REMARKS BY PREMIER AND MINISTER OF FINANCE
DR. THE HONOURABLE D. ORLANDO SMITH, OBE
H LAVITY STOUTT COMMUNITY COLLEGE
HLSCC, PARAQUITA BAY
Thursday, 28th June, 2018
It is my pleasure to be here to share in the joy of families, friends, and educators as we celebrate the 2018 Graduates of the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College this afternoon.
I wish to thank President, Dr. Janet Smith for the invitation to speak to the graduates for a few moments as they prepare for an even larger step in life.
My message graduates, is simple —Think ahead, but plan now!
By this I mean: do not wait until you get there, envision in your mind what your future looks like and then actively take the necessary steps to get there.
I will first talk about how we can think ahead. Then I will transition to how we can plan now.
So, come with me and let’s think ahead!
When you made the bold decision to get tertiary education, the first thing you thought about was – you need a degree.
And, I am sure that there were several reasons that motivated your decision.
For some of you it might be that you wanted to develop professionally and enhance your skills. For others, it may be that you wanted to be an example for your children. Maybe you envisioned for yourself a higher salary or position. Or, perhaps you wanted to be an inspiration to your family as the first to achieve such a milestone. Regardless of what led you here, you began this journey with the end in mind.
You were thinking ahead!
So now that I know, that you know, you are people who think futuristically, after all, you are here today, I challenge you now to ask yourselves, where do you want to be 5, 10, 15, 20 years from now?
As you think ahead, here are some things I’d like to pitch to you because the BVI of tomorrow is in your hands.
The world has been moving steadfastly on a course that has been leading to emerging technologies.
This is where the world is heading where technology is defining the direction, shape, and pace of our economy and its development.
We are seeing technology being integrated into our Education, Business, and Finance and even in our Agriculture.
I ask the question, where do you fit?
In the business and finance sector, we have seen a significant increase in the demand for Financial Technology (FinTech) where you conduct business on your mobile phone and engage in activities like mobile banking.
Regarding our trade and business sector, up and coming entrepreneurs in the world are using technologies such as 3D printing to bring their products to life.
What do you want to do?
What about a future in the agricultural sector?
Following Hurricanes Irma and Maria, the issue of food production reared its head as a key concern for our Territory. Now more than ever, we are seeing ways in which emerging technologies are driving fundamental shifts in the evolving Agribusiness.
I ask, where do you fit in as you think ahead?
In this Territory, the opportunities are bountiful in all sectors of this economy from tourism and construction to computers and even public service leadership.
Innovation and economic growth are in your hands. That is a huge responsibility, but it is a responsibility for which your education here at HLSCC will have prepared you.
I know that you are strong men and women who will succeed at whatever you put your energies to.
I know this because you will have needed that strength to juggle your many responsibilities as you attended classes.
So now, let us look at how we can make it happen and ‘Plan Now’ to get where we want to be later!
I want you to look around. See what is missing based on your interests and take an active step and fill that void using the skills that you now have.
In doing so, keep an open mind and tailor your next steps to the BVI you want to see.
Never stop learning. Continue to research and learn about what the world is doing, and think about what you can adopt, add new or make better.
You have the aptitude, endurance and the capability to do so, and I know this because the evidence is in your presence here this afternoon.
I encourage you to stay on top of your game. Read widely, read outside your comfort zone. Stay aware so that you can scope out innovative opportunities.
Yes, I do know that the internet is making the world smaller, but what can we do to make service more convenient for each other? What can we do to make service in the BVI better?
I want you to reach across to people of different faiths and different nationalities. Share your ideas and listen to the ideas of others, build on them.
Get in the habit of attending workshops, seminars, and conferences to learn and develop more and to network as much as possible.
Graduates the reality is, it all starts with you!
You are the architects of change. You will decide the direction in which this society goes.
So, today I ask you to bring that experience out of the classroom.
Think ahead, but plan now!
You may be small in numbers, but the impact of your actions could lead to an even bigger future for the BVI.
Your future depends on what you do with your present. What you do today will have an impact on your tomorrow.
You are the future of the British Virgin Islands, graduates.
Congratulations and thank you for dedicating yourselves to success.