British Virgin Islands

Coordinates: 18°30′N 64°30′W / 18.500°N 64.500°W

Virgin Islands

Motto: "Vigilate" (Latin)
"Be Vigilant"
Anthem: "God Save the Queen"
Territorial song: "Oh, Beautiful Virgin Islands"
Location of  British Virgin Islands  (circled in red)
Location of  British Virgin Islands  (circled in red)
Location of British Virgin Islands
StatusBritish Overseas Territory
Capital
and largest city
Road Town
18°25.883′N 64°37.383′W / 18.431383°N 64.623050°W
Official languagesEnglish
Ethnic groups
Demonym(s)Virgin Islander
GovernmentParliamentary dependency under constitutional monarchy
• Monarch
Elizabeth II
• Governor
Augustus Jaspert
V. Inez Archibald
• Premier
Orlando Smith
• UK government minister [b]
Tariq Ahmad
LegislatureHouse of Assembly
Established 
as a dependency of the United Kingdom
• Separate
1960
• Autonomy
1967
Area
• Total
153 km2 (59 sq mi)
• Water (%)
1.6
Population
• 2018 census
31,758[1] (212th)
• Density
260/km2 (673.4/sq mi) (68th)
GDP (PPP)2017 estimate
• Total
$500 million[2]
• Per capita
$34,200
CurrencyUnited States dollar (USD)
Time zoneUTC–4 (AST)
Driving sideleft
Calling code+1-284
ISO 3166 codeVG
Internet TLD.vg
  1. ^ Source for all ethnic groups including labels is 2010 Census of Population.
  2. ^ Minister of State in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office with responsibility for the British Overseas Territories.

The British Virgin Islands (BVI), officially simply the Virgin Islands,[3] are a British Overseas Territory in the Caribbean, to the east of Puerto Rico. The islands are geographically part of the Virgin Islands archipelago and are located in the Leeward Islands of the Lesser Antilles.

The British Virgin Islands consist of the main islands of Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada, and Jost Van Dyke, along with over 50 other smaller islands and cays. About 15 of the islands are inhabited. The capital, Road Town, is on Tortola, the largest island, which is about 20 km (12 mi) long and 5 km (3 mi) wide. The islands had a population of about 28,000 at the 2010 Census, of whom approximately 23,500 lived on Tortola.[1] For the islands, the latest United Nations estimate (2016) is 30,661.[4]

British Virgin Islanders are British Overseas Territories citizens and since 2002 are British citizens as well. Although the territory is not part of the European Union and not directly subject to EU law, British Virgin Islanders are deemed to be citizens of the EU by virtue of their British citizenship.[5]

Name

The official name of the territory is still simply the "Virgin Islands", but the prefix "British" is often used. 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. 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.[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". 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".[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.

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.[6] This was likely to prevent confusion following on from the adoption of US currency in the Territory in 1959, and the references to US currency on the stamps of the Territory.

History

The Virgin Islands were first settled by the Arawak from South America around 100 BC (though there is some evidence of Amerindian presence on the islands as far back as 1500 BC).[8] The Arawaks inhabited the islands until the 15th century when they were displaced by the more aggressive Caribs, a tribe from the Lesser Antilles islands, after whom the Caribbean Sea is named.

The first European sighting of the Virgin Islands was by the Spanish expedition of Christopher Columbus in 1493 on his second voyage to the Americas. Columbus gave them the fanciful name Santa Ursula y las Once Mil Vírgenes (Saint Ursula and her 11,000 Virgins), shortened to Las Vírgenes (The Virgins), after the legend of Saint Ursula.

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. There is no record of any native Amerindian population in the British Virgin Islands during this period, although most of the native population on nearby Saint Croix was killed or dispersed.

The Dutch established a permanent settlement on the island of Tortola by 1648. In 1672, the English captured Tortola from the Dutch, and the English annexation of Anegada and Virgin Gorda followed in 1680. Meanwhile, over the period 1672–1733, the Danish gained control of the nearby islands of Saint Thomas, Saint John and Saint Croix.

St Phillips Church, Tortola
The ruins of St. Phillip's Church, Tortola, one of the most important historical ruins in the territory.

The British islands were considered principally a strategic possession, but were planted when economic conditions were particularly favourable. The British introduced sugar cane which was to become the main crop and source of foreign trade, and slaves were brought from Africa to work on the sugar cane plantations. The islands prospered economically until the middle of the nineteenth century, when a combination of the abolition of slavery in the territory, a series of disastrous hurricanes, and the growth in the sugar beet crop in Europe and the United States[9] significantly reduced sugar cane production and led to a period of economic decline.

In 1917, the United States purchased St. John, St. Thomas, and St. Croix from Denmark for US$25 million, renaming them the United States Virgin Islands.

The British Virgin Islands were administered variously as part of the British Leeward Islands or with St. Kitts and Nevis, with an administrator representing the British Government on the islands. The islands gained separate colony status in 1960 and became autonomous in 1967. 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.

