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Govt's violation of Protocols was to build economy – Premier Smith

- said Government made the choice to prioritise building the country over saving money for the UK’s Protocols for Effective Financial Management
Premier and Minister of Finance Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith has justified missing the December 31, 2015 deadline for compliance to the UK’s Protocols for Effective Financial Management, saying that building the territory’s economy was more important than savings at this juncture. Photo: GIS
One of the buildings in the Tortola Pier Park. Photo: VINO
One of the buildings in the Tortola Pier Park. Photo: VINO
Roadworks ongoing late last year 2015. Photo: VINO/File
Roadworks ongoing late last year 2015. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – Premier and Minister of Finance Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith has justified missing the December 31, 2015 deadline for compliance to the UK’s Protocols for Effective Financial Management, saying that building the territory’s economy was more important than savings at this juncture.

He was speaking on Thursday January 21, 2016 during a press conference held at the Central Administration Complex during which he dealt with a number of issues.

Premier Smith was asked what would be the arrangement given that the December 31, 2015 deadline was missed.

“Well obviously if we did not meet the December 31, 2015 deadline there will be a future date not long from now,” he said in response.

The Premier said the Government took the conscious decision to do the country’s infrastructure as a means to building its economy.

“The reality is that as a Government we recognise that in order to build the economy of this country we had to do certain things. We had to put the infrastructure in place…we had to build the roads, we had to build the pier park, we have to expand the airport,” he said.

The Opposition has oftentimes criticised the Government for what they call breaches of the Protocols and disregard for the agreement signed in 2012 and which restricts how much the Government is able to spend without the go ahead of the UK.

“All these things take financing and therefore one had to make some decisions. Do you want to build the economy or do you just want to save money. So we had to make the decision to do the things we needed to do to build the economy and put off for a little while the time when we wanted to meet a deadline as far as savings are concerned,” Premier Smith said.

It is not clear where exactly monies were spent to "build the economy" as the usual cry from Government, according to many, is that it is broke.

The Premier on a recorded television interview in early 2015 made the statement that at the end of 2014 the Government had the sum of $90 million in the bank. On another occasion, Premier Smith, speaking at the Band Stand in Road Town on May 26, 2015 while addressing an NDP rally, said, “At the end of three-and-a-half years, we are happy to say that the economy did grow. When we came into office, we met a total of $51.5 million in the bank. Last year, up to the 31st of December 2014, we had $90.4 million.”

However, a few short months later the Premier said that he could not recall making such a claim.

“I don’t recall speaking about $90 million. I have to refresh my memory before I could make any comment on that,” Premier Smith said when approached on the issue in October 2015.

