It has been a while!!!! I am now a published author…

So it has been two years since I posted a blog here.

There is a good reason. I am still writing. Still have a whole lot of things on my mind and to talk about. I’ve just been writing in a different forum! Plus I have been caught up with LIFE…

But I’ve got good news. Guess what? I have published my first book! Yeah me! I am now a published author!!!

It took me all of the past two years to write it (2014-2016), because of the sensitive nature of the topic and of course because I have also had to dedicate a lot of time as a single parent taking care of my girls. I am sure they would laugh at that because really they take care of me. But hey, I work hard to sustain our family financially so that they can take care of me. So that’s what I meant lol.

But my book. I am a domestic violence survivor and the events of that period of my life have literally haunted me and negatively affected future relationships, even platonic ones. 

As I grew older and wiser, I came to a point in my existence where I made a conscious decision that enough is enough, I survived the ordeal, I need to get a grip of my life and not only that, I thought it extremely important to see how I could help someone in a similar position to get a grip as well.

So my book I think does just that. It provides closure for me: getting the horrific memory out of my system as much as possible and taking that giant step of learning from that experience and suggesting ways for victims and perpetrators and even persons associated with them to identify abuse and make a concerted effort to help to eliminate the scourge.

I had a fight with my publishers because they would not accept my manuscript if I didn’t use a pen name. Their reason still is ludicrous to me but I gave in. I won’t even tell you what they said.

Too Worthy To Be Abused (by Ekundayo Chidimma) is my first book and it was published in May 2016. It is available in hardcover, softcover and e-book formats from the publisher’s website http://www.xlibris.com, from my website http://www.TooWorthyToBeAbused.com or from Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

The reviews have been great and very encouraging. I am told the style of writing makes for an easy read, the incidents are very relatable and more people need to read this book because there are so many suffering in silence who need to know that they don’t have to settle in an abusive relationship.

Well I am ready and available to go public with my story – as me – and as such would love to launch my book in your area or be a guest at your book club, group meeting, conference or church.

I would also love to hear what you think about the book. So please get your copy and email us at TooWorthyToBeAbused@gmail.com.

Shalom!

2014 in Retrospect

Reveling in the peace that passes all understanding.

Reveling in the peace that passes all understanding.

To say that 2014 brought its fair share of challenges is quite the understatement. That should not be surprising for me as a Christian, but I must admit that some of the challenges floored me….for a while.

That I am even here now reminiscing on the year gone by is a major feat, one that I must give God all the glory for, no question! I could not have gotten me through 2014 were it not for His mercy and His grace and His love and His forgiveness.
It was challenging on several fronts – spiritually, emotionally and financially.

I am searching, still searching for that place in my life where I can truly say I have found peace and rest. It is all well and good for “Christians” to say I need Jesus because there is peace and rest in Jesus. Yes I know that. But from my experience, I submit that there will be no real peace and rest until Jesus Christ reclaims His children. That’s Bible based as well. One can have temporary peace and rest, from a particular struggle and for a period of time, but full peace and rest seems to be unattainable in this life. This is where I thank God for the invitation that we all have to rest in His arms from the cares of this world.

I hasten to say that while 2014 was challenging for me personally, it was my best year yet, because I was flung closer to this peace promised by God that passes all understanding. That peace is more treasured than money, family and best friends.

Because of:
1) legal woes – where I was being sued by a contractor for wrongful severance of our contract. I dismissed his company because I felt he was counter productive to my project. I thank God for a favorable resolution to this case after a very expensive 4 year battle;
2) family challenges – all that comes with raising three girls as a single parent: providing the basic necessities of feeding, clothing and sheltering them (that is not cheap! Lol); paying for tuition; ensuring they stayed healthy; nurturing their spiritually and social responsibility; and of course ‘entertaining’ them;
3) financial issues – maintaining a mortgage, car note, living expenses, trying to catch up on debts etc;
4) spiritual challenges – really still trying to understand why, actually no I am not trying to understand because this is prophecy fulfilling, I am trying to stir up enough Holy Ghost Fire inside of me to ‘stay in God’ as I visit various churches trying to bolster my spirituality. I know God saw my need and He sent Joy Gospel Radio FM where I spend two solid hours extra in His presence every weekday morning from 8:30. Hosting The Morning Joy Programme (www.joygospelradiofm.com/JGRFMLive.html or Joy Gospel Radio FM on Tunein) has held me more accountable to God, for after all, I simply cannot be a hypocrite and promote Jesus without letting His light shine through me; and
5) emotional roller coaster issues – I had to leave this for last because of the tremendous impact this has had on me in 2014. I have discovered through what I went through in 2014 that not everyone who says they love you and even portrays some sort of action in that regard, really loves you.

