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I have nothing to administer!- Hon. J. Alvin Christopher

- believes funding for districts should no longer go through hands of Ministers
Second District Representative Hon. J. Alvin Christopher (left), seen here with Premier Dr the Honourable D. Orlando Smith at the Farmers' Week exhibition in Virgin Gorda on February 7, 2013 says the current district system of governance makes it difficult for the district representatives to effectively get work done in their jurisdiction. Photo: VINO
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – “As a District Representative I don’t have anything to administer.” This is according to Second District Representative Hon. J. Alvin Christopher in a recent exclusive interview with Virgin Islands News Online as he made a call for a reform of the existing system which he believes does not cater for District Representatives to effectively live up to the expectations of those who would have contributed to them being in the House of Assembly of the Virgin Islands.

“You can’t call me the district representative in totality when in reality I can’t do the things necessary in my district in the best interest of my people,” Hon. Christopher added.

“If we are going to remain with the district representation base on how things are going then maybe the time has come give the district representatives some responsibility within his district so that he can administer and make sure that things are done and also give him the funding to do them.”

The system where all funding goes through the ministers of Government, Hon Christopher said, makes it very challenging for district representatives who have the minority seats in parliament and are of the opposing party. “Everything in the country is set out in different ministries and the minister is responsible for the subject and is the one who is responsible to administer those things,” said Hon. Christopher.

The Second District Representative was at the time addressing the issue of the district representatives inability to effectively deliver to its constituents on a needs be basis. He said that while the people would have elected the representatives into office, once they sit on the opposite side of the table it’s an up -hill task to get things done. He, nevertheless, declined to label district representatives as “Rubber Stamps”.

“Everything I say and everything I do in the House of Assembly as it relates to the good governance of this country, I must keep them [constituents] in mind because they are the ones who put me there. I wouldn’t say that it is a position of being a ‘Rubber Stamp’ because that’s the system of governance here in the Virgin Islands,” explained Hon. Christopher.

In the Second District, there are issues of conservation, erosion as it relates to high water mileage, the flood of 2007 that Hon. Christopher said has not being addressed for a over five to seven year period despite an attempt to secure a loan through the CDB to have them corrected because of the “bureaucracy” that surrounds the funds. “From the inception I opposed to us taking that loan because there were other systems through which we could have gone to get the projects done and I remain a lone voice…, I was right in my analysis but I continue to stand alone in the House of Assembly on this matter and the people continue to suffer.”

Noting that there were two projects that were started in Jost Van Dyke; the road and drainage, are at a standstill today. “When it comes to these things I don’t like to deal with fictions and perceptions, CDB loans cost more to the government of the Virgin Islands as opposed to if it comes from a local bank.”

Hon. Christopher said that because they can’t get access to funding over three years, his people are being left to suffer. “….. yet the Government is saying that they have a loan. Now as the district representative I have no authority to do anything because in a democracy the majority holds.”

Hon. Christopher insists that had the government taken his recommendation of securing a loan, which was badly needed at a time,, his people would not have been going through the unjust hardships that they are facing everyday for the past five to six years . “….no but because I was the lone voice saying no let us not take this loan, lets go to something more feasible and let us look within ourselves and make adjustments instead of spending so much on things that we do not need to, spend money on things that must be done, give this priority, because it is a district system and other members in the majority feel that this is how we suppose to go, that’s the way we went,” Hon. Christopher related.   

17 Responses to “I have nothing to administer!- Hon. J. Alvin Christopher”

  • DON Q (08/02/2013, 09:33) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Well put Alvin. Thanks for the insight. Now watch your step.

  • one stop (08/02/2013, 09:35) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Warm and fuzzy?
  • nonsense (08/02/2013, 09:49) Like (2) Dislike (9) Reply
    I can agree with Alvin on this. That CDB money was a big blunder. $15mil and almost 3yrs later you can't access one penny. All kind of red tape. Another blunder by the Liberator. lololol
    • @ nonsense (08/02/2013, 10:56) Like (0) Dislike (2) Reply
    • hog city (08/02/2013, 11:17) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      you looking talk but you better keep off he
    • Cr**k (08/02/2013, 11:51) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
      OJ (aka nonsense), There is nothing wrong with the loan, it is the incompetence of your NDP government who voted against the Loan when it was politically expedient, then with their back against the wall went to the UK government begging them to approve it. Then the UK Government forced them to sign that dumb Protocol, which is responsible for them not being able to access the very loan.

