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Premier a winner! 10-2 in favour of controversial recovery agency Bill

- Bill entitled ‘Virgin Islands Recovery & Development Agency Act 2018 passed with amendments
The controversial Bill entitled ‘Virgin Islands Recovery and Development Agency Act 2018’, which was brought to the House of Assembly by Premier and Minister of Finance Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL) was voted on and passed with amendments on March 27, 2018. Photo: VINO/File
Opposition Member Honourable Julian Fraser RA (R3), left, and Second District Representative Hon Melvin M. Turnbull, right, voted against the Bill ‘Virgin Islands Recovery and Development Agency Act 2018’. Photo: VINO/File
Opposition Member Honourable Julian Fraser RA (R3), left, and Second District Representative Hon Melvin M. Turnbull, right, voted against the Bill ‘Virgin Islands Recovery and Development Agency Act 2018’. Photo: VINO/File
Fifth District Representative Honourable Delores Christopher, who was in heavy opposition of the Bill ‘Virgin Islands Recovery and Development Agency Act 2018’ as initially presented to the House of Assembly, was absent for the vote. Photo: VINO/File
Fifth District Representative Honourable Delores Christopher, who was in heavy opposition of the Bill ‘Virgin Islands Recovery and Development Agency Act 2018’ as initially presented to the House of Assembly, was absent for the vote. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- It was always expected, despite the many concerns and objections from legislators before and during the debates, that the Bill entitled ‘Virgin Islands Recovery and Development Agency Act 2018 was going to be passed in the House of Assembly with amendments.

The Bill, however, failed to get 100% support when a vote was taken after the Members came out of Committee Stage at the continuation of the Third Sitting of the Third Session of the Third House of Assembly late this afternoon, March 27, 2018.

The Virgin Islands Recovery and Development Agency Act 2018 is necessary for the creation of an independent agency to manage all monies borrowed and grants received for the recovery and development of the Territory following two catastrophic hurricanes in September 2017.

Legislators, including Backbenchers, one Minister of Government and the two Opposition Members, had expressed concerns with the Bill as presented in the House of Assembly, especially since they felt Premier and Minister of Finance Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL) was withholding vital information from them.

There were also concerns that the agency as mandated by the United Kingdom, which is offering loan guarantees of up to $400M, was violating the Virgin Islands Constitution as it was taking powers away from the Minister of Finance and other ministers.

The objectors of the Bill had vowed not to vote it into law unless certain amendments were done.

Yes: 10; No: 2; Absent: 1

And after nearly two days in Committee Stage, the Members voted in the majority for the Bill to be passed to allow the Virgin Islands to accept the loan guarantees and grants offered by the UK.

10 Members, including Opposition Leader Honourable Andrew A. Fahie (R1) voted in favour of the Bill, while two Members, Opposition Member Honourable Julian Fraser RA and Second District Representative Hon Melvin M. Turnbull voted against. Fifth District Representative Honourable Delores Christopher, who was in heavy opposition of the Bill as initially presented to the House by Dr Smith, was absent.

The over two days of debate on the Bill revealed even further the division in the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) Government and its Members lack of confidence in Premier Smith.

The main backers of the Bill included Deputy Premier and Minister for Natural Resources and Labour Dr The Honourable Kedrick D. Pickering (R7), who said the UK was the one offering the guarantees and they could put whatever rules in place, and Minister for Communications and Works Hon Mark H. Vanterpool (R4), who even shed tears in the HoA, and stated that the people were desperate and the help needed to be accepted at all costs or else the people will "hang" them.

Meanwhile, the HoA has been adjourned sine die.

48 Responses to “Premier a winner! 10-2 in favour of controversial recovery agency Bill”

  • Observer (27/03/2018, 20:06) Like (74) Dislike (24) Reply
    It is something to think about when the Leader of the Opposition joined the Government and voted for the.bill and the rogue back bencher Mitch Turnbull voted against it. I think that it is time for him to resign and go as he obviously does not have the recovery of the Territory at the top of his agenda.
    • Hmph (28/03/2018, 13:44) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
      Delores Christopher needs to go. She disappeared after the election, has now spouted little virgin islander views for a couple of weeks, and then absented herself from the most important vote ever in LegCo. Hang your head in shame and resign please.
  • GM in the PM (27/03/2018, 20:10) Like (31) Dislike (1) Reply
    We shall see what we shall see.
    • @GM... (27/03/2018, 21:33) Like (30) Dislike (2) Reply
      Same thing I'm here saying to myself. Whether it work or not, we shall see
  • Francis (27/03/2018, 20:19) Like (26) Dislike (95) Reply
    GREAT job!! Hon. Premier. Next step, Snap Elections, Landslide victory again and continue the work for the people and territory. Do it Hon. Premier. I am so proud of you, but next time, just be careful and learn from your mistakes.

