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'We need help! We need external funding' - Premier Smith

- says the territory needs money in order to move swiftly with the recovery process
Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL), Premier and Minister of Finance, has hit back at critics of the UK Framework for the BVI Recovery Plan, making a strong statement that the Virgin Islands (VI) needs loans in order to move forward with its recovery. Photo: VINO/File
The controversial billboard appeared in the middle of Road Town, behind Vanterpool’s Pharmacy in the capital city on Wednesday February 28, 2018, asking Virgin Islanders not to support the UK Framework for the VI Recovery Plan. However, the billboard was removed. Photo: VINO/File
The controversial billboard appeared in the middle of Road Town, behind Vanterpool’s Pharmacy in the capital city on Wednesday February 28, 2018, asking Virgin Islanders not to support the UK Framework for the VI Recovery Plan. However, the billboard was removed. Photo: VINO/File
Honourable Julian Fraser RA, Third District Representative, (left) and Honorable Andrew A. Fahie, Opposition Leader and First District Representative, (right) have both spoken out against the Recovery and Development Plan and the United Kingdom's (UK) Framework policies. Photo: VINO/File
Honourable Julian Fraser RA, Third District Representative, (left) and Honorable Andrew A. Fahie, Opposition Leader and First District Representative, (right) have both spoken out against the Recovery and Development Plan and the United Kingdom's (UK) Framework policies. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI - There have been many residents and even some members in his own party who are against the United Kingdom's (UK) stipulated framework for the territory's recovery, following the devastating hurricanes of September 2017.

However, Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL), Premier and Minister of Finance, made a strong statement that the Virgin Islands (VI) needs loans in order to move forward with its recovery.

In a document from the UK called High Level Framework for UK support to VI hurricane recovery, the territory had to agree to a strict set of rules in order to receive money, proving that the UK did not trust the National Democratic Party (NDP) Government with handling the territory's hurricane recovery loans.

The document called for good governance and transparency from all ministries, in addition to creating a Recovery and Development Agency Board which will manage the monies received.

The many stipulations that Premier Smith signed on to, allegedly without fully discussing with all his members of Government, have drawn much criticism and condemnation. Some have accused Premier Smith of returning the Territory to a form of colonialism.

Premier Smith, hitting back at his numerous critics, during a statement on ZBVI 780 AM on Monday, March 12, 2018 emphasised that the territory cannot recover on its own.

He said, "We must not for a moment see this as a yoke around our neck because the UK will provide a guarantee for our borrowing, so that we will be able to borrow on much more favourable terms. For instance, we can borrow at an interest rate of just under one percent, compared to 3.5 percent that we would have to pay without the UK guarantee."

He continued, "Whether we borrow $100 million per annum or less will be determined by our ability to effectively spend that money, or invest that money, in our future.”

The Finance Minister explained that the $400 million guarantee from the UK is a "maximum figure", while adding that the territory might require less but has the access to the money if more is needed.

"We have lost sight of the prize"

The Premier pointed out that the discussion on borrowing loans from the UK has gone on too long and it is time to "act".

He said, "I feel at times that we have lost sight of the prize. It is now time to act! We cannot continue to look like a third-world, bombed out shell of who we were prior to September 6, 2017. The reality is that we need to get our people back to work in a comfortable and productive environment. The reality is that our residents need comfortable houses to live in, good roads to drive on, and a reliable electricity supply.”

Furthermore, he commented that the territory needs money to rebuild all the facilities to attract visitors back to the VI.

"Without investing in these amenities business will not only stagnate, but business will move elsewhere. We need help. We need external funding," he said.

Opposing views

Meanwhile, the government of the day has been receiving immense pressure from the opposition and residents, condemning the UK loan agreement.

It was Honourable Julian Fraser RA, Third District Representative during a series of public community meetings and in the House of Assembly (HoA) in which he stated that the government is "mortgaging the children's future" by seeking to borrow huge amounts of monies without a proper plan in place to ensure Virgin Islanders benefit significantly.

He also warned the VI against borrowing from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), instead advising that loans be sought from "local institutions".

In addition, a billboard was erected in Road Town behind Vanterpool Pharmacy opposing the UK framework policies.

According to the Premier in a previous statement, he stated that he does not know who was responsible or the billboard, but suggested that it could be individuals from his very own party.