I want to dwell a little on point #5, because this is what I think unnerved me the most in 2014 and then catapulted me to the full realization that many people are fake, many people cannot be trusted, many people are users and abusers, many people cannot handle others who are genuine, many people really have some serious issues that cloud their judgment and ill equip them to deal with the challenges of life.

I learnt some lessons that may help somebody. They sure helped me and I do not think I am unique in this sense. Because of my challenges, I know that I am a better person today.

1) If you have a business, you provide a service, you have products for sale, honesty is always the best policy. Misrepresenting yourself, robbing those who choose to patronize your business, may seem profitable, but as sure as God is real, injustice cannot prevail and your ‘sins’ will find you out.
2) There are rules of engagement in this life. You do this and this happens. A good or bad result. Simple. Be forewarned and be so guided. It may be best to lay down the rules, specific rules, so to speak, at the start of any relationship, business or pleasure, though that does not always work as the rules of engagement may be changed in the twinkling of an eye and some people quickly disregard rules when the going gets tough.
3) Your good intentions often get misconstrued because others allow their suspicious, unforgiving and dishonest natures to stir up jealousy and malice. This muddies your own zeal and problems will abound if both parties let their emotions take over.
4) My most poignant lesson – guard your heart. Strive to be more like Jesus and adopt His way of life. Be kind, peaceful, loving, merciful and forgiving. This is easier than you think. Do not judge. Do not make hasty decisions. Do not allow other people to influence you negatively. Slow down. Do not let the hustle and bustle and superficial attractiveness of this life overtake you. Make sure you are a good citizen, but do not race to acquire educational qualifications and material possessions at the expense of your sanity. Seek wisdom from God and He will direct your path. Be a good friend. People will not treat you with the love and respect you deserve for whatever reason, but don’t worry about it. Keep the faith – in God and God alone. Walk in obedience to His will and His way. Stay right there, stick and stay right there. Don’t you move, no matter what storms buffet you. God has you covered!

I remain a vessel to be used by God for His service.

Shalom.

Excellent move BVI! Why should the children suffer?

I really must get me a copy of this “new law” to explore it further, as children born out of wedlock is certainly not the only “bone of contention”.

From the outset however, I welcome this move by the Territory’s government to grant equal rights for children. After all, why should children suffer for the “mistakes” of their parents?

Government Information Service Press Release
Status Of Children Act To Provide Equal Rights For Children
Tuesday, April 1, 2014 – 4:53pm

All Children born within the Virgin Islands are now entitled to equal status under the law with the passage of the Status of Children Act, 2014. The Act was passed during the Fifth Sitting of the Third Session of the Second House of Assembly held March 27.

The new law repeals the Legitimacy Act, which dates back to 1929, and brings the Territory into compliance with its international obligations under the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Fundamental Rights and Freedoms Chapter of the Virgin Islands Constitution Order 2007.

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) was ratified by the United Kingdom in 1991 and extended to the Virgin Islands in 1994. Article 2(1) of the CRC states that Parties to the Convention must respect and ensure the rights set forth in the Convention to each child within their jurisdiction without discrimination of any kind.

Section 26 of the Virgin Islands Constitution Order 2007 also provides for protection against discrimination, which is defined as affording different treatment to different persons on any grounds including family relations, birth or other status; subject to certain exceptions.

According to the Development Planning Unit, 58 percent of the 905 children born between 1995 and 1997 were born out of wedlock; and 63 percent of the 810 born between 2008 and 2010 were also born out of wedlock.

Minister for Health and Social Development Honourable Ronnie W. Skelton said that the Act seeks to remove the legal distinction between the status of children born in and out of wedlock; abolish the distinctions ‘legitimacy’ and ‘illegitimacy’ and equalise the inheritance and other rights of children.

