Deputy Premier and Minister of Financial Services, Labour and Trade, Honourable Lorna Smith, has described the move to temporarily suspend the Virgin Islands Trade Commission as necessary.

During a recent sitting of the House of Assembly, she justified her government’s decision to pass the Virgin Islands Trade Commission (Suspensory) Act, 2023, which will result in the suspension of the Trade Commission.

She said the practical implementation of the act in its current form faced several obstacles and would have been a costly endeavour for the government to pursue presently, as it is already facing budgetary constraints due to other pressing issues.

Smith said ignoring these issues would be a failure of her government’s duty to act on behalf of the people, hence her decision to temporarily suspend the act and its provisions for 12 months.

During this period, she said her Ministry of Financial Services, Labour and Trade will assume direct oversight of trade-related policies and operations.

The deputy premier also revealed that an assessment will be conducted during the 12-month period to determine the best administrative arrangements for governing trade-related policies and services in the future.

Smith also assured residents that contrary to popular belief, the Trade Commission Act is not being repealed.