Premier's Office
Ministry of Finance
Public Holidays
Release Date:
Friday, 10 December 2021 - 2:29pm




10 December, 2021

Remembering the Reason for the Season


Good day and GOD’s Blessings to everyone.

We are in the season when we pause to reflect on the precious gift from GOD—that is, the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

The celebration of His birth is one that brings families and friends together in this atmosphere where love and peace permeates the air in a wonderful way.

In the Virgin Islands we have our own special and unique ways of observing the season and it is in our pastimes, our music, our food – like our tart and guavaberry wine, the warmth and camaraderie of our people, and all the other activities that we do to celebrate Christmas.

This is our culture – our Virgin Islands culture.

As I reflect on the richness of our Virgin Islands heritage and our culture – and especially our Christmas time culture as we see airplane after airplane landing at our airports; as we see the yachts and other maritime guests sailing in; as we see almost daily one and two or even three cruise ships pulling up with visitors to our shores, I cannot help but think about how cultural tourism is enhancing our tourism product – making a more enjoyable experience for our guests and creating economic opportunities for our keen-eyed entrepreneurs.

I mention this because sometimes we just do our thing as we are accustomed to doing, and we do not recognise the further potential and further value of what we are doing.

I just want to point out that there are untapped economic opportunities in cultural tourism where we have to look at more ways to tie in our food, our music, our dance, and all the aspects of our culture into our tourism product. We have to think about seasonal aspects of our cultural activities as well as our culture overall. For a visitor coming to the Virgin Islands, the experience of visiting at Christmas is different to visiting for Emancipation Festival, and different from visiting for Easter, and different from visiting at any other time.

So, while we are making merry, this is something to think about as we are seeing the economy move forward in this positive way as we expose others to what we know best - BVILOVE.

And the time is ripe to do these things because we are poised for a further upsurge in tourist arrivals beginning in the upcoming weeks.

For instance, thanks to the hard work that your Government has done in partnership with the BVI Airports authority to upgrade and reopen the airport in Virgin Gorda last month, our partners in the airline industry are now able to offer direct airlift between San Juan, Puerto Rico and Virgin Gorda.

Our airline partners are reporting high interest from passengers wanting to visit Virgin Gorda, and I am happy to report from 17th December, 2021, the direct commercial flights from San Juan to Virgin Gorda will begin.

From 17th December, 2021, and onwards, Cape Air will be commencing three flights daily in and out of the Taddy Bay Airport between Virgin Gorda and San Juan.

Flights will arrive Virgin Gorda daily at 10:00 a.m., 1:43 p.m. and 5:16 p.m., and there will be departures daily from Virgin Gorda to San Juan at 7:05 a.m., 11:05 a.m. and 1:58 p.m. This is progress and for this we say all thanks and glory to GOD.

Negotiations are in progress to further increase the airlift – not only with respect to Virgin Gorda but also with respect to Anegada which has been approved for both day and night flights. There is high interest from a few airlines for daily charters as well into and out of Virgin Gorda and Anegada as is already the case at the Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport.

So we are going to be seeing more persons flying into our Sister Islands of Virgin Gorda and Anegada, and if there are persons listening who want to do this even now, it is possible – just contact the airlines and let them know you are interested.

All of this is good news for our economy, and for our taxi and tour operators, our food vendors, restaurants, bars, car rentals, accommodation operators and all our other tourism businesses.

I will be providing further updates on expansion of the airlift in the weeks ahead as the negotiations conclude.

I also want to take this opportunity to update the public on what is happening for this Season as we celebrate Christmas in the Virgin Islands remembering the reason for the season

It’s time for the Annual Premier’s Christmas Carols on Wheels starting Sunday, 12 December. This is where I go from community to community throughout the Districts to carol – accompanied of course by some of the Virgin Islands’ finest voices.

