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A VIEW BEYOND THE HORIZON Shaping the Conversation


THE MISSION: REBUILD THE BVI In five years’ time, what would you hope would be the legacy of the RDA?

Shaping the Conversation with


Paul Bayly, in collaboration with the government of the Virgin Islands, is building. Not just roads or bridges or electrical grids, but the territory as a whole. A native New Zealander and a veteran of recovery projects from the South Pacific to the Middle East, Mr. Bayly arrived in the territory last year to serve as chief executive officer of the newly-formed Recovery and Development Agency, created after Hurricane Irma.


JULY 2019

The role of the RDA is to spearhead the recovery and development of the territory. Clearly the demonstrable evidence of our having done that, will be in the quality of our infrastructure, quality of the schools, and the tourism experience that we offer. But our second role -- and this is not so well understood -- is actually capacity building, and for me, an equally, if not a more important legacy will be that we will have created jobs and new industries here in the BVI for our young people. We will have created opportunities for businesses to grow, prosper and thrive, that today may only be able to compete here in the BVI, but after five years may be at a stage where they go and win business not only in the region, but elsewhere in the world. And that whole other side of it will be, down the track, so much more important than just the rebuilding of roads and putting up of electricity and poles and burying underground cables, as important as that will be. It’s one thing to build, but you don’t get transformation unless you change the way people think and give them opportunities for education -- not just secondary but tertiary, and you must provide the opportunities for business and people to grow.

You’ve been here for the better part of a year. How do you sum up your experience? Firstly, I love the BVI. I enjoy the people. When you move to a new country, that’s why you come. I’ve lived in New Zealand eight years of the past 32. I’ve been all around the world. When I came here, I saw the devastation that happened, I thought ‘we can fix that.’ It just takes time and commitment and resources. But I saw a place with enormous opportunity. It’s a very lucky place. The quality of its environment, quality of its people. I’m very lucky to lead a very quality team here and a fair chunk of those are BVIslanders.

They are very gifted and educated, but what I see is a huge opportunity for us to do a big job to transform BVI into something that it is not currently. I’ll give you one explanation and it’s quite a topical one. Everyone talks about BVI as being a small island state, but I’m from a part of the world where we don’t talk about small island states; we talk about large ocean states. But here we’ve got this wonderful opportunity with our sea and the management for economic design, and that, if it was well-managed, would potentially be worth more than your financial services sector today.

Have you met the expectations you had when you signed on? By and large it’s about where I thought it would be. And we’ve got a really good opportunity with this new government to work closely with them, and we’re ready to support them. And I think they’re pretty committed to making things happen, once they get their agenda sorted out.

You helped Fiji’s recovery, a cyclone in that case. How do you compare and contrast the recovery efforts here with what you’ve done to date? Are there any lessons from that experience that you will bring here? I’ve been in a lot of places where we’ve handled a recovery--Middle East, East Timor--so it’s not just Fiji. There’s a lot of places I’ve been where we’ve had to do recovery efforts. The one thing I would say to people, and I say it to our team here, is you’ve got to agree what you’ve got to do and then you’ve got to do it and take it off the list. And then you do the next one and the next one and the next one, and in very short time you look back and you think, we’re actually starting to do some stuff. And for us as an implementation agency for the government, it’s really important we are hashing this out and we are communicating that to people so that they get a sense of progress. When progress comes, people get a sense

Profile for Business BVI

Business BVI July 2019  

The theme for the July 2019 edition is ‘A View Beyond the Horizon’, which is intended to reflect where the territory is post 2017, while at...

Business BVI July 2019  

The theme for the July 2019 edition is ‘A View Beyond the Horizon’, which is intended to reflect where the territory is post 2017, while at...