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$805,000 needed for BVI House Asia for 2014!

For 2014, $805,000 is needed to operate the BVI Asia House. This was confirmed when the Acting Permanent Secretary (PS) in the Premier’s Office Mr. Broderick Penn appeared before the House of Assembly’s Standing Finance Committee (SFC). At the time the SFC was examining the draft estimates for the 2014 Budget. Photo: VINO/GIS/File
The appointment of Mrs. Lorna Smith OBE (left), as the interim Director of the Office in Asia grabbed the headlines, much to the chagrin of Premier Dr the Honourable D. Orlando Smith. Under public and private pressure over the appointment, Premier Smith announced late last year at a press conference that his wife Lorna will be wrapping up her assignment as the interim Director in the coming months. Photo: GIS/File
The appointment of Mrs. Lorna Smith OBE (left), as the interim Director of the Office in Asia grabbed the headlines, much to the chagrin of Premier Dr the Honourable D. Orlando Smith. Under public and private pressure over the appointment, Premier Smith announced late last year at a press conference that his wife Lorna will be wrapping up her assignment as the interim Director in the coming months. Photo: GIS/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI: It was last year when questioned at a press conference that the Minister of Finance and Premier Dr. the Honourable D. Orlando Smith failed to give a figure for the annual operating cost of the new BVI House Asia, located in Hong Kong.

However at the time he referred to the annual cost of the BVI London House. The BVI House Asia was opened by the Smith Administration in September 2013.

Now it has been revealed that for 2014 $805,000 is needed to operate the House for a year.

This was confirmed when the Acting Permanent Secretary (PS) in the Premier’s Office Mr. Broderick Penn appeared before the House of Assembly’s Standing Finance Committee (SFC). At the time the SFC was examining the draft estimates for the 2014 Budget.

Mr. Penn told the Committee that he was not sure whether it was an oversight but there was no funding reflected in the 2014 Estimates for the BVI House Asia.

The Acting PS then requested funding in the amount of $805,000 for the running of the House. However, no breakdown was given on how the monies would be spent on the new BVI House Asia.

Controversy over Premier’s wife as interim Director of BVI House Asia

One of the negatives which grabbed the headlines from the importance of the BVI House Asia was the issue of the appointment of Mrs. Lorna Smith OBE, as the interim Director of the Office in Asia.

Critics claimed the interim appointment was a conflict of interest and that there were other persons who should have been given a chance to use their talents. Mrs. Smith, the wife of Premier Dr. Smith, is a retired civil servant who now runs her own consultancy firm.

The Premier took the criticism to heart and, in an interview with a local radio station last year, blasted the media and claimed to be troubled that the media made that his wife was heading the Asia office part of the headline when the focus should have been the opening of the Hong Kong office.

According to Premier Smith, “I was very disappointed and troubled that on the occasion of the establishment of a very significant activity in the Asia Pacific region to our financial services, the headline on the opening of the office on the online media read, Lorna Smith is interim director of Hong Kong office.”

The headline in question was carried by the pro-government online news site, BVI Platinum News, and another online news site BVI News Online.

Under public and private pressure over the appointment, Premier Smith announced late last year at a press conference that his wife Lorna will be wrapping up her assignment as the interim Director in the coming months.

Virgin Islands News Online (VINO) was the first to broke the story that former head of the International Finance Centre Elise Donovan would replace Mrs. Smith. Some month later after our accurate story the Government Information Services confirm the VINO article.

More money for consultancy - $500,000

One of the things the National Democratic Party Government is known for is their frequent use of consultancies. The Acting PS Mr. Penn, also in his presentation to the 2014 SFC, requested an additional $500,000 for consultancy.

He claimed that the money is to be used to implement a strategic action plan for the Financial Services Industry. It remains unclear what the details of the plan are and which local or overseas consultant will be doing the job, or would there be a public tender process.

19 Responses to “$805,000 needed for BVI House Asia for 2014!”

  • What the ??? (24/02/2014, 14:42) Like (8) Dislike (6) Reply
    You have got to be kidding me...we really like to throw money down the drain. We already dont get value for money with the London House now we are making the same 'bad investment' with the Asia House.
    • she the cat mother (24/02/2014, 16:19) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
      fir dem the cost is less important
    • get it straight (24/02/2014, 21:59) Like (15) Dislike (0) Reply
      you need to check your facts the london office is owned by the government: we dont have to pay rent
      . Furthermore three of floors are rented that money goes to maintain it. we have alot of virgin islanders in the UK and the london office serves as a homebase
      you cannot compare the london office to the hong kong office.
    • dog man (25/02/2014, 08:35) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
      if u look at news every day u will see that Asia is is the place too (B). We have to go out there to b in the race! Think big. God bless the (BVIs.)
  • Schups. (24/02/2014, 14:47) Like (2) Dislike (3) Reply
    An additional $500K for consultancy regarding our financial services industry, which brought in over $200mil last year is a drop in the bucket. Whoever thinks that FSC etc. can continue to operate in a bubble, you better wake up. We are up against some serious evil and we need to fight from all angles.
    • @ Schups. (24/02/2014, 15:55) Like (4) Dislike (3) Reply
      Yes it is but knowing we cannot trust the NDP the question becomes whose pocket!!!
  • xxxxxxxx (24/02/2014, 14:53) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    500,000 for consultants...more campaign $$$$$
  • pat (24/02/2014, 15:54) Like (7) Dislike (5) Reply
    the BVI is not a democracy until new elections are held.
    • pat (24/02/2014, 16:49) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
      it's basically not a democracy with an appointed governor. NDP is trying to keep up with the joneses, and, while the basic idea may be a good goal, they have over-extended again. The term "world class" keeps everyone grasping for straws instead of basic foundation before building upward.
  • Peng (24/02/2014, 16:25) Like (3) Dislike (5) Reply
    If the UK does not step out and help the BVI recover economically, and pull a Tucks and Cacaos then we will continue to waste $$$$$$ with no real accountability
  • ooooo (24/02/2014, 16:32) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    up to yet we cant get a total cost for last year but now he here begging?
  • Photo tells it all (24/02/2014, 17:04) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    Look at the body language between Doc and Lorna. Can you beat that?
  • zoe (24/02/2014, 17:07) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    We will never find out the true cost of the Asia house NEVER
  • Eh? (24/02/2014, 18:23) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    The leading office is not budgeting for the moneys it is spending? Oversight???

    This is NOT good. I guess now that it is being asked for and approved, we should get a break down of the expenditure.

    I smell trouble. Don't want to say a rat because if dead it smells stink.
  • hk (25/02/2014, 11:09) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
    You said he is sending her to HK so she can be as far away from him as possible. lol
  • close door (03/03/2014, 07:23) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    we do not need that ofice in HK we do not hope the VIP closes it


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