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15M EU funded project has no political ties – FS Neil M. Smith

-VI appointed to manage the 10th tranche EU Funded Regional SME Project
Financial Secretary Mr Neil M. Smith, left, made it clear that the 15M Euro funds from the EU for small and medium business development of British, Dutch and French Territories have no political connections. Photo: VINO
The project was launched on Monday June 2, 2014 at Maria By the Sea and was attended by delegates from across the British, Dutch and French Territories. Photo: VINO
The project was launched on Monday June 2, 2014 at Maria By the Sea and was attended by delegates from across the British, Dutch and French Territories. Photo: VINO
Project Officer Delegation of the EU to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Barbados Ms Camille Wildman. Photo: VINO
Project Officer Delegation of the EU to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Barbados Ms Camille Wildman. Photo: VINO
Key Expert/Team Leader/SME Regional Project Officer Ms Diana Hendrickson. Photo: VINO
Key Expert/Team Leader/SME Regional Project Officer Ms Diana Hendrickson. Photo: VINO
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – Financial Secretary of the Virgin Islands Mr Neil M. Smith sought to place on the record that the 15M Euro provided by the European Union which will be managed in the Virgin Islands (VI) has no government ties.

“This is really not a Government Project at all; this is an EU project where the Government of the Virgin Islands has been given the opportunity to lead the other host cities in the region. So the decisions would not be made on a political level here at all, it would be made in this grouping here,” stressed Mr Smith.

The Virgin Islands has been appointed the Deputy Regional Authorizing Officer for the 10th EDF. “The difference with the 10th EDF is that the BVI has been very inclusive in the way it manages the project so everything we do we behave almost like a communist party, so that has been a distinguishing factor between us and the other tranches of EDF funding that came up,” said Mr Smith.

Smith said that as the authorizing body for the fund they will be utilizing the funding in a very transparent manner.

Key Expert/Team Leader/SME Regional Project Officer Ms Diana Hendrickson said that GOPA who will be handling the funds directly, will take on a new generation type of communism approach. “We are going to let participation determine what the ultimate the ultimate projects are going to be. We have to keep them within context,” she said.

Project Officer, Delegation of the EU to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Ms Camille Wildman noted that the funding is not designed to put cash in the hands for physical business start-up or development.

She said however the classical approach would be to sit with applicants. “If they don’t have a business plan as yet, to put one together and then to identify areas in that business plan that would help if it is that it needs equipment, if it is that it needs software… it’s a hand holding process it’s not just to hand them the money and leave them by themselves but to walk them through the process,” said Ms Wildman.

“The money is for capacity building,” interjected Mr Smith.

The project financing agreement was signed back in September 2012, by Financial Secretary Mr. Neil M. Smith in his capacity as DRAO, while Deputy Director-General of EuropeAid Mr. Marcus Cornmaro, signed on behalf of the EU.

The approval of the project, worth approximately €15 million (over $20 million) allowed the Government of the Virgin Islands to proceed with setting up the related administrative operations and headquarters in the Territory. The VI deputised Curacao to manage the project among the Dutch OCTs, while retaining oversight responsibility for the entire project.

10 Responses to “15M EU funded project has no political ties – FS Neil M. Smith”

  • asura (04/06/2014, 09:00) Like (11) Dislike (2) Reply
    we know better Neil eveything ayo do is poltical so go sit down
  • ooooo (04/06/2014, 09:09) Like (6) Dislike (1) Reply
    yeah right!!!!
  • Wow! (04/06/2014, 11:26) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
    GREAT!
  • Sinister (04/06/2014, 16:29) Like (4) Dislike (3) Reply
    NDP and VIP need locking up ONLY the ones that are robing the tax payers money, they should be accounted for there action and ask to pay it back out of there own pocket. OUT WITH THE OLD and IN WITH THE NEW let try some new people stop beening scared tortola
  • wize up (04/06/2014, 18:06) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
    true and very true
  • Wes (04/06/2014, 18:35) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    So how to get some of that money?
  • @ Wes (04/06/2014, 20:49) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
    you have to fist join the NDP
  • farmer (05/06/2014, 06:11) Like (0) Dislike (2) Reply
    people do not be fooled .In this bitter hard time NO ONE GIVES ANYTHING WITHOUT STRINGS ATTACHED .Neil if you want to fool yourself GO AHEAD This is a trap for the UK to have a REAL reason to step in and control the finances of our islands . THIS IS BAITED $$$ we were warned


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