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(BVI NEWS) — Citing reports of China deceiving a number of developing African countries with bittersweet business deals, Opposition legislator Julian Fraser wants the government to reconsider giving the Chinese unfettered access to the territory.
“The Chinese are going to come whether you have visa restriction or not. They are going to come. Their numbers are not in the billions for no reason,” Fraser argued while speaking in the House of Assembly on Thursday.
“They must travel and the few that are going to come here, those are not the ones you have to get a visa restriction lifted to get here. I appeal to the Premier to rethink that notion,” he said.
Fraser further urged the Smith-led administration to ‘open their eyes’ to the dangers of doing business with the Asian nation.
He told the House of Assembly that “China is not what it appears to be”.
“Until we understand what it is, we will get duped like every other country like Africa is being duped right now … nothing in this world comes for nothing.”
He continued: “The point I am making is we have to wake up and if we don’t wake up, we would have sold the birthright of our children, and their children’s children to another entity who will enslave them for the rest of their lives.”
Fraser, who is also Representative for the Third District, said he wanted the record to show that he warned the local government of the reported dubious mannerisms of the Chinese.
BVI is benefitting from China, says Premier
Premier Dr D Orlando Smith was not minded to accept Fraser’s warning.
He said the territory has and continues to benefit from the relationship with China in tourism and the financial services.
“We will do what we can to improve that part of the economy and assisting them (Chinese) to get to the BVI as visitors is something that will consecrate to the continued development of tourism in the BVI,” Premier Smith said.
He continued: “I do not think it warrants an apology to say that it is something that we need to do to continue to build the economy of the BVI.”
Premier Smith said the territory can learn ‘a lot’ from the Chinese, adding that he is pleased and grateful for the territory’s long-standing relationship with the Asians.
The Premier also said he was impressed with China’s infrastructure and business ventures. He further noted that they have a successful economy, and he expects the BVI-China relationship to continue.
When Premier Smith first broke the news of the visa exemption for Chinese nationals back in June, many were ‘up in arms’ and called for it to be withdrawn.