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‘Too many lies from Premier Smith’- Hon Fraser

- said he voted against the Bill ‘Virgin Islands Recovery and Development Agency because the Premier is acting based on his advisors & not in the interest of the VI people
Opposition Member and Third District Representative Hon Julian Fraser RA held his initial position and voted ‘no’ to the Bill ‘Virgin Islands Recovery and Development Agency Act 2018 on March 27, 2018. Photo: VINO/File
Premier and Minister of Finance Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL), in photo, has acted based on the interest of his advisors, and not in the interest of the people who elected him, according to Third District Representative Hon Julian Fraser RA. Photo: VINO/File
Premier and Minister of Finance Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL), in photo, has acted based on the interest of his advisors, and not in the interest of the people who elected him, according to Third District Representative Hon Julian Fraser RA. Photo: VINO/File
Third District Representative Hon Julian Fraser RA has opined that the Virgin Islands Recovery and Development Agency Act 2018, if assented to, will be a law that is not intended to serve those who need help most following the devastation of hurricanes Irma and Maria in September 2017. Photo: VINO/File
Third District Representative Hon Julian Fraser RA has opined that the Virgin Islands Recovery and Development Agency Act 2018, if assented to, will be a law that is not intended to serve those who need help most following the devastation of hurricanes Irma and Maria in September 2017. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- After many legislators, including Leader of the Opposition Honourable Andrew A. Fahie (R1), had initially opposed the Bill ‘Virgin Islands Recovery and Development Agency Act 2018’ but then voted ‘yes’ to the bill following amendments, many wondered why Opposition Member and Third District Representative Hon Julian Fraser RA held his initial position and voted ‘no’.

Hon Fraser and Second District Representative Hon Melvin M. Turnbull were the only two legislators to vote against the Bill while Fifth District Representative Hon Delores Christopher was the lone member absent. The Bill received a 10-2 vote with one absent.

Too many lies

In a statement today, March 29, 2018, Hon Fraser said his vote was based on the fact that he can now say without a shadow of doubt, that the constant arguments made by the Premier and Minister of Finance Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL) that the United Kingdom (UK) Government had insisted upon the establishment of an Agency was a lie. “Because it was the Premier who offered up to the UK this Agency with all the conditions, conditions to which myself and many in his own government objected to. Evidence of this fact came to me moments before the vote was taken.”

Hon Fraser added that the chronology of events satisfies his earlier opinions that the Premier has acted based on the interest of his advisors, and not in the interest of the people who elected him.

Consequently, Hon Fraser opined, we now have a law that is not intended to serve those who need help most.

“If I was to use a Quote from the letter of November 8th, from the Great House which states: ‘Over the last month, I have met with Governor Jaspert, Premier Smith, Dr Pickering, Caribbean Heads of State, Representatives from Inter-American Development Bank, the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.’ And follow it with what the Premier is communicating days later: ‘Discussions are already underway with Caribbean Development Bank to secure a rapid recovery loan and a policy based loan.’ And with the Premier further expressing a desire to tap into capital markets, and the European Commission. You will see the bias towards International Borrowing. Nowhere does our Local Lending Institutions feature.”

More lies from Dr Smith?

Hon Fraser explained that he opposed the unilateral focusing on International Borrowing for reasons of “onerous terms and conditions” which eventually serves to reduce the actual amount of proceeds going into the project for which funds are borrowed. “Also, the procurement requirements which often mandates foreign competition, as opposed to borrowing locally where such is not the case. And besides, you will be investing locally.”

The Opposition Member remarked that he can now say, without fear of contradiction, that the Premier lied on Thursday, March 22, 2018, in the House of Assembly when he was asked what had transpired since reaching out to the Social Security Board (SSB) and local banks as possible sources of funding.

“…and he said he had gotten no response, not even from the SSB, that I don’t believe him. This I can say based on information I became aware of moments before the vote was taken.”

Of course, we need money!

Hon Fraser continued that no one opposing the Bill was under the illusion that the Government of the VI doesn’t need to borrow money and substantial sums at that.

“What we oppose is the fact that these funds can be obtained locally and the Premier chose to go International, and subject the territory to unnecessary restrictions, and obligations. The UK has already acknowledged borrowing from the SSB when in a statement, it says: ‘Her Majesty Government recognises that the SSB can play a key role in the development of the BVI economy by investing in Government and Parastatal Capital Expenditure Projects. This is set out in the SSB’s Statement of Investment Policy and Guidelines which targets 20-30% of its Pension Fund to be invested in such socio-economic loans.”