    Thank you sir........... I love it!!!!!!
    • Notonmywatch (27/03/2018, 20:42) Like (31) Dislike (9) Reply
      OOOOHhhhhhh Pleaseeeeee! You got to be drinking Jim Jones Juice!
      • UK and Richard (27/03/2018, 21:59) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
        Man a yaad will now truly be in charge of the yaad. Tek chaage tek chaage!!!
    • Sick (28/03/2018, 14:46) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
      You are sick, sick, sick. This man disgusts me. His leadership skills is abominable..
  • Pato (27/03/2018, 20:19) Like (29) Dislike (42) Reply

    Desperate ppl do desperate things. I must commend the Hon. Mitch Turnbull, Julian Frazer and Delores Christopher for their bravery. The others are joker's only mouth, but no teeth. That's why your ppl Dr. Smith will be always eating out of the White man's hand. Watch pon ecomonic slavery on our ppl. Lord help us all. @#$%&* peasants.

    • @Pato (27/03/2018, 22:29) Like (16) Dislike (0) Reply
      Where was Deloris at voting time? They all took their time and chop up that bill to make it more beneficial for the country and people. They clearly stated they could not support it the way it was
      Laid in the house at first. What other option do we have? There is no money in the treasury. The governments don't normally bring bills to the people and you know that.
    • @Pato (27/03/2018, 22:50) Like (15) Dislike (0) Reply
      Hon. Christipher after all thst talk was absent. How is that bravery?
    • @Pato (28/03/2018, 00:54) Like (9) Dislike (1) Reply
      quite the opposite! ten of the legislators just voted to keep us away from any more rule and to finance building a more self-sufficient BVI, with that should come opportunity for all BVI nationals.

      Your racial hatred is a waste of you energy and is ruining your life moments that could be used more positively
    • hawk (28/03/2018, 00:55) Like (14) Dislike (2) Reply
      The only brave one here is Turnbull, although I also think he is hotheaded and confused. He needs to voluntarily leave the NDP.

      Fraser, I would expect nothing else but non-cooperation.

      Now Delores is something else. She needs to be kicked out of the NDP for her cowardly absence.
    • @Pato (28/03/2018, 02:31) Like (8) Dislike (2) Reply
      The Territory broke! Stop with the false patriotic BS. The people are suffering.
  • cay (27/03/2018, 20:24) Like (4) Dislike (3) Reply
    well sah
  • VI Pride (27/03/2018, 20:28) Like (27) Dislike (7) Reply
    Congratulations on choosing for the path of recovery!
    • @ vi pride (27/03/2018, 21:53) Like (5) Dislike (4) Reply
      We the people want early elections; because that could happen if you don't handle some NDP new comers correct
  • ------------------ (27/03/2018, 20:37) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    I want to see what's in the bill someone cave!
  • one eye (27/03/2018, 20:46) Like (7) Dislike (1) Reply
    just can't wait until the next elections
  • GEEEZZ (27/03/2018, 20:50) Like (38) Dislike (16) Reply
    Hon Christopher has proven again THAT she is nothing but hot air, how can you be debating against something you believe in and when time come to exercise your vote for the people, you are absent SHAME ON YOU!!!. CONGRATS MR PREMIER. THIS IS THE TIME TO RELECT ON YOUR GOVERNMENT AND HIT THE RESET BUTTON. THIS PASS BLATANT FINESSING OF THE COUNTRY MUST COME TO AN END. USE THIS TIME AND DO GOOD BY THE PEOPLE WHO PUT YOU GUYS IN POWER. I BELIEVE IN NDA. PEACE AND LOVE
    • casper (27/03/2018, 22:00) Like (13) Dislike (0) Reply
      Doing what she does best...pulling a know her usual disappearing act,just ask the people of the 5th
    • pat (27/03/2018, 22:45) Like (12) Dislike (0) Reply
      It was a no-win situation. BVI needs the money and has proven it is financially untrustworthy. So of course restrictions and oversight have to be enforced. I'm glad it is. But this is not necessarily a win for the premier when it was going to have to happen with amendments anyway. I do commend the two no votes for standing up for their convictions. There may be details they strongly oppose. But the majority built consensus. That is what governance looks like. for the greater good.
  • cay (27/03/2018, 21:48) Like (11) Dislike (4) Reply
    We the people are definitely the jokers in this pack of cards.
  • Harbinger (27/03/2018, 21:55) Like (9) Dislike (3) Reply
    This will be the rope that eventually hangs the ndp
  • vi (27/03/2018, 22:10) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
    WOW! Poor Frazer.
  • Lawd-O (27/03/2018, 22:29) Like (8) Dislike (3) Reply
    The action man still got it; those crocodile tears worked like a charm, completely neutralized those opposing the bill. Stop playing with he premier- he premier is not a toy. Can’t wait for one of our calypsians to soak that verse up.

