Freeman Rogers is the editor of The BVI Beacon, a newspaper in the British Virgin Islands known for its investigative reporting on the BVI and the wider Caribbean. Besides CIJN, he has worked with the Puerto Rico Center for Investigative Journalism, contributing to award-winning cross-border investigations on topics including climate change, hurricanes, education and Covid-19. His work has appeared in English, Spanish and French in newspapers and other publications across the region. He has also reported on the Caribbean for The New York Times, the Associated Press and other outlets.
Even as Caribbean authorities wrestle with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, legislators have been scrambling to formulate appropriate responses to an accompanying growth in unlawful pyramid and Ponzi schemes marketed as financial solutions to the impact of restrictive pandemic measures.
Filipinos began moving to the British Virgin Islands in large numbers in the late 2000s. They quickly developed a reputation for participating in community events like the International Night at the New Life Baptist Church on Tortola, shown above in 2013. As in much of the world, such events are now on hold because of the pandemic. Photo: FREEMAN ROGERS
As Florenda Ruffell-Smith remembers it, the Filipino boom in the British Virgin Islands began in the late 2000s with four accountants hired to work in the territory’s bustling financial services industry. “That started a domino effect where other companies would ask for Filipinos,” said Ms. Ruffell-Smith, the long-time president of the Filipino Association of the BVI.