Geography

British Virgin Islands WV banner
British Virgin Islands WV banner
GB Virgin Islands
Map of British Virgin Islands (Note: Anegada is farther away from the other islands than shown)

The British Virgin Islands comprise around 60 tropical Caribbean islands, ranging in size from the largest, Tortola, being 20 km (12 mi) long and 5 km (3 mi) wide, to tiny uninhabited islets, altogether about 150 square kilometres (58 square miles) in extent. They are located in the Virgin Islands archipelago, a few miles east of the US Virgin Islands, and about 95 km (59 mi) from the Puerto Rican mainland. About 150 km (93 mi) east south-east lies Anguilla. The North Atlantic Ocean lies to the east of the islands, and the Caribbean Sea lies to the west. Most of the islands are volcanic in origin and have a hilly, rugged terrain. Anegada is geologically distinct from the rest of the group and is a flat island composed of limestone and coral.

In addition to the four main islands of Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada, and Jost Van Dyke, other islands include (see also Islands of the British Virgin Islands):

Climate

The British Virgin Islands have a tropical rainforest climate, moderated by trade winds. Temperatures vary little throughout the year. In the capital, Road Town, typical daily maxima are around 32 °C (89.6 °F) in the summer and 29 °C (84.2 °F) in the winter. Typical daily minima are around 24 °C (75.2 °F) in the summer and 21 °C (69.8 °F) in the winter. Rainfall averages about 1,150 mm (45.3 in) per year, higher in the hills and lower on the coast. Rainfall can be quite variable, but the wettest months on average are September to November and the driest months on average are February and March.

Climate data for Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 33
(91)
32
(89)
32
(89)
35
(95)
34
(93)
35
(95)
35
(95)
36
(96)
35
(95)
33
(92)
33
(91)
31
(87)
36
(96)
Average high °C (°F) 26
(79)
27
(80)
28
(82)
29
(84)
29
(85)
30
(86)
31
(87)
31
(87)
30
(86)
29
(85)
28
(82)
27
(80)
29
(84)
Average low °C (°F) 20
(68)
19
(67)
20
(68)
21
(69)
22
(71)
23
(73)
23
(73)
23
(73)
23
(73)
22
(72)
22
(71)
21
(69)
22
(71)
Record low °C (°F) 17
(62)
16
(60)
16
(60)
17
(62)
18
(64)
18
(65)
19
(66)
19
(66)
16
(61)
18
(64)
17
(63)
16
(60)
16
(60)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 74
(2.92)
63
(2.49)
55
(2.18)
85
(3.33)
117
(4.59)
71
(2.78)
83
(3.27)
110
(4.4)
156
(6.14)
133
(5.25)
179
(7.04)
110
(4.4)
1,236
(48.79)
Source: Intellicast[10]

Hurricanes occasionally hit the islands, with the hurricane season running from June to November. Hurricane Danny (2015) was the most recent until 6 September 2017 when Hurricane Irma caused extensive damage.[11]

Hurricane Irma

The islands were struck by Hurricane Irma on 6 September 2017, causing extensive damage,[11] as well as four deaths in the BVI.[12] A state of emergency was declared by the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency.[13][14] The most significant damage was on Tortola.[15] The UK's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson visited Tortola on 13 September 2017 and said that he was reminded of photos of Hiroshima after it had been hit by the atom bomb.[16]

By 8 September, the UK government sent troops with medical supplies and other aid.[17] More troops were expected to arrive a day or two later, but the ship HMS Ocean, carrying more extensive assistance, was not expected to reach the islands for another two weeks, however.[18]

Entrepreneur Richard Branson, a resident of Necker Island (British Virgin Islands), called on the UK government to develop a massive disaster recovery plan for British islands that were damaged. That should include "both through short-term aid and long-term infrastructure spending", he said.[19] Premier Orlando Smith also called for a comprehensive aid package to rebuild the BVI. On 10 September, PM Theresa May pledged £32 million to the Caribbean for a Hurricane relief fund; the UK government would also match donations made by the public via the British Red Cross appeal.[20] Specifics were not provided to the news media as to the amount that would be allocated to the Virgin Islands.[13][21] 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.[22][23] He did confirm that HMS Ocean (L12) was on the way to the BVI items like timber, buckets, bottled water, food, baby milk, bedding and clothing, as well as ten pickup trucks, building materials and hardware.[24]

Politics

Old LegCo Building, Road Town
Legislative Council building in Road Town. The High Court sits upstairs.
EU OCT and OMR map en
Map of the European Union in the world with overseas countries and territories and outermost regions

The territory operates as a parliamentary democracy. Ultimate executive authority in British Virgin Islands is vested in the Queen, and is exercised on her behalf by the Governor of the British Virgin Islands. The governor is appointed by the Queen on the advice of the British government. Defence and most foreign affairs remain the responsibility of the United Kingdom.

