By Nadia James-Harris
ROAD TOWN, BVI -- Premier and minister of finance, Dr Orlando Smith, has outlined his vision tor moving the British Virgin Islands towards self-sustainability.
Premier and Minister of Finance, Dr Orlando Smith
While delivering the territory’s 2016 Budget Address at the House of Assembly on Monday, Smith said, “I envision a society that is environmentally friendly, our capital and main town is clean, the internet is freely accessible to anyone within its boundaries, our infrastructure meets and exceed the needs of our people and visitors that come to our shores, where our children and senior citizens are protected and taken care of and where crime is nonexistent.”
The premier added that, in order for the people of the territory to realise their full potential, everyone’s goal must be self-determination.
He stated, “We must do our work now and grow in maturity as a people. Our future continues to depend on our ability to meet the challenges as they present themselves and to adapt, but to do so, without losing our uniqueness.”
Smith affirmed his commitment to do everything in his power to put the territory on the path to achieving this goal.
He said there is an often unheralded facet to why the BVI is able to thrive, adding that it is the rule of law and the territory’s relatively low crime rate.
He said, “I invite you and all the residents of the BVI to consider very carefully that the industries from which we earn our livelihood – tourism and financial services – are not compatible with crime.”
He commended the work of the men and women of the security organisations, led by the police at the forefront, with customs and immigration on border control, backed up by the financial investigations agencies and the courts, to keep the British Virgin Islands safe and protected.
The premier expressed his gratitude for the duties they perform, and pledged to provide them with the support they need to continue to operate efficiently and credibly. He noted that there is a bright future ahead, and that it will take commitment to country and selfless sacrifice. Smith further urged all citizens to work as a community to ensure the territory’s future and that of its children.