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Hundreds of millions needed for recovery projects in VI- Premier Wheatley

- said VI is looking to borrow money as cheaply as possible
Premier and Minister of Finance Dr the Hon Natalio D. Wheatley (R7) has said hundreds of millions of dollars are needed to fund hurricane recovery and development projects in the [British] Virgin Islands and he is seeking the United Kingdom’s support in getting the necessary loans. Photo: VINO
The Virgin Islands was devastated by Hurricane Irma in September 2017 and so far has not been able to secure significant funding for recovery and development. Photo: VINO/File
The Virgin Islands was devastated by Hurricane Irma in September 2017 and so far has not been able to secure significant funding for recovery and development. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- Premier and Minister of Finance Dr the Hon Natalio D. Wheatley (R7) has said hundreds of millions of dollars are needed to fund hurricane recovery and development projects in the [British] Virgin Islands and he is seeking the United Kingdom’s support in getting the necessary loans.

“As it pertains to the direct figure of how much we need, it is literally hundreds of millions of dollars,” Premier Wheatley stated at a press conference alongside Deputy Premier and Minister for Financial Services, Labour and Trade, Hon Lorna G. Smith, OBE today, November 9, 2023.

The Premier said he could not provide exact figures now as the Virgin Islands Recovery and Development Agency (RDA) had some tentative projects but, “it’s literally hundreds of millions of dollars that we will need.”

Dr Wheatley said his government is currently in conversations with the United Kingdom to support the VI “in borrowing and getting money as cheaply as possible.”

‘We will borrow what we can afford to pay back’

Asked again how much money his Government was looking to borrow, Dr Wheatley said, “We going to borrow what we can afford to pay back.”

The Finance Minister added that those figures will be presented in the budget to be presented later this year.

He also reminded the VI has to first get permission from the UK to borrow and is optimistic about the UK’s support.

“Of course, as you know, we have ratios that we have to stay within and the United Kingdom has been very helpful, I would say, in terms of flexibility as it pertains to the ratios but, generally, our debt servicing ratio is at 10%, [and] of course we have a liquidity ratio, in terms of reserves that we have to maintain, which is at 25%, and then we have a debt to recurrent expenditure of about 80%, generally, that we have to stay within.”

Dr Wheatley also said the Government has to balance the need for borrowing with the need to fund the operations of the Government.

34 Responses to “Hundreds of millions needed for recovery projects in VI- Premier Wheatley”

  • Wait What? (09/11/2023, 16:39) Like (49) Dislike (0) Reply
    This guy wants independence but now needs Uk support.
    • How I see it. (09/11/2023, 19:30) Like (23) Dislike (1) Reply
      Just give Britain the place to run for 2 yrs let them spend the 300 mil they were giving us and fix this place. Our people are not making good decisions. Too Many bad ones..
      • You are blind (10/11/2023, 15:16) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
        Britain wasn't giving us any money to fix this place. They had the opportunity after the 2017 hurricanes but didn't do it. If Britain, as you call them, really wanted to help us they would have relaxed the financial protocols so that if the loan guarantee was accepted we wouldn't have been in violation. Several of the other Caribbean islands have had to devalue their currencies because of loans they accepted and couldn't pay back. There was a time when BVI didn't have roads and hardly any infrastructure but over time these were achieved. We will get them back without having to sell the country to Britain.
  • Native Senior Citizen of the British Virgin Islands (09/11/2023, 17:01) Like (13) Dislike (1) Reply
    Partnership through negotiation is the best way to go in reference to the UK/BVI relationship. Much time has been waisted when our Premier involved himself in a can't-win wrestle match against UK headship. Now he finally began, I hope, listening to our political Boss, UK.

    No amount of foolish talking will help us to repair, and build up the BVI infrastructure, raw cash, good planning, hard work, and honest accountability will greatly help.