This year’s caroling is in remembrance of the late Frandie Martin Jr. who was a well-known musician in the Virgin Islands and who lost his life in a tragic boat accident a few months ago. Frandie was well known in the music community and he always looked forward to Christmas celebrations. He would usually play the drum for the Premier’s Christmas Carols on Wheels. I vividly remember his drum solo just last Christmas while we were on the road with Carols on Wheels. Frandie was also a sports enthusiast. We will remember his commitment, and we will miss hearing his voice, hear his unique drumming and seeing him on the softball field and Volleyball court. Without a doubt Frandie has a special place in our hearts. We send our prayers and BVILOVE to his friends and family.

Frandie was one of too many that we lost – many quite unexpectedly – this past year. We have also lost many to COVID-19 and this Christmas Season I ask that we devote some time and attention to bringing comfort to those who are in need of it.

One of our aims with the Annual Premier’s Christmas Carols on Wheels is to help to spread the Christmas spirit, by bringing joyous Christmas caroling through all the Districts, from District one to nine, from Anegada to Jost Van Dyke.

Caroling and serenading during the Christmas season is an intrinsic part of the Virgin Islands culture. It is our way of celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, a moment that brings us together for a shared experience.

The Annual Premier’s Christmas Carols on Wheels schedule for this year is as follows:




Starting Point

Sunday 12th

4:00 p.m.

District 7 District 8

Queen Elizabeth II Bridge

Tuesday 14th

5:00 p.m.

District 6


Thursday 16th

5:00 p.m.

District 5

Belle Vue to Long Trench

Friday 17th

5:00 p.m.

District 4

Festival ground

Sunday 19th

2:00 p.m.

5:30 p.m.

District 2

District 2

Jost Van Dyke

Cane Garden Bay

Monday 20th



5:00 p.m.

District 9


District 3



Pock Wood Pond

Wednesday 22nd

5:00 p.m.

District 9

Valley to North Sound

Thursday 23rd

5:00 p.m.

District 1

Fort Recovery

Once again, I will be hosting ‘The Premier’s Christmas Extravangaza with a Cultural Twist - The Sequel’.

We call it the sequel as it is a continuation of a story that despite COVID-19, despite devastating hurricanes and despite challenges we are able to come together and to push past obstacles to experience and create opportunities that allow us to see the good in every circumstance.

We want to ensure that we keep everyone safe so the wearing of masks and social distancing are a must. There is no compromising there.

This extravangaza will take place on Saturday, 18 December, at the Festival Village Grounds from 3:00 p.m. It is a time for the entire family. The Children’s party starts at 3:00 p.m. with games and singing.

The singspiration and music with the adult groups starts at 5 pm. We expect to have performances and guests from Virgin Gorda, Anegada and Jost Van Dyke joining us here on Tortola for this celebration.

We will also sample of the cultural foods and drinks.

Of course my favourite tart is the guava tart. I know that Mr. Brent Hoyte would disagree, but it seems to me that more people love guava over the other tarts so we many need to make the guava tart our national tart. What do you think? I think Brent loves the pineapple, I will check with him. I am sure he would be pleased to know that guava tart is number one. But this holiday season I intend to settle this matter with Mr. Hoyte once and for all so stay tuned.

We have our newest Centenarian—Ms. Olivia Emelda Donovan-Carty who was born on Wednesday, November 16, 1921 in Carrot Bay. I thank GOD for giving her the opportunity to see this grand age of 100 years old, I’m sure an age we all would like to see. Ms. Olivia is one who loves and appreciates the importance of developing and maintaining close ties with family and friends throughout the community. She has always been a talented person and was quite popular in her younger days in the Carrot Bay community for her reading ability. In fact, word of her ability to read was immediately spread throughout the Carrot Bay community and people would visit her parents’ home so that she could read passages from the Bible for them. Her reading ability paid dividends when she began attending school, where instead of starting from Kindergarten, she started from first grade for she could read really well. We continue to pray GOD’s blessings on her.

We also have another centenarian in the person of Betty Yates in Virgin Gorda. We also wish her the best and we thank God for these two centenarian and we will be celebrating them in the customary way very shortly.

With that said, I now open the floor for any questions from the media as we remember the reason for the season.