“The Bill also seeks to grant to the natural or biological father of a child born out of wedlock the same parental rights and responsibilities in respect of that child as the mother of such child,” he explained.

Minister Skelton also added that the implementation of the Bill will continue the process of ending discriminatory practices against our children and seek to protect future generations of Virgin Islanders.

The Ministry of Health and Social Development will launch a series of education tools to inform the public on the provisions of the Act.

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Enjoy this ‘Feel Good Love Story’

I wrote this for a wedding magazine soon to be published in the BVI, but I was so wowed by the story that I couldn’t wait to share it with you! Here goes:

Aaahhh…Love!

I have to say that I would have never imagined that coming to this island would help me find the love of my life! This came somewhere in the end of Juan Carlos sharing this beautiful love story.
But if you think about it, if we all were to imagine the path our lives would take and it becomes a reality, that would not leave much room for excitement, the element of surprise, intrigue and destiny.
We can really wrap up this story like this: Boy grows up, achieves academic qualifications, journeys to another country to work, meets girl, they get married, started having babies and are looking forward to a great future. Or we can satisfy our yearning for a ‘feel good’ love story by being a tad more elaborate. Ok, hands down, we all choose the latter.
Juan Carlos Quezada, 29, was born in Panama. He is a lawyer who moved to Tortola, British Virgin Islands about five years ago to work at a local Trust Company.
As with many foreigners who come to the Territory, it was originally for a short period of time, very often to fulfill a 1-3 year contract. But in a lot of cases, ‘life’ happens. In Juan Carlos’ case, he grew to love the island for its tropical weather, its beaches, the people he met here (especially one particular family as you will see later on) and of course he loved and was good at his job!
It is not unusual in Panama to be a qualified professional at 23 years old, since students can graduate High School at 18 with their Bachelor’s Degree and then move straight into pursuing higher education. What is unusual is him not being married around that age!
It was not a tough choice for Juan Carlos moving to and settling in the British Virgin Islands from Panama. The only regret is having had to leave his family and that he was not there when his grandmother passed away.
He considers Panama, which is located in Central America and has over 3.6 million people, a small country with the similarities of any major city. That is relative of course and so he finds the BVI a lot less hectic. After all, there are not as many options for going for lunch or drinks or having a good time, as he puts it. But Juan Carlos loves the sea and the BVI has lots of that and the water is great for swimming, surfing and sailing, which he enjoys.
When he moved here in 2008, he was so focused on his career that he was not dating, neither was he looking for a relationship. In fact, he did not care to get married at all or maybe when he was about 35.
That worked out well for about 3 years, but as a young professional on the social scene, this was soon challenged. He did have a great group of friends from diverse backgrounds, but he did notice that there did not seem to be many available and eligible females here to hang out with.
Then, it happened…..one Friday night…..about three years ago…..June 15th, 2011…..happy hour at a local night spot with some friends…..there she was among the crowd!
“I saw this beautiful girl and she really caught my attention and so I asked one of my friends who I thought would know her and right away, I was introduced,” related Juan Carlos.
This ‘girl’ turned out to be Gioalis, who was with her friend who was with her boyfriend. That meant Gioalis was on her own, at least for the night. He later found out that she had just graduated college in her native Venezuela and arrived on the island a few months ago, as she awaited the transition to her next unknown phase of life. And get this….she was not dating either!
By this time, of course, Juan Carlos was doing the ‘Happy Dance’!
Now while he was suddenly convinced ‘this is the full package’, she was understandably hesitant. But he went in for the tackle: “how are you doing, what’s your name, how long have you been on the island, how is it that I haven’t see you before, would you like to join us, I am with some friends who speak Spanish?” – you know, small talk to break the ice.
Turns out Gioalis was having the same social challenge as Juan Carlos – not much to do on the island. So while he was preoccupied with work, she basically stayed at home a lot. Did he capitalize on that? Yes, he sure did! “Give me your phone number and I will show you that this island has a lot to offer,” he told her.
He had to be quick on the fingers, because she made it quite clear that she was only going to say it once. She did not warn him, however, that she was also going to say it softly. But hey, when a man really wants a woman, he goes after her! So yes, he got that number and he made sure to call her right there on the spot to ensure that he entered it in his phone correctly and she did not give him a wrong number.
Fast forward from that night when they pretty much closed the place down at around 5:30am the next day, to the ‘couple’ spending every single day together after that, to today when….hold on, hold on! Now don’t go reading the end of the story; take the journey with the rest of us!
Juan Carlos would come up with every reason to connect with Gioalis – “I don’t want to have dinner on my own, would you like to join me; there’s this party, would you like to come; have you ever been to a full moon party at Bomba’s, we should go, even though it might have been on a Tuesday night.” He was enamored by her beauty, personality, confidence and determination.
Gioalis had all the time in the world, as she was not working, but came here to visit her mother Alice, who was living here for the past 17 years.
So, the big question! How did he pop the question?
Their meeting in June, came a month before his birthday on July 12 and he wanted to go sailing for his birthday. By this time, he says they were actually dating, but of course after only one month, she would not be caught holding his hands in public.
So on the Saturday, on the Willy T against backdrop of Norman Island, with the sun setting in the background and having one of their many conversations, Gioalis asked Juan Carlos what more could he want, being at a good place now in his life. She compared her own situation as she remembered that she had to soon make a decision about whether she was going to stay in the BVI or go on to further her studies.
Then it dawned on Juan Carlos! He may lose this girl if he doesn’t help her to make a decision to stick around, for the moment, at least. So there and then, he quickly told her that she didn’t have to leave, because he wanted to marry her and spend the rest of his life with her!
“It felt right,” he said, “and I was not going to negotiate losing her just because the conditions were not right, so that’s when I popped the question.”
They immediately got engaged and planned to get married within a year. This would give them time to get to know each other better, figure out the immigration requirements for her to stay here while he was on contract and certainly, work out the logistics of the actual wedding.
As it turned out, they were able to get married about a year after they met right here on Tortola at a rented villa, again against the backdrop of one of the islands – Guana Island. The villa was beautifully decorated by none other than Gioalis’ mother, who incidentally is a florist and decorator at Stems and the best mother-in-law ever! It was an intimate gathering of family and friends, including his parents, on January 5, 2013.
“So we have already celebrated our first anniversary and I have to say that 2013 was the best year ever, until now that we found out that we’re pregnant,” he beamed. Baby girl, first of no more than 3 children, is due in May.
Gioalis, who is now 28, must be a proud wife and even prouder expectant mother, don’t you think?
The Quezadas have some time left in the British Virgin Islands before going back home to Panama to continue raising their family.
Aaahhh, love!