Consequently, Hon Fraser stated, the VI and UK Governments agree that Government and its Parastatals shall be able to undertake borrowing from the SSB up to a total value of 30% of the SSB Pension Fund without the +need for explicit UK approvals”.

“The last update I got showed that the SSB’s Pension Fund was at $632 million, which means the Government can borrow up to $190 million, minus any previous outstanding amounts. That by any standard is a lot of money. Currently, the Development Plan indicates that loans will amount to $221 million.”

The veteran legislator said his argument is that a combination of local institutions can easily reach this goal. “Borrowing Locally is a local investment. It adds to GDP, creates jobs, and serves to grow our economy. Borrowing Internationally takes money out of the country in the form of Loan Fees, Interest, and the stipulations to include International entities.”

Not all documents were released

Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Hon Fahie had said that Premier Smith had “caved” and released ‘essential documents’ to Members prior to the vote on the recovery agency bill.

This, however, was refuted by Hon Fraser, the former Opposition Leader.

“For the record, he did not release any documents based on any prior request. The document obtained from the Premier pertaining to this Bill was a document he used in his Presentation of the Bill and was forced to share it when I intervened on a Point of Order mandating that he share the Document. No other Document was given to satisfy any concerns members had.”

Hon Turnbull a man of ‘courage & conviction’

Hon Fraser also had some words of encouragement for Hon Turnbull and Hon Christopher, who both opposed the Bill, although Hon Christopher was not present at the time of the vote.

Hon Turnbull has been labelled as brave and principled by some while others have criticised him for his decision.

But, according to Hon Fraser, he owes a great deal of respect to the Hon Turnbull “for his courage and conviction.”

“For there’s a young man you can go to battle with and not have to worry about where he stands. Also 5th District Representative Hon Delores Christopher, who has gained the respect of many in the territory for her love of country and willingness to fight for its people, I owe her my respect as well.”

24 Responses to “‘Too many lies from Premier Smith’- Hon Fraser”

  • too quiet (29/03/2018, 11:45) Like (9) Dislike (9) Reply
    and a big deceiver; that's what has been discovered during the entire process of the last exercise, and the public is being played all around.
  • good (29/03/2018, 12:06) Like (7) Dislike (4) Reply
    Again I say, stay true to yourself Hon. Fraser. This is the long and short of it all. We will look back at our history 10 - 15yrs from now, the Most High willing, and reflect on what type of fruits have been sown to reap. Let's move on.
    • Fran (30/03/2018, 10:52) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
      @ good, yes, and in 10 to 15 years from now, all of the ones in office now will be too old to be in it and will be replaced by the younger ones who have a new and better vision for us.
  • Hmmm (29/03/2018, 12:17) Like (16) Dislike (16) Reply
    More and more I see why the VIP didn't vote this man back as Head of the VIP. He's for self.
  • okay (29/03/2018, 12:18) Like (13) Dislike (7) Reply
    I didn't realise that Fraser was still around.
  • fact (29/03/2018, 12:18) Like (8) Dislike (7) Reply
    This man cannot be trusted. Next...
  • Frankly (29/03/2018, 12:20) Like (11) Dislike (8) Reply
    No one really cares whether Fraser voted or not because he's just trying to stay relevant in politics.
  • ... (29/03/2018, 12:26) Like (11) Dislike (13) Reply
    well said Fraser
  • Bill B. (29/03/2018, 12:28) Like (19) Dislike (5) Reply
    I dont know if they realize yet but Dr Smith caught all of them sleeping. Irma gave him a clean slate and chance to whip his govt into shape. No more wild spending and doing what they want, now there are rules in place abd they have no choice but to follow them. When we thought he was sleeping he was plotting. Who sleeping now.
    • @Bill B (29/03/2018, 15:36) Like (12) Dislike (9) Reply

      Irma caught all of you sleeping because she left you all with so much dust in your eyes that you cant tell fact from fiction. He and his wife selling everything from under you all. Politicians let you all see and know what they want but they wouldnt tell you all about the back door deals they making with China when L**((( over here in the Cayman

