STATEMENT BY PREMIER AND MINISTER OF FINANCE HONOURABLE ANDREW A. FAHIE
DURING THE SEVENTH SITTING OF THE THIRD SESSION OF THE FOURTH HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY
THURSDAY, 15TH APRIL, 2021
VIRGIN ISLANDS SHIPPING REGISTRY
Mr. Speaker, Your Government continues to significantly invest in the Virgin Islands Shipping Registry (VISR), which will become a major revenue earner for the Virgin Islands. The VISR is poised to become a leading Maritime Authority in the Global economy. Your Government continues to be proactive in this respect through innovation, client focused and comprehensive services. This is to say that the Virgin Islands Shipping Registry continues to plan and prepare itself to be a major contributor to the overall Virgin Islands economy.
The Virgin Islands is a maritime commercial recreational mecca of the western hemisphere and the Virgin Islands Shipping Registry as the maritime administration of the Virgin Islands; is not only responsible for maintaining the maritime safety standards of the Territory, but is also the catalyst that through improvement initiatives and policy adjustments can re-ignite the BVI maritime industries.
Much of that work is now underway and the opportunities to rebalance our commercial maritime economics alongside the requisite improvements for international compliance under the IMO Instruments Implementation Code (Triple I Code) are being undertaken.
Mr. Speaker, Your Government is working feverishly to transition the Virgin Islands Shipping Registry from a Government Department into a statutory agency.
New vision and mission statements are being crafted; marketing plans for VISR global business development programme are being developed, the identity of the organisation is being re-modeled to project the competence that exists within this Red Ensign Flag administration.
Mr. Speaker, this is innovation. This is your Government working for you. Mr. Speaker, Your Government’s overall objective is to further enhance the overall reputation of the Virgin Islands as a quality tourism destination and business jurisdiction by establishing a prominent global presence and foot-print in the maritime sector.
Mr. Speaker, additional legislation is forthcoming to improve the VISR’s local and global service product and offerings; improved technologies are already in place ready to be launched within the statutory structure once approved. Upcoming policy adjustments will provide significant and tangible advantages to commercial vessels that are BVI flagged in utilising perhaps our most beneficial asset – the waters of the Virgin Islands.
Many of these improvements do not blend into a public service environment and not unlike most UK Category I flags; the success of this entity requires a commercial management and operational structure.
Mr. Speaker, the people of the Virgin Islands can expect to see increased activity, new private sector revenue centers, improved capability and additional job opportunities within the BVI’s maritime economic subsector.
The Government of the Virgin Islands through the Virgin Islands Shipping Registry has cited a goal of becoming a global maritime industry leader.
We have done this before with our financial services industry and we can also achieve this with our maritime products and spin offs.
Industry interest is already peaked and I encourage all related industries to keep a watchful eye on the Virgin Islands Shipping Registry for cues to your area of potential economic expansion and business growth.
Get to understand the business, become familiar with the supporting requirements from the private sector perspective; and join with your Government as we support the Virgin Islands Shipping Registry in their efforts to bring vessels globally to the BVI flag and along with that bring shipping company registrations; ship management and operations offices; ship mortgages; and perhaps one day even crewing agencies for ships onto BVI shores.
Mr. Speaker, The Virgin Islands Shipping Registry has established revenue targets growing to 15 million annually over the next 5 to 7 years, and this Government firmly believes that is achievable; but more important than this would be the overall economic benefit to this Territory resulting from the various economic spin offs once this sleeping giant – our BVI maritime sector is revived. This is your Government working for you.
Mr. Speaker, I encourage the BVI private sector to each begin thinking about what opportunities prevail in other maritime flag jurisdictions; prepare and align your services; and advise this Government on any adjustments you deem necessary to make these developments not just a Government or Shipping Registry success – but a BVI success.
Mr. Speaker I thank you.