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‘National Emergency!’ - Premier plans referendum on UK loan guarantee

- citizens will be asked to vote if UK/VI negotiations fail
A member of the audience asks whether the Virgin Islands can afford to not accept the United Kingdom Loan Guarantee during a consultation meeting at the Eileene L. Parsons Auditorium at H. Lavity Stoutt Community College (HLSCC) in Paraquita Bay, Tortola, on August 20, 2019. Photo: VINO
Reiterating that any agreement between the United Kingdom and the Virgin Island on the £300M Loan Guarantee offer must be in ‘Black & Witte’, Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) a local referendum may be on the way should negotiations fail. Photo: VINO/File
Reiterating that any agreement between the United Kingdom and the Virgin Island on the £300M Loan Guarantee offer must be in ‘Black & Witte’, Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) a local referendum may be on the way should negotiations fail. Photo: VINO/File
Governor of the Virgin Islands (VI) Mr Augustus J. U. Jaspert. Photo: VINO/File
Governor of the Virgin Islands (VI) Mr Augustus J. U. Jaspert. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – Reiterating that any agreement between the United Kingdom (UK) and the Virgin Islands (VI) on concerns with the £300M Loan Guarantee offer must be in ‘Black & White’, Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) says a local referendum may be on the way should UK/VI negotiations fail.

Speaking at the wrapping up of the Sixth Sitting of the First Session of the Fourth House of Assembly of the Virgin Islands yesterday, September 2, 2019, the Premier said he is looking for clarity on the stipulations on the Loan Guarantee and to re-negotiate certain conditions which he says will not work in the best interest of the Virgin Islands.

Governor not Budging – Premier

“Mr Speaker, I want to inform this house because this is a National Emergency. We have had many conversations with the Governor [Augustus J. U. Jaspert] and I have no qualms about the individual personally, but I have to look out for the people of the Virgin Islands,” the Premier said.

“He has indicated clearly that he doesn’t advise any change to the RDA act or the condition of the Loan Guarantee and he is saying those areas… that we have concerns about they seem to want to also tell us how to negotiate them,” Hon Fahie further pointed out.    

He said the ratios in the 2012 Protocols for Effective Financial Management were set in different times, “since then we have had two catastrophic storms, as opposed to be offered grants, the territory is being offered Loan Guarantees.”

The Premier reiterated that the deal must be re-negotiated to protect the future of the Virgin Islands.

Possible Referendum

Hon Fahie said in a July 29, 2019 correspondence with the VI Treasury, he called for open dialogue on the issues while raising concerns about the financial powers of the Recovery and Development Agency, the Protocol ratios and the UK's position on the issue.

“This is a very serious matter we are being asked by the very people who impose on us… as we speak that we have to have open registers to sign a loan guarantee to get money to repay and have to pay back, while our ability to pay back is going to be hindered because our revenue stream would be hampered as a result of the open registry,” Hon Fahie said.

He said the UK stipulations on the territory is concerning and that the VI is in the ‘fight of their lives,’ while proposing a possible referendum on the issue should negotiations fail on the next trip to the UK proposed for mid September.

“When I come back from the UK, we will see if we will be able to make common ground. And if not, if these conditions are still there and they want to impose these things on us, let’s have a referendum,” the Premier said. 

Hon Fahie noted that, according to recent correspondence with the crown, the VI may be forced to decide on the issue by the end of September.

4 Responses to “‘National Emergency!’ - Premier plans referendum on UK loan guarantee”

  • fco (03/09/2019, 13:28) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    Share the letter dated 2 September 2019 with the VI people.
  • ?? (03/09/2019, 22:26) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    The entire letter is on FB. I read it on a news media page..
  • Hit the nail on the head (04/09/2019, 12:50) Like (2) Dislike (3) Reply
    I finally got a chance to listen to the honestly speaking programme and listened with an unbiased ear and mind. I listened to the Hon. Premier and Hon Carvin Malone. What I heard was that the full value to pay back would be over a very long time and the Premier is not against the guarantees but was asking for clarity to the conditions that need to be met once the loans are taken. The Hon. Premier highlighted the vagueness in the correspondence sent from UK and which no one has bothered to discuss in the quarters I interact with. I must admit that I did not pay attention to that either. Thank God that I always keep in mind that the Hon. O'Neal always said be careful of strangers bearing gifts; that the fact that Noel Lloyd left a legacy of critical thinking that small countries must do when Colonial Powers are offering gifts; that HLStout was always critical in his thinking when he dealt with the Mother country; and now Hon. Premier Andrew Fahie has learnt from these forefathers and are asking the tough questions that some of us forgot that we need to ask. Also the Premier is asking UK to sdiscuss and pell out in writing the vagueness of the language in the correspondence and other reports.


    Honourable Premier, I applaud you for your bravery on behalf of this country; and I will be putting prayers before the God's throne of grace and mercy on your behalf for wisdom of Solomon, continued bravery of David, and similar protection that God gave the Children of Israel. This is not only a political war for our survival, but a spiritual one where the tools of darkness and deceit are being used against us.


  • Cassandra (06/09/2019, 22:44) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    If there is to be a referendum, the people need to be fully informed before they vote. In particular, they need to know and understand what the alternatives are to the UK conditions: the amount available to the BVI by way of loan, the repayment period, the rate of interest payable and the conditions which would be imposed by the lenders if the UK’s guarantee is to be rejected.


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