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'BVI not a begging society'- NDP Gov't told UK while refusing aid

- Premier Andrew A. Fahie details UK info on how former administration thwarted aid in aftermath of Irma
Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) has detailed a shocking tale as told by UK officials on how the former Dr D Orlando. Smith led National Democratic Party (NDP) refused international help in the height of suffering, during the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria of 2017. Photo: VINO/File
Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1), left, on his return from the United Kingdom in September 2019 had stated that the previous National Democratic Party (NDP) Government refused offer of grants from the United Kingdom (UK) following the devastation of the territory by Hurricane Irma on September 6, 2017. Opposition Leader Hon Marlon A. Penn (R8), right, had asked the Premier to provide proof of his claims. Photo: VINO/File
Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1), left, on his return from the United Kingdom in September 2019 had stated that the previous National Democratic Party (NDP) Government refused offer of grants from the United Kingdom (UK) following the devastation of the territory by Hurricane Irma on September 6, 2017. Opposition Leader Hon Marlon A. Penn (R8), right, had asked the Premier to provide proof of his claims. Photo: VINO/File
The Virgin Islands was devastated by Hurricane Irma on September 6, 2017. Photo: VINO/File
The Virgin Islands was devastated by Hurricane Irma on September 6, 2017. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI - Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) has detailed a shocking tale as told by United Kingdom (UK) officials on how the former Dr D. Orlando Smith led National Democratic Party (NDP) administration allegedly refused international help in the height of suffering following the passage of hurricanes Irma and Maria in September 2017.

The NDP Government had told the UK the "BVI is not a begging society," UK officials told the Virgin Islands Party (VIP) Government envoy led by Premier Fahie, who had travelled to the United Kingdon to negotiate better terms surrounding the £300k UK loan guarantee proposal for the Virgin Islands.

Hon Penn asked for proof 

The revelations came following an inquiry from Opposition Leader, Hon Marlon A. Penn (R8) for proof that his political party government refused the UK grants.

"Mr Speaker, the Honourable Premier and Minister of Finance mentioned in a broadcast after his return from his recent trip to the UK that the former administration refused Grants from the United Kingdom for the people of the Virgin Islands for the rebuilding of the Virgin Islands. Could the Honourable Premier and Minister of Finance please provide proof of this refusal of grants by the former administration to this Honourable House of Assembly?," Hon Penn asked at the Eleventh Sitting of the First Session of the Fourth House of Assembly (HoA) on October 17, 2019. 

Premier Fahie, on his return from the UK in September 2019, had stated it was shocking to learn that the opportunity to access grants following the 2017 disasters was not taken up by the previous administration.

“This would have allowed families displaced by Irma, many of whom are still not living in their own homes, to obtain money to rebuild their homes – money which they would not have had to pay back," the Premier said. 

Information was accurate - Hon Fahie 

According to Premier Fahie at the October 17, 2019, sitting, "I reported accurately to the people on what transpired in London during our meeting with officials of the UK Government and other stakeholders."

He said on more than one occasion during the series of marathon meetings that the VI engaged in, "it was mentioned in our discourse that it was a surprise that the BVI did not do as other territories that were devastated by the 2017 hurricanes did and pursue requests for grant funding."

"When the question of grant funding came up, they were told that the BVI is not a begging society, that is what I was told, Mr Speaker... Had I known beforehand that this comment was going to be made that I would have asked for it have been recorded," he said. 

While no physical proof was presented, the Premier said there are several persons who can support the information obtained on the trip, "We were also told that the senior official' in this country – and I want to be clear that it is not anyone in this Honourable House – turned away aid that was offered by another jurisdiction to help the people of the Virgin Islands."

Further, Hon Fahie revealed that the refusal of grants came at a time during the aftermath of Irma when persons were at the 'height of their distress and suffering.'

No Naming & Shaming 

However, even as the Premier detailed the shocking details, he made mention that he would not be naming the senior official, "This is a small society... and you can imagine the acrimony that would be poured upon such an individual if they were identified to the public, they would become a social outcast," he said.

"What we as a territory have to focus on today, is getting our fellow Virgin Islanders back into homes, keeping them dry," he noted.

There were no follow-up questions from Hon Penn who had originally asked the question; however, according to the Fourth District Representative, Hon Mark H. Vanterpool (R4), without presenting proof, the past Premier, Dr Smith, had literally 'begged for help,' however, he faced a number of factors.

