More lies coming from the Smith Government; FS takes the blame!
Long accused by the Virgin Islands Party (VIP) Opposition, the media, civil society and talk show hosts of misleading the public, inaccurate information and downright lies in the House of Assembly, Premier Smith has now admitted that the public was given erroneous information following his hastily arranged statement on the evening of March 16, 2017.
Our information was erroneous- Neil M. Smith
The Premier was at the time responding to Governor John S. Duncan OBE who had used his reserved powers under the constitution in sec 103 to direct the Accountant General to pay out $800,000 to the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force budget. It was the first time in the history of the British Overseas Territory that a governor had used such powers.
In another press release late yesterday evening March 19, 2017 the Financial Secretary (FS) Neil M. Smith admitted that the information was wrong on the cheques at the Treasury as announced by Premier Smith.
Mr Smith said, “I am pleased that our internal processes were able to identify the discrepancies between what we communicated and what was actually obtained. We remain committed to ensure that all information and advice provided from the Ministry is accurate and factual.”
In another embarrassing moment, Mr Smith was forced to tell the people that “I apologise to the Minister of Finance for this error, and on behalf of the Ministry of Finance hereby take full responsibility for providing the inaccurate information that was previously reported,” Mr Smith said.
In further correcting the wrong information told to the public by the Minister of Finance, the press release stated that “In this regard, and in order to clarify the facts and avoid any misrepresentation and miscommunication, it should be noted that only some of the cheques that the Premier mentioned were actually available at the Treasury for collection. The cheques that were readied for the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force in December 2016 and were available for pickup as of the evening of the March 16, 2017 related to:
1. Purchase of six (6) interceptor vehicles and repairs 2. Maintenance and purchase of equipment of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force Marine Unit
The other cheques that were referenced in the statement which relate to the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force, but were in various stages of processing by agencies within the Governor Group or awaiting complete documentation were as follows:
1. The upgrade to the CCTV camera system 2. Purchase of Law Enforcement Equipment from TEC Supply 3. Renovation to cells at the Road Town Police Station by J&J Construction 4. Sanitary ware for cells.”
Premier Smith: I am sorry, they misled me
Premier Smith himself was forced to back track his false statement when he told the public that, “I sincerely regret and apologise that some of the information which I reported to the people of this Territory on March 16, 2017 was inaccurate. It is very responsible that the FS and his team take ownership for the inaccurate information which they provided. I am assured that this should never happen again.”
Premier Smith claimed again that his Government will continue to ensure that the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force is provided with the necessary resources.