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Premier Smith being disingenuous on Global Water – Hon Julian Fraser RA

- said Premier playing blame game & is being ill advised
Leader of the Opposition and Chairman of the Virgin Islands Party (VIP) Honourable Julian Fraser RA has slammed Premier Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith for his comments on Global Water suing the Government because of the VIP allegedly failing to meet its obligations under the terms of a 2006 agreement. Photo: VINO/File/Stephen S. McMaster
On February 18, 2010 BiWater signed a Water Purchase Agreement with Government to produce 2.3 million gallons of water per day, and it included several non fee paid components among which was the Sewage Treatment Plant at Burt Point, which is fully functional and represents the first time in history sewage in metropolitan Road Town and surrounds has ever been treated, he said. Photo: VINO/File
On February 18, 2010 BiWater signed a Water Purchase Agreement with Government to produce 2.3 million gallons of water per day, and it included several non fee paid components among which was the Sewage Treatment Plant at Burt Point, which is fully functional and represents the first time in history sewage in metropolitan Road Town and surrounds has ever been treated, he said. Photo: VINO/File
The BiWater plant in Paraquita Bay. Photo: VINO/File
The BiWater plant in Paraquita Bay. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – Leader of the Opposition and Chairman of the Virgin Islands Party (VIP) Honourable Julian Fraser RA has slammed Premier Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith for his comments on Global Water suing the Government because of the VIP allegedly failing to meet its obligations under the terms of a 2006 agreement.

In a comment to this news site on April 12, 2016, Honourable Fraser said the Premier is playing a shameless blame game and noted that his advisors must be ill-advising him on the issue.

“I will not forgive the Premier for saying things that are not correct, because he needs to reel in those who advise him. They are either giving him incorrect information or they are simply giving an impression which leads to the things he says, both of which are wrong.”

Honourable Fraser was referring to comments by the Premier in his wrap up to the 2016 Budget debate in the House of Assembly on Thursday March 31, 2016.

“The reality about Global Water is that it was not the fault of this Government that Global Water is suing. There is a relationship with Global Water which was established towards the end of the NDP Government where there were supposed to provide sewage as well. But that did not materialise when the Government changed and the contract given to BiWater. Hence Global Water has resorted to making a claim because of then then [VIP Government not honouring the contract with them," Premier Smith told the House of Assembly.

Premier disingenuous

Hon Fraser noted that it is disingenuous of the Premier to insinuate that Global Water is suing the Government because the VIP Government has failed to meet or carry out its obligations under the terms of a 2006 NDP contract for the East End/Long Look (EE/LL) Sewage Treatment Plant, “when in fact as you will see, by the time the VIP took office on August 20th 2007 the damage was already done. And neither did the VIP government give BiWater the contract to erect the same Sewage Treatment Plant contributing to the same lawsuit.”

Honourable Fraser said if Premier Smith were to check his own records, he would see that the facts are different from his accounts of this matter.

“The issue here is a $2,680,846.00 September 2006 contract the NDP Government signed with Global Water to supply and install a 250,000 gallon per day Sewage Treatment Plant, which did not include foundation work,” he said.

“On July 19, 2007, Global Water claimed an increase in cost of $800,000.00 due to increased construction costs caused by Government’s delay in delivering the site -foundation work-.”

On August 31st 2007, the Financial Secretary issued instructions to “cease any additional work on the project …….”

The Project Manager’s Report details the status of the project at that time, and informed that the project was 22 weeks delayed, he said.

Hon Fraser reminded that the general elections were not until August 20, 2007, before which the NDP was the ruling government, and that $2,144,676.80 -essentially the cost of the plant- of the contract sum had already been paid to Global Water.

“With that backdrop it is easy to see that the NDP government and Global Water were not hitting it off well, so it should come as no surprise to learn that On October 27, 2008, legal council terminated the contract on behalf of Global Water,” said Honourable Fraser.

On February 18, 2010 BiWater signed a Water Purchase Agreement with Government to produce 2.3 million gallons of water per day, and it included several non fee paid components among which was the Sewage Treatment Plant at Burt Point, which is fully functional and represents the first time in history sewage in metropolitan Road Town and surrounds has ever been treated, he said.

“It was because of this involvement in sewage, BiWater was asked to install the EE/LL Sewage Treatment Plant at Paraquita Bay at no cost, and they agreed. Keeping in mind that the contract with Global Water which included erection of the same plant was terminated by them since 2008. There is simply no truth to the statement made by the Premier on this matter,” said the Opposition Leader Hon Fraser.

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