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Hon Penn blasted for suggesting VI take £300M UK Loan Guarantee

- Claude O. Skelton-Cline fires back @ Opposition Leader for suggesting VI take loan with present conditions
Commentator Claude O. Skelton Cline, left, has slammed Opposition Leader Marlon A. Penn (R8), right, for suggesting that the Virgin Islands should have taken the loan guarantee offered by the United Kingdom after the devastating hurricanes of 2017. Photo: VINO/Facebook/File
Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) in a statement on the UK Loan Guarantee, released August 17, 2019, said while the loan was welcomed, the demands were far from reasonable. Photo: VINO/File
Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) in a statement on the UK Loan Guarantee, released August 17, 2019, said while the loan was welcomed, the demands were far from reasonable. Photo: VINO/File
Senior opposition Legislator Hon Julian Fraser RA, speaking at a public meeting at St Mary’s Church Hall on Virgin Gorda, on March 7, 2018, said that should the VI take the loan with the conditions, the territory could become the victim of countries and institutions whose agenda is to enrich themselves while making other countries heavily indebted and ultimately getting the upper hand over those countries’ government and economy. Photo: VINO/File
Senior opposition Legislator Hon Julian Fraser RA, speaking at a public meeting at St Mary’s Church Hall on Virgin Gorda, on March 7, 2018, said that should the VI take the loan with the conditions, the territory could become the victim of countries and institutions whose agenda is to enrich themselves while making other countries heavily indebted and ultimately getting the upper hand over those countries’ government and economy. Photo: VINO/File
BAUGHERS BAY, Tortola, VI - Leader of the Opposition Hon Marlon A. Penn (R8) has come under fire for suggesting that the Virgin Islands (VI) should have taken the £300M loan guarantee offered by the United Kingdom (UK), even as the Fahie administration has repeatedly said the loan came with conditions that could have adversely affected the territory.

Hon Penn, in a February 22, 2021, statement accusing the Government of having no plan for COVID-19, said, “There is no plan to finalise the $400m loan guarantee, and might I add - losing access to this money is a dagger to the heart. Imagine where our territory would be if we had that money and leadership that understood how to use it to benefit the territory in the long term,” he said.

Skelton-Cline fires back

Social Commentator Claude O. Skelton Cline has since hit back at the Opposition Leader, referring to the argument as problematic, given the valid concerns the VI has about accepting the loan guarantee, and the refusal of the UK to address the concerns in writing.

“I see him refer to, and in fact says that we should have gotten and taken advantage of the loan guarantee offered by the UK, knowing fully well that the Protocols for Effective Financial Management and all of its ancillary instruments… that there were things there that raised more questions than answers answered,” Skelton-Cline remarked.

In addressing one of the ambiguities surrounding the Loan Guarantee, Premier Andrew A. Fahie (R1) in August 2019 said the Protocol for Effective Financial Management signed between the National Democratic Party (NDP) Government and the UK in 2012, stipulates certain financial indicators that must be maintained.

UK refused to address VI concerns in writing - Premier

The Protocols, based on revenues, expenditure, debt and debt servicing were signed before the 2017 Hurricanes, therefore, according to the Premier, it was only fair that certain ratios be readjusted to take into account the VI’s economic reality—post-hurricanes Irma and Maria—given the territory’s lowered earning capacity.

“Unless these ratios are adjusted, or suspended, the Virgin Islands runs the risk of exceeding the levels set and being accused of defaulting on the terms of the [Loan] Guarantee,” Hon Fahie had said.

Premier Fahie said no indication has been given in writing to date that conditions would be relaxed.

He reasoned that had the territory agree to the loan guarantee, the COVID-19 pandemic would have adversely affected VI’s ability to meet the loan stipulations.

Pandemic would have impacted loan conditions 

According to Skelton-Cline, “Were we to have gone under… and draw down from that, we would have been up the creek now without a paddle because diminishing revenues, tourism flat on its back, financial services under continuous attack by the same UK and other European countries and yet Honourable Penn is here trying to suggest now we should have taken this loan?”

Senior Opposition Legislator Hon Julian Fraser RA, speaking at a public meeting at St Mary’s Church Hall on Virgin Gorda, on March 7, 2018, said that should the VI take the loan with the current conditions, the territory could become the victim of countries and institutions whose agenda is to enrich themselves while making other countries heavily indebted and ultimately getting the upper hand over those countries’ government and economy.

