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‘I’m accountable for UK money when it comes here’- Gov Jaspert

- Hon Fraser concerned that UK funding is channeled through Governor without accountability
United Kingdom appointed Governor, His Excellency, Mr Augustus J. U. Jaspert sais he is responsible for UK money when it comes to the Virgin Islands (VI). Photo: VINO/File
Hon Julian Fraser had complained in a sitting of the House of Assembly (HoA) that the Governor was receiving UK funding without any accountability. Photo: VINO/File
Hon Julian Fraser had complained in a sitting of the House of Assembly (HoA) that the Governor was receiving UK funding without any accountability. Photo: VINO/File
The Governor said the UK has given £10M to support the operational expense of the recovery of the Virgin Islands and that is being managed through the Recovery and Development Agency (RDA). Photo: RDA/File
The Governor said the UK has given £10M to support the operational expense of the recovery of the Virgin Islands and that is being managed through the Recovery and Development Agency (RDA). Photo: RDA/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – “I’m accountable for UK money,” were the words of the United Kingdom (UK) appointed Governor, His Excellency, Mr Augustus J. U. Jaspert, in reference to concerns raised by Opposition Member Hon Julian Fraser, RA (R3) that monies from the UK should be recorded through a Government apparatus like the treasury, instead of some being funnelled directly to the Governor.

Governor Jaspert made his position clear at a February 4, 2020, press conference at his office in Road Town, Tortola, that he is held to a different standard regarding his direct management of UK funds.

The Governor's response came following questions from the media regarding Hon Fraser’s disposition that the state should be receiving UK funding first. 

Use treasury to receive funds – Hon Fraser

Hon Fraser had complained during the budget debate in the House of Assembly (HoA) in December 2019, “I have a problem with the fact that the Governor receives money from the United Kingdom and no one in government knows how it’s used, where it is, how it’s recorded,” he said.

The senior member of the HoA also said: “The governor receives $400,000 from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. My suggestion is that it be recorded in the medium-term fiscal plan. Whatever money is coming into this country should be recorded, and reflected in our treasury,” Fraser argued.

Governor Jaspert in his response explained that different categories of money come to the VI, as such, some are handled by government agencies and some are handled by the Governor and his office directly.

“This house [Governor's residence], for example, is the responsibility of the Government of the Virgin Islands but the government of the UK took a decision to support,” he said.

That support he said came in the form of repairs to the Governor home and office in the aftermath of hurricanes Irma and Maria of 2017, and that funding was handled by the Governor with the VI Government still taking on further repair works. 

The Governor said the UK has given £10M to support the operational expense of the recovery of the Virgin Islands and that is being managed through the Recovery and Development Agency (RDA), a statutory body.

'I'm responsible to the UK Parliament' – Gov Jaspert

“So it’s really about what the money is for, I’m accountable for UK money when it comes here so that money is channelled through me because I am responsible to the UK Parliament, and to the UK," Governor Jaspert told the local press.

The Governor said, with reference to Hon Fraser’s concerns, that in instances where funding must go through him, it is in accordance with accountability terms ahead of the funds being allocated for its purpose.

Political pundits and social commentators have long suspected that the UK's setting up of the RDA was a direct result of mistrust in the Government of the VI to manage its own recovery funding under the then Dr D. Orlando Smith led National Democratic Party (NDP) administration.

