US Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands Hold Bilateral Talks

Above: US Virgin Islands Governor John de Jongh and British Virgin Islands Premier Dr Orlando Smith

By the Caribbean Journal staff

The United States Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands held their sixth Inter Virgin Islands Council meeting in Tortola on Thursday.

US Virgin Islands Governor John de Jongh and British Virgin Islands Premier Dr Orlando Smith led the talks, which focused on areas like tourism, energy, education, pleasure boating and sports fishing and cultural preservation, among others.

“I welcomed the opportunity to meet with Premier Dr. Smith and the BVI delegation to discuss these issues of great importance to both territories,” de Jongh said following the discussions. “These are core issues that affect the well-being of the people of both territories and I am pleased that through the council, we have developed a collaborative effort in addressing these various concerns ranging from law enforcement to solid waste management and the very important challenge of energy costs.”

The Inter Virgin Islands Council was first formed out of a Memorandum of Understanding between the two sides in 2004, with the first bilateral meeting taking place in St Croix the following year.

The two sides have established 12 standing committees that meet regularly across both territories.

The talks also discussed developments like a potential US Customs and Border Protection patrol facility at the Red Hook Marine Terminal in St Thomas and a US pre-clearance facility in the British Virgin Islands, among other features.