29 Responses to “Hon Penn blasted for suggesting VI take £300M UK Loan Guarantee”

  • asking for a friend (01/03/2021, 13:33) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    Well sah why everyone is so touchy these days?
  • tola (01/03/2021, 13:45) Like (16) Dislike (3) Reply
    I will not even waste my energy to comment on CSC. Blessings everyone!!
    • Citizen (01/03/2021, 17:47) Like (2) Dislike (3) Reply
      You just did. Even referenced him. Maybe next time you will resist wasting your energy.
  • local boy (01/03/2021, 14:02) Like (24) Dislike (3) Reply
    We should have taken that money. We need a new West End Seaport Terminal building with hotel and restaurant, a new fishing complex, better roads development. Upgrading technology in the govt services, etc. Where there is no vision the ppl perish.
  • Human rites (01/03/2021, 14:08) Like (2) Dislike (3) Reply
    I need a guarantee that this stupid CURFEW would be gone by tonight
  • resident (01/03/2021, 14:09) Like (18) Dislike (1) Reply
    This criticism by Skelton Cline begs 2 questions: where did all the government revenue go from the offshore glory days of 1990 -2008? We know it didn't go into roads, sewerage, schools, medical facilities or communications infrastructure, all of which are woeful now and we're woeful before Irma.
    Second what is the alternative since we did not have enough reserves or insurance to re-build after Irma. The answer to that is pretty small dollar loans from Caribbean Development Bank and dipping into the social security/pension fund. It remains to be seen whether that expenditure ends up being accounted for.
    • Resident der (01/03/2021, 22:28) Like (2) Dislike (4) Reply
      Great questions except the NDP had eight years, pier park 50mil unaccounted for, plane money gone, sewage money gone, CDB 30mil loan done. Did you ask the NDP to account for those money's? Have the then governor asked for an inquiry into those money's? You have not asked them to neither has he. Should the VIP be held responsible for the NDP failure? I think not.
      • resident (02/03/2021, 10:15) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        You are quite right. My questions apply to both parties. Where did the money go?
    • Contact Me (07/03/2021, 19:30) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      I have the same questions about the revenue from the offshore glory days 1990 - 2008. Where did the money go?!
  • Rasta Live (01/03/2021, 14:28) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    When we the people of these islands stands in public and chats such poor commentary against your black brother no wonder we under such scrutiny by europeans: black on black murders; black on black dumb conversation while others arriving by boat or plane simply cruising forward day by day.....
    • suggestion (02/03/2021, 08:42) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      Maybe stop just looking at everything that is important as a ‘black’ thing. Sure blackness and Caribbean history is important. So is gender history. So is child abuse history. So is sexual orientation history. So is migration history. And many many more ways to see our present.
      There are so many ways of viewing our past and if people get hung up one one of them, that’s all they will see. And that will distort their thought processing, and give them distorted outcomes.
      Not saying ignore race in our context. Just saying if you want the best for yourself and the BVI, consider the many other factors at play in our lives, too.
    • @rasta (02/03/2021, 08:47) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
      You think Europe’s attack on financial services is based on a racial motive?
      Straight up, you are wrong.
      Fine example of why attributing racism to everything is stupid. You will not win a fight if your defense is based on a misunderstanding of the attacker’s aim.
      Hint, they just want people of any color anywhere to stop hiding their money.
  • Well Pastor (01/03/2021, 14:37) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    This is my only comment today for the Pastor, you are not going to interrupt my WONDERFUL TAPAS SPREAD TODAY. IF YOU LIKE, I CAN SEND YOU OVER A DOOGIE BAG.
  • chosen (01/03/2021, 14:49) Like (14) Dislike (0) Reply
    Why they are so touchy because they know what and where the crouption is and who is guilty that is why csc you need to go repent you false prophet go way
  • Hmm (01/03/2021, 14:55) Like (3) Dislike (5) Reply
    Hell no but if we had taken that 300m loan and bind ur self up may gust wouldn't of call the coi ..for there soul purpose is control us by will or force ...marlon go back to the secondary school again and that can't even help u for it simple common sence u lack ...I feel for us if we vote a party in power with a leader like u
  • future BVI (01/03/2021, 18:34) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    of course, while we arguing Cayman and others move leaps and bounds forwards https://www.loopcayman.com/content/403m-line-credit-govt-4-cayman-banks-recognized continuing to erode our markets. We can learn from what they do right without having to copy wholesale to get a future right for the BVI

    If we had simply taken the guarantee, even if sensibly having timely renegotiated some of the terms, and accepted the assistance offered, we could have already much better infrastructure (built to proper spec and having a whole host of contractors share in this growth), more robust economy, properly built 21st century schools, and higher tax take in the increased activity. We'd give nothing of import away. The guarantee merely means we have a large country standing behind the loans in case we have a period of difficulty repaying the banks/funds.

