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Governor defends Auditor General’s ‘one-sided’ Covid Assistance Grants Report

Governor John J. Rankin, CMG has swiftly come to the defense of the Auditor General, Sonia M. Webster, on her Audit Report on HoA Covid-19 Assistance Grants. Photo: GIS/File
The Audit of Covid-19 Assistance Grants made by Members of the House of Assembly (HoA) was laid in the House on July 13, 2023. Photo: VINO
The Audit of Covid-19 Assistance Grants made by Members of the House of Assembly (HoA) was laid in the House on July 13, 2023. Photo: VINO
Legislators and some members of the public may have labelled the Report by the Auditor General (AG) on Covid-19 Assistance Grants by elected members as one-sided. Photo: GIS/File
Legislators and some members of the public may have labelled the Report by the Auditor General (AG) on Covid-19 Assistance Grants by elected members as one-sided. Photo: GIS/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- Legislators and some members of the public may have labelled the Report by the Auditor General (AG), Sonia M. Webster, on Covid-19 Assistance Grants by elected members as one-sided; however, Governor John J. Rankin, CMG has swiftly come to the defense of the AG.

The Audit of Covid-19 Assistance Grants made by Members of the House of Assembly (HoA) was laid in the House on July 13, 2023. 

A total of $3,885,074 was awarded in 2,276 grants.

According to a statement from Governor Rankin today, July 14, 2023, the Audit notes that the grants enjoyed some measure of success, as they were able to assist persons in financial hardship brought on by the pandemic.

I continue to have full confidence in AG- Gov Rankin

Governor Rankin continued; however, that at the same time the Report finds that there were applicants who took advantage of the programme to obtain public funds in order to accommodate their lifestyle or otherwise obtain grants in the absence of genuine need.

“I fully support that conclusion and I once again thank the Auditor General and her team for their work. The methodology used in carrying out the Audit is set out in the report and I continue to have full confidence in the Auditor General in carrying out her independent functions under the Constitution,” Mr Rankin stated.

The Governor highlighted the Audit concludes that Grants were approved where applications were not supported by documentary evidence; There were no tracking mechanisms to prevent multiple awards to the same person; The requirement for the Financial Secretary to review and approve applications for awards in excess of $5000 wasn’t adhered to; The transparency of many payments was lost, particularly for some large sums paid directly to some applicants; And the Public Finance Management Regulations were not applied in procurement of services for District/community works.

Absence of controls

The Report, according to Mr Rankin, finds that the absence of controls in the programme led to multiple abuses and the award of public funds to ungenuine applications.

He said the primary recommendation from the Audit is that “the management of all Assistance Grants should remain within the remit of the Social Development Department. This will ensure that the needs of the most vulnerable persons are addressed and protected against abuses and unscrupulous activities”.

Mr Rankin said what is most important is that lessons are learned from this Audit, that public funds go to those in genuine need and that mechanisms are in place to prevent abuses.

“It is positive to see that the Ministry of Health and Social Development is currently consulting on a social assistance programme, and I encourage people to participate,” Governor Rankin stated.

See link to related article:

Elected Officials lambast 'inaccurate' Audit Report on Covid Assistance Grants

45 Responses to “Governor defends Auditor General’s ‘one-sided’ Covid Assistance Grants Report”

  • ——————————— (14/07/2023, 16:44) Like (7) Dislike (32) Reply
    He asked for it he has to support her old wicked man
    • Does Governor support the DPP (14/07/2023, 18:46) Like (5) Dislike (10) Reply
      Even though the DPP does whatever the Governor asks, surely even he can see that she is performing very poorly and that we need a change.
      • @Does Governor support the DPP (14/07/2023, 19:19) Like (2) Dislike (7) Reply
        Here we go again. The only people who never performs well are the Caribbean people and never the Uk people like the same Governor and Commissioner of police. Try leave the DPP alone. Put the blame where it really should be.
      • WOW (15/07/2023, 16:37) Like (10) Dislike (1) Reply
        The auditor general position is a constitutional position, same as the Premier and Deputy Premier and Minsters of government. So it is a shame when politicians and persons under investigation attack the AG for doing her job, required under the constitution.

