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Public consultations for UK/VI relationship for “coming weeks”- Premier

- Successfully negotiates for more time to assess Territory’s "financial condition"
Premier Smith speaking to the media this morning. Photo: Reuben Stoby/VINO
Some of the persons in attendance at the Premier's press briefing. Photo: Reuben Stoby/VINO
Some of the persons in attendance at the Premier's press briefing. Photo: Reuben Stoby/VINO
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI - Premier Dr. D. Orlando Smith has said he has been able to successfully negotiate for more time to assess the Territory’s financial condition and to have the public’s input on the soon to be published White Paper on the UK/Overseas Territories relationships.

Dr. Smith made the announcement at a press briefing today November 29, 2011 at the Office of the Premier’s Conference Room on his recent trip to the United Kingdom for the Overseas Territories Consultative Council meeting.

“I am happy that I was able to successfully negotiate for more time to assess the Territory’s financial condition and to put forward an effective strategy to restore previous fiscal balance and responsibility. I am pleased that Mr. (Henry) Bellingham was receptive to our concerns and expressed how much his Government desired for constructive engagement with these Virgin Islands.”

According to the Premier 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.

“Ladies and gentlemen this is the United Kingdom Government’s way of calling on the Government of the Virgin Islands to commit to being more fiscally responsible. Ladies and gentlemen we did not sign the document nor did the United Kingdom Government attempt to force us to sign it.”

“I thought it was important to remind Mr. 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 added.

He also said the Framework for Fiscal Responsibility, which is an evolution of the borrowing guidelines, was clearly proposed by the United Kingdom based on the performance of the previous administration. “We made it clear that we were not prepared to just pick up from where the previous administration left off but rather to decide on the best way forward to economic viability.”

Question on what were the UK Government’s comments on the previous administration’s handling of the Territory’s finances, Dr. Smith replied that Mr. Bellingham did say that the Territory “was not in the best fiscal position” but there were no further discussion on how the Government managed the country.

The Premier noted that representatives from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) are expected to visit in January “to discuss the various options in moving forward quickly”.

Consultations for "white paper" input

Dr. Smith further stated that United Kingdom’s plans to publish the new White Paper on future relations with the United Kingdom and the Overseas Territories were also discussed and that he again indicated that the BVI would require more time to carry out consultations with the public and public service on the UK/BVI relationship for input in the forthcoming White Paper.

“In the coming weeks, therefore, we would be consulting with the public on the BVI/UK relationship to feed into the White Paper. We would also be consulting with the Ministries, Departments, and Statutory bodies of Government. Please speak frankly about the direction that you would like to see our relationship with the United Kingdom go as we seek to further define our relationship with the UK Government."

According to the Wikipedia Encyclopaedia, A white paper is an authoritative report or guide that helps solve a problem. White papers are used to educate readers and help people make decisions and are often requested and used in politics, policy, business, and technical fields. In the Commonwealth of Nations, "white paper" is an informal name for a parliamentary paper enunciating government policy; in the United Kingdom these are mostly issued as “command papers”.

White papers are issued by the government and lay out policy, or proposed action, on a topic of current concern. Although a white paper may on occasion be a consultation as to the details of new legislation, it does signify a clear intention on the part of a government to pass new law.

Honourable Smith’s delegation to the UK included Financial Secretary Neil Smith; Assistant Secretary for External Affairs in the Premier’s Office Najan Christopher; elected representative for the eighth district Marlon Penn; advisor Lorna Smith, OBE, and from the BVI London Office, Director Kedrick Malone and Political Analyst Benito Wheatley.