Additionally, Honourable Andrew A. Fahie, Opposition Leader and First District Representative, has been speaking out againist the way in which the ruling govenment has been going about seeking input on the Recovery and Development Plan. He mentioned that he is not against borrowing and believes that the territory needs help to recover.

33 Responses to “'We need help! We need external funding' - Premier Smith”

  • Just Woke (13/03/2018, 12:37) Like (11) Dislike (7) Reply
    Doc You are such a good man. You need good and honest help in your party. Find away to get Marlon and Alvera as Ministers. The Country need help I agree. Your party need straightening out and get serious... These are serious times Doc, get serious, put your house in order by the hook or by the book..
    • Chief (13/03/2018, 13:10) Like (65) Dislike (0) Reply
      You were warned before and after irmaria. He had the opportunity to reshuffled his party, but he never took heed. Now he has us all on our knees. Such a nice gentleman. Politics was never for you, not a good legacy. Hang it up Chief and save what’s left of your legacy. We will still think you’re a decent person, just in the wrong profession.
      • laughable (13/03/2018, 14:21) Like (11) Dislike (0) Reply
        Ha. What legacy?
      • @_Chief...Street Reporter (13/03/2018, 17:00) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
        Chief you are so right..The premier niceness is failing him.. Shuffle should have been done long time...
    • half full (13/03/2018, 13:55) Like (7) Dislike (8) Reply
      Marlon, yes!
    • Marlon (13/03/2018, 14:04) Like (7) Dislike (2) Reply
      2 CLUELESS one .
      • @_Marlon. Why u hate him.. (13/03/2018, 16:56) Like (0) Dislike (4) Reply
        Abvious that you hate Marlon. He is a good Guy.. Here is his advantage. He is young. He is approachable. He is honest. He loves people. He will work hard. He aint no fool he will learn..
  • White Color Amnesty (13/03/2018, 12:45) Like (32) Dislike (0) Reply
    Yea we need help now. Just give back what all you done take. We the people and the royal Virgin Islands police force and the governor giving all you a spring break!!!
  • Ready for whatever (13/03/2018, 13:10) Like (16) Dislike (3) Reply
    This is the most sense I have heard from Doc in a long time. Get on with it. We cannot do what needs to be done without external monies and we must play by their rules. This is just how it goes.
  • GhostCatcher. (13/03/2018, 13:22) Like (3) Dislike (5) Reply
    Still do not trust this negro
  • NDP supporter1 (13/03/2018, 13:37) Like (21) Dislike (9) Reply
    This is becoming publicly embarrassing. The BackBenchers better ease our shame and take the helm of what is left of our party and start moving our country in the right direction.
  • Ghost (13/03/2018, 13:47) Like (17) Dislike (0) Reply
    All the money gone in ndp bank
  • 123 (13/03/2018, 13:49) Like (12) Dislike (9) Reply
    poor Orlando
  • HELP ! (13/03/2018, 14:02) Like (7) Dislike (2) Reply
    HELP !!! We need YOU gone ! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.
    • Curious (13/03/2018, 14:23) Like (12) Dislike (6) Reply
      We??? Speak for yourself! This is the man who got pressure from all over, including the UK, to lay off public servants and against the current he stood and said no way! Doc knew that had he done that when the economy was feeling the effect of the Global Financial crisis, people would've suffered greatly. To this day, he has kept his promise to not lay off folks. But wait; even after the hurricanes there was the same "lay off" talk but he is still keeping his promise. I also remember shortly after he won the election, he made an unpopular decision to build up the reserve funds and some ayo were saying why store up money when people are starving...just try to consider what would've happened if he hadn't done so. I am not saying that everything has been done perfectly, but I do trust in and believe that this good gentleman has this territory's best interest at heart.

      All those who are saying he should not take the funds, to date, have not presented a more logical and territory focused alternative. In fact, these are folks who sit comfortably in their homes at night and don't need to worry much where their next meal is coming from; yet they desire to hold the economy hostage with their political biases.
      • xman (14/03/2018, 11:59) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
        You Curious, explaining so much. Please explain the 7 million dollars the was stolen from us the people.
  • just asking? (13/03/2018, 14:06) Like (17) Dislike (0) Reply
    Is the NDP imploding before our very eyes?
  • oh boy (13/03/2018, 14:10) Like (5) Dislike (1) Reply
    Marlon is puppet . we need a strong person , to make the right decisions .
    • No (13/03/2018, 17:07) Like (1) Dislike (3) Reply

      He is not a puppet. Just because he is not foaming at the mouth like a young dumb a%% doesn't mean he is a puppet. He understands that there is a time and place for everything and everyone will never agree with everything others say/do.

