Employers who will be operating out of the Festival Grounds during the Emancipation Festival are being reminded that they must apply for work permits for “any non-Belonger or non-BVIslander they wish to employ.”

This message comes from the Department of Labour and Workforce Development which advised the aforementioned employers to have their respective applications submitted within a specified time period.

“Employers are encouraged to submit applications within 5 to 10 days in advance of commencement of work.  Failure to do so will render persons in direct violation of section 171 of the 2010 Labour Code,” the department said.

Section 171 (1) of the 2010 Labour Code states, “An application for a work permit shall be made by the intended employer on behalf of the person for whom the permit is sought, by filing with the Labour Department an application in triplicate, in the prescribed form and, unless the applicant is a self-employed person, that application shall be accompanied by a statement in the prescribed form, completed by the intended employer.”

Following the media release from the department, 284News reached out to the Minister for Labour Honourable Melvin ‘Mitch’ Turnbull to gain more clarity on the release.

He said a comprehensive update will be forthcoming to the public by today July 18, which will explain the full scope of the work permit requirement.

Meanwhile, 284News also reached out to the Vice Chair of the Festival and Fairs Committee Mr. Birch Lettsome, who briefly spoke on the matter.

He said the requirement for non-locals to have valid work permits to operate inside booths in the Festival Grounds is nothing new.

“Everybody that is working in the territory, the laws don’t go away just because it’s festival, so they would have to still apply and abide by the labour laws, the same health laws, and all these different things. So everybody in the Festival Grounds will have to go through the process of getting a liquor license, temporary trade licenses if needing it, food handlers, work permits and all of these different things they would be responsible for handling,” Lettsome stated.

Work permit requirement will not apply to all

284News then asked whether the requirement to apply for a temporary work permit includes those employers that have employees conducting the same type of work under their company’s name at the Festival Grounds.

Lettsome responded by stating that as far as he is aware, the requirement will not apply to those persons since they will be covered under their employers’ original work permit.

He said, “It would be under the same permit. So as far as I’m aware, that shouldn’t be an issue.”

“I know there are persons who would have like family that may come to help you in your booth, and you’re like a private person that doesn’t have a restaurant elsewhere, but you just do this every year. I know they’re situations just like that, that might occur. So, I think they’re more speaking towards that and are just reminding everybody that they need to have their requisite status,” he explained.

The Labour Department is asking persons requesting more information on the subject to contact them at 468-4708 or 468-4780.