    @Hmm the UK has no benefit to controlling the BVI, only downside. It's in the UK's interests for its OTs to all have up to date infrastructure and amenities, good governance and to be able to grow more independently going forward. Anything else costs the UK time, resources and bad PR.
    • Deh Watcha (02/03/2021, 11:20) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      People seem to forget the 'D' in RDA stands for development (new developments, infrastructure, etc.). A big mistake was made in not even attempting renegotiations at a lower amount with "less stringent" conditions, since this was seen as the problem. At this point that money would never be borrowed

      I have said it before RDA is running on fumes without a large cashflow to operate and once the CDB loan amount runs out, we will be in more trouble.
  • Rubber Duck (01/03/2021, 19:24) Like (7) Dislike (1) Reply
    We’re there good reasons not to take the loan? Or was it just Fahies hatred of the UK that stopped us from benefitting from a cheap loan that could have helped build back effective infrastructure?
    • @rubber duck (02/03/2021, 06:51) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
      The funds from the loan, had they taken it, would have to be accounted for. Every red penny.
  • Jay (01/03/2021, 20:05) Like (0) Dislike (6) Reply
    maelon need to shut up he might siin get a royal suit and it is soon will be on its way so stop talking
  • No loan (01/03/2021, 23:02) Like (0) Dislike (6) Reply
    No way. This loan was offered after a devastating natural disaster. A Trojan horse for economic oppression. Years later a hurricane recovery loan is irrelevant.

    When you take out a loan you have to put up assets which are lost if you are unable to pay on time.

    When your house blows down a friend will never offer a loan they know you may not be able to repay!

    Especially if they know you can not earn as much after your house was destroyed.

    Now COVID hits and the same ‘friend’ says fund your own stimulus.

    Cant make this up. They expected the new politicians to scroll to the bottom and click accept without considering the terms of the contract. As if we can not think for ourselves.

    Leave bad deals alone it’s that simple. A bad deal means no deal.

    The last administration was the definition of gullible.




    • Not a Loan (02/03/2021, 08:54) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
      It was a loan guarantee they offered. Not a loan.
      You are worried about defaulting when the whole point was that the UK would cover us if we defaulted on any loan that we took from outside institutions anywhere in the world. Only problem with it was that every cent had to be accounted for and this didn’t seem popular among the BVI’s politicians.
      Repeat: it was a loan guarantee, not a loan that the UK offered.
      • Deh Watcha (02/03/2021, 11:23) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
        Not only that, it was money they would not be able to spend themselves.

        This I believe is one of the reasons they never borrowed against the guarantee.
  • Dancing in the sunshine (02/03/2021, 04:29) Like (0) Dislike (5) Reply
    The Opposition Leader seems to be like Rick Van Winkle who had a long sleep and is now awake. Did he remember that the NDP government got $69. Million from the Social Security Board to assist with the completion of the Dr. D. Orlando Smith hospital. Where was he when that happened. The Board gave a $40. Million stimulus to assist during COVID-19 and it was a political problem. All the Districts including District Eight received monies from the stimulus and he is still criticizing the government. Hon. Penn is politically bankrupt..

    The loan guarantee is a subtle trap for the Premier, because once he signs on to the agreement and the funds starts to flow, there cannot be any further negotiation with the guarantor. Firstly, with the Financial Services under threat by the same British Government and secondly Tourism is contracting as a result of COVID-19, where will the revenue come from to repay the loan. Perhaps, another forty years the Territory we will not be able to repay its debts. As citizens we need to take our time and develop the territory. If the economy fails, then it will not affect us here, there will be a domino effect in over one hundred countries around the world. The Premier is doing a good job and I will support him one hundred percent.

    I think Hon. Penn should ask the NDP why the government did not purchase Little Dix Bay Marina for the benefit of the people when it was being sold and why they allowed the Investment Club to purchase it. Secondly why the NDP government gave Ocean Conversion water plant that belongs to the government to be operated by the Investment Club? These are things he should talk.

  • west (02/03/2021, 07:20) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    The present government MOUTH PIECE needs to GO AWAY FOR GOOD. HE MAKING US LOOK LIKE AH SET OF IDIOTS INTERNATIONALLY. WHEN WE WERE HERE RIDING HORSE, DONKEY AND MULE FOR LAND TRANSPORTATION WHERE THE HELL HE WAS? NOW HE HEAR WE HAVE PAVED ROADS HE APPEAR AND GIVING ORDERS AND MAKING VACCINE LAWS. SMH!!
  • Citizen (02/03/2021, 07:52) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    CSC. Where is the BVI Love. If you disagree with someone's point of view, does not mean that you are right. We all have a right to our opinion.
  • lmao (02/03/2021, 10:04) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    Claude says take the UK vaccine but not the loan guarantee. WTF?
  • chosen (02/03/2021, 11:52) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    Stop listening to this false prophet Man
  • Earfull (02/03/2021, 20:03) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Well now that I know that it was truth,even though denied by Gov,regarding the 300 thousands plus monthly for shore protection by ,a barge, I will be paying big attention to Hon Penn and his statement, revelations and opinions. Much respect.


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