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NDP failed to finance ICT developments since 2011 – Hon Penn

Junior Minister for Trade and Investment Promotion Hon Marlon A. Penn (R8). Photo: Vino/File
Hon Penn did not hold back on words to his fellow Legislators in the House of Assembly (HoA) during their October 23, 2018, sitting telling them, “When times get tough, leaders get tougher.” Photo: VINO/File
Hon Penn did not hold back on words to his fellow Legislators in the House of Assembly (HoA) during their October 23, 2018, sitting telling them, “When times get tough, leaders get tougher.” Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI: Challenging the National Democratic Party to “Put your money where your mouth is,” Junior Minister for Trade and Investment Promotion, Honourable Marlon A. Penn (R8) blasted the NDP Government for a failure to properly invest in Information & Communications Technology (ICT) of the Virgin Islands (VI).

Hon Penn did not hold back on words to his fellow legislators in the House of Assembly (HoA) during their October 23, 2018, sitting telling them, “When times get tough, leaders get tougher.”

He was at the time making his contributions to the debate of the Recovery Development Plan before it was passed. “It is critical at this time in the rebuilding of our redevelopment that we put our money where our mouth is in terms of the ICT infrastructure in this territory,” he said.

“The regulators have to hold the operators responsible for the level of services that they are delivering to the people of this territory,” he added.

Poor call quality

The Junior Minister’s complaint was similar to most in the Territory where he spoke about poor cell service quality with no reduction in the cost for such poor service, “I haven’t seen a prorated bill, he said, “we can’t use [the] Irma (Hurricane Irma) excuse anymore.”

“It’s time for us to look at different industries, the digital economy is there,” said Hon Penn said as he noted that the future is uncertain especially since we are approaching 2020 when the overseas territories have to face up to the Register of Beneficial Ownership, “we don’t know what is going to happen with that,” he said.

Hon Penn insisted that one of the big mistakes that members of the HoA still make, is a failure to make sure necessary steps are taken to build a proper ICT infrastructure, “not just from the public sector but from the private sector,” something Honourable Julian Fraser, RA (R3) details in every given opportunity and especially in the HoA.

He said, “I was fortunate to be at a forum where the CEOs of some of these companies boasting that they have the networks of the future… in the sense that they only use 10% of their capacity in the region”.

“So they have the capacity to provide all the big data services and all these things that are needed to drive a digital economy, but yet, still we are suffering here in terms of level of services that we are getting,” Hon Penn said.

“We need a strategic approach not just from each department doing their own thing, I want to put a server here, I want to put something there… Develop a comprehensive approach to the ICT development in this country that is part of a foundation for growing your economy.”

Looking to Developed Countries

He referred to examples of Singapore which built an ICT infrastructure, “and everything else was built on top of that infrastructure and it’s no reason why we can’t do that here,” he said.

Hon Penn mentioned that since 2011 when he first got a seat in the HoA he has been speaking on the issue at every budget about the topic, “And we have not allocated a penny to ICT development. Every budget cycle I do it, come to the house, and scramble [for] finance money just to pay for the recurrent expenditure, the licences and so forth.”

Hon Penn questioned, “Have we not learnt from what happened with Irma (Hurricane Irma) Madam speaker?

“I live to see that it’s on the backs of Virgin that our economy survived…. It was on the backs of that same system that everybody said was a waste of money, a waste of time is why this country did not lose its financial services,” after Hurricane Irma that is, he said.

Two days after Hurricane Irma, despite the devastation, Virgin was back up and running, “And it could have been one day but because of the lack of gas in a generator. Have we not learnt from that?” he questioned.

He contended that because of Virgin there was a level of flexibility with ICT that allowed the Financial Services to be in full swing as if it was business as usual after the 2017 hurricanes.  

14 Responses to “NDP failed to finance ICT developments since 2011 – Hon Penn ”

  • scarface (01/11/2018, 10:09) Like (18) Dislike (14) Reply
    Marlon is a complete failure in the 8 district remember that.
    • Really! (01/11/2018, 14:24) Like (5) Dislike (5) Reply
      All of a sudden he’s a failure!? (Speak for yourself) This young man has done in 7yrs initiatives that has been talked about for decades. Your entitled to your own opinion not your own facts. The evidence of his accomplishments are there for all to see. So come again with your smoke screens.
  • just asking.... (01/11/2018, 10:25) Like (5) Dislike (5) Reply
    so why he does not resign if he feels so strongly?
  • Dont Understand (01/11/2018, 10:59) Like (9) Dislike (5) Reply
    I don't understand how come all of a sudden this Junior Minister complaining about things his party did not do. Especially, things like the Consumer Protection, which he was responsible for. I think he needs to not seek reelection and allow somebody else to undertake the tasks. He should have voiced this since 2011 not 2018.
  • foxy (01/11/2018, 11:37) Like (10) Dislike (9) Reply
    This clown talking fiddle. So he’s trying to say he being tell his government for 8 years and them not studying he. He can’t get a thing done. Just how he let them transfer 8 mil from the sewerage to port. Get the hell out of here!!! Lmfao dam cry baby. All you take man for fool.
    • Recitation (01/11/2018, 15:05) Like (5) Dislike (10) Reply
      Aren’t you VIP tired spreading this piddle about transferring sewage money. You guys really believe people stupid.

      We will see who’s the the clown come Election Day, We’ve seen smurfs capability and he’s done this from the backbench.
      • Back Bencgers (01/11/2018, 17:27) Like (5) Dislike (1) Reply
        All of them Dead and alive barking dogs.. Fakes. They all had the opportunity to joun wuth VIP and be the change they are now talking about..putting country first they had that opportunity. No back benchers should be voted back in.
  • The 8th (01/11/2018, 13:07) Like (6) Dislike (6) Reply
    The same $250,000.00 they paid you to do nothing they should have invested in Technology.
  • Misinformation (01/11/2018, 14:30) Like (5) Dislike (5) Reply
    You vip spewing your usual misinformation and propaganda. Where was he paid $250,000? This is your strategy to win a election with the dead horse you have up there.

    What will he do that smurf didn’t do? How will he do it? A man that have never done anything in our community. You must be take East End people for fools. Time longer than twine.
  • Hmmmm (01/11/2018, 17:21) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
    He is talking about a problem that is a problem. That's been a problem for More than 7yrs.. All they do is talk. ..How no one talking about Cable TV.. What's going on with Cable TV. ?
  • Peanuts (01/11/2018, 19:52) Like (4) Dislike (3) Reply
    What hon. Marlon do in 8 years can be done in 1 year. Keep NDP far away from the hoa.
  • voter (02/11/2018, 07:23) Like (7) Dislike (2) Reply
    Ndp and marlon must go
  • Truth (02/11/2018, 10:43) Like (2) Dislike (2) Reply
    We cant find nor see you and now you talking piss. Watch yourself my boy the 8th aint yours nomore, but I think you done know that.
    • We shall see (03/11/2018, 06:58) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      We will see when the time comes. I heard them vip up there poping champagne. It’s votes that win elections not talk.

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