  • Lawd a merci (13/03/2018, 14:14) Like (11) Dislike (1) Reply
    I hope our Premier is taking his stress pills. I could only imagine the level of stress this good man is under. Ms p warned you, now the chicken is coming home to roost.
  • Fran (13/03/2018, 15:00) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
    So the thieves thought they could take forever and we wouldn’t have days like these? They didn’t even save for a rainy day, which we are in now. I am very disappointed with all the money we had for many projects was taken to line the ones in charge pockets, now we the people must suffer the consequences. If my homeland goes bust, i am leaving and I don’t care what none of you say. This is so embarrassing.
  • Sic (13/03/2018, 15:17) Like (11) Dislike (3) Reply
    Who is "We" and what kind of "help we need". It seems like "WE" only want financial assistance (to get our hands on money) because lots of help came our way and was left on the festival grounds to rotten. So much people could have benefited from the "HELP" received but instead it went to waste. The old folks say a willful waste makes a woeful want. I am feeling the pinch, but I am almost immune to the pain now because it was so hurtful to see the waste that I am getting used to bouncing around on the roads and looking at the homes of those who are unable to help themselves, for whatever reason, remain in a dilapidated state. For example, can anyone could tell me why that pink house on the opposite side of the Sunday Morning Well (where a not so well lady and her son live) could not have been repaired with some of that donated material. That house has no roof, but the lady is there every day, God knows where she lives.
  • WilfordX (13/03/2018, 15:48) Like (9) Dislike (1) Reply
    Premier you need to come clean, call names and give the UK police the information you have. Your good name will save you.
  • lord o. (13/03/2018, 17:05) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
    Doc is now serious. Wow. They get Doc Angry. Soon we will see a shuffle. Doc ain't playing no more..Doc is now the leader we expect him to be.. Shuffle on its way.. Watch..
  • tola (13/03/2018, 17:36) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
  • Observer (13/03/2018, 19:15) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    The BVI needs all the help it can get. That is fact. I'm actually pleased to hear that he speaks of getting people in comfortable housing and good roads to drive on. The problem comes in where people just won't forget the financial management of the past few years (Pier Park, Brandywine Bay etc.). I still to this day cannot comprehend how there is no substantial financial audit of the Gov't figures. A simple revenue/expenditure report would go a loooong way in getting the public and backbenchers...heck everybody on board.
  • Well (13/03/2018, 20:11) Like (4) Dislike (1) Reply
    I guess independence is far off the table now with our gov’t leader here crying for help, that doesn’t help.
  • Eagle and Buffalo (13/03/2018, 23:45) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    It has been 6 months since Hurricane Irmaria decimated the BVI. However, though some progress have been made around the margins, the core is still hollow and needs to be filled in. The territory still looks like a bombed out war zone. It needs external investment( foreign direct investment) to fill in the hollow core to recover from the ravaging damages. The external investment will be through either grants or loans. Nonetheless, borrowing seems like the most probable means of funding the recovery.

    The UK provided ÂŁ10M ($13M) in grants and ÂŁ300M ($403M) in loan guarantees with some strict terms and conditions. The terms and conditions have unleashed a robust and raging debate on accepting the terms and conditions. Some feel that the terms and conditions rekindle the embers of colonialism, imperialism and neocolonialism. However, the realIty is that government made a universal decision to agree to the terms and conditions without the opportunity for a strong debate and approval in the HOA.

    Nonetheless, whether it is the UK guaranteed loans or other loans, money still needs to be borrowed to invest on the recovery. The territory’s progress/recovery is being held in the balance. It is time to decide on a course of action in regards to borrowing. Lets get ah dun? Residents need to see and feel some action and energy on the road to recovery.

    Let’s lead like eagles, not careen off the cliff like buffaloes.
  • Strupes (14/03/2018, 06:45) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    We wouldnt need external funding if ayo had spend the peoples money right
  • External funding?? (14/03/2018, 15:30) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
    So you and your team could steal it!!!!

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