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Opposition leader gives his side of the story

BVI News Staff - Friday, April 27th, 2012 at 8:49 AM

Bellingham MP

Opposition Leader Ralph O’Neal said the Protocols on Effective Financial Management that was signed by Premier and Minister for Finance Dr. D. Orlando Smith this week was first negotiated by the former administration with the UK government.

O’Neal said there were certain provisions within the document that he had disagreed with and will not sign, but he is unable to say at this time what the document contains and what the government signed because he has not seen it.

Minister for Overseas Territories Henry Bellingham, during the signing of the documents with the premier, told the media that the BVI would no longer have to send its budget to the UK for approval before it is passed in the House of Assembly. Bellingham said the signing of the protocol sets out the framework for information sharing between the two governments.

However, the leader of the opposition said, “the budget or the estimates will still go to the UK because since 1977 when we came out of granting aid, this was the procedure; even if we passed the budget here, it was sent to the UK and if they wanted to make any comments they could, and the Appropriation Ordinance has to be passed and that has to go to the UK too”.

O’Neal added that the protocols that were signed this week by the government were started by the former administration.

“The present government completed the negotiations for this framework. I think it’s called a different name now, and while this was done, we were assured in 2010 at the Overseas Territories Conference, that each territory would get a different protocol because the financial situations were different in all of the territories: Bermuda was out by itself, Cayman Islands appeared to be standing steady at one time but they had their difficulties, and so we were working on a draft while we were there,” O’Neal said.

He said he remembered a number of things in the draft that he will not agree to.

“For example, they were saying that any project $5m and over must be sent to London for approval accompanied with all the various studies – the engineering studies, the environmental studies by people who were not even resident in the BVI. And I say no I could not do that. Yes we will have experts, but we have local experts here and the government will choose or tender for one of them to do the contracts, but when you bring in experts from outside then your local economy will suffer more because the money will be going out of the territory and you have people here who can do the job, so I won’t agree to that, I could not live with that,” O’Neal said.

The opposition leader emphasised that does not know what the government signed to in the document.

“I haven’t seen what has been agreed to. I was assured that it had been published but I haven’t seen a gazette so I am at a lost to know what publish means,” he said.

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6 Comments

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  1. V.I. Resident
    April 27, 2012
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    Real Talk, Hon. O’Neal is an expert on the opposition. You can’t dispute that, which is a PLUS!!!! for the territory. Don’t be puzzled. Let him do what he does best. God gave everyone his/her unique gift which no man can take away.

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    • Real Talk
      April 27, 2012
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      That is true, I will not dispute that at all. But it’s hard to swallow BS my friend, really hard to swallow lol!

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  2. Real Talk
    April 27, 2012
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    I can’t dispute what Mr Oneal is saying but my only question is why he didn’t release this information when he was in power? Rumours spread all over and he never cleared the air, now he looking to battle the FCO man? That don’t make sense.

    Even in election if Dancia didn’t spill the beans we would all be in the dark about the UK finances issue. If this is true we shouldve known from before, simple.

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    • Nutmeg
      April 27, 2012
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      I have see eight other agreements plus this one, you need to see all before you open your trap.

      Then come back to the public and be honest, i but you cant handle that. There is nothing unusual or abnormal. Just that it was your first and only one.

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  3. V.I. Resident
    April 27, 2012
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    Sarcasm, don’t say that. You may be surprised at the contents of these documents. I have seen the contents of the documents signed by the NDP government i.e Oil Nut Bay agreement and if you haven’t seen it , I encourage you to have a look. Who cares? maybe you don’t but if you care anything about this territory you would think otherwise.

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  4. sarcasm
    April 27, 2012
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    who cares what the document contains? we need to move forward. ralph is always known for holding up progress.

    Reply to this comment