There is no trade law or policy in the Virgin Islands that mandates that individuals must possess degrees or certifications in order to be eligible for a business license, but this has not stopped members of the public from being turned down at the application stage for lacking such qualifications.
This was disclosed by Deputy Premier and Minister for Financial Services, Labour and Trade, Honourable Lorna Smith OBE, who told the House of Assembly on Tuesday that non-compliance with areas related to professional qualifications and certifications were among the reasons for 181 trade license rejections between January 1st 2020 and June 26th 2023.
Smith was at the time responding to questions posed by Member for the 8th District the Honourable Marlon Penn in what bordered on a heated exchange between the two.
Smith noted that some industries may be subject to other existing legislation that requires the holding of special qualifications, but she acknowledged that there was no explicit trade law or policy that stipulated such a necessity.
She also revealed that she had observed instances where the qualification requirement was extended beyond industries where it was applicable and imposed on other areas.
She said that she had every intention to address this matter.