british virgin islands


  • Further, this would put the British Virgin Islands in a position where it would be at a severe disadvantage because other International Finance Centres do not have this in
    place, and in the case of the US and the UK, there is very little near-term prospect of the same.

  • [3] The 2010 Census reports: • 76.9% African • 5.6% Hispanic • 5.4% European/Caucasian • 5.4% Mixed • 2.1% East Indian • 4.6% Others* *Includes Chinese, Carib/Amerindian,
    Filipinos and Arabs The 2010 Census reports the main places of origin of residents as follows:[1] • 39.1% local born (though note that many locals go to St. Thomas or the United States for maternity services)[69] • 7.2% Guyana • 7.0% St. Vincent
    and the Grenadines • 6.0% Jamaica • 5.5% United States • 5.4% Dominican Republic • 5.3% United States Virgin Islands The islands are heavily dependent upon migrant labour.

  • In 1968 the British Government issued a memorandum requiring that the postage stamps in the territory should say “British Virgin Islands” (whereas previously they had simply
    stated “Virgin Islands”), a practice which is still followed today.

  • Moreover, the territory’s Constitutional Commission has expressed the view that “every effort should be made” to encourage the use of the name “Virgin Islands”.

  • [60][3] The British Virgin Islands has met challenges in recruiting sufficient numbers in recent years, having been affected by hurricanes Irma and Maria, and having continued
    to lag behind other jurisdictions in providing a reliable permanent residence regime.

  • However, local historians have disputed this, pointing to a variety of publications and public records dating from between 21 February 1857 and 12 September 1919 where the
    territory is referred to as the British Virgin Islands.

  • The territory is also technically divided into five administrative districts (one for each of the four largest islands, with the fifth covering all other islands), and into
    six civil registry districts (three for Tortola, Jost Van Dyke, Virgin Gorda and Anegada) although these have little practical relevance.

  • This is commonly believed to distinguish it from the neighbouring American territory which changed its name from the “Danish West Indies” to “Virgin Islands of the United
    States” in 1917.

  • The Model 1 Agreement (14 Pages)[58] recognizes that: The Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland provided a copy of the Letter of Entrustment
    which was sent to the Government of the British Virgin Islands, to the Government of the United States of America “via diplomatic note of 28 May 2014”.

  • A report from 2000 suggested that, despite the popular perception, income inequality was actually lower in the British Virgin Islands than in any other OECS state,[45] although
    in global terms income equality is higher in the Caribbean than in many other regions.

  • [citation needed] In August 2011 a joint raid between the American DEA and the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force arrested a number of British Virgin Islands residents who
    are accused of being involved in major drugs transshipments,[37] although their extradition to the United States has since become stalled in protracted legal wrangling.

  • [43] The official currency of the British Virgin Islands has been the United States dollar (US$) since 1959, the currency also used by the United States Virgin Islands.

  • [5] Since the 1960s, the islands have diversified away from their traditionally agriculture-based economy towards tourism and financial services, becoming one of the wealthiest
    areas in the Caribbean.

  • History It is generally thought that the Virgin Islands were first settled by the Arawak from South America around 100 BC to AD 200, though there is some evidence of Amerindian
    presence on the islands as far back as 1500 BC.

  • [citation needed] Law and criminal justice[edit] Main article: Law of the British Virgin Islands Crime in the British Virgin Islands is comparatively low by Caribbean standards.

  • [3] The official name of the territory is still simply the “Virgin Islands”, but the prefix “British” is often used.

  • [70] 32% of workers employed in the British Virgin Islands work for the government.

  • [78] Education The British Virgin Islands operates several government schools as well as private schools.

  • Whilst statistics and hard data are relatively rare, and are not regularly published by governmental sources in the British Virgin Islands, the Premier did announce that in
    2013 there has been a 14% decline in recorded crime as against 2012.