        And the way they attack her, is by calling her reports one sided or she doesnt have the right qualifications etc.
        Her reports cannot be one sided if she asks for information, which most likely the politicians do not provide.
        IF you do NOT provide the information, that act itself speaks volumes and allows the AG to come to a "full sided" conclusion.

        To the general public, once you accept money from the public purse, you can be subject to investigation. If you do NOT want to be investigated, do not take the money (especially if you know you are NOT needy).

        Politicians, because you do not know how to do YOUR jobs, please do NOT tell the AG she does not know how to do HERS.

        She is doing EXACTLY what we need her to do, right now.
    • The Poli.Farmer (14/07/2023, 23:27) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      The majority of us do infact support the conclusion. However, the context in which some of the matters were reflected upon seems to be disingenuous as explained by members during the debate whom have to offer their reflective clarity.
  • WOW (14/07/2023, 17:19) Like (9) Dislike (22) Reply
    The issue I have with the Audit and the COI process and recommendations is that in the 21st century they did not allow for due process. These people can be sued for some of things they did, wrote, and concluded. They feel protected by the Governor because they are all part of an ongoing plot that ignores the poor stewardship and accountability of Governors and Commissioner of police. There needs to be balance.
    • @wow (14/07/2023, 19:43) Like (16) Dislike (3) Reply
      The audit is the most balanced and duest process ever. Personal shits went down with the monies of honest and hardworking taxpayers and the same shits got audited and exposed. Poor stewardship and accountability by the VIP government is not only highlighted by the audit but is also uncontested 100. We have been forward never, backwards ever and it ain’t the governor nor auditor general’s fault either.
      • to @wow (15/07/2023, 19:36) Like (0) Dislike (7) Reply
        Ok Sonia and gang. We all were taught every story has three sides, yours, the accused, and the truth. The BVI government handled covid better than even the UK as they could not do regular things to survive the worse pandemic in the last one hundred years.
  • Amazing (14/07/2023, 17:21) Like (10) Dislike (19) Reply
    The Governor has not said a word to date about the eight million dollars stolen for the BVI Airways deal but can rush to comment on this issue when in fact it is criminal for anyone to think that any government could proceed as normal during the worse pandemic in the last 100 yrs.
    • @ Amazin (15/07/2023, 04:50) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
      1. The BVI Airways preceded COVID by a long way.
      2. Granted, the pandemic presented extraordinary circumstances, but is that a reason to suspend due process, and to just open the public purse and hand out money, especially after Irma/Maria used up what little funds we had?
      • TO @ Amazin (15/07/2023, 19:33) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
        Ok Governor well the next disaster and pandemic you handle it perfectly from what the few of you are criticizing and let us see if you could stop the pressure that was on all government to avoid a social and economic collapse to individuals, economies, and businesses. Hindsight is always 20/20.
    • @ Amazing (15/07/2023, 09:58) Like (2) Dislike (5) Reply
      nothing being spoken maybe because who got our money and still no aeroplane: only our little black boys becames the targets for wrong doings. take a good look at who obtained the currency and to this today the people have no plane while the “ foreign investors” maybe sitting at a bar spending our people tax money……big difference between Black & White
  • NDP supporter (14/07/2023, 17:23) Like (7) Dislike (25) Reply
    The post of Governor needs to be an elected one so they can be held accountable to the people because they can NEVER work in the best interest of the people of the BVI, only their UK bosses.
    • @NDP Supporter (15/07/2023, 14:56) Like (8) Dislike (7) Reply
      you want to elect governor so the same crap they do there reach to his level? your uncle and auntie or mama must be in power so they can give you the free money - just put five versions of your name and submit for payment?
      • To @NDP Supporter (16/07/2023, 14:26) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        Your comment makes no sense because it assumes once you are not elected and in a high government post then automatically you will be honest and ethical. Democracy at least allows any person to be removed by the people if they are not performing as it reminds them that they are not a law unto themselves. Nearly every country which practices true democracy ensures the Governor, and other senior official posts are elected by the people.
  • my advise (14/07/2023, 17:28) Like (5) Dislike (15) Reply
    For the next pandemic or disaster which is coming, I ask whoever the government of the day is then to follow the procedures to the "T" that the Governor and Auditor General want to see and then let us see how many dead people, businesses, economy, churches, industries, and other would exist. I am not for broking rules, but this is unreasonable what the Governor and them are getting involved in. All of this to hide their shame from the international world for the lack of support received from the Governor and his UK during Covid.
  • Rubber Duck (14/07/2023, 17:35) Like (4) Dislike (7) Reply
    So what will you do Mr Rankin?

