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No “yes or no” answer to UK’s flexibility on VI budget submission - Tim Colley

Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Deputy Director of the Overseas Territories, Tim Colley at the media briefing at Government House yesterday. Photo: Reuben Stoby/VINO
Premier Dr. D. Orlando Smith has said that after 37 years of managing its own fiscal affairs the Territory was not prepared to now have them managed by someone else. Photo: Reuben Stoby/VINO
Premier Dr. D. Orlando Smith has said that after 37 years of managing its own fiscal affairs the Territory was not prepared to now have them managed by someone else. Photo: Reuben Stoby/VINO
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI - Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Deputy Director of the Overseas Territories, Tim Colley, grilled by journalists yesterday December 9, 2011 on whether the United Kingdom was willing to flex with the Virgin Islands Government on the issue of submitting its budget two months prior to its approval, said it was very much in the interest of the VI Government to work openly with the UK Government on public financial management and to engage at an early stage in financial planning as it i

Persisting for a yes or no answer to their question, Colley told journalists that he was not trying to give a legal answer “because we are not approaching this in a confrontational, legalistic sort of way. We are trying to make it something that all parties want to do it because it makes sense for all parties to do it and I think it is much better to approach it in that sense rather than for it to be portrayed as a yes or no answer. I don’t think that it is that sort of relationship that we want at all.”

Colley was speaking at Government House where he met with His Excellency the Governor, Boyd Mccleary.

Meanwhile, Premier Dr. D. Orlando Smith on his return from the Overseas Territories Consultative Council meeting in London in November had said the delegation did not sign nor were there any attempts made to have the document signed to commit the Territory to the Framework for Fiscal Responsibility, in which one of the guidelines in it is for the Territory to send its budget to the United Kingdom two months prior to approval.

“I thought it was important to remind Mr. (Henry) Bellingham that this is my second time as leader of the BVI but more importantly that after 37 years of managing our own fiscal affairs we were not prepared to now have them managed for us,” Dr. Smith had added.

According to Colley, it is much better for the democratically elected Governments of the Territories to decide where their monies should be spent but where the UK Government can help is to ensure that the overall framework for public expenditure is a sustainable one and that the systems that are put in place to ensure that framework works are robust.

“The UK Government is determined to avoid this sort of situation that we found in Turks and Caicos. I think that we found it very difficult to see how the problem was and therefore it is a very positive thing to have increased transparency between the UK and the Territories so that we are aware of what the financial situation is and where the problems might be so that we can support earlier action and can avoid such a situation as in the Turks and Caicos, which is not a situation that we want to continue and we want to get (Turks and Caicos) back to a democratically elected Government as soon as practical.”

He added that the Overseas Territories are remarkably diverse in size and economy and in their positioning in the globe and each has its own legal framework and so the UK does not wish to have a “one size fits all policy”.

“So we are not trying to say that every Territory must have exactly the same laws and the same arrangement but we are saying that there is a need for all of the Territories to have credible public finances because the global financial situation is putting more pressure on Governments to put their own house in order and you see what has happened in Greece and in Europe - Governments have been taken by surprise by the markets- and what we are trying to make sure is that all the Territories have sound financial management.”

Asked what could be the worst case scenario if the VI Government does not wish to commit to the Framework for Fiscal Responsibility as proposed by the United Kingdom, Governor McCleary said “the worst case scenario is that we have another Turks and Caicos. We are trying to set arrangements in place that avoids us from going down that road. We don’t want to have to intervene like we did in Turks and Caicos we want to get out of this situation in Turks and Caicos as soon as we can and as soon it is practical to do so and return it to an elected Government.”

Colley also said it was his hope that there continues to be a good exchange of information with authorities in the Virgin Islands “because my colleagues, who are economic experts, have been looking at the situation here over the years and what we are doing is not invent something new but make the process, which has already started, a more effective one”.

Earlier the UK Government Official had said he was here to follow up on discussions by the Governments of the Virgin Islands and the UK at the OTCC meeting in London last month and that one of the things that was under discussion was the new strategy for the Overseas Territories where the UK Government wants to have a much greater engagement with the Territories.