26 Responses to “‘I’m accountable for UK money when it comes here’- Gov Jaspert”

  • Street reporter (06/02/2020, 08:00) Like (27) Dislike (1) Reply
    Mr Governor I agree with you 100,% . It's time for RDA to do something positive. Put the money in where it's needed.. The economy badly in need of it. The Premier just need to let you do your Job. We respect and love our Premier but God knows if we don't have hawk eyes. Lion Paws and a Good heart looking over that RDA Money it will disappear with no trace nothing to see.... I'm sure the Governor knows a lot more than we do...
  • asking for a friend (06/02/2020, 08:02) Like (8) Dislike (25) Reply
    So who going be checking the governor like, we had a former uk corrupt cop?
  • one eye (06/02/2020, 08:04) Like (10) Dislike (22) Reply
    Can someone tell mr governor we had an election and the NDP is gone
  • Ghost (06/02/2020, 08:04) Like (24) Dislike (0) Reply
    I do believe the RDA was set up as a financial watchdog for our country; seeing how the former government squandered our monies prior so now we have to be treated as little children because of them when it comes to managing said monies..just wish we were more sustainable as a country to not have to be as though we’re begging for handouts.. however, In all this I still say the UK has a right to know how their monies are being spent- Accountability..
  • BVI people (06/02/2020, 08:14) Like (28) Dislike (2) Reply
    Born here people LOVES confusion. UK money comes from where again? Answer: UK. Why the h*'ll it should be part of the BVI Government funds? Further why don't you speak the truth concerning how funds are to be used? SMH
  • good (06/02/2020, 08:16) Like (31) Dislike (4) Reply
    VIP wont get to squander it
  • Ignorance (06/02/2020, 08:21) Like (4) Dislike (13) Reply
    This governor talking more than the elected people smh
  • Hmmmm (06/02/2020, 09:06) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
    Agree. The Big Cat is important. Especially when you have good cheese that will attract Mice n Rats.
  • Treasuary (06/02/2020, 09:13) Like (4) Dislike (1) Reply
    His Excellency the Governor should advise The Hon. Julian Fraser to abandon marijuana cultivation and instead plant money trees.
    The 'MONEY TREE' or 'IN GOD WE TRUST TREE' is an evergreen tree introduced into the BVI from The United States.
    Trees are bisexual so only females trees produce the popular greenbacks. Occasional male plants are needed to provide pollination.
    Estimate for the BVI to become self sufficient in home grown greenbacks is about three years. No UK loans needed.
  • Diaspora (06/02/2020, 10:17) Like (8) Dislike (5) Reply
    The Governor is the Crown’s rep in the VI, sharing governing responsibility with local government; the VI is not totally self governing as advocated in some quarters. The UK controls external affairs, defence, civil service, RVIPF, internal security, judiciary and jail (shares with local government). Other than finance (it has reserve powers over), the UK controls some critical functions, ie, RVIPF, internal security, defence, jail, and civil service; in budget lingo, they are above the line critical issues. The UK should be responsible for the cost of operating Government House. Similarly, funding allocated by FCO to operate Gov. House should fall under the purview of the Governor. On the other hand, grant money, if any, should be deposited into and managed by the Treasury. Further, during the next constitutional review, the Governor’s Reserve Powers needs close scrutiny and structural adjustment, for a supposed self-government territory the Governor has too much power.

    Moreover, if it waddles like a duck, looks like a duck and quacks like a duck it is a duck. The RDA is an alternative government and a kick in the teeth and insult/embarrassment for VI people. The UK give the VI a measly £10M (~$14M) for recovery, along with £300M (~$400M) co-sign loan, but the money is administered by the RDA, an alternative government, not the local government. The money came with strict and specific terms and conditions. It makes one wonder if the Falkland Islands had a similar disaster as the VI would an RDA be imposed?
    • Patois (06/02/2020, 12:29) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
      @ Diaspora,”Other than finance (it has reserve powers over), the UK controls some critical functions, ie, RVIPF, internal security, defence, jail, and civil service; in budget lingo, they are above the line critical issues.” Boi, you gone deep on the chess board clean over mi head. Lawd ah mursi wah yu bring up Falk Islands for? ” It makes one wonder if the Falkland Islands had a similar disaster as the VI would an RDA be imposed? Ai sah yu ain't ez. Lol. The bourgeoisies better mek I lone, fu mi nah shame tarl of patois.
    • Meson (06/02/2020, 14:48) Like (12) Dislike (2) Reply
      I don't know who you are, but you are full of ish!
      Whose fault is it that we are in this position? and no don't say the NDP, because this measure has been long in coming, through the VIP government terms under Ralph (God rest his soul) and through the NDP too. The unchecked spending, the blatant corruption and the unexplained lost of government monies and nobody under any of these administration wants to be held accountable.

      Currently the government of transparency is not transparent! Check the unchecked spending of monies, that they claim we didn't have! I would like to know where it came from? Further to that, if it was not for the publication of Cabinet decisions, we the people would not know a quarter of the decisions that are being made on behalf of us by our own people, who are NOT for ALL of the people, no matter the rhetoric!