    Absolutely nothing as usual.
  • My Take (14/07/2023, 17:39) Like (7) Dislike (28) Reply
    Every time I see this man and think of he and his UK modern day slavery whip with the pending order in council for the financial services and the constitution I get annoyed. No one who supports democracy should EVER support orders in council. I am for good governance, but this is abuse of governance. An order in council is not right and MUST be done away with IMMEDIATELY. This action says that a one man can take away our constitution and let a one man who is not elected by the people rule us. This is saying the people's voices at the polls does not matter and is not reflective of democracy. This is saying that once he is not satisfied with our judiciary system, laws, polices, and way of life, he can take over and dictate to us what and how they see we should act and what rights we can have, THIS IS WRONG!!! RISE UP BVI!!! THIS NEEDS ADDRESSING NOW!!!
  • The Law (14/07/2023, 17:44) Like (5) Dislike (14) Reply
    Can the government be a law unto to themselves? The answer is NO. Can the Auditor General, Commissioner of Police and the Governor be a law unto themselves? It seems as if the Governor thinks YES probably because he is over the police and can pressure the DPP to go in what direction he wants. Is this right under the law? The answer is NO. Governor, please note that people have rights and neither you, the Auditor General, Commissioner of Police nor the Government can dictate who is guilty or who is innocent so stop this conduct that is now seemingly dictatorial.
  • Let's face it (14/07/2023, 17:50) Like (5) Dislike (16) Reply
    The Governor is on a mission from his UK bosses to try to take over and any report which puts any sitting government in a bad light will get his approval and blessings whether it is so in actuality or not. I can bet anyone if the auditor general report came out in the government's favor, the Governor would not be backing her up. Instead, he would be coming public to announce how he will be further reviewing the report through some UK agency and for sure he would not stop until he got it turned into something negative. These people are never going to see anything good in the BVI unless they do it or it is done in the way they want it done. Case closed.
    • Let’s really face it (14/07/2023, 19:54) Like (12) Dislike (5) Reply
      We fail to admit that “we hans ain clean and is only we causing ting on we-self. We so used to believing that the wrong we do is right that we actually blame the ones that ketch us red handed. How?
    • @ Let’s face it (15/07/2023, 05:07) Like (4) Dislike (5) Reply
      You flatter yourself. Please take a moment or two to read the UK newspapers online. Not only will you not see any evidence that they want the BVIs to be part of the UK, you will also see that there are substantially greater issues that they need to deal with. Consider that the BVIs has an annual GNP of less than $ 500 million, whereas the UK’s is about 2,750,000 billion. Adding the BVIs annual GDP would not even be economically noticeable. So, not about the money. We have about 35,000 people here, 60% of which are not citizens. The UK has a population of about 69 million, so adding people from here makes a difference 0.05%, so it’s not about the people. AFIK, there are no significant physical assets here (oil, minerals etc), so what would be the motivation for a take over? Our exemplary form of running the country?
    • Smatter (15/07/2023, 08:20) Like (9) Dislike (4) Reply
      Many of the VI's populace ,myself included is in favor of a UK takeover.
      A vote would be the reliable proof of how many. In my opinion based on documented and observational the UK should be the one to make the decision.
      The crooked big shites
      are the only ones with anticipated loss resulting from a UK takeover.
  • Let us grade the Governor (14/07/2023, 18:32) Like (7) Dislike (18) Reply
    It is now summer and since the Governor through the Auditor General, Commissioner of Police and his 'so called' independent COI is allowed to grade everyone else and is furious if anyone tries to defend themselves and their name, then let us grade the Governor....
    1) Treated the public officers fairly ................ F
    2) Paid the public officers' increments ........... F
    3) Praise the UK efforts with the vaccines ...... A
    4) Praise BVI Covid efforts ........................... F
    5) Market himself & past governors as perfect ... A
    6) Put the people to fight each other & love him A
    7) Developed a credible succession plan for the police ..... F
    8) Left the force without a succession plan so
    he could ensure there will always be a UK Head ... A
    9) Organized PR to make him look like the savior .. A
    10) Was after anyone who spoke out against his
    mission even it was online media house ............ A
    11) Misuse the police force for his mission ........... A
    12) Ensured the COI & report was independent .... F
    13) Held some good functions and parties on tax
    payers' money................................................... A
    14) Included the Governor & Uk local staff to adhere
    to registering their interest in the registry of interest act ... F
    15) Seem to act above the law ...................................... A
    16) Respect our House of Assembly ............................... F
    17) Acted like he truly cared about us & not only his UK mission ... A
    18) Free the rest of NDP except Myron ................................ A
    19) Ignored $8 mill for BVI Airways .................................... A
    20) Supports colonialist behavior ....................................... A
    21) Reported to his UK head office with facts what
    was happening on the ground in BVI at all times ................... C-
    22) Acted as if he was elected by the people & know
    what is best for us without checking us ............................... A
    23) Agreed to modern slavery tactics such as order in council
    for financial services and to suspend our constitution ............. A
    24) Always told the truth ................................................... C- (Just check to see when he turns red & bounces)
    25) Believe in the people of the BVI .................................... D (could not get an F because of the few who supports
    his unjust mission)
    26) Did he want good governance ...................................... C+ (He wanted it but only on his terms and conditions
    regardless of how it violates our rights and culture)
    27) Acted dictatorial ......................................................... A (especially with the police act to give the police
    permission to violate citizens' rights by searching homes without a warrant)
    28) Blamed all sitting governments for Governors' failures ...... A (All Governors are more perfect than Jesus Christ,
    as in his book none of them did any wrong).
    29) Took away the VG from our passports to go
    USVI without needing a waiver ............................................ A (Part of the overall plot of modern enslavement)
    30) Had nothing to do daily so got involved in busy mischief ... A (The position should be an elected one)