The most recent constitution was adopted in 2007 (the Virgin Islands Constitution Order, 2007)[25][26] and came into force when the Legislative Council was dissolved for the 2007 general election. The head of government under the constitution is the Premier (before the new constitution the office was referred to as Chief Minister), who is elected in a general election along with the other members of the ruling government as well as the members of the opposition. Elections are held roughly every four years. A cabinet is nominated by the Premier and appointed and chaired by the Governor. The Legislature consists of the Queen (represented by the Governor) and a unicameral House of Assembly made up of 13 elected members plus the Speaker and the Attorney General.

The current Governor is Augustus Jaspert (since 22 August 2017). The current Premier is Orlando Smith (since 9 November 2011), who is leader of the ruling National Democratic Party.

Subdivisions

The British Virgin Islands is a unitary territory. The territory is divided into nine electoral districts, and each voter is registered in one of those districts. Eight of the nine districts are partly or wholly on Tortola, and encompass nearby neighbouring islands. Only the ninth district (Virgin Gorda and Anegada) does not include any part of Tortola. At elections, in addition to voting their local representative, voters also cast votes for four "at-large" candidates who are elected upon a territory-wide basis.

The territory is also technically divided into five administrative districts (one for each of the four largest islands, and then a fifth for 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 today.

Law and criminal justice

Crime in the British Virgin Islands is comparatively low by Caribbean standards (and indeed compared to the neighbouring US Virgin Islands).[27] 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.[28] Homicides are rare,[29] with just one incident recorded in 2013. The British and US Virgin Islands sit at the axis of a major drugs transshipment point between Latin America and the continental United States. The American DEA regards the adjacent US territories of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands as a "High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area".[30] 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. 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,[31] although their extradition to the United States has become bogged down in protracted legal wrangling.[32]

Military

Economy

Roadtown, Tortola
Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands

As a tax haven with an opaque banking system,[33][34] 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.) [35] The average monthly income earned by a worker in the territory was US$2,452 as at the time of the 2010 Census.[1] 29% of the population fell into the "low income" category.

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. 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,[36] although in global terms income equality is higher in the Caribbean than in many other regions.

The "twin pillars" of the economy are tourism and financial services. 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). Economically however, financial services associated with the territory's status as an offshore financial centre are by far the more important. 51.8% of the Government's revenue comes directly from licence fees for offshore companies, and considerable further sums are raised directly or indirectly from payroll taxes relating to salaries paid within the trust industry sector (which tend to be higher on average than those paid in the tourism sector).

Tourism

TheBaths VirginGorda BVI
The Baths, Virgin Gorda

Tourism accounts for approximately 45% of national income. The islands are a popular destination for US citizens. In 2006 a total of 825,603 people visited the islands, of whom 443,987 were cruise ship passengers. Tourists frequent the numerous white sand beaches, visit The Baths on Virgin Gorda, snorkel the coral reefs near Anegada, or experience the well-known bars of Jost Van Dyke. 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. Every year since 1972 the BVI has hosted the Spring Regatta, which is a seven-day collection of sailing races throughout the islands. 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. Only Virgin Islanders are permitted to work as taxi drivers.

Financial services

Financial services account for over half of the income of the territory. The majority of this revenue is generated by the licensing of offshore companies and related services. The British Virgin Islands is a significant global player in the offshore financial services industry. In 2000 KPMG reported in its survey of offshore jurisdictions for the United Kingdom government that over 45% of the world's offshore companies were formed in the British Virgin Islands.[37] Since 2001, financial services in the British Virgin Islands have been regulated by the independent Financial Services Commission.

At the end of 2012 the banking sector of the British Virgin Islands comprised six commercial banks[38] and one restricted bank, 12 authorised custodians, two licensed money services businesses and one licensed financing service provider.[39]

As such the British Virgin Islands is frequently labelled as a "tax haven" by campaigners and NGOs,[40] and has been expressly named in anti-tax haven legislation in other countries on various occasions.[41] Successive governments in the British Virgin Islands have fought against the tax haven label, and made various commitments to tax exchange and recording beneficial ownership information of companies following the 2013 G8 summit. On 10 September 2013 British Prime Minister David Cameron said "I do not think it is fair any longer to refer to any of the Overseas Territories or Crown Dependencies as tax havens. They have taken action to make sure that they have fair and open tax systems. It is very important that our focus should now shift to those territories and countries that really are tax havens."[42]

In the April 2016 Panama Papers leak, the British Virgin Islands was the most commonly used tax haven by clients of Mossack Fonseca.[43]

Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act

On June 30, 2014, The British Virgin Islands[44] 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.

The Model 1 Agreement (14 Pages)[45] recognizes that:

The Government 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 May 28, 2014".

The Letter of Entrustment dated July 14, 2010 was originally provided to the Government of the British Virgin Islands and authorized the Govt of the BVI "to negotiate and conclude Agreements relating to taxation that provide for exchange of information on tax matters to the OECD standard" (Paragraph 2 of the FATCA Agreement).

Via an "Entrustment Letter" dated March 24, 2014, The Govt of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, authorized the Govt of the BVI to sign an agreement on information exchange to facilitate the Implementation of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act.[46]

On March 27, 2017, the US Treasury site disclosed that the Model 1 agreement and related agreement were "In Force" on July 13, 2015.

Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act

Under the UK Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2018, beneficial ownership of companies in British overseas territories such as the British Virgin Islands must be publicly registered for disclosure by 31 December 2020.[47] The Government of the British Virgin Islands plans to challenge this law, arguing that it violates the Constitutional sovereignty granted to the islands.[47]

Agriculture and industry

Agriculture and industry account for only a small proportion of the islands' GDP. Agricultural produce includes fruit, vegetables, sugar cane, livestock and poultry, and industries include rum distillation, construction and boat building.

Currency

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.

Workforce

The British Virgin Islands is heavily dependent on migrant workers, and over 50% of all workers on the islands are of a foreign descent. Only 37% of the entire population were born in the territory.[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 in industry).[48]

CARICOM status & The CARICOM Single Market Economy

According to the membership section of the CARICOM Community site, as of July 2, 1991,[49] The British Virgin Islands holds Associate Member[50] status in CARICOM.

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,[51] such as Trinidad and Tobago,[52][53] 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.

Transport

There are 113 kilometres (70 mi) of roads. The main airport, Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport, also known as Beef Island Airport, is located on Beef Island, which lies off the eastern tip of Tortola and is accessible by the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge. Cape Air, LIAT and Air Sunshine are amongst the airlines offering scheduled service. Virgin Gorda and Anegada have their own smaller airports. Private air charter services operated by Island Birds Air Charter fly directly to all three islands from any major airport in the Caribbean. Helicopters are used to get to islands with no runway facilities; Antilles Helicopter Services is the only helicopter service based in the country. The main harbour is in Road Town. There are also ferries that operate within the British Virgin Islands and to the neighbouring United States Virgin Islands. As in the UK and in the United States Virgin Islands, cars in the British Virgin Islands drive on the left, however they differ in that nearly all cars are left hand drive,[54] being imported from the United States. The roads are often quite steep, narrow and winding, and ruts can be a problem when it rains.

Cyril E. King Airport in the US Virgin Islands has flights to a wider range of destinations, so is also used for travelling to the British Virgin Islands.

Demographics

As of the 2010 Census, the population of the territory was 28,054.[1] At the time of the 2003 census the population was around 21,730. The majority of the population (83%) are Afro-Caribbean, descended from slaves brought to the islands by the British. Other large ethnic groups include those of British and other European origin.

The 2004 Census reports:

  • 83.4% African
  • 7% European/Caucasian
  • 9.6% Others*

* Includes Indian, Carib/Amerindian, Black/Carib mixed, and mixed-race Hispanic

The 2010 Census reports the main places of origin of residents as follows:[1]

  • 37% local born (many locals go to St. Thomas or the United States for maternity services)
  • 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

* Includes Indian, Carib/Amerindian, Black/Carib mixed, and mixed-race Hispanic.

About 4% of the population is of Hispanic origin, irrespective of race, primarily from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. The territory has also been recently relieving immigrants from many islands in Lesser Antilles. The islands are heavily dependent upon migrant labour. In 2004, migrant workers accounted for 50% of the total population. 32% of workers employed in the British Virgin Islands work for the government.

Unusually, the territory has one of the highest drowning mortality rates in the world being higher than other high risk countries such as China and India.[55] 20% of deaths in the British Virgin Islands during 2012 were recorded as drownings,[56][57] all of them being tourists. Despite this, the territory's most popular beach still has no lifeguard presence.[56][58]

Education

The British Virgin Islands operates several government schools as well as private schools. There is also a community college, H. Lavity Stoutt Community College, that is located on the eastern end of Tortola. This college was named after Lavity Stoutt, the first Chief Minister of the British Virgin Islands.[59] It is extremely common for students from the British Virgin Islands to travel overseas for tertiary education, either to the University of the West Indies, or to colleges and universities in either the United Kingdom, United States, or Canada.

The literacy rate in the British Virgin Islands is high at 98%.[48]

There is a University of the West Indies Open campus in the territory.[60]

Religion

Jost Van Dyke Methodist Church 2010
Jost Van Dyke Methodist Church

Over 90% of the population who indicated a religious affiliation at the 2010 Census were Christian[61] with the largest individual Christian denominations being Methodist (17.6%),[61] Anglican (12%), Church of God (11%) and Roman Catholic (9%).[62] The Constitution of the British Virgin Islands commences with a professed national belief in God.[63] Hindus and Muslims constitute each approximately 1.2% of the population according to Word Religion Database 2005.[64]

Religion
in % of population
National Census 2001[62]
2001 1991
Methodist 22.7 32.9
Anglican 11.6 16.7
Church of God 11.4 9.2
Roman Catholic 9.5 10.5
Pentecostal 9.1 4.1
Seventh Day Adventist 8.4 6.3
Baptist 8.2 4.7
None 6.4 3.6
Other 3.4 4.4
Not stated 2.7 1.1
Jehovah's Witnesses 2.2 2.1
Hindu 2.0 2.2
Muslim 0.9 0.6
Evangelical 0.5
Moravian 0.5 0.6
Rastafarian 0.4 0.2
Presbyterian 0.4 0.7
Bahai 0.03 0.00
Brethren 0.03 0.04
Salvation Army 0.03 0.04

Culture

Language

The primary language is British English, although there is a local dialect. Spanish is spoken by Puerto Rican, Dominican and other Spanish-speaking immigrants.