30 Responses to “No “yes or no” answer to UK’s flexibility on VI budget submission - Tim Colley”

  • Appeal (10/12/2011, 10:18) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    I knew once the NDP got in power the UK will sonner ot later tek over the BVI...wah ah ting to tell dey king!
    • Really now (10/12/2011, 11:30) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Are you serious or were you living on another rplanet when this was announced whilst VIP was in power? I guess this is your way of getting some attention.
      • c-span (10/12/2011, 15:32) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        all the spin will not help you NDP cowbrids...."hand writing is on the wall"
    • billy b (10/12/2011, 12:34) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      wha u don't stop wid yuh propoganda, spreading false news??? By now you don't think WISE people know what going on??? We all know the truth. VIP ****UP our finances and NDP is going to fix it, come what may, regardless of what lies you spread. GET USED TO IT!!!! JAAAHHH
      • tell the truth (10/12/2011, 16:27) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        "billy B" you must admit the UK would have never take over the BVI finaces with a VIP government in power..never would that happen...I am a NDP and cannot stand the VIP but I am sad reading this article and now i deeply regret not sending dancia, fraser or ralph to london to fight for we...Dr smith and Malone came back with ZERO..both of them too soft for these kind of tough negotiations and "billy b' you said it to me over coffee!!!!
        • Please (10/12/2011, 18:47) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
          You are no NDP so stop pretending !True NDPers would give Dr. Smith and his team full support and rally around them whilst they try to turn this thing around. To start spreading doom when they have only been in office for a month proves that you are not on their side. Your reverse psychology will NOT work
          • Hmmmm (11/12/2011, 08:21) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
            Knowledge and history can work wonders. If even Uncle Ralph was there, things might have gone better, cause it ain't now he helping fight off the UK. In fact, UK glad Ralph ain't there. Well we'll wait for the next toll.
        • egg face (10/12/2011, 18:58) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
          but do you think them brain wash cowbird NDP haters will admit that...keep dreaming "tell the truth"
    • Prophecy (10/12/2011, 13:36) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      You are just finding something to say. This proposal was made under the former administration so just hush!
    • You need to see the interview for you self (11/12/2011, 08:35) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      You need to see the interview for you self the UK didn't want to make a commitment to the media other than what is being negotiated with government if you see the press meeting you will be better informed.
  • ------------------------- (10/12/2011, 11:06) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    why is the governor always taking bout“the worst case scenario is that we have another Turks and Caicos"...Dr. Smith wake up this is a message.....if you let these people take over we lil islands you cannot eva come back to we lookin votes deman!.... You never heard these things when the VIP was in power as the same FCO praise them for good finacial managment...what a change now that the NDP is in!
  • My $0.02 (10/12/2011, 11:42) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    " but where the UK Government can help is to ensure that the overall framework for public expenditure is a sustainable one and that the systems that are put in place to ensure that framework works are robust." Yes because it's one thing that the UK that is almost one trillion pounds in debt can show us is how to make public expenditure sustainable.
  • critic (10/12/2011, 12:14) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    garbage...using a tone of language what the ordinary tolian cant comprehend...just confusing the people with sugar coated words and fancy speeches
  • west side (10/12/2011, 12:25) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    remeber Dr. Smith came back from the London meeting empty handed...
  • Lilly (10/12/2011, 12:46) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Hmm, well, in my book the UK has now in full control of the country's finances and we can't do nothing about that anymore. It's not now the UK wanted to control our funds and now with a new government who was caught with it's pants down are goin to have a hell of a run to deal with..
  • Quiet Storm (10/12/2011, 13:07) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    A true diplomat. The UK cherished the Monarchy, the pound, and diplomacy. This was pure diplomatic speak and grandstanding. The decision has already been made; the UK does make decisions of this magnitude lightly. Further, the UK is too politically mature to let itself be dragged into a local political fight; it wants to see itself (as well it should) being neutral in local political fights. The UK knew that election was constitutionally due this year. Thus, their pronouncement that the budget needs to be sent to the UK two months before implementation was a warning shot across the BVI's bow that regardless of which government was in power that this would be the requirement. Premier, swallow a little pride and focus on more important things such as building and diversifying the economy, attacking rising crime, improving education, constructing and maintaining the infrastructure, and providing accessible and affordable health care. Do not spend a silver bullet on this issue; save the silver bullet for more important things. Instead, demonstrate to the UK that the BVI has its budget and financial house in order. Moreover, if I'm wrong on the UK's position it won't be the first or last time and I will eat crow. But I'm confident that I'm right. Some may say that I'm giving the UK cover for staying the course. Well, clearly I do not have that much control over the UK. And if the UK changed its mind over one online comment, it will leave me wondering what the..........
