In a recent Facebook post, former Education Minister Myron Walwyn recalled a conversation with a US Virgin Islander, which he said gave extreme cause for concern. The post read, “I just had an extensive conversation with a friend, who works closely with the tourism authority in St. Thomas, and he said to me with the broadest smile ever; “Myron, I love you guys and I love the BVI but I hope that you take a little while longer to get it together tourism wise. Myron, even if you had a dog kennel in St. Thomas, once it could lock, you would get it rented”. He continued “you cannot find a car to rent on this island and I cannot recall the last time that our business people have made soo much money”. Additionally, the former Education Minister stated, “Of course we discussed the health and economic balance which St. Thomas seems to have a good understanding of. Meanwhile back in BVI…”
In response to the post, scores of BVI Islanders joined the conversation including former Director of the BVI Tourist Board Mrs. Sharon Flax Brutus who said, “This is what happens when there is no leadership from a tourism perspective. I get it that we are safe but where is that transformational leadership we are hearing about all the time. Tourism is rudderless and those who are in the wheelhouse don’t know how to steer us through the waves. I’m saddened to see that every other week another nail and screw goes in. Now we are hearing that test results may take up to 48 hours which may mean a 6-day quarantine! I will say it again without apology …. our industry is in trouble and our leaders can’t even see it!!! Oh well!! Who don’t know will ponder!!”
Another resident shared: “My College colleague on St John, said businesses are complaining of too much business.”
One BVI Islander stated, “We make choices. Two dozen dead and many others going through pain and suffering probably doesn’t matter to most of us looking on from a distance. Our government takes a different view. I happen to believe that they are doing what they believe to be best for the country. I respect that. Of course I could be mistaken and also there is always a better way.”
The dialogue between residents continued of course but the topic of once again loosing countless business and revenue to the US Virgin Islands once more is of paramount importance. For decades BVI Islanders have stated that the BVI economy continues to lose to the USVI and in this case the present pandemic has proven no different. BVI Islanders are upset that during these difficult times the BVI is not in a position to hold on to pretty much any tourism revenue at all, but losing all of its clients to the USVI. Marine expert Andrew Ball stated in a prior interview, that it is not impossible for these clients to return to the BVI and while his sentiments may be true, it does seem as though we are taking a huge gamble.