      • Lee chee (29/03/2018, 23:12) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
        Why dont you tell us then since you know? Everybodu got a story.
  • Hmmm (29/03/2018, 12:39) Like (19) Dislike (18) Reply
    All politicians lie but I have more trust in the doc than in Fraser
  • Democracy at work (29/03/2018, 12:41) Like (15) Dislike (1) Reply
    Having a few members vote "No" is a good thing for Democracy to work effectively. Everyone expected the bill to pass once the amendments were addressed. The few No's keep the ruling party in-line, particularly when that ruling party is suspected and questionable to their actions. Democracy should not be a cake walk for a ruling party, even now, with a 10-2 result, we are witnessing the boastfulness of our leader for his victory, imagine if he had gotten a full count, just imagine the reaction of it all.
  • thank you fraser (29/03/2018, 12:52) Like (10) Dislike (9) Reply
    Thank you for the insight honourable Fraser. Listen, Andrew done lost my vote. Shame.
  • LOL (29/03/2018, 12:55) Like (11) Dislike (3) Reply
    A man of courage and conviction whose district looks like it has been bombed by air strikers 6 months after the fact. Both Mitch and the Premier are listening to their advisors so whats the problem. The BVI people have been crying for accountability for the past 15yrs and now its a bad thing to have oversight for the rebuild.
  • BRAD BOYNES (29/03/2018, 13:50) Like (15) Dislike (0) Reply
    To any politician or representative.....Tell a lie once and ALL your truths become questionable no matter the mayo sauce you put on it.
  • Me Me (29/03/2018, 14:05) Like (16) Dislike (9) Reply
    All because you don't get your way Fraser life goes on country before self
  • weed (29/03/2018, 14:14) Like (8) Dislike (10) Reply
    we need fraser to run the country but...
    • tola (29/03/2018, 16:03) Like (2) Dislike (2) Reply
      It seem as if the name you using is what you been smoking from talking crap.
  • tola (29/03/2018, 16:02) Like (7) Dislike (4) Reply
    I don't want see or hear from Fraser strupes
  • Just Woke (29/03/2018, 17:15) Like (6) Dislike (6) Reply
    What were there reasons for voting no and what did they proposed to help us out of this disaster? Yes is the correct and responsible vote...
  • NezRez (29/03/2018, 19:29) Like (9) Dislike (1) Reply
    And now, since they have had their childish temper tantrums and name calling, let’s start rebuilding our islands. It’s a DONE DEAL!
  • Blind (30/03/2018, 02:24) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    That country getting worst and worst. Most of its inhabitants seem to be blinded by the truth. They mussy putting something special in the water again. After Fraser raised his point and shed light on the fact that the funds could have been sourced locally with millions from the social security board alone, these people on here still asking what is Fraser's solution? After Fraser mentioned that sourcing funds locally would probably help to create more jobs. After he stated that the money been sitting there in social security whilst these politicians chose to increase its outside debts, these people still blind to facts and asking for Fraser's solution? Now if the premier was smart, he would say yes the country has money but it would be cheaper and less risky to pay back a loan in instalments, using the territory's local funds or assets as a security to fall back on rather than to grab a chunk of the territory's local funds and leave ANOTHER big hole in the territory's pocket. I agree that the UK SHOULD DEFINITELY have oversight of the territory's finances as long as O*lan** is premier although really and truly they were ONLY meant to have oversight of the national security of the country. Look at our national security though. Nothing compared to the UK's network. But when you have such an incompetent leader, utterly and shamefully incompetent, the UK now has to come in on other business when all that premier had to do was give up his portfolio to a competent member of his team months, even years, ago! Pride got him. But look nah, instead of giving up his portfolio to one man, he had to give it up to an agency of people, including youths who probably have more business sense...which one make him look worse I wonder!! But thats only for the finances that relate to recovery funds. Still, the rest of his financial portfolio should be given to someone else, we ain't finish that debate yet!! Ronnie still in the building?? Ronnie, some of us still looking for you! Lord lord.
  • Give it up! (30/03/2018, 02:34) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    I am happy that the Premier gave up his part of the financial portfolio that deals with recovery funds to an agency of people that also involves the UK because they are more competent than him, perhaps even the youths that will be joining the agency. However, we still have to talk about him giving up the rest of his financial portfolio. That debate is STILL alive. R*nn*e, some of us STILL looking for you! Let's go...he could give up that portfolio piece by piece or all in one go. To an agency or to one man. I don't care...as long as he GIVE IT UP!


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