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2016 is here! The good, the bad & the ugly of last year

Left: In 2015 Hon Julian Fraser RA (R3), who was named Opposition Leader after the June 8, 2015 elections, was vindicated on the Biwater deal by the same National Democratic Party which had aggressively opposed it. Centre: Premier Dr The Hon D. Orlando Smith reported in December 2015 that the Virgin Islands was removed from France's financial services blacklist. Left: Governor John S. Duncan OBE was heavily criticised for refusing to order a Commission of Inquiry into the controversial Ports Development Project despite enough reasons being shown for such an undertaking. Photo: VINO/File
In February 2015, farmers called for the removal of Chief Agricultural Officer (CAO) Mr Bevin Brathwaite and Deputy Chief Agricultural Officer Mrs Arona Fahie-Forbes from their offices as they are allegedly ‘sour grapes’ sitting at the head. Photo: VINO/File
In February 2015, farmers called for the removal of Chief Agricultural Officer (CAO) Mr Bevin Brathwaite and Deputy Chief Agricultural Officer Mrs Arona Fahie-Forbes from their offices as they are allegedly ‘sour grapes’ sitting at the head. Photo: VINO/File
The scant participation of farmers at the opening ceremony of Farmers’ Week 2015 spoke volumes of the challenges farmers were facing in the Territory. Photo: VINO/File
The scant participation of farmers at the opening ceremony of Farmers’ Week 2015 spoke volumes of the challenges farmers were facing in the Territory. Photo: VINO/File
It was ugly that many schools reported not even having some basic items like toilet paper or other supplies in the class room. It was reported that students were asked to walk with some of the items needed. Photo: VINO/File
It was ugly that many schools reported not even having some basic items like toilet paper or other supplies in the class room. It was reported that students were asked to walk with some of the items needed. Photo: VINO/File
Amid the controversy, the Ports Development Project seaside opened in April 2015 with million dollar fireworks. According to the BVI Tourist Board, cruise ship visitor arrivals are up. Photo: VINO/File
Amid the controversy, the Ports Development Project seaside opened in April 2015 with million dollar fireworks. According to the BVI Tourist Board, cruise ship visitor arrivals are up. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- The Virgin Islands, like other parts of the world, brought in the New Year 2016 with drinking, parties, eating and of course most attended church.

However, the average resident described 2015 as one of the toughest years yet, with the middle class almost gone and many claiming that the economic polices of the ruling National Democratic Party has successfully created a class system, rich and poor and for the most part, white affluent and poor others.

Many social commentators, the media, and civil society described the Virgin Islands as having a state of economic apartheid. Outside of the rich, many others must turn to having two jobs to keep food on the table or allegedly engage in illegal activities to stay “in the game.”

The bad

In 2015 crime skyrocketed while the former Police Commissioner David Morris and the Government told the people that “things” were alright and misinformed the populace that crime was down. Guns and drugs now rule the streets of the Virgin Islands (VI).

While the National Democratic Party (NDP) Government continues to sell the ‘pie in the sky’ notion that all was well in 2015, the country saw the worse Agricultural Exhibition ever as farmers staged a boycott of Farmers Week 2015 in February and turnout was poor.

Last year people suffered with no water for political reasons because someone hated the Biwater Project, a signed water purchase agreement to give the people on Tortola a 24-hour supply of water and two free of cost sewerage treatment plants valued at over five million dollars.

Two reports on the multi-million dollar BVI Ports Development Project found that there were wide spread corruption and breaking of laws. One report was carried out by the government Auditor General Ms Sonia N. Webster and the other by the House of Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee. However, the British appointed Governor John S. Duncan OBE announced on March 17, 2015 he found no reason to investigate. This decision saw Governor Duncan’s approval rating drop as many called for him to be sacked while others labeled him as one of the worse governors the Overseas Territory has seen. They said Governor Duncan is a hypocrite and has no credibility on the issue of good governance.

Ugly

2015 saw many international attacks on the Financial Services Sector, one of the major pillars of the VI economy. What was even uglier was the inability of the NDP to respond and address the issues raised by the international press. Instead, they tried to muzzle the local media and wanted the local press to be silent on the issues while the international press had a field day as well as the developed countries.

It was ugly that many schools reported not even having some basic items like toilet paper or other supplies in the class room. It was reported that students were asked to walk with some of the items needed.