Music

The traditional music of the British Virgin Islands is called fungi after the local cornmeal dish with the same name, often made with okra. The special sound of fungi is due to a unique local fusion between African and European music. It functions as a medium of local history and folklore and is therefore a cherished cultural form of expression that is part of the curriculum in BVI schools. The fungi bands, also called "scratch bands", use instruments ranging from calabash, washboard, bongos and ukulele, to more traditional western instruments like keyboard, banjo, guitar, bass, triangle and saxophone. Apart from being a form of festive dance music, fungi often contains humorous social commentaries, as well as BVI oral history.[65]

Literature

Among the noted names in Virgin Islands literature are Alphaeus Osario Norman (1885-1942), Verna Penn Moll, Jennie Wheatley, and Patricia G. Turnbull. Their poetry and that of 22 other writers, including the fastly emerging poet and literary critic Richard Georges, can be found in Where I See the Sun – Contemporary Poetry in The Virgin Islands (Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada, Jost Van Dyke), an anthology edited by Lasana M. Sekou in 2016.[66]

Sport

Because of its location and climate the British Virgin Islands has long been a haven for sailing enthusiasts. Sailing is regarded as one of the foremost sports in all of the BVI. Calm waters and steady breezes provide some of the best sailing conditions in the Caribbean.[67]

Many sailing events are held in the waters of this country, the largest of which is a week-long series of races called the Spring Regatta, the premier sailing event of the Caribbean, with several races hosted each day. Boats include everything from full-size mono-hull yachts to dinghies. Captains and their crews come from all around the world to attend these races. The Spring Regatta is part race, part party, part festival. There are races, games, and music during the day, and some partying at night. The Spring Regatta is normally held during the first week of April.[68]

Since 2009, the BVI have made a name for themselves as a host of international basketball events. The BVI hosted three of the last four events of the Caribbean Basketball Championship (FIBA CBC Championship).