  • [38] Military[edit] Main article: Military of the British Virgin Islands As a British Overseas territory, defence of the islands is the responsibility of the United Kingdom.

  • [3] The current Premier is Natalio Wheatley (since 5 May 2022), who is leader of the Virgin Islands Party[3] On 8 June 2022, the British Government decided against direct
    rule for the islands.

  • Cars in the British Virgin Islands drive on the left just as they do in the United Kingdom and the United States Virgin Islands.

  • It is extremely common for students from the British Virgin Islands to travel overseas for secondary and tertiary education, either to the University of the West Indies, or
    to colleges and universities in either the United Kingdom, United States or Canada.

  • [46] A substantial number of the tourists who visit the BVI are cruise ship passengers, and although they produce far lower revenue per head than charter boat tourists and
    hotel based tourists, they are nonetheless important to the substantial – and politically important – taxi driving community.

  • [36] A co-operation agreement exists between the British Virgin Islands and the US Coast Guard allowing American forces to pursue suspected drug traffickers through the territorial
    waters of the British Virgin Islands.

  • [6] British Virgin Islands government publications continue to begin with the name “The territory of the Virgin Islands”, and the territory’s passports simply refer to the
    “Virgin Islands”, and all laws begin with the words “Virgin Islands”.

  • On 10 September UK Prime Minister Theresa May pledged £32 million to the Caribbean for a hurricane relief fund and promised that the UK government would match donations from
    the public to the British Red Cross appeal.

  • There are also ferries that operate within the British Virgin Islands and to the neighbouring United States Virgin Islands.

  • [5] There is no record of any native Amerindian population in the British Virgin Islands during this period; it is thought that they either fled to safer islands or were killed.

  • [81] Sport[edit] See also: Cricket in the West Indies and Football in the British Virgin Islands Because of its location and climate, the British Virgin Islands has long been
    a haven for sailing enthusiasts.

  • [22] More troops were expected to arrive a day or two later, but HMS Ocean, carrying more extensive assistance, was not expected to reach the islands for another two weeks.

  • [citation needed] Economically however, financial services associated with the territory’s status as an offshore financial centre are by far the more important.

  • The British Virgin Islands is a significant global player in the offshore financial services industry.

  • [1] Estimates put the population at 35,800 (July 2018) yet in 2022, it is thought to be much less than 30,000 post-Irma and with people having left during COVID lockdowns
    due to unemployment in the tourism industry.

  • [35] The British and US Virgin Islands sit at the axis of a major drugs transshipment point between Latin America and the continental United States.

  • [39][40][41] Politically, tourism is the more important of the two, as it employs a greater number of people within the territory, and a larger proportion of the businesses
    in the tourist industry are locally owned, as are a number of the highly tourism-dependent sole traders (for example, taxi drivers and street vendors).

  • [49] In May 2022, the banking sector of the British Virgin Islands comprised seven commercial banks[50] and one restricted bank, 12 authorised custodians, two licensed money
    services businesses and one licensed financing service provider.

  • [56] Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act[edit] On 30 June 2014, The British Virgin Islands[57] was deemed to have an Inter- Governmental Agreement (IGA) with the United States
    of America with respect to the “Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act” of the United States of America.

  • “[54][55] In the April 2016 Panama Papers leak, while all of the wrongdoing by Mossack Fonseca personnel occurred in Panama and the US, the British Virgin Islands was by far
    the most commonly-used jurisdiction by clients of Mossack Fonseca.

  • [19][26] Boris Johnson’s visit to Tortola on 13 September 2017 during his Caribbean tour was intended to confirm the UK’s commitment to helping restore British islands but
    he provided no additional comments on the aid package.

  • [23] Entrepreneur Richard Branson, a resident of Necker Island, called on the UK government to develop a massive disaster recovery plan to include “both through short-term
    aid and long-term infrastructure spending”.

  • Private air charter services operated by Island Birds Air Charter fly directly to all three islands from any major airport in the Caribbean.

