The British Virgin Islands and United States Virgin Islands will continue to strengthen ties as Premier and Minister of Finance of the British Virgin Islands, Dr. the Honourable D. Orlando Smith, OBE and the Governor of the United States Virgin Islands, Kenneth E. Mapp convene the seventh meeting of the Inter Virgin Islands Council (IVIC).
Government officials will meet on Friday, September 2, in St. Thomas, USVI to report to the council and further discuss areas of shared interests.
The IVIC is the formal side of the BVI-USVI relationship and brings together the Premier of the BVI and the Governor of the USVI as co-chairs of the Council. Government officials and policymakers will explore with their counterparts different ways to enhance the relations between the BVI and USVI by collaborating to monitor and introduce initiatives designed to improve the quality of life for the people of the two Territories.
Premier Smith said that it is important for us to continue to work together to address challenges and share resources for our mutual benefit.
He added, “There is no denying that even though we are two separate sovereign lands, the people of the USVI and the BVI are one. We must therefore continue to collaborate for it is the surest path to a stronger and brighter future for all of us. We have been able to achieve much in the past through mutual co-operation and we must continue to ensure our relationship evolves, by pursuing avenues to resolve our various issues.”
Governor Mapp stated “Both the British and US Virgin Islands not only share a common culture and history, but today, we face some of the same unique challenges. We must strive to work together to secure our borders, enhance visitor experiences and improve the quality of life for all of our people. Our relationship with our neighbors has been greatly improved through joint efforts with our law enforcement, tourism and emergency planning agencies. As a direct result of meetings such as IVIC we will continue to cultivate an atmosphere of cooperation and mutual goals that will benefit future generations of Virgin Islanders.”
A number of initiatives have arisen from the council meetings. These include Information exchange between law enforcement agencies, research development exchange between the University of the Virgin Islands and H. Lavity Stoutt Community College and Information exchange on renewable sources of energy.
Premier Smith will head the BVI delegation, which includes permanent secretaries and relevant senior officers. The council will receive updates on law enforcement, pleasure boating, tourism and education. Also to be discussed are initiatives to explore the scope of cooperation in BVI musician work permits.
The BVI Government’s representation at the Inter Virgin Islands Council Meeting reaffirms its commitment to strengthening regional and international relations, as well as maintaining its close ties with the USVI.
The Inter-Virgin Islands Council was established on Saturday, 29 May, 2004, when former USVI Governor Dr. Charles Turnbull and Chief Minister Honourable Dr. D. Orlando Smith signed a joint memorandum of understanding. The Council’s first meeting convened on St. Croix in April 2005.
More on the work of the Government of the Virgin Islands can be found on www.bvi.gov.vg; Facebook, YouTube or Twitter at BVIGovernment.