21 Responses to “Govt's violation of Protocols was to build economy – Premier Smith”

  • another lie (01/02/2016, 09:54) Like (38) Dislike (0) Reply
    When the opposition asked him to spend money to keep the country going, he said he would not do that in a reckless manner but here we have the port overspending approx $50 million.
  • Well Sah (01/02/2016, 09:58) Like (35) Dislike (0) Reply
    Pot Holes popping up on all the newly paved roads...EVERY ONE!....No value for money and all the chinese paving equipment out of commission.
  • broke is joke (01/02/2016, 10:00) Like (35) Dislike (0) Reply
    The FS said and i quote "we are on the road to bankruptcy"
  • one ministry spent over a hundred million (01/02/2016, 10:02) Like (34) Dislike (0) Reply
    His brother in law got the wrong message and depleted all of the country funds.
  • Liat 521 (01/02/2016, 10:16) Like (19) Dislike (2) Reply
    UK need to come back for he BVI
  • thing teh talk (01/02/2016, 10:19) Like (36) Dislike (2) Reply
    Them man feast on that money....Some building houses, some bought boats, purchased houses and personal businesses flourishing.
  • Laugh (01/02/2016, 10:51) Like (4) Dislike (24) Reply
    If they comply with the UK then they're soft. If they don't comply then they're corrupt. BVI ignorance at best.
  • just asking... (01/02/2016, 11:00) Like (15) Dislike (0) Reply
    Where are the five generators ordered for the ports?
    • kurupshun galore (01/02/2016, 15:32) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
      5 were in the estimates to cost 2 million dollars but they purchased 1 for 2 million dollars. Bolow formed a company and brought in all the windows for the project.
  • dem say (01/02/2016, 13:57) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    This is a jack if I ever see one!
  • So (01/02/2016, 15:38) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    This government needs to go.
  • W*F (01/02/2016, 15:49) Like (13) Dislike (0) Reply
    Dr. Smith please stop talking, because you are sounding more simple when ever you open your mouth. Doc you are not making any sense. You are saying NDP operated in defiance to the UK protocols to build the country infrastructure to improve the economy? Pure rubbish. Build what infrastructure? The new roads full of potholes, Pier Park still under construction, and $50 mil over budget, hospital no supplies, vendors not paid. Please, stop the bs.
  • fox (01/02/2016, 16:25) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    Convenient Amnesia and necessary Evil is second nature to this joker of a Premier and country leader. What a crock of $hit.
  • deep breath. (01/02/2016, 18:51) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
    Something is going to happened in this country that will embarrass us all. Too much things thats not right. Disobedience to protocol.. Port misconduct..Digging up of our road without regards.. NHI lies and deception...I was for NHI. Until I went to the Doctor. My fees raise from $100.00 to $176.00..My lab work what was $125.00 is now $260.00. Why? Our Govt not focus. Something is difinetely wrong in our country.
  • Political Observer (01/02/2016, 22:00) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    Agree that the economic base needs to be expanded and diversified. And this requires investment. But shunting the financial protocols agreed to with the UK is not the best course of action. Did government not evaluate the impact of the financial protocols before signing on? Didn't anyone realize that the scope of the protocols would have handicapped the territory in promoting growth and development, including investing in/on the infrastructure? Did the government just rushed and signed without looking at the consequences? Nonetheless, government realizing after the fact that it needed to relax some of the agreed to financial protocols, should it not have gone back to the UK to modify the agreement? Or it was easier to ask forgiven than to ask permission? The government approach is not setting the example for the average Joe or Jane. If government willfully violates agreements, Joe and Jane may get the false impression that it is okay to skirt laws and regulations. I'm surprised that the Premier did not spin his response differently. The Premier needs to step up his game. From the country has $90M in the bank to the economy is robust but finances tight to the financial protocols were not adhered to invest in infrastructure. The Premier advisors or handlers need to keep him on script, for it seems it is risky to let him go unscripted.
  • shaw (01/02/2016, 23:14) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    doesn't make sense. The protocol is there to help build a foundation and rules in order to help BUILD THE ECONOMY.
    We are in trouble because the rules are not being followed for sound business plan. It is business as usual him thinking he knows better when it hasn't been working. Follow the rules for a stronger sustainable base to work on.
    geesh.. he still thinks he knows better and he is jeopardizing BVI again.
  • captain crook (02/02/2016, 03:48) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    Dis is Corruption Inc.
    Keep playing the fool.
  • Bernie Sanders (02/02/2016, 05:15) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    Enough is Enough,the Political Revolution is here,we need to take this country back..This government has taken us rock bottom and now the poor people have to pay for all the mistakes with the NHI Scheme ...So Sad just had an election begging for votes ,now they want to tour the same voters cars from the Admin Complex,they want to charge the voters for registering late and the list goes on ..O J Smith said "How Can WE Forget THE Voters That JUST Elected US AND NoW TRYING TO BALANCE THE BUDGET OFF THE PEOPLE SWEAT"THESE MISLEADERS ARE CRIMINALS THEY ALL NEED GOING TO BALO..Come eeeeennnnn SISTER JOYCE ..FEEL THE BERN..
  • Danny (03/02/2016, 16:10) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Corruption Inc.
    Starring : Mark Vanterpool

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