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Gov’t believed I wanted the treasury - Omar W. Hodge

- says he wanted to use drug bust money to get much needed Coast Guard
Omar W. Hodge, Former Minister of Natural Resources and Labour. Photo: GIS
Omar W. Hodge, Former Minister for Natural Resources and Labour and former representative for the 6th district emphasized that the Virgin Islands should not and cannot depend on other people to defend their borders. Photo: VISAR
Omar W. Hodge, Former Minister for Natural Resources and Labour and former representative for the 6th district emphasized that the Virgin Islands should not and cannot depend on other people to defend their borders. Photo: VISAR
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – “They (the government) just ignored the situation in thinking that Omar wants to go with the treasury. They think purchasing a coast guard is going with the whole treasury.”

This was according to Omar W. Hodge, Former Minister for Natural Resources and Labour and representative for District 6, who appeared recently as a guest on the television show ‘Honestly Speaking’ aired August 2, 2017 on CBN Channel 51. The host of the show was Claude O. Skelton-Cline, former Managing Director of the BVI Ports Authority (BVIPA).

Mr Hodge has been advocating for the Virgin Islands to have its own coast guard in the efforts to stop illegal aliens from entering the territory, but the government at the time, was not taking him seriously and thought that he wanted to use that initiative as a means to get money from the coffers.

Illegal alien coming in

“From time and time, I’ve been talking about this coast guard and if we can’t afford to buy one, we have to trust one. Now we are facing a situation; we more need that coast guard than any other time,” said the former minister.

He continued, “Illegal alien are coming in from every angle and when the United States of America’s coast guard is out there, they see too much problem and they turn a blind eye to that and they (illegal aliens) come in.”

Mr Hodge pointed out that the Virgin Islands should not and cannot depend on other people to defend their borders, adding that the people of the territory should stand up and be accountable for what is taking place.

Drug bust money to get coast guard

Posing a question to the guest, Mr Skelton-Cline said, “Is it our leadership of the day because no matter what government is in, it is one of the things that have not been addressed. Is there no will or they do not appreciate the need for it.”

In response, former legislator commented that he believes that there is “not a lack of will” in wanting a coast guard but a “lack of thinking” in not having a coast guard.

He further stated that at the time when he was advocating for having a coast guard, the government said they did not have enough money to finance the initiative. However, Mr Hodge recalled during that time there was a case that involved the seizing of drug and money and he was recommending that they use that money to get the coast guard but they refused.

“Remember we had that big drug buss and I was cooping it and was hoping that we would get a coast guard from that money. So the government of the day said, ‘well Hodge you want to go with the whole of the budget’ and I said, ‘no we need this coast guard so we could get more drug bust, so we could get more money,” explained the former minister.

12 Responses to “Gov’t believed I wanted the treasury - Omar W. Hodge”

  • Freddie (03/08/2017, 10:35) Like (10) Dislike (2) Reply
    Good to see you again.
  • cay (03/08/2017, 10:38) Like (11) Dislike (5) Reply
    Even the dead coming alive
  • Music (03/08/2017, 10:42) Like (11) Dislike (0) Reply
    We cant even keep one police boat going.
  • Read slowly. (03/08/2017, 13:27) Like (6) Dislike (1) Reply
    Why you didn't tell the people this at the time when it was going on, Why now? Seems to be the same thing with NDP everyone is going to say what they didn't like, what they ask for, what they opposed when they are out of power. Tell us now...
  • On looker (03/08/2017, 15:10) Like (15) Dislike (2) Reply
    Money used for the green houses would have payed for a coast guard.
  • VG Resident (03/08/2017, 16:13) Like (13) Dislike (2) Reply
    What a mess you made with the greenhouses. How much money disappeared with that job. Stay away from politics.
  • ... (03/08/2017, 16:44) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    Where you all dig up the People's Man from? He's a good talker though...
  • Cookiemonster (03/08/2017, 16:54) Like (6) Dislike (2) Reply
    Waste money in green houses,gut ,V.G incompleted green house proj.Why now Mr.?
  • james (03/08/2017, 21:11) Like (1) Dislike (3) Reply
    Can we please stop referring to other human beings as Aliens!!!What is wrong with people? dang!!!
    • Yes (04/08/2017, 13:49) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      if men are from mars and women are from venus then aliens are from in a sense, calling them an alien can be a good thing ... lol
  • E. Leonard (04/08/2017, 18:21) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    No doubt the BVI has an expansive and porous coastline, permitting smuggling of drugs, guns and unauthorized entry of personnel..........etc. The porous nature of the coastline poses a national security risk. The cost to increase surveillance of the coastline will be pricy but the outcome will be worth the investment. True, there is a gap between BVI needs and available resources. As such, it has to prioritize its investment; nonetheless, investing in border protection should be a top priority. Establishing and sustaining a coast guard should be strongly considered. Perhaps, the UK being responsible for external affairs and defence can contribute to establishing and sustaining it. Not too sure the BVI can buy a coast guard. Initial establishing of a coast guard is a small cost to having a coast guard. The lifecycle cost of maintaining a coast guard dwarfs the initial establishing cost.

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