15 Responses to “'BVI not a begging society'- NDP Gov't told UK while refusing aid”

  • Jaigon (22/10/2019, 22:12) Like (28) Dislike (9) Reply
    Remember they were not hand to mouth do they did not give a darm about the suffering man. I will not doubt the premier. Remember after the floods a ship was here with all kind of equipments to assist with the cleaning up and that too was turn away, the premier at the time wanted to prove a point, that we can do it on our own, places himself on Wickhams Cay, attempting to clean but was photographed holding a broom wrongly.
  • James Martin (22/10/2019, 23:35) Like (13) Dislike (2) Reply
    Why is this still a topic and conversation? Guiltiness rest on some conscience or some invoking convenient Amnesia??
  • Hmmm (23/10/2019, 06:33) Like (6) Dislike (8) Reply
    But aren't we a feisty proud set of people? Of course we don't beg.
  • foxy (23/10/2019, 07:11) Like (12) Dislike (12) Reply
    Ndp was bad for we remember when they turn away the ship?

    Thank god we vote them.out
  • Street reporter.. (23/10/2019, 07:27) Like (29) Dislike (4) Reply
    Marlon please be quiet on this one... U and all the back benchers were shut out of information.. Meetings and events .. . U all were always complaining about that... Hence the majority of the public was pushing for you all to cross the floor and make the change.. U all didn't had the courage and the Wisdom...NDP were Run by the Two Doctors..This Statement sounds like what one of these two men will make....U can't defend what you don't know....Yes u felt an obligation to represent. Sometimes it best to sit back... Relax.. humble. Listen. Be quiet. ..I believe the Premier on this..
  • Oh No (23/10/2019, 10:10) Like (5) Dislike (2) Reply
    I have a problem with this report. After travelling all the way to England with a delegation, you mean to tell us that no one recorded the meetings? High level meetings like that must be recorded. Everyone has a cell phone, and it don't take much to record what is said. It would have been excellent if the honourable premier could have proven those words from the uk that it was said the bvi is not a begging society. I know the previous administration was very proud, and high mindedness can be a hindrance sometimes it is said that pride goes before a fall. we need to be more diligent in our dealings. that's all I can say.
  • dude (23/10/2019, 13:12) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
    You guys need to stop it. We won't get anywhere as a country arguing over facts and truths in the name of party politics. What Fahie reported is true and the majority of the population knows it and knew it when it happened. For those who didn't know, we can understand your shock as we were all shocked when it happened. It happened, he did it and this is further proof why the NDP team has lost the faith of their former supporters, this deceitful game they try to play us. This is not a political point or productive in anyway. Let's move on from it, Smith's legacy will be okay as long as we're allowed to move on from that decision. The NDP is losing ground bigtime with their post election behavior imo. IF they don't know how to be an opposition then let Fraser lead it so we can get value from the post.
  • We know what they did (23/10/2019, 13:55) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Now can you please help us who need our places fixed. Money can be raised to help others but who is raising money to help us. So tired of this nonsense. So tired of the games.
    • What they should do (24/10/2019, 11:00) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      US needs to help Us selves.
      Us needs to get tired for real. A generational curse,this begging and taking.
      Chances are what Us lost was charitablly handed to Us in the first place.
      Us..useless.
      What has Us given to others
      Ive yet to see a ThanKYou blog from Us ever and we know that plenty has been given free and clear to Us while sumahwe always wuk save and scrimp and do without for a rainy day.
  • think (23/10/2019, 20:03) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Pride comes before a fall. Everyone needs help from time to time and there is nothing wrong with asking for it. IMHO, grants were not pursued because it would have advertised poor management of our financial resources. Also appallingly poor management not to keep minutes of high level meetings. It should be SOP.
  • Ajic (24/10/2019, 08:32) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
    Smith has money and his cronies have money do it was easy for them after the hurricane to rebuild and pick up the pieces....he forgot that the rest of us barely making it. Good doctor but very weak and out of touch leader.
    • Smith Sonan. (24/10/2019, 11:15) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      Smith has money because of his family's core values which was instilled in him from birth by example .
      Look around. Research the Caribbean archives. None of them are slouches, His father baked and sold bread,hisgrand father great grand father all worked hard even at menial tasks. Education their priority .
      No handouts in their gene poll then or now.
      Nothing is free. You pay big time.
      • Ajic (25/10/2019, 15:50) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        The point is not whether Smith has money but rather because he was OK he failed to realize that the majority of the population weren't OK and a lot still are struggling today. You cannot turn away help until you know the full extent of your losses. That is what made hi a very weak leader. He based his decision on pride and not what was best for the country. By the way there are plenty of hardworking people who are struggling.


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