    Until next semester I will stop there for now or until his PR team starts to respond.
    • @let us grade the Governor (14/07/2023, 20:38) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      There may be some truth in what you say but the article was about Covud grants. One more question for your list:
      31. Agreed that wealthy or undeserving people should be given a grant...........................F

    • @let us grade the Governor (14/07/2023, 22:02) Like (17) Dislike (10) Reply
      I have never read so much rubbish! Stop trying to defend the indefensible! The Governor and AG has exposed the corrupt practices here and how we look after the few and not the many. So easy to just blame him and not look at ourselves. These comments get read around the world and I am ashamed of our past and this has been rightly exposed! You need to seriously wake up and stop with your foolishness blaming the Governor- the fault lies with us and I am hopeful this exposure will change things for everyone living here not just Belongers and BVIslanders and yes, I was born here, I am a recognizable native BVIslander, proud, but tired of the nonsense you and others are putting out here!
    • I agree (15/07/2023, 19:48) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      The USA is in a legal and criminal fight with Trump and even concerns with Biden and his son but is suspending the constitution an option? HELL NO! They have rights too. It is unbelievable this ancient slavery tool is still allowed to be legal. First, the UK & Governor used an 1880 Commission of inquiry act (Passed during slavery time) to try to justify what they call an independent COI which makes no sense because it was commissioned by the Governor. The terms of reference for the inquiry were done by the Governor. The Governor and the UK single handedly hired the Commissioner for the inquiry without any tender process or transparent process. The recommendations were done using staff from the UK office from which the Governor is employed. If a politician had done this, then most of you crooked critics would have hit the roof. Then to follow it up to pass an order in council to take over if the recommendations are not implemented before a year without question while full well knowing the deadline is unrealistic and unachievable and so are some of the recommendations. POSITIVE MOVEMENT ACTION IS NEEDED NOW!!!
  • Facial expression (14/07/2023, 19:41) Like (3) Dislike (3) Reply
  • Look- Out (14/07/2023, 19:50) Like (0) Dislike (11) Reply
    these old slave masters trying each and everything to take over. Where he comes from poor chap do not have any authority or say but comes here demanding this and demanding that and his hometown full of corruption
  • BVI by far (14/07/2023, 20:29) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Guess which is the most corrupt overseas territory between Anguilla, BVI, Turks & Caicos and Bermuda?
    • ….. (15/07/2023, 16:50) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      @ BVI by far….BVI is the most corrupt by far yet immigration can not find you and send you back to your homeland which has no corruptions….lots of you have so much chat about BVI but leave your big country because you can not make a living where you run come here from
  • Tek dat! (14/07/2023, 20:34) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
  • talk the things (14/07/2023, 22:12) Like (14) Dislike (0) Reply
    Some get money to fix car pay phone bill pay light bill buy furniture. Some people got 4 times 3 times 2 times by changing names and addresses or getting the money in someone else name. You are not going to post this. All the other comments are fake. This is the real comment
  • @ LET'S GRADE THE GOVERNOR (14/07/2023, 22:58) Like (12) Dislike (0) Reply
  • Let us grade the Premier (14/07/2023, 23:28) Like (7) Dislike (2) Reply
    Made 1 mistake....A
    Made 2 mistakes....A
    Made 3 mistakes.....A
    Made 4 mistakes......A
    Made 5 mistakes.......A can guess the rest.

