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Premier’s UK trip was uninvited; cost taxpayers $43,000

A recent trip to the United Kingdom (UK) by Premier and Minister of Finance, Dr the Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL) and Opposition Leader, Honourable Andrew A. Fahie (R1) cost tax payers $43,000. Photo: VINO/File
The Premier was at the time responding to Third District Representative in the HoA, Honourable Julian Fraser RA, to a question posed to him in the HoA. Photo: VINO/File
The Premier was at the time responding to Third District Representative in the HoA, Honourable Julian Fraser RA, to a question posed to him in the HoA. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – A recent trip to the United Kingdom (UK) by Premier and Minister of Finance, Dr the Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL) and Opposition Leader, Honourable Andrew A. Fahie (R1) cost tax payers $43,000.

Dr Smith made the disclosure on July 24, 2018 when the House of Assembly (HoA) met. The Premier further disclosed that he was not invited to the UK but rather made the trip off his own volition.   

Lobby

He explained that the initiative was taken to head to London, “to lobby against the passage of an amendment to the UK Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill for the imposition, by Order in Council, of a public register of beneficial ownership on the British Virgin Islands and other Overseas Territories.”

The Premier was at the time, responding to a question posed in the HoA, from Third District Representative, Honourable Julian Fraser RA.

Asked about the inclusion of Hon Fahie in the delegation, the Premier told members of the House, “I invited the Honourable Leader of the Opposition to accompany me.”

He explained, “…the amendment has grave and unjust implications for this Territory and we had to make every possible effort, including a unified lobby by the Government and the Opposition to prevent the passage of the amendment.”

Valiant Effort

Dr Smith said while in London, the delegation met with a number of persons including the Minister for the Overseas Territories, members of the House of Lords, consultants, legal advisers and the Cayman Islands delegation led by their Honourable Premier who had similarly travelled to London to lobby against the passage of the Bill. 

“We made a valiant effort but the tide was against the Overseas Territories…The Bill including the amendment was passed and received the Royal Assent on 23 May, 2018.”

Hon Fahie who is also the Chairman of the Opposition Virgin Islands Party (VIP) had noted ahead of the trip that “the matter transcends politics and political parties and it’s a BVI matter and larger than any individual, I put aside all political differences on the home front and engage in possible solutions…”

The delegation had travelled to the UK from May 14, 2018 to Saturday, May 19, 2018.

Acting Permanent Secretary in the Premier's Office, Ms Dawn J. Smith, had also accompanied the VI’s delegation.

12 Responses to “Premier’s UK trip was uninvited; cost taxpayers $43,000 ”

  • qc (28/07/2018, 11:28) Like (7) Dislike (2) Reply
    much to do about nothing
  • biker (28/07/2018, 12:33) Like (12) Dislike (26) Reply
    Hopefully the accountant general will deduct $43,000 from the Premier's annual salary for his failed trip to London in mid-May 2018.
  • Just my 3cents (28/07/2018, 13:41) Like (24) Dislike (8) Reply
    Julian Fraser go rest your self the trip was for a good cause
  • voter (28/07/2018, 13:59) Like (12) Dislike (23) Reply
    It would have been a success if Andrew was the premier! but how long? not long!
  • WOWW (28/07/2018, 14:06) Like (19) Dislike (2) Reply
    If Julian think people retard to vote him in as the next premier he’s retard. Yall know he formed a party and the name is sunflower.
  • RealPol (28/07/2018, 15:55) Like (4) Dislike (1) Reply
    It was good tactical move by the Premier and Leader of the Opposition as a unit to journey to lobby against the amendment to the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill that required OTs to established a register of beneficial ownership. The registers has the potential to disrupt and adversely impact the financial industry; financial services generates approx 60% of government revenue. Decline in the financial services industry can have term effect on the BVI growth and development. $43K was a small investment to try to derail a misguided bill. Where was D-3 rep going with the questioning? The Premier has made some head scratching decisions; he surely can be blame for some decisions he made and some decisions that he didn’t make but should have. Nonetheless, this trip to the UK was a good decision.

    Further, ever since the Governor stripped D-3 Rep of the Leader of the Opposition position Fraser left the VIP. He would have more credibility if he had instantaneously quit but he lacked the professional courtesy to do so. The D-3 rep led the VIP in the 2015 general election and was slaughtered at the polls 11-2. Now the D-3 rep is supposedly forming a new party. What is the name of the party?
  • Rick (29/07/2018, 01:19) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Tell us how much the Asia trip cost tax payers. That one looks like a vacation on taxpayers. At least the UK trip was in the people's interest.
  • Eagle Eye (29/07/2018, 04:40) Like (4) Dislike (2) Reply
    7.2 million plus 43000 and we driving in countless pot holes
  • Charley Rose (29/07/2018, 06:47) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    I am very surprised at the District three representative attitude. He should have the common understanding to know that the territory is on the verge of a possible financial crisis and the Hon. Premier made a very tactical move by inviting the leader of the opposition to accompany him to go to London in a united front to lobby the British Government to make some changes to the imposition of the measure of revealing the names of the beneficial owners of financial accounts in the Financial Services.
    The leader of the Opposition must be commended for putting aside political differences and look for the good of the territory. Hon. Fahie was looking for the territory and not for political points. Hon. Fraser, you better look out or your chances at the poll will be lost and it will be the end of your political career.
  • Curious (29/07/2018, 13:47) Like (36) Dislike (2) Reply

    How does a 5 day visit to the U.K. cost 43k? Two roundtrio flights, two hotel rooms and meals! Are you serious.

    • @ curious (30/07/2018, 00:26) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
      So u think he stayed at motel 6, rented a lil rags and ate McDonald’s????
      U need to get serious.
  • 1 (30/07/2018, 00:05) Like (13) Dislike (0) Reply
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