The aim of this initiative will be to ensure that there are not only opportunities for training and skills transfer in the public sector but also for Virgin Islanders in the private sector to be given opportunities to work with UK businesses, including training and skills transfer with respect to green technology.
Mr. Bellingham also discussed with the Board the opportunities for marketing the BVI as a holiday destination in the UK. He indicated that he often tells people that the people of the British Virgin Islands are as much British as the people in Britain and suggested that this could be a huge marketing tool for the territory. The BVICCHA continues to support the search for new markets noting that a complete reliance on the North American market is not a model that can be sustainable indefinitely.
The BVICCHA will continue to work closely with Mr. Bellingham and the Governor's Office as they recognize the importance of collaboration and continued dialogue between them.
ABOUT THE BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND HOTEL ASSOCIATION:
The BVICCHA aims to actively promote a positive business and social environment for the benefit of the Territory while sustaining the unique advantages of the BVI and to be the leading private sector organization for the competitive and strategic positioning of BVI businesses in the domestic and global environment. The BVICCHA has a membership of approximately 200 businesses. The BVICCHA currently holds membership in the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association and the Caribbean Association of Industry & Commerce.