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Premier Smith denies misleading Territory

Premier Dr. D. Orlando Smith has denied misleading the Territory during his recent public address on the financial condition of the Virgin Islands. Photo: VINO
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- Premier Dr. D. Orlando Smith has responded to the statement issued by Leader of the Opposition Hon. Ralph T. O’Neal on December 20, 2011 and has denied the claim that he misled the population in his recent statement regarding the financial condition of the Territory.

Below is the Premier's statement

Fellow citizens, the leader of the opposition made some statements on 20th December 2011 in response to the report I made to you on the Financial Status of the Virgin Islands government when my government was given the privilege by yourselves to assume office on the 7th November of this year. These comments warrant a response, and I beg your leave and patience as I seek to address some of the inaccuracies communicated in his address to you.

First of all the leader of the opposition has referred to austerity measures that his government put in place. I congratulate him on taking this step that would result in savings of just under one million dollars.

He also proposes that I have misled you in respect to our fiscal position in November. First of all you should be aware that the report that I made to you was as I said the fiscal position of the Virgin Islands Government as of the 9th of November 2011, when we came into office.

In that same statement I also said that current projections indicate that for the year, revenue would be 268 million and expenditure 310 million. This includes all the revenue from financial services and would reflect a deficit of 42 million for the year. I have no pleasure in reporting this, but it was expected of me.

Fellow virgin islanders the Schedule of Additional provision, to which the leader of the opposition refers, was done to regularize funds already spent; not as the leader of the opposition claims, to approve the spending of additional funds not spent. Hence the actual passage of the SAP did not result in any further cash movements as he implies. These expenditures at the time they were made by my government, were mostly matched by corresponding revenues in the years in question, and hence did not compromise the fiscal position of the Virgin Islands Government. These are the simply facts ladies and ladies and gentlemen, supported by the reports of the Auditor General.

The borrowing guidelines were signed on the date indicated by the leader of the opposition, and I accept that in hindsight that this fact should have been published. However contrary to what the leader of the opposition proposes this was not a secret and in fact it was referred to on several occasions by the then Minister of Finance and certainly in the budget address of 2006.

The matter of signing of a contract for Ira Smith on the day of election is interesting as it was extending a contract to provide a much needed service for the people of Anegada after the airline service had been discontinued, to the tune of $360,000. And certainly cannot compare to the contracts for millions signed in the last few days before the election.

Fellow citizens, let me assure you, I have no intention to mislead you, and am only concerned with making accurate representations to you on all matters such that I you can hold my government and I accountable based on empirical evidence and facts.. I only ask that you hold me accountable and be patient as my colleagues and I work tirelessly to improve the living standards of every citizen of this country.

1 Response to “Premier Smith denies misleading Territory ”

  • Kermit (15/01/2012, 22:42) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    What have the complainers, on both sides of the political house, done to improve the country? There are solutions to the many problems but they require people to become actively involved vs just being content to complain. The elected officials need your help, your constructive ideas and willingness to become part of the solutions the country needs to move forward.

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