    “He premier is not a toy- stop playing with he premier.” upcoming election “gone” make a lot of big people cry; wa a ting!
  • herbsman (27/03/2018, 22:35) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
    The rememberance of today is the sad feeling of tomorrow
  • Reply (27/03/2018, 22:59) Like (15) Dislike (0) Reply
    That was cowardly of Deloris to stay away and not vote her conscience nay or yea. Just cowardly, and demonstrates lack of leadership on her part. If she truly believed in her position, she should have been woman enough to stand there like the others and cast her vote, rather than picking up her marbles, staying home, and stop playing.

    It was ok she had her opinion and voiced it, but shameful that when the time came to stand her ground, she was missing in action. I am sure the people of the 5th did not vote for her to walk away when the heat was on.

    As for Mitch, even with the reported amendments that apparently convinced other who were reportedly NO, he still voted against the bill. Just what is his issue? What solutions he and Frasier has for the country's recover? IMO, he has a lot to learn, and following Frasier just landed him over a steep cliff.

    As for Andrew, despite his expressed reservations, he still voted for the recovery bill because even him perhaps believed in his heart of hearts that at the end of the day, the country needed this loan guarantee if it ever stands a chance of getting back on its feet soon. I think he also recognizes that if by some chance he becomes Premier, he will need that same loan guarantee/money to do any of the things he may campaign on, and get the country back on its feet.

    Anyway, this entire debate among the populace and these politicians should be seen as democracy in action. It may have appeared noisy, but that is the way it is should work. Everyone had their say pro or con.

    I do have one question, however: What specifically changed for those members that originally reportedly were against the bill to have gone from a No to a Yes? This inquiring mind wants to know.
    • @Reply (28/03/2018, 10:17) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
      The composition of the board. The persons who voted no wanted equal representation on the board so that the UK could not control all construction jobs, procurement matters etc. (and the BVI construction industry suffers to outsiders). It was their big issue. The amendments should give the Premier and Cabinet more in put on the composition of the board which governs the agency. Once some of these matters were settled, the objectors got more comfortable.
  • Stripped (27/03/2018, 23:09) Like (3) Dislike (3) Reply
    Thanks to God almighty Delores you could do better really from east end long look and Turnbull to head strong but God knows best for the ppl Fraser your power struck no vote never premier for you lets pray to God and move forward

  • Phoenix (27/03/2018, 23:28) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    What had to be given away to those self serving reps who've pretended to have the screaming mimis about oversight for weeks in order to get their votes? For almost seven months, I've thought I was watching the Premier and Mins. Vanterpool & Pickering drop a lot of balls in this 'recovery process'. Now I'm wondering why I never noticed that they were the only ones juggling and it was just too many balls- instead of helping, Fraser, most of the VIP and several of the NDP worked to actively bat those balls out of the air.....why? What was their endgame? It didn't look like the welfare of the Territory was an issue for some of them.
    Well done to the Hon Mssrs Smith, Vanterpool, Pickering and (yes) Fahie. Thank you.

