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Majority in Opposition helped to constrain VI finances - Premier Fahie

- listed bottlenecks in Territory's COVID-19 economic re-financing as a result of NDP Gov't
Opposition Leader Hon Marlon A. Penn (left) along with Hon Mark H. Vanterpool (right) are both from the former NDP Administration. While NDP breakaway, Hon Melvin M. Turnbull (centre) represents the Progressive Virgin Islands Movement (PVIM), with the prime of his young political having so far been served under the NDP. Photo: VINO/File/GIS
Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) says even as Virgin Islands (VI) Opposition Members tout their own 'COVID-19 Strategic Economic Recovery Plan', the majority of the members helped to create constraints in accessing VI financial resources. Photo: GIS/File
Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) says even as Virgin Islands (VI) Opposition Members tout their own 'COVID-19 Strategic Economic Recovery Plan', the majority of the members helped to create constraints in accessing VI financial resources. Photo: GIS/File
The only current opposition member without a history with the NDP is Hon Julian Fraser RA (R3), who was a member of the Virgin Islands Party (VIP) before breaking away to form Progressives United (PU). Photo: VINO/File
The only current opposition member without a history with the NDP is Hon Julian Fraser RA (R3), who was a member of the Virgin Islands Party (VIP) before breaking away to form Progressives United (PU). Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI - Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) says even as the Virgin Islands' (VI) Opposition Members tout their own 'COVID-19 Strategic Economic Recovery Plan', the majority of the members helped to create constraints in accessing financial resources for the Territory.

"People of the Virgin Islands are well aware that the Territory’s financial resources are not limitless, but more than that, our position is under certain constraints that were not of this Government’s making – and which your Government has been working hard to overcome over the last 15 months," he said in a statement delivered on May 19, 2020.

NDP members are majority opposition - Premier Fahie 

According to the Premier, as with any economic plan, the challenge is how to raise funds, "Anyone can just list out lofty activities for millions of dollars, but the question is how will these things be paid for? Who will pay for them?"

One of the biggest government constraints came in the form of conditions in the Protocol for Effective Financial Management signed by the former National Democratic Party (NDP) as a result of poor financial management. 

Opposition Leader Hon Marlon A. Penn (R1), along with Hon Mark H. Vanterpool (R4), are both from the former NDP Administration. While NDP breakaway, Hon Melvin M. Turnbull represents the Progressive Virgin Islands Movement (PVIM),  he served his first term under the NDP.

The only current Opposition Member without a history with the NDP is Hon Julian Fraser RA (R3), who was a member of the Virgin Islands Party (VIP) before breaking away to form Progressives United (PU).

Bottlenecks  

Hon Fahie, in via listing a number of bottlenecks in accessing funding for the Territory's COVID-19 economic reboot, said the government is still working to overcome the challenges:

  1. The Financial Services Sector has suffered a decline of millions of dollars due to measures such as beneficial ownership and open registry that were imposed by external forces. The former Government did not implement any plan to contain this situation, and hence the decline in this industry. The resulted in millions of dollars less to take care of the needs of you, the BVI public.
  2. No serious effort during the eight-year tenure of the last administration to diversify the BVI economy and to develop new revenue streams and new industries that could provide jobs and economic activity.
  3. The position of the UK Government is that grants are not an option at this time, and the BVI taxpayers must use their own money to finance any relief measures that they want. Former Government Members, including those currently in the Opposition, should have no difficulty understanding this since they said this was the response of the UK Government after Hurricane Irma in 2017 on the matter of grants.
  4. The ability of your Government to seek out loan funding to help our people and stimulate economic activity is constrained by certain conditions in the Protocols for Effective Financial Management due to conditions agreed to and signed to by the former Government. Your new Government has been trying since last year to renegotiate more favourable conditions.

Premier Fahie in his statement said, "It is imperative that I must warn the public to be wary of persons who feel that they can get inside of your head and play on your emotions so that they can damage your relationship and your trust with your Government and with your positive future." 

He said when the VIP Government made revelations in 2019 of how the VI was put in jeopardy by the NDP in agreeing to some Protocol conditions, "certain members of the former Government said they were not aware of these implications at the time that these things were being done."