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For the Record! BVI Legislation Will Not Criminalize Legitimate Free Speech.

BVI Legislation To Curtail Computer Misuse And Cybercrime
Tuesday, February 18, 2014 – 2:24pm

A number of erroneous media articles in the local and international press have been issued regarding the Computer Misuse and Cybercrime Act, 2013 (“Act”).
The Government of the Virgin Islands (BVI) confirms that the first reading and deliberations on the Computer Misuse and Cybercrime Act, 2013 took place on January 13. The draft legislation will receive two further readings with the aim of being enacted by the House of Assembly in the coming weeks.
The Act was drafted following the misappropriation and misuse of private and confidential information from the BVI in April 2013. In accordance with international standards, the BVI Act does not criminalise legitimate free speech, but is designed to protect confidential data and information while preventing its misuse.
Although the BVI Criminal Code, 1997 has certain provisions for the criminalising of certain acts of computer misuse, it does not sufficiently address the other aspects of cybercrime. To this end, the Computer Misuse and Cybercrime Act, 2013 seeks to provide a comprehensive approach to deterring and punishing illegal activities relating to cybercrime and misuse of information.
The new Act will assure relevant stakeholders – both domestic and international – that the integrity and safety of their personal and business data is protected as they continue to undertake legitimate business transactions.
As a well-regulated financial centre which plays a pivotal role in world trade and commerce, the Computer Misuse and Cybercrime Act, 2013, once approved and enacted will protect against illegal access and misuse of computers.
The new Act is expected to buttress and complement BVI’s existing comprehensive suite of laws which conform to highest international standards and best practices.
Additionally, it will strengthen investor confidence, national security and the BVI’s legislative regime. Furthermore, the enactment of this Bill will support the Government’s efforts to promote its vision of the Virgin Islands as an ideal place to work and do business.

GIS Press Release.

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Children are a Heritage!