  • [3] The American Drug Enforcement Administration regards the adjacent US territories of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands as a “High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area”.

  • [47] Since 2001, financial services in the British Virgin Islands have been regulated by the independent Financial Services Commission.

  • [5] The islands gained separate colony status in 1960 and became autonomous in 1967 under the new post of Chief Minister.

  • [3] British Virgin Islanders are British Overseas Territories citizens and since 2002, are also British citizens.

  • [39] The islands are a popular destination for US citizens.

  • [53] Successive governments in the British Virgin Islands have fought against the propaganda and implemented tax exchange agreements and verified beneficial ownership information
    of companies following the 2013 G8 summit putting their governance and regulatory regimes far ahead of many “onshore” jurisdictions.

  • [5] In 1917, the United States purchased the Danish Virgin Islands for US$25 million, renaming them the United States Virgin Islands.

  • The BVI are known as one of the world’s greatest sailing destinations, and charter sailboats are a very popular way to visit less accessible islands.

  • Nearly five years later, there was no sign of any such rebuilding of the high school or certain other key infrastructure.

  • [citation needed] Although it is common to hear criticism in the British Virgin Islands’ press about income inequality, no serious attempt has been made by economists to calculate
    a Gini coefficient or similar measure of income equality for the territory.

  • Caribbean QCs and British QCs preside over the majority of important cases and the laws of the Virgin Islands are based on English laws, meaning the jurisdiction provides
    clarity and consistency should parties require commercial disputes to be resolved.

  • Many wealthy residents also proposed a large rebuilding plan, starting with key infrastructure, such as the high school.

  • [3] The British Virgin Islands enjoys one of the more prosperous economies of the Caribbean region, with a per capita average income of around $42,300 (2010 est.

  • [25] Specifics were not provided to the news media as to the amount that would be allocated to the Virgin Islands.

  • [5] The Spanish Empire claimed the islands by discovery in the early 16th century, but never settled them, and subsequent years saw the English, Dutch, French, Spanish, and
    Danish all jostling for control of the region, which became a notorious haunt for pirates.

  • Despite this, the territory’s most popular beach still has no lifeguard presence.

  • [1] The national labour-force is estimated at 12,770, of whom approximately 59.4% work in the service sector but less than 0.6% are estimated to work in agriculture (the balance
    working in industry).

  • The BVI is relied upon for its sophisticated Commercial Court division of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, as well as the more recent BVI Arbitration Centre.

  • [citation needed] Eight of the nine districts are partly or wholly on Tortola, and encompass nearby neighbouring islands.

  • CARICOM status and the CARICOM Single Market Economy[edit] As of 2 July 1991, the British Virgin Islands holds Associate Member status in CARICOM, the Caribbean Single Market
    and Economy (CSME).

  • [61][62] In recognition of the CARICOM (Free Movement) Skilled Persons Act which came into effect in July 1997 in some of the CARICOM countries such as Jamaica and which has
    been adopted in other CARICOM countries,[63] such as Trinidad and Tobago,[64][65] it is possible that CARICOM nationals who hold the “A Certificate of Recognition of Caribbean Community Skilled Person” may be allowed to work in the BVI under
    normal working conditions.

  • [7] But various public and quasi-public bodies continue to use the name “British Virgin Islands” or “BVI”, including BVI Finance, BVI Electricity Corporation, BVI Tourist
    Board, BVI Athletic Association, BVI Bar Association and others.

  • [32] Subdivisions[edit] Main article: Districts of the British Virgin Islands The British Virgin Islands is a unitary territory.


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4. ^ According to the Virgin Islands Constitution Order, 2007, the territory’s official name is simply ‘Virgin Islands’.
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“Explanatory Memorandum to the Virgin Islands Constitution Order 2007” (PDF).
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place such as the dissemination of information to hotels, dive shops and marinas.” The same report confirms that the deaths of 86 persons were recorded in the territory during 2012.
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