More ugly moments in 2015 came when members of the NDP used their time in the House of Assembly (HoA), not to explain their polices or to tell the people how they will make their lives better but rather to use countless hours bashing the press and extended the hateful rhetoric to the staff of some media houses.

2015 saw other ugly times when the rights of public officers were allegedly trampled on by heads of Departments, the NDP administration and the Governor. Most public officers sought relief in the courts and for the most parts were successful.

Two visitors lost their lives in 2015 due to a bus accident. However, some senior Government Officials were not concerned about their welfare or dealing with the family in time of distress, but took the time to bash the media and again tried to censor online comments. Many ordinary residents found this approach to be unprofessional and downright outrageous.

Additionally, 2015 saw the VI recording two homicides with the deaths of Jason Leonard Vanterpool and David N. James aka ‘Bush’. Both deaths were as a result of gun violence even while the Government said they had strengthened gun laws.

The good

Amid the controversy, the Ports Development Project seaside opened in April 2015 with million dollar fireworks. According to the BVI Tourist Board, cruise ship visitor arrivals are up.

With the money, the strategy and the full control of airwaves, the NDP defeated the Virgin Islands Party (VIP) by a landslide in the 2015 snap election polls. Like it or not, the good thing is, it was democracy at work.

The good thing for 2015 is that Premier and Minister of Finance Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith reported that the VI was removed from France’s financial services blacklist.

Thanks to the good works of President Dr Karl Dawson, the H. L. Stoutt Community College got its accreditation in 2015.

Finally, after running a campaign in 2011 and 2015 saying the Biwater project was bad, and demonising the statesman Hon Julian Fraser RA (R3), the National Democratic Party came around to praise the Biwater project and vindicated Hon Fraser and the VIP.

The Minister for Communications and Works Hon Mark H. Vanterpool has been on a public relations campaign speaking about the benefits of a 24 hour water supply and calling the turnover of the two free sewerage treatment plants built by Biwater, ‘historical’.

28 Responses to “2016 is here! The good, the bad & the ugly of last year”

  • cay (01/01/2016, 13:19) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    WACKYPACKY SEES IT THIS WAY 2015 gone with teh win
    • ------- (01/01/2016, 13:35) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      Happy New Year, sorry for a knee jerk reaction. I respect your input. The BVI is on its way to setting some positive examples but we have some teething pains to experience so we all have to " try we best"
  • zoe (01/01/2016, 13:26) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Ok i hear you. Jus saying if ppl criticise the media for telling d population d truth about the real deal we better move to cuba
    • Trump (01/01/2016, 22:40) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      It is up to the citizens to help keep the Governor and Governemnt on the right path. Ignore fake controversies but speak out against genuine wrongs.There is no easy way forward.
  • 45 years (01/01/2016, 13:58) Like (26) Dislike (3) Reply
    whatever we enjoy in this country, be it, education, health, and the fact we are better off than most other Cribbean nations we owe it to the VIP.
    • wize up (02/01/2016, 09:07) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      @ 45 years; try get VIP back together; this administration is making this territory the playground for the rich ( just saying )
  • Buff love (01/01/2016, 16:12) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    I second the motion 45years .so true
  • pat (01/01/2016, 16:50) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    What about hugh darley? That was ugly!
  • wize up (01/01/2016, 17:35) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    I think more checks and balances should be in place especially for government spending also indipendent auditing should be done each year
  • Charley Rose (01/01/2016, 18:38) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Some times I am sorry for some of the commentators who are commenting on the blogs. If one does not experience the livelihood in other countries, it is very difficult to make a favourable comparison of another countries and the BVI. Other countries in the Regions have universities where we are sending our students for higher education. For example in Trinidad and Tobago, there is a medical school, veterinary school, University of the West Indies and they are exporting oil. We cannot conclusively make a favourable comparison because they do not use the US dollar as we are using here.
    Some times we forgot the dark days of the BVI when we were sending some of our students to St. Kitts Grammar school and our men going to the Dominica Republic and Guyana for harvesting sugar cane. We should thank God for Mr. Rockefeller who invested money at Little Dix Bay that started the economic revolution in the territory so that we all can enjoy a better life.
    • @ Charley Rose (01/01/2016, 22:55) Like (4) Dislike (1) Reply
      Basically the BVI is a loser country that has no hope and is led by imbeciles. The people are to be blamed because they are the uneducated idiots who let the leaders run this ship like ah zoo.
      • wize up (02/01/2016, 09:15) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
        @ Charley Rose: not all of us are uneducated idiots( but we live in a Democratic Society so you have the right to your personal opinion)...I wonder if you can acknowledge the fact that such a statement includes you, your children and some of your friends....
    • FYI (02/01/2016, 01:35) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      It was the VIP who built this country boss.
  • JACK BE STILL (01/01/2016, 22:32) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    My hope for 2016 is that BVIslanders put country first and self after for us to build a better nation.
  • voter (01/01/2016, 22:36) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    After 4 years of propaganda Hugh Darley has given the nation a dose of reality.
    • wize up (02/01/2016, 09:22) Like (0) Dislike (5) Reply
      @ voter: had Hugh Darley gotten his way with that project one will be hearing from him; he is somewhat pissed because a local is getting the work done and he probably thought with out his infinite wisdom that project would have come to a stand still..projects all over this world encounter delay and cost overruns....
  • teacher john (01/01/2016, 22:45) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
    The year 2015 ended off with 2 murders...not a lot
  • Liat 521 (01/01/2016, 22:53) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
    Its a new year...we have to move on but before we move on politically we must do a post mortem so that we can put things in proper context going forward. VINO pretty much did that.