As I had my devotions this morning, I was starkly reminded how valuable I am as a child of the Creator God, as my mother’s child and the ‘adopted’ daughter of many throughout the years and how very blessed I am to have children of my own and to even be regarded as someone who can have a positive impact on the youth.

Psalm 127:3–5 says: Behold, children are a heritage from The Lord. The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; they shall not be ashamed, but shall speak with their enemies in the gate.

Now I am not a Bible scholar, but life’s experience alone certainly confirms this Scripture for me. I see how my biological mother worked tirelessly to provide for her children and now that I am a mother myself, I understand the sheer love, pride and commitment involved.

Though children ought not to miss being the recipients of tough love if needs be, I simply cannot fathom how a parent or anyone for that matter, can take advantage of the innocence of a child through neglect or abuse, while there are some who would love to have children but can’t and there are yet others who do have children but are unable to provide for them as they would have liked but do everything in their power to ensure that their children have a ‘good’ life.

Too often, we hear of cases where children are brought into the world unwittingly – the outcome of casual sex or as an unplanned result of two people who claim to be in love. Then life sets in, circumstance becomes a reality and these helpless creatures whom the Bible refers to as a “heritage from The Lord” are here but are not afforded the fullness of life.

As I was going through my devotions about ‘Discipling Children’, two contrasting Twitter notifications popped up: @cnnbrk: Mom tries exorcism, kills two of her children, police say – http://t.co/2Y7B8MxPc7 and @Janetsilvera: A Toddler’s Unspeakable Suffering – Jamaica Gleaner – http://t.co/KOiuwwTrCM.

Earlier this month, there were these disturbing all too frequent headlines from the British Virgin Islands where I live: Trini Convicted Of Raping Six Year-Old Freed By Court of Appeal – http://www.bviplatinum.com/news.php?page=Article&articleID=1389892799 and Appeal Court Sides With Dominican Convicted of Molesting Minors – http://www.bviplatinum.com/news.php?page=Article&articleID=1389883417.

Even without having read those yourself, you would agree that there are those persons, even though they do not have any biological ones of their own, who adore children and relish the privilege of parenting, whether their children are physically or mentally challenged or not. But sadly, there are those who take the opportunity of being able to procreate for granted or enjoy preying on children.

From my devotions: “It’s hard to believe that there are adults so corrupted, so evil, so degraded that they hurt children, sometimes even their own. How can we, in whatever situation we are in, do everything we can to love, protect, and nurture the children within our sphere of influence?”

This has certainly been a clarion call for me to not take my own status of being a parent, though a single parent, for granted. What about you?

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Nudging my way into my Niche!

It has been three months since my last blog, which I started a year ago, and so much has happened. And I am so glad I can say that, or else it would make my life seem worthless.

I have arrived at a better place in my life spiritually and emotionally, I have maintained, become reacquainted with and met some great new friends (there are so many beautiful souls in the world!!!) and I am now very comfortable in my skin! Because of my resolve not to allow certain moments of my past to mess with my present and my future, I would ask you to trust me when I say that this is a major accomplishment!

It is always an opportune time at the beginning of the year to do introspection and retrospection and make projections for a better tomorrow. I am using this opportunity to restart my blog, not because it is a new year, but because it is time. And I have so much to say (sometimes).

I am anticipating a great next couple of months as I continue to nudge my way into my niche – that is, the media in many of its forms – broadcasting, public relations, marketing (www.aubmediahouse.com) and catch this, my ministry: doing my part to spread the gospel.

Whew, I am being very bold here. Shocking myself actually. Not quite like the Angela I grew up with.

But I have learned over the years and have come to fully accept that there is hardly any advantage in being an introvert or being reserved when it relates to issues that affect my ‘space’.

So, as I borrow from my friends who have made these proclamations, (thank you friends), here’s to a ‘Double Double’ year for me, where I will be ‘Reigning in 2014’ and see ‘Restoration’ in my spiritual life, my family, my health, my finances, my career and my relations!

I pray you much fulfillment yourself!

Haunted by Incest

I get very emotional when I hear of even a very allegation of incest. I cannot understand the mind of a person who would do this!

What is incest? SEXUAL INTERCOURSE BETWEEN CLOSELY RELATED PERSONS!