      Give me a break! Admit what you are seeing, instead of clinging to this idea that we are being persecuted by some outside force that has nothing to do with our own elected officials and i mean the pass and the current!

      statements like this "insult/embarrassment for VI people" make me sick. Who insulted our intelligence first? who embarrassed us first? The UK government? No! we did that to ourselves.

      stop it!
      • @Meson (06/02/2020, 17:59) Like (3) Dislike (3) Reply
        @Meson, easy, easy mon! Be careful you don’t catch a coronary, for it looks like Diaspora is getting into your head and you are tying your under wear in knots with the facts. You are accusing people and former government with misuse of funds so the Gov can commission a Commission of Enquiry (COE) into the your allegations if there is merit. Instead of calling names debate the blogger on statement made, particular the ones you think you have the right answer. You are entitled to your opinion as does other people. Dispute statement with facts, not emotions.
        • What?? (06/02/2020, 22:57) Like (3) Dislike (2) Reply
          He's just saying what he thinks. You sound like you using dummy tactics to ignore his points.
          Are you seriously saying that BVI governments for the last 20 years have been transparent and accountable?
          Do you dispute that BVIslanders like to make out as if someone is persecuting them, even though we know our own politicians are corrupt?
          Are you saying the public should not acknowledge that unless they have all the hard evidence to prove it?
          What a ting!
          Talking down to the writer by saying they need to calm down is not reflective of the writer. We can interpret that for ourselves. Your comment just reflects you and your slant – which is much less reasoned than Meson's.
      • @Meson (07/02/2020, 07:55) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
        Speak truth! I don't understand why the good people of these BVIs refuse to see the truth. As a result, we are sinking faster than the Titanic.
    • @Diasproa (06/02/2020, 22:43) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
      Maybe a diplomatic way of putting it, is that that the RDA is more of an Oversight Board similar to what the U.S. requires for USVI and PR's recovery funds. Look at the political down fall of last elected governor of PR. Given his attitude imagine what would have happened to US Taxpayer funds if controls, the Oversight Board, were not in place? UK Taxpayers deserve the same, accountability and controls around the funds = RDA.
      • Diaspora (07/02/2020, 08:13) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
        @@Diaspora, RDA an oversight board. Ok. I’m not averse to oversight; there should be oversight and accountability when spending other people money and since the public sector is always spending taxpayers money so there should oversight. The RDA Ian another pot of fish. True, a board overseas USVI and PR recovery fund but the central government is given the funds to execute. The boards provide oversight on how the funding is spent. USVI and PR are special cases. PR has $72B in debt with a a whopping debt to GDP ratio; USVI has approximately $2B (?) in debt with a 68 debt to GDP. VI debt load is miniscle compare to its neighbors. In regards to the RDA, donot piss on me and tell me it is raining and it is good for me. It is a mirage.
  • Made Public (06/02/2020, 11:05) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Yes, shouldn't this be made public though?
  • Feel m Sad. (06/02/2020, 12:04) Like (4) Dislike (3) Reply
    RDA need to put out or published a proposed spending plan for the people to see.... No more secrets....
  • Lady Vigilate (06/02/2020, 18:04) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
    We don't care about your Money, itll just put us in more problems with you all/deeper connection.

    Allow us to be the bird sanctuary that you and your ancestors that brought ours alone.

    The Devil comes in every shade.
  • slave trade (06/02/2020, 20:31) Like (0) Dislike (4) Reply
    Fraser is right these white boys need checking on As they more corrupt than the locals
  • Oid (06/02/2020, 21:09) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
    This man is a joke Governor . How he get pay to live in the Bvi I need to now please.
  • Captain (07/02/2020, 08:24) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
    BVI airways, the pier park, the wall..... That's why
  • @Diasproa (07/02/2020, 14:16) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
    Appreciate your response my bro. or sis. The PR and USVI government cannot spend one copper penny without the oversight board approval. That is the whole purpose of them being there. It is also not a special case as it is very similar in nature and situation. The funding size is all relative at the end of the day. It is about the internal control process and good governance in accordance with laws and regulations. I do however respect your point of view.


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