Department of Information & Public Relations
Premier and Minister of Finance Honourable Andrew Fahie declared that ‘better has come to Virgin Gorda’ at a press conference to officially open a branch of Banco Popular on the sister island on Wednesday, November 6.
The Premier said, “We join hands in a partnership with the management of Banco Popular and the people of Virgin Gorda to set in motion events that will result in win outcomes for all. Today for the people of Virgin Gorda and by extension the Virgin Islands, better has come.”
Premier Fahie said following the departure of other banking institutions from the island, the people of Virgin Gorda complained bitterly on the issues of not having a physical bank operating on the sister island which is one of the main driving forces of the BVI’s economy.
He explained that his Government from its first day in office promised the people of Virgin Gorda that it will work tirelessly to find the solution to this matter.
“We began to work with one of our local banking institutions to try to finally solve the major inconveniences the people and business owners in Virgin Gorda were experiencing in regards to the absence of physical banking on the island.”
The Premier said the partnership with Banco Popular will run for five years to ensure that the people of Virgin Gorda will always have physical banking. He said Government will also improve the airstrip and facilities at the Taddy Bay Airport on the sister island.
The Premier also thanked the people of Virgin Gorda for their patience as the negotiations were taking place.
President and Chief Executive Officer of Banco Popular Mr. Ignacio Alvarez said his institution was pleased to be a part of the partnership with the Government and the people of Virgin Gorda. He said they took a chance because they saw the future of Virgin Gorda and the Territory as a whole.
“We are very committed. What makes us special here is our people and I think that is why we are so proud of being here,” Mr. Alvarez said.
He added, “We lived through a horrible hurricane in Puerto Rico. We realised how important banking is to people when they have a disaster. We saw how many of our communities were cut off from banking, so it was easy for us to understand how difficult it was for the people of Virgin Gorda to have to live their daily lives without having a bank.”
Meanwhile, District Representative and Minister for Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration Honourable Vincent Wheatley said the day was almost a red letter day as it showed that the Territory’s recovery is alive and well.
Honourable Wheatley said, “We firmly believe that it is true partnerships like this that are going to advance the BVI economy. On behalf of the Virgin Gorda population I want to thank Banco Popular and Premier Fahie and his team for coming up to the plate and making this happen.
The Virgin Gorda branch will host lobby operations on Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The Virgin Gorda community will have access to a 24 hours walk up ATM which will feature the bank’s new easy deposit feature and persons will have access to a commercial night depository. Clients will also access consumer and commercial loan products, business banking services, and have access to the bank’s mortgage staff.