22 Responses to “Public consultations for UK/VI relationship for “coming weeks”- Premier ”

  • billy b (29/11/2011, 11:55) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Good going Doc, keep us informed and involved, this will earn you another 12 years in office. Make some appearances on local television also, that's a plus
    • UK Student (29/11/2011, 13:22) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Now you see I could have told you so...with no A-team in London like Dancia, Ralph and Frazer we came back with an empty bag..begging for more time!!!!! No one to engage the UK in Proper negotiation....not one agreement signed...but how come they did not tell the people that the UK warn them not to touch the biwater contract or else????
    • last (29/11/2011, 15:10) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      12 years they will be lucky if dem last 12 months....the bump shell is coming
  • ??? (29/11/2011, 11:57) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    alvera, weh u at????
    • Bell Vue (29/11/2011, 13:24) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Where she will be for the next four years…in her kitchen cooking to sell!!!
      • where you ask? (29/11/2011, 23:50) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        do not worry about where she is where is orma hodge/ me see he driving some old run down pickup
  • insider (29/11/2011, 12:04) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Ok, Ok so let’s peel off the Lorna written spin...in other words, they did not accomplish a damm thing! I am not surprise..but NOW trying to blame the VIP….it’s going to be a long four years....WELL SAH, MEY BOY!
    • ??? (29/11/2011, 12:30) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      So what if she right his speech, that's why God took a rib out of Adam to make a woman; because He saw that man needed a helper. As long as she keep her place, me ain got no problem wid that. Furthermore, I don't think doc purchased his education, he earned it; how far Lorna reach, no where, jus piggy-back riding off he
      • --- (29/11/2011, 14:37) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        Lorna worked with the former chief minister Mr. Stoutt and she has acquired some experience under her belt working in the Cheif Minister's Office so she's not piggy backing she know what she's doing.
        • ??? (29/11/2011, 18:33) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
          Piggy-back riding got her the job with the former chief minister in the first place
    • Crank Shaft (29/11/2011, 12:59) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Nice try!! The UK had a document drawn up and ready for BVI to sign!!! This document would've meant us having to submit our budget to the UK two months for pre-approval! Doc did NOT sign it but rather told them we can handle ourselves! That in my opinion is 'SOMETHING'! Now, they will have to further prove to the UK reps, upon their visit to BVI next year, that they have a proper fiscal plan to take the BVI forward! The real test will be to see if after putting forward their plans, whether the UK will have faith in this Government and withdraw their proposal to have our budget reviewed by them!!! Doc didn't plan this trip to the UK. It was a mandated trip, attended by all OTC leaders. Stop acting as though BVI Government set up this meeting for a particular purpose. It was a general meeting that had to be attended by all leaders of OTCs, not just BVI. However, not all OTCs were required to have their budgets submitted. Obviously, UK were concerned with the way the last Government was running our affairs! Furthermore, as a local and a person involved with business, it's damn well shameful that to date I haven't seen, nor has anyone else in the public, copies of our financial standing from 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011! That is SHAMEFUL!! God bless Doc that we will soon know what our true standing is!!! Until you all snap out of ignorance and jealousy, you will continue down the hole you have dug for yourselves!! GOOD JOB DOC AND TEAM!!! Can you imagine Ralph, Fraser and Dancia in the UK? What could they tell the UK about fiscal responsibility after wasting our money? Schuups!!
      • billy b (29/11/2011, 18:43) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        Yes crankshaft, leh we do dis ting and keep dem in check. They feel if they lie long enough and often enough, people will believe their lies. Heck, they themselves will believe their lies. Doc asked for more time to halt the UK from pinning us down under their financial microscope (A PLACE WHERE VIP LED US). WE TRUST DOC TO PULL US FROM UNDER THAT MICROSCOPE and regain our financial indenpendence BAM, BAM, BAM tek dat!!! UK STUDENT
        • tom jones (29/11/2011, 23:26) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
          fools the election is over and people are regretting the elections results already...plus the damm thing was rigged anyway...
  • critic (29/11/2011, 14:50) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    that team only went up there to buy time...waste of money...they could've done that over the phone
    • Crank Shaft (29/11/2011, 15:04) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      VIP loyalist! The UK invited the BVI, as well as other BOT's and you know it! Cut the crap!
      • who goes there (29/11/2011, 15:25) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        is the vip loyalist still the dude wife??she stop blog because them in now..he he ha ha
  • critic (29/11/2011, 14:54) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    its best we had make mark premier because its like only he getting things done
  • BREAKING NEWS (29/11/2011, 16:27) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    @ UK Student @ last @ ??? @ Bell Vue @ crtic (former VIP Loyalist)...Election is over, NDP WON. We the people didn't want Dancia, Ralf of Frazer representing us so go suck an egg....lol
    • stop election is over (29/11/2011, 18:32) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      funny minister wid some much work to be done where dey hell you get time from to always be on here wid deeds selly comments? bouy, go hug a tree or jump off dey new hospital roof for godsake!!!!!!!
  • Quiet Storm (30/11/2011, 00:23) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Governing is challenging and it is often easier from the sideline or from the outside. Campaigning is always easier than governing, for one is not burdened or accountable for the difficult decision. The NDP chastised the VIP for blaming it for the paucity of the treasury and the general condition of the territory. Now, the NDP is doing the same thing, blaming the VIP for the poor financial condition of the territory. True, the territory may have financial challenges. But the NDP was aware of the challenges; they campaign on them. Nevertheless, stop the blame game and get on with the business of solving the problem, for point fingers will not fix the problem. It may bring some sympathy yet not solve the problem. During the campaign, the NDP opined that they knew problems and had the solutions. So it is time to put up. Just in case you think I'm bashing the NDP---I'm. But I'm an equal opportunity basher. The VIP was in power with an 11-2 majority and due to greed, in fighting, and ego was able to successful engineer their demise. Amazing! The Premier bought sometime time in signing the budget submission to the UK. But that all it was. Requiring submitting the budget was not a spur of the moment decision; it was well thought out. The UK do not want to be seen as taking sides in a local political fight. Further, they knew that territory's election was eminent and would not have forced the issue just before an election if they were not intended in following through. The UK will meet with us but do not be surprised if they hold the line. Mature and seasoned governments do not decide to do something and change because a few people complain; it makes themselves look weak and not to be taken seriously.
  • go nothing for the people (01/12/2011, 01:27) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    ok so he got nothing after taking five people with him and a trip that cost over $50.00 G....oh just more time..loosers


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