      Dumb...Dumb....and Dumber. You and your NDDDDDP

      Don't blame the Liberator. As for poor Alvin, he doesn't know better.
      • nonsense (08/02/2013, 12:19) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply

        Stop telling lies. The protocol has NOTHING to do with that loan not being accessed. What was agreed to by Fraser and VIP is the same thing that is there now, which is that every single thing must go out to Tender and only qualified contractors can bid. CDB will be here to oversee works and they have stipulations in place as to who can get what. CDB made it clear from Day 1 that they won't be granting funds willy nilly. You all had 2yrs to access funds and didn't get it. Hush your dumb mouth!!! They waste our money doing $h1t then went balling to CDB for $15mil? Das any money? That's why the opposition voted against it. $15mil isn't any money. They could've refinanced debt and get $100mil or so for capital works and fix the entire infrastructure. but common sense is not your forte so I understand! AHA! And for the last time, I'm not OJ! Call Trade if you need him!

  • mask man (08/02/2013, 09:54) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Every time Alvin speaks I am more confused!
    • Ina (08/02/2013, 11:53) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Nothing to be confused about this time. First time he actually making sense!
  • jake (08/02/2013, 10:40) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    snake in the grass
  • Liat 521 (08/02/2013, 11:08) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Wow, I see some maturity taking place on the side of the VIP here. Very good! Prayer does change things boy
  • Forked tongue (08/02/2013, 11:24) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    As far as I recall the district reps do get monies each year to spend as they see fit on a 'needs be basis'. What Alvin is referring to are capital projects which would happen to be in a particular district. Really and truly would an incumbent party agree to a capital project handled by a district rep on the opposition side? I think not. Even if VIP had the Gov't right now they would not be in favor of this.
  • Meli (08/02/2013, 11:56) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    So get rid of the District Representatives then because when they are in the minority their districts then to suffer. This will prevent further fiascos like what happened in the third when the minister was the district rep. But then again.. we dont like change!
    • Get Real! (08/02/2013, 13:33) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Yea right let's switch completely to the at-large system and kiss the BVI good bye!
    • Shaft (08/02/2013, 21:04) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply

      @meli, So what is it that happened in the Third? You j@ck @$$.

  • not me (08/02/2013, 15:58) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    That shouldn't be a problem cause we have (4) four other representatives for each district. Where are they now ? Sleeping? Each district has (5) five representatives and each one should be taking his responsibility seriously for the people who elected them. Taking people for granted. Not me.
  • NPolitico (09/02/2013, 09:17) Like (0) Dislike (2) Reply
    The District system is fine; it provides the opportunity for residents in an area to elect a representative to represent them, as well as the whole territory, in the HOA. What needs changing is the partisan politics that is stagnating the growth and development of the territory. Partisan politics has resulted in a development gap. The BVI needs to change from this development hamstrunging process to effective governing.

    Effective governing will result in scarce resources being utilized efficiently and effectively. Under effective governance, resources will be allocated to where the most urgent needs are. Of course it requires sound, smart planning, skillful management, and strong leadership to direct resources to where they are more urgently needed regardless of the location.Ministers have responsibity for the whole territory, not just his/her district. Further, capital project management should be centralized, not decentralized. The centraized process maximizes resources and achieves economies of scale and scope.

    Further, there are 4 at large seats who should have a bird eye's view of the needs of the territory. The 4 at large seats. plus the district rep should be a strong voice and team advocating tor the needs of districts. Additionally, the Premier, as. the leader of government, must be forceful in ensuring that to the maximum extent practical that resources are allocated to where they are needed fairly and equitably. Politics is politics yet elected elected members must act professionally, with responsibility and with accountability. Opposition members should be cautious about changing rules while in opposition;politics is circular like life.

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