    True, the BVI is one of the most beautiful place in this world, but beauty can be blurred by lack of love for each other best interest. This is the position we now experiencing. If we continue doing the same thing, the same results we will get. Until we change our mind, our mindset will keep us in chain, while the wise will reign.
    People of the BVI, I share in our self-inflict.
  • 250,000 (09/11/2023, 17:08) Like (27) Dislike (0) Reply
    It was he who seconded the motion when Fahie got the 45 million from social security and threw it away
    • nonsense (10/11/2023, 00:07) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      And if they add the other 20 million to that, they can recover almost 1 million of the hundreds of millions they need.
  • FACIAL EXPRESSION (09/11/2023, 17:12) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    Is saying )> I thought we had the dollars , but this BIGGER than I thought , WE GINE NEED AH COUPLE AH HUNDRED MILLIONS DaLuRZ
  • Only 5 years late (09/11/2023, 17:20) Like (30) Dislike (1) Reply
    Uncle Andrew send the UK and their loan offer away when unrest rates were at their lowest possible
  • Rapture (09/11/2023, 17:24) Like (17) Dislike (0) Reply
    I calling for the rapture so I can be out of this mad place called hell!!
  • voter (09/11/2023, 17:29) Like (32) Dislike (1) Reply
    Now you realise we need hundreds of millions, after you and Fahie fought against the hundreds of million UK loan guarantee. Keep dreaming.
  • D7 (09/11/2023, 17:56) Like (13) Dislike (1) Reply
    Fix the water in east end, this is crazy 2/3 days now no water
  • Welsa (09/11/2023, 18:18) Like (26) Dislike (0) Reply
    The minister want money so he can travel all over the world. He has no interest in fixing anything. All he want is power so he can do as he like. He is not ready for leadership.
  • Herbs Powa (09/11/2023, 18:23) Like (11) Dislike (0) Reply
    We don't need no thousands to get rid of these stinging vampire mosquitoes, wuk on it quick meh bwoy.
  • guava tart (09/11/2023, 18:29) Like (32) Dislike (0) Reply
    We borrowing after the concert? LOL! Tortola we in trouble
  • WOW (09/11/2023, 19:05) Like (22) Dislike (0) Reply
    Just stop taking the plane
  • Bush Professor (09/11/2023, 19:13) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
    The Virgin Islands(VI) [British], a partially self-governing Overseas Territory (OT) of the UK, is a small resource-poor locale, which lacks the natural resources to develop either a primary economy(fishing, forestry, agriculture, oil and gas, agriculture) or a secondary economy ( manufacturing). Typically, small resource-poor locales have service-based economies. The VI has a service based economy; its primary economy is its economic twin pillars—Tourism and Financial Services. Further, small locales like the VI revenue streams and budget come from taxes, fees, some grants, and borrowing.

    Increasingly, there is a trend developing almost everywhere in that citizens are demanding increased delivery of services but they also demonstrate a vociferous disdain to any tax, or fee increases to pay for the delivery of increased services. Dr. Hon Premier Natalio Wheatley, D-7 and MoF, have indicated that the VI needs hundred of millions of dollars to fund its capital Improvement Program (CIP) backlogged projects. Nevertheless, the VI lacks the funds to fund/invest in the backlog of CIP projects. Consequently, it needs to borrow, ie, prudently borrow to fund the CIP. What is prudent borrow? According to OECD ( Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development), prudent borrowing for developing/emerging countries as the VI is 30-50% ratio of overall tax/debt to GDP. I will surmise that VI debt to GDP ratio is relatively low, ie, less than 20%. As such and on the surface, it seems the VI has the capacity to prudently borrow. Nevertheless, borrowed money has to paid back with principal and interest. Consequently, taxes and fees will have to be increased to amortized or pay down/payoff the loan. What will VI and VI people get for and from the borrowing? VI and VI residents should see and enjoy First World infrastructure, Utilities, etc.
    • Undercover Observer (09/11/2023, 21:32) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      @Professor, good read and analysis, demonstrating good grasp of the funding needed for capital projects. We falsely believe that government has the resources to fund these capital projects. The reality government does not. Government annual budget averages about $400, 000, 000.00, covering mostly Operations and Maintenance with little appropriated for capital projects, though more should be appropriated. Some bloggers narrates that there should be a separate capital budget. Nevertheless, separate budget aside, the BVI has a huge backlog of capital projects , per the Premier the cost is in the hundred of millions of dollars and will require borrowing. I am fond of taxes but if the BVI is going to put a dent in the backlog, we must come to the realization that we will be tax more to make it happen.
    • @ bush professor (09/11/2023, 21:57) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
      @ Bush Professor, The Premier did not give a specific quantitative number on the estimated cost other than it will cost hundred of millions. The people is owed a good es time. It has been 5 years since Hurricane Irma struck. And by now government should have a listing of the number of projects with costs.

      Ok. You may not have the list of projects or costs. But how long do think for the projects to be complete and usable, the payback period for the loan, types of taxes and fees.
    • RealPol (10/11/2023, 08:57) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
      To Bush Professor, you made case for borrowing to fund the BVI backlogged capital projects. Nonetheless, I think you are taking a little license in saying that BVI residents have ‘vociferous disdain’ for increasing taxes or fees. The truth is, citizens lack the confidence in governments maximizing the efficiency of authorized and appropriated funds.. They fear that if nothing changes, there will continue to squander resources.

      People strongly believe that government overpay for services and goods, and it is not getting value for money. Further, nepotism, cronyism, etc results in the best qualified people not being put in positions. For example, the practice of putting non-managers in technical management positions, ie, Public Works, Water & Sewage, etc. Why we keep Peter Principled people, ie, promoting otherwise people who met or exceed standards to levels of increasing responsibilities and a level of incompetence, which is neither fair to them nor the territory. So it is not that people have a vociferous disdain for increase taxes and fees, they want to be assured that the revenue collected will be expended effectively for the intended purpose, getting value for money. No one likes paying taxes or fees and will go all out to stay within the letter and spirit of the law to avoid paying taxes or fees. On the other hand, they want First World infrastructure, utilities, social services, etc and understand the need for increase taxes and fees to do so. Tell us the estimated cost of the projects, the payback period, the source(s) for paying back the loan, ie, full faith and credit of government, general obligation bonds, revenue bonds, etc. I/they want fiduciary action. Let’s get the show on the road.