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f The BVI Beacon "Portrait of a population: 2018 Census published" p. 4, 20 November 2014
  2. ^ "The World Factbook". cia.gov.
  3. ^ According to the Virgin Islands Constitution Order, 2007, the territory's official name is simply 'Virgin Islands'.
  4. ^ "World Population Prospects: The 2017 Revision". ESA.UN.org (custom data acquired via website). United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. Retrieved 10 September 2017.
  5. ^ Although under Council Regulation No. 1932/2006 BOTCs "without the right of abode in the UK" were classified as non-EU nationals, the conferment of British citizenship in 2002 means most BOTCs acquired the right of abode in the United Kingdom along with British citizenship and hence are not considered by the EU as third-country nationals.
  6. ^ a b Moll, Peter (15 December 2016). "Victorian news mined for VI history". BVI Beacon.
  7. ^ "About the Territory". Government of the Virgin Islands. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
  8. ^ Wilson, Samuel M. ed. The Indigenous People of the Caribbean. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1997. ISBN 0-8130-1692-4
  9. ^ In the United Kingdom, a major market for sugar from the Territory, the Sugar Duties Act 1846 also created a considerable downward effect on the price of Caribbean sugar cane.
  10. ^ "Virgin Gorda historic weather averages in British Virgin Islands". Intellicast. Retrieved 4 July 2012.
  11. ^ a b "Richard Branson 'devastated' about Hurricane Irma destruction". 7 September 2017.
  12. ^ CNN, Eliza Mackintosh and Donie O'Sullivan,. "Don't forget about us: Irma's desperate Caribbean survivors".
  13. ^ a b "Subscribe to read". Financial Times.
  14. ^ Bosotti, Aurora (8 September 2017). "Hurricane Irma damage UPDATE: British Virgin Islands Destroyed by deadly storm". Daily Express.
  15. ^ "Paradise lost: Tortola seeks UK aid after Irma".
  16. ^ "Boris Johnson reminded of Hiroshima on visit to Irma-hit Tortola".
  17. ^ (now), Naaman Zhou; Yuhas, Alan; Weaver, Matthew; Farrer, Martin; (earlier), and Martin Pengelly; Pilkington, Ed (12 September 2017). "Caribbean in chaos as Irma brings floods to Florida Keys – as it happened" – via www.theguardian.com.
  18. ^ Farmer, Ben; Swinford, Steven (8 September 2017). "British response to Hurricane Irma 'found wanting', senior MPs say, as Royal Navy arrives in Caribbean" – via www.telegraph.co.uk.
  19. ^ (now), Naaman Zhou; Yuhas, Alan; Weaver, Matthew; Farrer, Martin; (earlier), and Martin Pengelly (12 September 2017). "Caribbean in chaos as Irma brings floods to Florida Keys – as it happened" – via www.theguardian.com.
  20. ^ CNN, Hilary Clarke and Samantha Beech,. "European leaders step up Irma relief effort in Caribbean".
  21. ^ Siddique, Haroon; Pengelly, Martin (11 September 2017). "What we know so far as Hurricane Irma lashes Florida" – via www.theguardian.com.
  22. ^ https://www.gov.uk/government/news/hurricane-irma-foreign-secretarys-visit-to-the-uk-overseas-territories-in-the-Caribbean
  23. ^ "French, British officials view Irma's damage, vow island aid". 14 September 2017. Archived from the original on 14 September 2017. Retrieved 13 September 2017.
  24. ^ Stinson, Nicole (14 September 2017). "Hurricane Irma: British marines hunt Caribbean prison inmates after storm jailbreak".
  25. ^ "Explanatory Memorandum to the Virgin Islands Constitution Order 2007" (PDF).
  26. ^ "The Virgin Islands Constitution Order 2007".
  27. ^ "Which Caribbean Islands are the Safest, Most Dangerous?". About.com. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  28. ^ "Crimes down by 14% – Premier". BVI News. 13 January 2014.
  29. ^ "How safe is the Caribbean? An Island by Island Look". International Business Times. 22 December 2011.
  30. ^ "US sees shift in cocaine trafficking". BVI Beacon. 9 February 2012.
  31. ^ US Justice Department (25 August 2011). "Thirteen Indicted for Airdropping Multi-Hundred Kilogram Quantities of Cocaine in the Caribbean Sea and for Money Laundering Offenses". Archived from the original on 9 May 2012. Retrieved 19 March 2012.
  32. ^ "Three Years On & Extradition Proceedings Still Unsettled". BVI Platinum. 8 September 2014.
  33. ^ Fox, Ben (2009-05-09). "Islands resent crackdown of the tax havens by G-20". Associated Press. Archived from the original on 2009-05-15. Retrieved 2016-04-02.
  34. ^ McKenzie, Nick; Baker, Richard (2013-11-18). "Leighton Holdings linked to 'corrupt' fees for Iraq pipeline contracts". The Australian. Retrieved 2016-04-02.(subscription required)
  35. ^ CIA. Economy: British Virgin Islands. The World Factbook, CIA publications, 19 December. 2006. Retrieved 25 December. 2006.
  36. ^ Dennis C. Canterbury. European Bloc Imperialism. ISBN 9004184953.
  37. ^ Review of Financial Regulation in the Crown Dependencies (Cmnd Paper 4855 of 2000). HMSO. Part III, paragraph 1.3. ISBN 0 10 148554 9. Retrieved 19 September 2014.
  38. ^ "List of Banks in British Virgin Islands". thebanks.eu.
  39. ^ "Annual Report 2012 (Final)". bvifsc.vg.
  40. ^ Leigh, David; Frayman, Harold; Ball, James (25 November 2012). "Offshore secrets: British Virgin Islands, land of sand, sea and secrecy". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 April 2015.
  41. ^ See for example the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act
  42. ^ International Adviser (12 September 2013). "Jersey, Guernsey, IoM revel in Cameron's 'not tax havens' comments". Archived from the original on 17 November 2013. Retrieved 17 November 2013.BBC News (10 September 2013). "David Cameron: Crown dependency tax haven banner 'not fair'".
  43. ^ Karmanau, Yuras (April 4, 2016). "Ukrainian president under fire over Panama Papers". Associated Press. Retrieved April 4, 2016.
  44. ^ "Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA)". www.treasury.gov.
  45. ^ https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/tax-policy/treaties/Documents/FATCA-Agreement-BVI-6-30-2014.pdf
  46. ^ https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/tax-policy/treaties/Documents/FATCA-Agreement-BVI-6-30-2014.pdf.
  47. ^ a b "Overseas territories to fight public register demands".
  48. ^ a b The Times. "British Virgin Islands – workforce". Retrieved 2012-03-19.
  49. ^ Secretariat, CARICOM. "Country Profile for British Virgin Islands —Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat". caricom.org.
  50. ^ Secretariat, CARICOM. "Caribbean Community (CARICOM) —Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat". caricom.org.
  51. ^ ": Caribbean Single Market Economy (CSME) :.:: Ministry of Labour and Social Security ::.:". www.mlss.gov.jm.
  52. ^ Security, Immigration Division Ministry of National. "CSME". immigration.gov.tt.
  53. ^ http://www.caribbeanjobs.com/careers/page/How-to-Apply-for-a-CARICOM-Skills-Certificate.aspx
  54. ^ "British Virgin Islands (British Overseas Territory) travel advice - GOV.UK". fco.gov.uk.
  55. ^ ""Drowning", publication World Health Organization" (PDF).
  56. ^ a b The BVI Beacon, Thursday, August 15, 2013 article entitled "Report: Passports up, marriages down last year".
  57. ^ Annual Report of the Civil Registry and Passport Office for 2012 which includes "For the 20 percent that represented drowning, all were tourists who died from snorkelling or diving in the VI waters in and around caves at Norman Island, as well as near Virgin Gorda...The Virgin Islands should, therefore put safety measures in 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.
  58. ^ "No lifeguards at Cane Garden Bay & Virgin Gorda beaches". virginislandsnewsonline.com.
  59. ^ British Virgin Islands Schools Archived 23 July 2009 at the Wayback Machine, BVI Government website
  60. ^ "The Open Campus in British Virgin Islands - Open Campus". open.uwi.edu.
  61. ^ a b The BVI Beacon "Portrait of a population: 2010 Census published" pg. 6, 20 November 2014
  62. ^ a b "National Population Census Report 2001 – The British Virgin Islands" (PDF). Caribbean Community Secretariat. 2009. Retrieved 2012-03-07.
  63. ^ The second paragraphs of the recitals (appearing between Article 1 and Article 2) contains the words: "[T]he society of the Virgin Islands is based upon certain moral, spiritual and democratic values including a belief in God."
  64. ^ cited in "Mapping the Global Muslim Population" (PDF). Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 August 2011. Retrieved 7 March 2012.
  65. ^ Penn, Dexter J.A. Music of the British Virgin Islands: Fungi Archived 26 May 2012 at Archive.today. Retrieved 13 January 2008.
  66. ^ "BVI Book Of Poetry Set For Year End Reveal".
  67. ^ "The Best Sailing". Retrieved 2011-12-16.
  68. ^ "Yacht Races". vacationtortola.com.