  • Theft (15/07/2023, 05:03) Like (15) Dislike (0) Reply
    what the report shows is that there were several individuals who knowingly applied to multiple agencies for same grants. that us a wilful act......just across the water in USVI people have been arrested for doing this. yet we " defend" these actions by somehow blaming the auditor general and the governor for exposing it. ?????
    a public office was awarded over 109,000 usd for " living cost" ?? and yet we berate the auditor general for digging into this ??
    comeon people, we need to hold people accountabe, we are and have been robbed by cunning individuals, whether it be the 7 million for an aircraft or 109,000 for living costs. those who bring this to our attention and dig deeper should be applauded, not chastised.
  • jack (15/07/2023, 07:41) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Lawd look thing mehson
  • Mrs Tubman (15/07/2023, 07:56) Like (11) Dislike (7) Reply
    Personally, my grade for the Governor and the UK in revealing the dishonest dealings of our locally elected Brothers is an A+++yep yepHooooraaay!! The VI is better off with truth on it's pages of time.. A firing squad (figuratively )outing dem light would be the perfect solution to closing this .chapter.
    With an exception to the foreign jailed entombed son of the soil who should be enshrined in gasoline and perched to dry out on that non so
    lilfahie hill mound of dirt he created going down
    WE in addition to the unwarranted destruction of coral and grape trees.
    Thank You for your service Gov Rankin. Thank You for further underlying the truth that the real enemies to the progress of these VI and its people are VIslanders themselves.
  • Sea Above Drowni ' (15/07/2023, 08:26) Like (2) Dislike (2) Reply
    Boyy oh Boy the previous poster with the grading evaluation and several paragraphs of anti Governor must have a whole Lotta personal interest ...panic button wailing.
  • The New Governor. (15/07/2023, 08:56) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
    This Gov is too nice..He barks a lot, jokes a lot and helps a lot, hence, he is not taking seriously. I hope the New Gov. Comes with teeth and with a purpose to fix things and not another vacation in the land of Sun, Sea and plenty..
  • bvi (15/07/2023, 09:47) Like (6) Dislike (1) Reply
    can't handle the truth!
  • The soil (15/07/2023, 09:59) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Read for a more in-depth analysis
  • Cannot Handle the truth (15/07/2023, 13:51) Like (13) Dislike (1) Reply
    The fact of the matter is that we cannot handle the truth so we attack the Governor. The Governor did not hand out any of these monies. One person receiving three/four checks is wrong and cannot be right. A public officer getting full salary should not be getting Covid relief aid. My daughter got a 2.9 grade point average in college and lost funding for two terms but you have people who did not even show they are in college and the getting funding for college. Read the Report and stop attacking the Governor. The things the Auditor uncovered are disgraceful and should not happen in any form of government.
  • the way it is (15/07/2023, 14:42) Like (9) Dislike (1) Reply
    The truth always hurt. I see no reason why the Governor and the Auditor General are being crucified for doing their jobs. Even a blind person can see that the manner in which the assistance grants were handed out is downright ludicrous and totally unacceptable. Just look at the names and you will see that the majority of the recipients are VIP supporters, family, friends and cronies. Is it right for them because of party affiliation and friendship to exploit the hard earn money of the taxpayers of this country by deceptive means when this money could have been used to improve the infrastructural needs of the country? Wrong is wrong however you look at it and the Governor and AG had nothing to do with it. The only thing you can justly blame them for is trying to promote accountability and good governance.

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