    To my fellow citizens- We elected our representatives to do a job. While we cannot be consulted about every decision. it is our duty as citizens to demand transparency, especially fiscal transparency from our government. Our recovery depends on it. We all have work to do.
  • NezRez (27/03/2018, 23:47) Like (5) Dislike (1) Reply
    With so much pressure on our government, let’s hope everything turns out right this time. No more lining your pockets, but using the money for which it is intended to do, OUR RECOVERY! Let’s all wait and see. I have to say much success now because the government success is our success. Let’s now all work to get our country back in shape and no more quarreling. I love my homeland.
  • See (28/03/2018, 00:03) Like (18) Dislike (0) Reply
    Hon Christopher .... a joke . The recovery bill had to pass and the oversight had to be a part of it . Let none of ever forget why before we celebrate too loud . Millions overrun on hospital , Pier Park unaccounted tens of millions , a 7.2 million dollar airline that doesnt fly , a bogus high school wall for 1.5 mil ... and pathetic road and sewage projects wasting many millions as the amateur contractors flail away as they cash in. Yes we need the loan but God help us if there is corruption this time. Question will be ... does the UK have the guts to keep the pedal down ?
  • East Man. (28/03/2018, 01:49) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    I am trying to convince myself that:
    1. The necessary amendments were made to the documents.
    2. All of the documents were seen by every member of the house.
    If the above isn't the case and the initial concerns were true, then we better brace our grand children for this one.
    Over and out.
  • Forbidden Truth (28/03/2018, 03:32) Like (48) Dislike (3) Reply
    Ok. They are still a corrupt gang. And Road Town will still be filthy and ghetto looking. East End Long Look Greenland also.
  • Toby (28/03/2018, 05:11) Like (24) Dislike (3) Reply
    Humans always need comfort. The generation that believed in patience and steadiness is gone. NOTHING LIKE S TIMELY DEVASTATING HURRICANES TO KILL ALL THE INDEPENDENCE TALK WE HAD. We going to learn.
  • Democracy (28/03/2018, 05:43) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    at work. The votes have been cast. This needs to be written about and revisited, the Most High willing, 10 - 15 years from this date. Our future vision is on its way to be recreated and with time we shall reap its fruits, for good or for worse.
  • The Pitcher (28/03/2018, 06:25) Like (6) Dislike (1) Reply
    Have you ever played a baseball game , where after one or two of your mstes were striked out and you critersed your them and feel you could do better against the opposition pitcher but when it was your time to bat reality kicks in and you realized that hitting looked a lot easier to from the dugout? The truth those who opposed this bill knew that we had no other way out and was just making noise. When it comes to voting time some changed their mind, others decided that they would go down in a blaze of glory while we had the cowardly act of being absent.. The problem is none of those who opposed the bill, offered another alternative other than the colonalism saga. The young member is playing a serious game with his office. He will soon learn that a tree must "first grow roots before it bears fruit". One argument that caught my attention was that our children and beyond will have to pay back this loan but you see that is why we are here. We have thrown too many things in their laps for free from the time they were born thus they have not learnt to be responsible or aaccountable. It is what it is lets move forward. The vote has been cast.
    • Ning (28/03/2018, 08:22) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
      When you have gambled away all your money and lost the only place left to borrow from is the LOAN SHARK.
  • Disrespectful (28/03/2018, 08:16) Like (15) Dislike (8) Reply
    • not so fast (28/03/2018, 09:15) Like (8) Dislike (2) Reply
      @Distepectful. We do not know which side of history this whole situation may fall. Hold you judgment for stories yet untold.
    • @Disrepectful (28/03/2018, 09:25) Like (12) Dislike (2) Reply
      At least he stood for what he believed and is not being strung along.
  • Interested (28/03/2018, 08:54) Like (5) Dislike (1) Reply
    The people of the second district will decide what they will do about their rep.Hopefully he consulted with them regarding his stance before making his decision. I know what I would do if I were in the second.I am in the third and I know what to do.
    • chad (28/03/2018, 09:50) Like (4) Dislike (1) Reply
      Consulted with them? His district is one of the top tourist destinations and still looks like Irma hit them yesterday, yet he voted against the recovery funding but offered no ideas on how the rebuild of his district will take place. His constituents would be stupid to encourage him to vote against recovery funding knowing that the alternative would be to look like little Haiti for another year or two while businesses close down.
  • Normalcy (28/03/2018, 08:59) Like (3) Dislike (3) Reply
    Dr. Smith came off the ropes and scored a TKO. Guy is not as soft as I thought. He has guts. But...we will see how this all pans out. If it pans out good, Mitch might as well jump off the ship.
  • No winner as yet (28/03/2018, 09:56) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    It is now up to the UK to give the BVI our blessing to this recovery plan. I wonder if our articulated member from the 1st didn't say yes,how would the comments have been?

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