External links

Directories
NGO sources
Official sites and overviews
Wikimedia content
British Virgin Islands at the 1996 Summer Olympics

The British Virgin Islands competed at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, United States.

British Virgin Islands at the 2016 Summer Olympics

The British Virgin Islands competed at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 5 to 21 August 2016. This was the nation's ninth consecutive appearance at the Summer Olympics.

British Virgin Islands Olympic Committee sent the nation's largest delegation to the Games since 1996. Four athletes, one man and three women, were selected to the British Virgin Islands team, participating only in both track and field and swimming. Tahesia Harrigan-Scott (women's 100 m) etched her name into the history books as the first ever female athlete for the British Virgin Islands to compete in three successive Olympic Games, while the rest of her teammates made their debut in Rio de Janeiro, including shot putter Eldred Henry, 16-year-old swimmer Elinah Phillip (women's 50 m freestyle), and Harrigan-Scott's fellow sprinter Ashley Kelly (women's 200 m), who subsequently acted as the nation's flag bearer in the opening ceremony. British Virgin Islands, however, has yet to win its first Olympic medal.

British Virgin Islands at the Olympics

The British Virgin Islands has competed in every Summer Olympic Games since 1984. The country has never won a medal.

The British Virgin Islands first competed at the 1984 Winter Olympics, before doing so again in 2014.

British Virgin Islands national football team

The British Virgin Islands national football team is the national team of the British Virgin Islands and is controlled by the British Virgin Islands Football Association.

A member of CONCACAF, it is among its weakest teams.

British Virgin Islands national rugby union team

The British Virgin Islands national rugby union team represents the British Virgin Islands in international rugby union. The nation are a member of the International Rugby Board (IRB) and have yet to play in a Rugby World Cup tournament. The British Virgin Islands played their first international in 1996 - losing to Barbados 17 - 0.

The British Virgin Islands compete in the NACRA Caribbean Championship, a tournament which includes Antigua, Trinidad and Tobago, the Cayman Islands, Jamaica, the Bahamas, Bermuda, and Guyana.

British passport (British Virgin Islands)

The British Virgin Islands passport is a British passport issued to British Overseas Territories citizens with a connection to the British Virgin Islands .

Football in the British Virgin Islands

The sport of association football in the British Virgin Islands is run by the British Virgin Islands Football Association. The association administers the national football team, as well as the national League.

Governor of the Virgin Islands

The Governor of the Virgin Islands is the representative of the British monarch in the United Kingdom's overseas territory of the British Virgin Islands. The governor is appointed by the monarch on the advice of the British government. The role of the governor is to act as the de facto head of state, and he or she is responsible for appointing the chief minister and the executive council.

The current governor is Augustus Jaspert.

The governor has his own flag, the Union Flag defaced with the territory's coat of arms. The official residence of the governor is Government House located in Road Town, Tortola.

House of Assembly of the British Virgin Islands

The House of Assembly of the British Virgin Islands, until 2007 known as the Legislative Council, has 15 members: 13 directly elected for four-year terms (nine in single-seat constituencies and four "at large"), and two ex officio members (the Attorney General and a Speaker chosen from outside the house).Sittings of the House of Assembly are divided into "terms" with each term following from a general election. The House of Assembly is presently sitting its third term, but the first term of the House of Assembly followed the fifteenth term of the old Legislative Council. Accordingly, in aggregate the legislature is sitting its eighteenth term since the restoration of democracy in the Territory. Each term is then broken down into different "sittings". At the end of each sitting the House is either prorogued until the next sitting, or dissolved for a general election.

The Hon. Ingrid Moses-Scatliffe was elected Speaker of the House on 14 September 2007. The official record is Hansard.