Therefore, since yesterday, a story appearing in the British Virgin Islands media, has been haunting me. A national of Jamaica residing on Tortola is before the courts accused of molesting his daughter, now 15 years old, over the past four years. This man lived with his wife and their children!

I have three daughters and without casting any aspersions whatsoever, I am thanking God right now (even more) that their father does not live with us, because this story sickens me no end.

The accused is obviously a man who was integrated into our society, as a taxi driver and in the various neighbourhoods in which he lived. I shudder to think that someone may have suspected such a heinous act was being committed on this nonconsenting child and it was ignored. This proves the mantras then about ‘one never really knows’, ‘trust no man’ and ‘come see me and come live with me are two different things’.This girl child undoubtedly is now scarred for life and I can only pray for her healing.

Apart from the allegation that she was forced to have sex with this sorry excuse for a man against her will, it is also alleged that he threatened to kill her, even waved a knife before her, if she told anyone about his senseless acts. This actually came out in court when he was brought up before the Magistrate on Friday.

Thankfully, this is an indictable charge, that of indecent assault and incest, and he was remanded.Now I hasten to commend all of the fathers, step dads, brothers and other male figures who are being good role models to girls, because they certainly need to know that love is something ordained by God.

I have an even harder task now, being as emotional as I am about this, portraying to my girls that there is still a lot of good left in this world. I can however use this incident as a lesson as I continue to instill in them the principles of love, family, purity, morality and looking out for one another. Because this act was exposed by a friend of the victim who had the gumption to report it to the authorities. Where was the mother? At work.

Incidents of indecent assault, sexual molestation, incest and rape have been plaguing this society increasingly, or so it seems, in recent years. Some will argue this has been going on ‘undercover’ all along, but for more of an awareness among the populace these days, this is now being exposed publicly.Prophetically, I believe that these are signs of the times; they have been taking place from time immemorial and will continue into eternity. But this society is so small though, that one such incident ripples through the entire Territory. Unless this hits home to the powers that be, it seems these incidents will continue to be whispered about for nine days….until the next and the next and the next.

I dare to submit that a national outcry is in order! These social ills cannot be allowed to permeate our fragile existence. Harsher penalties maybe? Name and shame maybe?Perhaps we do need to be talking about these once perceived delicate issues more openly, so that the perpetrators come to really realize the wrongness of such acts and know that they will be vilified and put to public shame if they are caught.

Perhaps it is time that their names be published in the media when they are brought before the courts, only that this may cause more harm than good to the victim.

Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps….

Courtesy of The Awareness Center.

 
Pic Courtesy of The Awareness Center

Breaking News! Breakthrough for BVI’s Financial Services

Government Press Release

The British Virgin Islands (BVI) welcomes David Cameron’s statement to the House of Commons in which he commended the Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies for the actions taken to ensure the highest standards of tax transparency and that it is no longer fair to refer to the BVI, and its peers, as ‘tax havens’.

The Premier and Minister of Finance of the British Virgin Islands, Dr. the Honourable D. Orlando Smith, OBE, said; “I thank The Prime Minister, the Rt Hon David Cameron, for setting the record straight and acknowledging that the BVI should no longer be labelled as a ‘tax haven’.

“For many years the BVI has implemented the highest international standards on transparency, accountability and information exchange on tax matters, as set out by international bodies such as the OECD.
We strongly agree with Mr Cameron’s assessment that the focus should now shift to those countries that really are tax havens. We have long argued that to create a level playing field, all financial centres should be covered by global agreements on regulatory standards. The BVI considers it particularly important that in order to achieve fairness and overall success on these issues policies should be raised to the highest level of established international standards to ensure across-the-board compliance. I reiterate my Government’s support for the UK’s agenda on tax, trade and transparency and fully support all efforts aimed at establishing global standards. The BVI will continue to be a constructive partner in evolving and setting the highest standards of regulation. We are proud of our part in the global economy and we believe that good regulation is good for business. We are pleased this has now been recognized by the UK Government.”

Comprehensive information about the BVI’s financial services industry can be found on the http://www.bvifacts.info website

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In Defence of LIAT

Somewhat in defence of LIAT and the increasingly stinging public criticisms of late:

I must admit that I have been one to publicly lambaste LIAT some years ago for messing up my precious vacation time with my girls and my letter to the media solicited a response from the then CEO and an interesting debate on an online news site in the British Virgin Islands where I live.