    Dr. Smith and his crew are deceivers of the worst kind.
  • facts man (01/01/2016, 22:57) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    2015 started without hope and ended in disaster.
  • On looker (02/01/2016, 09:21) Like (5) Dislike (1) Reply
    VINO, you forgot this year's boycott festival!!!! Worst festival in years!!! I hope festival committee learn their lesson!!! local artist haven't gotten paid as yet so I guess not....
  • wize up (02/01/2016, 09:25) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    @ facts man: that only the smoke remember elections are due in 2019; extinguish all cigarettes and fasten all seat belts and prepare for landing
  • Political Observer (02/01/2016, 21:25) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    2015 is in the rear view mirror but it was an eventful year. And as it is examined, there are opportunities to strengthen and improve the political and governing process. For example, a snap election was held on June 08 and though the Premier is allowed under the constitution to call an election at any time it creates an uneven playing field with advantage government. Virgin Islanders need a date certain for general election, removing the roll of the dice situation as to when election can be held. Further, lopsided election victory provides a passport for a sitting government to do as it likes, becoming unaccountable with autocratic tendencies. An effective ratio is 8-5. Nonetheless, political parties or independent members must earned their seats in the HOA. During the last election cycle, VIP, PEP......etc was poorly led and ill-prepared for the election, though the NDP had weaknesses for exploitation.

    2015 also showed the lack of will and strength to make critical decisions. For example, there were dark and swirling clouds and rumbling thunder over the Port project but the Governor took the path of least resistance and the easy way out on deciding on a Commission of Inquiring(COI). Nevertheless, the cries for transparency and a COI are now louder. In addition to the claims of the Auditor General and PAC, the recent claims by Hugh Darley, former Port project Coordinator, along with the departure of Ed Decastro, former Chairman of BVIPA board, and the cliff hanging situation of Claude Skelton-Cline, former Port Authority Managing Director, is adding explosives to the situation.

    Moreover, the year ends with rising crime, skyrocketing cost of living, increasing concerns about the NHI, low morale among public sector employees, slow payments for services provided, erratic and unreliable ferry services, insufficient airlift, less than world class infrastructure, unreliable water supply, electricity black outs and brown outs, questions about the strength of the economy, increasing prison population, ill-preparedness of locals to fill critical job positions, perception of VI becoming the playground for the rich and famous, the need to expend $300-400M on expanding the airport, the lack of will to address the bloated civil service, concerns as to whether the government is broke or not, concerns about environment degradation ..........etc.
    • Quiet Storm (03/01/2016, 10:51) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      Good year end wrap of kitchen table issues.
    • Hats off (03/01/2016, 15:41) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      to political observer- you are 00% on point with your comment and no one with sense can never disagree with what you said
  • (03/01/2016, 14:21) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Lol
    Lol
    Lol
    Lol
    Lol
    Lol


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