  • Concern VIslander (10/12/2011, 13:23) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Well Hon. Doc looks like You Don't have to sign anything at all the mother land and her thugs Look like they minds have been made UP and the Rep.//GOV. here is enjoying it. Wasn't he the sameone who was in the Turks when they took over?
  • hog city (10/12/2011, 16:18) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    see why we had need the vip's team with dancia and ralph?
    • goat water (11/12/2011, 13:02) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      me aint wah to hear Dacia name bossman..she should keep in hiding for allowing a cc like Marlon to bet her
  • T2DB (10/12/2011, 17:40) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    You people really make me laugh. With all the stress UK have right now you think they care about 'taking' us over? Our revenues are $250+ mil per year, is that what they're after? LOL!! They have a right to know how we spend our money. I'm confident once NDP is given a chance to prove themselves the UK will loosen its grip to a certain extent. Bottom line is, they have their own issues and don't want to have to deal with another wayward child on its hands. Many talk about Turks as though UK invaded the country. Do you know the level of nonsense the Premier over there was involved with? He bought a private jet with the Government monies and was in the USA every other day with his women. He sold Crown Land to himself and cronies for pennies on the dollar. That was just the beginning, but oh, they should've left him to run up more debt that they as the mother country would be responsible for? Schups!! Same with Anguilla! Their leader has been making the most noise but what has it done for him? What does Anguilla export? They are service oriented meaning if people are not in a position to spend money i.e. take vacations and stay at their high end properties which supports their economy, then where will they get money from? Same as BVI, Cayman etc. We are service oriented, we do not export goods nor are we flushed with natural resources to depend on. We can be dependent, spending our own money and live a good life or we can be independent and suck salt..choose one!
  • rat tail (10/12/2011, 18:59) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    ok look out for the NDP with no plans and programms to simply blame the VIP when the UK takes the country over...stay tune
  • Lilly (10/12/2011, 19:01) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    I know if the former Deputy Premier was in the position of Premier and had to deal with London, things would be different. Our people have elected a party who is quite strong with person who's supporters produced and still producing propoganda and we have now see what the Hon. Dancia Penn was saying and thats a fact!!!
  • critic (11/12/2011, 00:38) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    dr smith is a big dissappointment thus far...why he had to travel with his wife and a green marlon to london for? that was very childish of him trying to make dancia look bad...this experimental team was very weak, it had need a legal mind on that trip but everybody want to stand around with their mouths shut, not wanting to call a spade, a see what we ended up with?
  • IslePeop (11/12/2011, 02:32) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    T2DB you gave a rousing explanation as to why the UK wont take over, but not as to why they would. Financial Services. They just isolated themselves from the whole of Europe for that sacred cow. Some of their biggest challengers in the financial services sector are their dependents Bermuda, Cayman, BVI, and Anguilla. With Europe likely to be in recession over the next few years those who know will be looking for growth. So while the islands are physically small they are strategically important.
    • Quiet Storm (11/12/2011, 20:58) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Need to enlighten me on the strategic importance these of these dots on the map. Trust me if any or all of these dots request independence from the UK, there will not be a micro second hesitation in granting it.But there is no need to rush into independence; the cost out weigh the benefit. If in doubt ask the all our larger sister Anglophone countries that got independence if they are better off.
  • attention (11/12/2011, 03:56) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    but with orlando and marlon representing us in the Uk what the hell you all were expecting? suckteeth...yaaawn
  • BOTTOM LINE (11/12/2011, 08:40) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    The NDP DID NOT SIGN what the UK has insisted that all poorly managed OTC conform to, because these problems and crisis was caused by the Blind VIP Leadership and their supporters who will continue to support them even if the country is going off a cliff. The UK clearly does have the money to bail out territories that get them self in deep financial trouble, so if you are unable to manage your finances they will do it for you. THE NDP ASKED FOR MORE TIME come up with a comprehensive plan (something the VIP DOES NOT HAVE) to get the country out of this financial mess the VIP put us in. The UK says they are willing to listen as long as the plan readily gets the territory out of all the financial debt the BVI has gotten into. looking at what was done in TCI and Cayman (and what was planned for BVI) the UK is not joking around. Negotiations will continue in January according to the new Premier.
  • parole buddy (11/12/2011, 10:10) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    In 2005 when smith and ronnie went to england and signed all those agreements they were laying the groundwork for england to take us over. Now that they are back in government they want to blame the VIP for this. If the VIP was doing such a bad job of the finances england would have stepped in long time ago. The truth is the NDP signed away the future of this country. All england is doing is holding them to what they agreeed to in 2005.

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