It obviously did not help to improve the situation, it seems. That makes me wonder about the current trending in the media and on social networks. What is the objective and will this be of any good? Are we just venting or do we really want to help to make things better?

It is so easy to be critical once you are directly affected by a delayed or cancelled flight, because of course you simply don’t care at the time what the airline’s issue is. You just know that you paid for a service and you are being short changed. You only care that you are missing a connecting flight, you are wasting time in an airport in another island other than your intended destination. You simply do not care about the challenges the airline is dealing with, at all! It’s not that you can help anyway! And they are the ones in business to get you where you want to go!

I do not come on here trying to (totally) defend LIAT at all, but one has to give them some credit for being in business for over, what, 50 years?, through tough economic times and an overwhelming and burgeoning lack of public support. One ought to give them some credit for staying in the air and trying to improve their fleet and create a better flying experience for their valued customers – We the People.

Just think about it. It cannot be an inexpensive venture to operate. How often do we fly? How much do we or should we pay to fly? What are the operational expenses of LIAT versus revenue? How many Caribbean governments fulfill their obligations to subsidize the airline of their people to ensure that it has proper resources – management, staff and equipment?

You hardly see a complementary letter when LIAT gets us safely to our destination and on time, or maybe even a few minutes or an hour or two late..but we get there anyway. How many of us later cherish the moments when we spend hours in an airport or particular island and had the opportunity to meet people who became good friends or valuable business partners? How many of us stop to consider how thankful we should be that LIAT took the extra precaution to delay a flight to allow engineers to double check or remedy a fault to ensure the safety of its passengers?

Perhaps LIAT should cease to operate then and see how we would get around, since the majority of people seem to think they are a waste of time so to speak! I mean, there are other smaller airlines in the region that perhaps can pick up the slack. Do we want to try that?

I hasten to add: This is not to suggest that LIAT should not buckle up and do better! For after all, they must have, should have mastered the art of the business some, by now.

Then again, they are changing CEO’s very often and this might suggest a managerial problem indeed. There is always some battle with the pilots, which suggests that all is not well with the staff and we all know how unproductive a disillusioned staff can be.

I am not sure the workers are the problem, for I know a pilot who has been with them for almost if not over 20 years. I can also probably attest to the fact that their current PR Manager has the ability to do more proactive public relations and damage control, if he perhaps were allowed to put his training to better use.

I myself did marketing with a leading telecoms company in the region for five years and know that no matter how good you are in the field and however much you suggest and wish and propose and strongly recommend, you can hardly influence the decisions of the executives who seem to be on a different plateau. You are basically a pawn!

There is really a lot or nothing to be said (depends on how you look at it of course), about frustrated employees who seem indifferent when they are confronted by frustrated passengers. The agents really cannot tell you anything if they don’t know anything! The level of customer service training needed for this is bar none!

It sure seems to me that if LIAT is in the business of airline travel, that they must be able to do better though, but who am I to be so judgmental and damning? A paying customer who uses the airline once every month, or three or six or 12?

Is there not a Richard Branson or a Gordon Butch Stewart or a Denis O’Brien or a consortium of regional or even international businessmen or better yet businesswomen or politicians, who can come to the rescue of the Eastern Caribbean and help to ease our traveling woes?

What will it take? How much more, how much longer will we have to suffer, how many more delays, cancellations, rude and seemingly unsympathetic agents do we have to put up with? How do we deal with the spin off negative effects that this situation creates for our vital tourism industry? What do we do?

The geography of our islands demands a solution.

We have a wealth of experience, knowledge and business acumen, not to mention that we have some rich people, among us in the Caribbean and the diaspora. Can we not capitalize on this in this case? Will we sit idly by and watch LIAT sink into oblivion and then say, ‘we should have…’?

Again, who am I? Just a journalist, just a Caribbean woman (born in Montserrat where LIAT started), just a LIAT customer (who hasn’t flown LIAT in years because I can’t afford it), just a protagonist wishing and hoping and praying that for once, again as we did with the establishment of CARICOM, and the OECS and yes with LIAT, we can recognize the strength in numbers and unity and cooperation and collaborations and mergers and fix LIAT!

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