Law of the British Virgin Islands

The law of the British Virgin Islands is a combination of common law and statute, and is based heavily upon English law.

Law in the British Virgin Islands tends to be a combination of the very old and the very new. As a leading offshore financial centre, the territory has extremely modern statutes dealing with company law, insolvency, banking law, trust law, insurance and other related matters. However, in a number of areas of law, such as family law, the laws of the British Virgin Islands are based upon very old English laws, and can cause some difficulty in modern times. Other areas of law, such as international law, are essentially regulated externally through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London by Order in Council. A large body of the laws of the British Virgin Islands consists of the common law, which continually updates itself through judicial precedent in the territory and in other common law countries.

The British Virgin Islands is a dependent territory of the United Kingdom. Although the local legislature and courts are independent from the United Kingdom, the British government deals with most international relations on behalf of the territory, although authority has been delegated to the territory to negotiate on its own behalf in certain areas (see below under Constitutional law). The British Virgin Islands does not have a separate vote at the United Nations.

List of British Virgin Islands records in swimming

The British Virgin Islands records in swimming are the fastest ever performances of swimmers from British Virgin Islands, which are recognised and ratified by the British Virgin Islands Swimming Association.

All records were set in finals unless noted otherwise.

List of Caribbean islands

This is a list of islands in the Caribbean Sea, by country.

List of airlines of the British Virgin Islands

This is a list of airlines currently operating in British Virgin Islands.

Miss British Virgin Islands

Miss British Virgin Islands is a national beauty pageant in British Virgin Islands.

Necker Island (British Virgin Islands)

Necker Island is a 30-hectare (74-acre) island in the British Virgin Islands just north of Virgin Gorda. The island's land is entirely owned by Sir Richard Branson, chairman of the Virgin Group, and is part of the Virgin Limited Edition portfolio of luxury properties. The whole island operates as a resort and can accommodate up to 34 guests, with additional room for six children.

Road Town

Road Town, located on Tortola, is the capital of the British Virgin Islands. It is situated on the horseshoe-shaped Road Harbour in the centre of the island's south coast. The population was about 9,400 in 2004.The name is derived from the nautical term "the roads", a place less sheltered than a harbour but which ships can easily get to. A 28 hectares (69 acres) development called Wickham's Cay, consisting of two areas that were reclaimed from the sea and a marina, have enabled Road Town to emerge as a haven for yacht chartering and a centre of tourism. This area is the newest part of the city and the hub for the new commercial and administrative buildings of the BVI. The oldest building in Road Town, HM Prison on Main Street, was built in 1774.

Taxation in the British Virgin Islands

Taxation in the British Virgin Islands is relatively simple by comparative standards; photocopies of all of the tax laws of the British Virgin Islands would together amount to about 200 pages of paper. Taxation in the British Virgin Islands is mostly notable for what is not subject to taxation. The British Virgin Islands has:

no capital gains tax,

no gift tax,

no sales tax or value added tax,

no profit tax,

no inheritance tax or estate duty, and

no corporation tax.There is technically still income tax assessed in the British Virgin Islands for companies and individuals, but the rate of taxation has been set at zero. However, individuals are subject to a payroll deduction made of up to 8% for employees with 12% paid by employers, in relation to all salaries over US$10,000 per annum.

The absence of most major forms of taxation in the Territory has led to the country being included on most recognised lists of tax havens, although the jurisdiction prefers to style itself as a modern offshore financial centre.

There are a number of forms of taxation and revenue collection in the British Virgin Islands, but the majority of the Government's revenues are obtained directly from annual licence fees for offshore companies incorporated in the jurisdiction.

Tortola

Tortola is the largest and most populated of the British Virgin Islands, a group of islands that form part of the archipelago of the Virgin Islands. It has a surface area of 55.7 square kilometres (21.5 square miles) with a total population of 23,908, with 9,400 residents in Road Town. Mount Sage is its highest point at 530 metres (1,740 feet) above sea level.

Although the British Virgin Islands (BVI) are under the British flag, it uses the US dollar as its official currency due to its proximity to and frequent trade with the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. The island is home to many offshore companies that do business worldwide. Financial services are a major part of the country's economy.

On 6 September 2017, the British Virgin Islands were extensively damaged by Hurricane Irma. The most severe destruction was on Tortola. News reports over the next day or two described the situation as "devastation".

Virgin Islands

The Virgin Islands are geologically and biogeographically the easternmost part of the Greater Antilles, the northern islands belonging to the Puerto Rican Bank and St. Croix being a displaced part of the same geologic structure. Politically, the British Virgin Islands have been governed as the western island group of the Leeward Islands, which are the northern part of the Lesser Antilles, and form the border between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. The archipelago is separated from the true Lesser Antilles by the Anegada Passage and from the main island of Puerto Rico by the Virgin Passage.

The islands fall into three different political jurisdictions:

British Virgin Islands, a British overseas territory,

United States Virgin Islands, an unincorporated territory of the United States,

Spanish (or Puerto Rican) Virgin Islands, the easternmost islands of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, itself an unincorporated territory of the United States.

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