14 Responses to “Majority in Opposition helped to constrain VI finances - Premier Fahie”

  • BVI tourist (21/05/2020, 09:35) Like (3) Dislike (14) Reply
    Your economy = tourism. USVI is opening to tourists June 1st. Day trip tourists from USVI to BVI would pay just to snorkel in your waters and wouldn't even have to set foot on your islands. That's three months of customs fees alone that you will be losing out on at $70 pp. Face it - until you let the tourists back in you're screwed...
  • Childishness (21/05/2020, 09:49) Like (12) Dislike (1) Reply
    I am sick of this tit 4 tat business
    .... Lets move on!!
  • Stay Focused You All (21/05/2020, 10:00) Like (16) Dislike (6) Reply
    Don't be distracted by this foolish rhetoric. You are the present government and we expect you to govern and not point fingers. If I am not mistaken, you were also part of reckless spending when your government was in power before. Do I need to point them out? #staywokeyouall
  • Cautiously Optimistic (21/05/2020, 10:10) Like (12) Dislike (1) Reply
    Yes BVI tourist. However, the USVI opening does not equal tourist are going to flock there in consequential numbers. This sort of linear and simplistic thinking will cause many companies to go belly up if they open with considering other global factors impacting tourism right now. Flight restrictions, concerns about safety, and most importantly, lack of additional funds to take vacations are just a few. Opening too soon may potentially exacerbate the very issue we are trying to address.
    • BVI tourist (21/05/2020, 11:54) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
      @Cautiously Optimistic - not opening for too long will make businesses go belly up for certain, so would not some tourists be better than no tourists? Not opening = $0.00. Vacation beach rentals in the southern US are booking up fast - people are ready to get out! There are things BVI could do to just "crack the valve" and not "open the flood gates" to get at least some money flowing in. You could restrict day travel to only certain spots, or even deny access to anyone with passports from US hot spots. Honestly, I think even NYC will be open before you guys. Good luck!
      • Cautiously Optimistic (21/05/2020, 14:40) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
        Excellent rebuttal with valid points. Yet, opening too soon can equal less than zero income aka massive losses if the tourists don't come. This is exactly what happened to many restaurants in the US. They opened up because they weren't making money.. but when they did, the turnout wasn't enough to offset the associated costs and expenses. Opening is necessary but one must take time to do so. People don't have extra funds for vacations as they used to. The state of the global economy are making them cautious and investors in tourism need to take note. Data driven decisions are required in the present climate, not just emotional ones.
      • Vodooh Math (21/05/2020, 15:16) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
        BVI tourist by this "so would not some tourists be better than no tourists" you are making the strong assuming that the number of tourists that will patronize business will be adequate to cover the operational cost of running a profitable operation. If a person is renting a spot to run his business and the volume of traffic to said business by tourist is not enough, would they be in a better financial position than if he had no tourists? Add to that they will have other overheads that come with the day to day operations. As the previous poster pointed out, it's not as linear as you are thinking. This is not a case of "build it and they will come". People have to be very careful about how they go about these things. The solution cannot make the problem worse. Let's take our time. It's hard because people need to make a living but these times are extraordinary and calls for the same type of patience and understanding. I am speaking purely from an economic perspective and not as a business owner, so I am less likely to understand the "who feels it knows it". But sometimes the emotional thinkers need protection from themselves. Stay safe all!! We will make it out. BVI STRONG!!
      • BVI tourist (22/05/2020, 12:16) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        @Cautiously & Voodooh - great points both! It is true that some restaurants in the US opened and then had to close again due lack of customers, but this was usually because they couldn't make it work as "take-out only". Most states are opening up more and the ones that have opened the fastest have had better results both economically and with Covid. People are going back to restaurants in the states that are open. The states who are staying closed longer are crippling their economies and there have been massive protests and even business owners defying orders and opening up to try to save everything they've worked for. Just look at the results of NY & IL vs. FL and GA. The faster things open up in the US, the more people will be back to work and have money for vacations. Also - yes, we want to come to the beautiful BVI's this summer! We had two day trips planned from USVI in April & had to reschedule. Guess it's not going to happen:(. Maybe we'll come again in a few years...

        PS - I read that story about the grocery store owner being arrested for selling bananas to someone who broke quarantine orders. That's nuts! People would've been out with the torches & pitchforks in the US if that happened anywhere here.
  • foy (21/05/2020, 11:06) Like (1) Dislike (7) Reply
    Least we forget these are the same people who killed our economy. The red coats.
  • election (21/05/2020, 12:55) Like (4) Dislike (1) Reply
    Is this an election year? Wellsaw!!
  • @foy (21/05/2020, 13:00) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
    Redcoat...deceptive. You are still chained (in bondage) Emancipate your self from mental slavery. Only you can free your self.
  • Good unity (21/05/2020, 13:41) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
    Good unity among us for we are not ur self enemies in this lil place call bvi .. for ur head is the biggest praying for ur down fall as leader both opposition and current ruling party......my opinion is too that let use this unfortunate opportunity to build back agriculture seriously for we can now see the importance of it .....even the blind can see at this moment
  • @good unity (21/05/2020, 13:49) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Yessa let also stimulate unity among us people and leader ..and also stimulate agriculture to the point where it can also help as little it can through this time to where it also need to be ....feeding ur self ...
  • Commentator (21/05/2020, 17:47) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    I am tired of the tit for tat. There are urgent and important issues to be addressed. May I appeal to the Government for less talk and more action to stimulate the economy please


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