    • A Capitalist Who Loves the BVI (10/11/2023, 11:40) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      @ Bush Professor - great analysis by you and the commenters to your post, but what's missing in almost every discussion of the Territory's finances that I have seen is the size of its bloated government. It's just absurd how many people sit around all day in air-conditioned offices playing on their phones or mindlessly shuttling one piece of paper to another department, and then that process is replicated repeatedly. This government with its junkets for its leaders (so-called) that are never-ending is such a drag on the ability to foster meaningful economic growth that it is difficult to overstate its dire consequences.
  • Rhythm up.. (09/11/2023, 19:26) Like (21) Dislike (0) Reply
    You all are responsible for the bad financial and infrastructure condition of the BVI. You all sat back and allow Foy to dictate to you all as big men and lead you all to hell when we had 300 mil guaranteed low interest. Now What. . Man up. Take responsibility for been kids in a big man sport.
  • Whatta mug (09/11/2023, 19:52) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Great pic vino. LOLOLOLOLOL
  • King Charles II (09/11/2023, 23:24) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Stand back and watch him work, baby..
  • WEW (10/11/2023, 00:16) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    I guess the travel budget is getting low.
  • @ NATIVE SENIOR CITIZEN (10/11/2023, 07:05) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    Where have you been ? Hopefully you are alright / Your intelligent blogging was greatly missed , and this one is very enlightening , Hopefully our new Coach can grasp it and not do as our former coach did with with the navy and those barges fiasco , and step up with integrity , the people and the country needs it ( those who are crucifing the UK is looking money to put in their pockets and sQuander , buy the brits ain't that stupid , so they can keep on sing their racism lyrics as an excuse / thanks again for an intelligent read my respect . @ RHYTHM UP AND BUSH PROFESSOR YOU ALL CAME STRONG ( my respect ) and as I said before ( I hope the premier can read those comments from you all and analyze them and STEP UP WITH INTEGRITY ) you got a JOB to do
  • We are lost (10/11/2023, 07:49) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Roads, drains and guard rails would take a big chunk of that. A lot can be saved if this work (design, build and maintenance) is done by public works instead of by expensive contracts given to untrained people. Maybe we should let the British take over that department and others, cause they sure don't have any competent leadership.
  • good luck (10/11/2023, 08:32) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    When was the last time there was an audited financial statement for the Territory? How many projects has the government funded and had completed either on time or within budget? There was a loan guarantee offered by the UK that was turned away because it required scrutiny of the proposed use of funds but foolishly that was rejected for that reason instead of being used as an opportunity to get better at managing projects and budgets. Past financial performance of the Territory means that if funds can be borrowed, they won’t be cheap and there is likely to be some collateral requirements for non payment.
  • Rubber Duck (10/11/2023, 09:57) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Thats because of the hundreds of millions stolen by crooked politicians and civil servants over many years.
  • black moses (10/11/2023, 10:49) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
    Well, well. We have a lot of economic professors out there who can provide all the advice to the government; however, they have not displayed any evidence of development. When we are put in leadership capacity, we must have the ability to inspire others around us strive for excellence. The development of the Territory should be our ultimate goal and not personal development. Should the government accept the loan guarantee that was offered, we don't know the terms and conditions that were attached. From my experience with the British, they do not give the jailer the key to prison.
    As was done in Africa and other parts of the world, unless there are benefits for the British, they don't extend their generosity. What do we have here for the British, one may ask. The meager sum from the Financial Services is not enough for the British to expend their resources. The cost to deploy a military vessel here for defensive purposes will utilize that money very quickly. Once any country is not of strategic importance to the British, they do not bother with them. If any other nation is trying to take possession of the Territory, then the British will make their presence felt and provide protection.
  • Joker... (10/11/2023, 13:45) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    So now all infrastructure problems are blamed on hurricanes.... or just Irma... what has happened to the $$Billions that have gone through the economy since Irma? Let alone prior to Irma.... If only we knew where the money goes....
  • RedStorm (10/11/2023, 15:34) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Why we now need loan? The country is doing wonderful, we don’t need a thing.
  • traveling (10/11/2023, 18:50) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    If ayo stop up and down traveling every minute we will have a little bit more money.
    Singapore, Turkey! England and you can’t hear how these trips benefiting the BVI.
  • ok (11/11/2023, 14:07) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Ok Mr sweet boy u are made of sugar and spice and everything nice taking the money for self well done u coming out of sure

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