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NDP issued no new scholarships since Irma – SFC Report

- VIP Gov’t allocates $3.6M for existing scholarships & $700k towards new
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education & Culture (PSMEC) Dr Marcia Potter, left, and former Minister of Education and Culture, Myron V. Walwyn, right. Photo: Facebook/VINO
Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) revealed that $3.6 million have been allocated for existing scholarships and approximately $700,000 for new scholarships under his government. Photo: VINO/File
Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) revealed that $3.6 million have been allocated for existing scholarships and approximately $700,000 for new scholarships under his government. Photo: VINO/File
NDP's top brass and former Legislator Myron V. Walwyn—who had oversight of the Education sector—had expended $1.6M on a controversial wall constructed around the ESHS, now the subject of an investigation. Photo: VINO/File
NDP's top brass and former Legislator Myron V. Walwyn—who had oversight of the Education sector—had expended $1.6M on a controversial wall constructed around the ESHS, now the subject of an investigation. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – With the Capital Road Town still without a Public Library and works at the Elmore Stoutt High School (ESHS) only now commencing under the Virgin Islands Party (VIP) Government, more information is coming forward revealing just how bad the Dr D. Orlando Smith National Democratic Party (NDP) administration left the education sector.

Information coming out of the April 2019 deliberations of the Standing Finance Committee (SFC) for the Ministry of Education and Culture has indicated that even as the Smith Administration had boasted of good financial performance in the territory, it made no effort to sponsor the education of Virgin Islanders (VI) via the issuance of new scholarships post hurricanes Irma and Maria of 2017.

No New Scholarships

According to the report, this information came as a report of probing from Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) who wanted to know why new scholarships were not being allocated, to which the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education and Culture (PSMEC) Dr Marcia Potter indicated that no funds were available.

“The PSMEC stated that they were told that there were no funds for new scholarship recipients; however, only funds were available to maintain those who were already studying,” the report notes.

According to Dr Potter, the figure to maintain current existing scholarship recipients was $600,000 per year over a two year period and, “nobody has received a new scholarship since hurricanes Irma and Maria [of 2017].”

Political pundits and social commentators have long commented that the Smith-led NDP Government had no spending priorities when it came to the education sector.

However, even as this continues to be proven proving true, the party's top brass and former Legislator Myron V. Walwyn—who had oversight of Education—had expended $1.6M on a controversial wall constructed around the ESHS.

That project, now the subject of an RVIPF criminal investigation, according to Police Commissioner Michael B. Mathews, was said to be corrupt and had no value for money as stated by Auditor General (AG) Mrs Sonia M. Webster in her ESHS wall report.  

Assistance grants were discontinued

Now, with $3.6 million allocated for existing scholarships and approximately $700,000 for new scholarships, according to Premier Fahie, it was also revealed that the Minister’s assistance grants which was used to give financial assistance to scholarship students overseas in college and university were discontinued.

Dr Potter indicated that the grant was discontinued due to money "no longer being allocated" due to a Budget ceiling given at the time. The amount allocated was $75,000, which was depleted by $71,000 leaving just $4000 to assist the territory's students who were beneficiaries of scholarships before the hurricanes of 2017.

Vanguard Scholarship Programme to be replaced

The then Deputy Premier and Minister for Education, Culture, Agriculture, Fisheries, Youth Affairs and Sports, Dr The Hon Natalio D. Wheatley (R7), added that there were approximately six (6) students in attendance in the Vanguard Scholarship Programme, with only one (1) returning to the territory so far.

Hon Wheatley, at a recent HoA sitting, had revealed that the special needs Vanguard programme will also be discontinued in favour of developing a more home-based solution for children with special needs.

7 Responses to “NDP issued no new scholarships since Irma – SFC Report”

  • facts (14/06/2019, 08:24) Like (15) Dislike (17) Reply
    Myron did not care about people
  • No funds (14/06/2019, 08:26) Like (15) Dislike (11) Reply
    Can't fund scholarships if you spent the money elsewhere (like on a wall). Another reflection of how poorly this society values education.
  • i from here (14/06/2019, 08:41) Like (18) Dislike (16) Reply
    All I can say is thank god for February 25, we took back our country
    • Reply (14/06/2019, 15:39) Like (3) Dislike (5) Reply
      for real and in 2023 we will vote the same way, VIP ALL THE WAY
      • wize up (14/06/2019, 15:59) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
        @ reply: just a point of clarification: VIP ALL THE WAY(come 2023 no opposition members)...by the them #3 will be back home....
  • qc (14/06/2019, 17:54) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
    Lol shame on ndp
  • His news carrier (14/06/2019, 21:15) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    That PS should have gone with funny man


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