On the evening of December 5, BVI House Asia hosted its annual end of year event under the theme “BVI Festival for Christmas,” to celebrate the close of the year and thank the Financial Services Industry for its ongoing support of the British Virgin Islands as a jurisdiction. The widely attended event was hosted by outgoing Director, Mrs. Sherri Ortiz, and incoming Director, Dr. Ricardo Wheatley at the Murray Hotel in Central Hong Kong. More than 140 guests and friends from the Financial Services Industry were in attendance, as well as a VIP delegation from the British Virgin Islands Government including the Hon Vincent Wheatley (Deputy Premier and Minster of Natural Resources & Labour), Dr. Cassandra Titley-O'Neal (Director of National Parks Trust of the Virgin Islands), and Ms. Lynette Harrigan, (Niche Marketing Manager of the BVI Tourist Board).
The Hon Vincent Wheatley opened the evenings events giving greetings, thanks, and remarks from the territory on behalf Premier and Minister of Finance, the Honorable Andrew Fahie. He highlighted the importance of the Asian market to BVI economy and acknowledge the support from the private sector in promoting the BVI’s Financial Services Industry. The Deputy Premier further thanked BVI House Asia for its work and role in maintaining and promoting the Territory in the Asia-Pacific Region. He thanked Mrs. Ortiz-Fahie for her year and a half of service as Interim Director, and expressed confidence in the ability of Dr. Wheatley’s to move the BVI-Asia Pacific Region to a deeper level of engagement.
Additional remarks were given by Dr. Cassander Titley-O’Neal, who requested support from donors for the restoration and preservation of the Territory’s more than 12 national parks which were severely damaged during the hurricanes of 2017. Restoration of the parks was essential to the survival of a number of different species, national beautification, and the BVI’s tourism product. Ms Lynette Harrigan, presenting on behalf of the BVI Tourist Board, introduced the BVI’s tourism products, highlighting the premier luxury properties available for both long and short stay holidays.
Mirroring the theme of “BVI Festival,” the venue was decorated with colorful lighting and decoration representative of the Virgin Island’s annual August Emancipation Festival. The semi-outdoor venue was infused with a Caribbean Christmas atmosphere as Carnival dancers in brightly coloured feathered costumes performed a series of routines to a mix of calypso, soca, and steel pan. The event reached its climax as the dancers invited guests to participate followed by a special round of “Rum & Coke” to cement the Caribbean experience of those in attendance.
At the event’s close, Ms. Sherri Ortiz-Fahie expressed her deepest appreciation of the Financial Services sector in Hong Kong for their support of her as Director, and continued support of the BVI and BVI House Asia. She stated that it had been a pleasure to serve on behalf of her country and that Hong Kong was an amazing city to work in and be a part of. Ms. Ortiz then introduced Dr. Ricardo Wheatley as incoming director, expressing great confidence in her choice of replacement. Dr. Wheatley shared his vision and desire to move towards closer partnerships with the private sector, building on existing relationships to usher in a new era of BVI engagement in the Asia-Pacific Region.