In honour of its 20th anniversary this year, the BVI London Office at 15 Upper Grosvenor Street in the west end of London is represented on a new commemorative stamp issued by the BVI Post.
“A stamp is indeed a message,” Governor John Rankin said during a launch ceremony on Tuesday at the BVI Finance conference room.
Mr. Rankin also paid tribute to London Office acting Director Tracy Bradshaw and her staff.
“It is part of my job to represent the territory’s interest with the [United Kingdom] government and also part of the premier’s job, but we do that in partnership with the staff of the London Office who are there on the ground on a day-to-day basis,” Mr. Rankin said.
Premier Dr. Natalio “Sowande” Wheatley also spoke at the ceremony.
“The BVI London Office has served the government and people of the Virgin Islands extremely well for over two decades,” he said. “It’s played a pivotal role in our relationship with the UK through engagement with the UK government, UK parliament and local government councils.”
He also listed some of the ways theLondonOfficehassupported the territory’s development.
For instance, he explained, it has helped the territory manage its relationships with the European Union and other partners in Africa and the Middle East. Additionally, the office serves Virgin Islanders studying in the UK, and it has helped respond to crises ranging from hurricanes Irma and Maria to attacks on the territory’s financial services industry, according to the premier.
Also during the ceremony, acting Postmaster General Iris Romney briefly outlined the history of the London Office.
In June 2002, she said, the government led by then-Chief Minister Ralph O’Neal approved the acquisition of the BVI House in London. This was the first step in establishing the office, according to Ms.Romney.
Under the leadership of Mr. O’Neal’s successor, then-Chief Minister Dr. Orlando Smith, government approved the office’s establishment in January 2004, she explained.
The BVI London Office became fully operational under the new structure with a budget approved by the then-Executive Council in August 2004, Ms. Romney said.