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BVI natives will get preference for all projects — Premier

Virgin Islanders are being assured that they will be shown favouritism to acquire contracts or work arising from the recovery plan.

Premier Dr D Orlando Smith gave that guarantee while allaying growing fears about the Recovery Agency that is being mandated by the United Kingdom to oversee and control how funds for the recovery plan are spent.

“An Agency will by no means result in BVIslanders being overlooked for involvement. Our people will be given preference in the redevelopment of our country whether as architects, planners, environmentalists, engineers, contractors, builders, truckers and the like.”

“Indeed the legislation setting up the Agency must and will ensure that this is the case, as well as the fact that the Agency will be headed by an experienced and well-respected BVIslander chosen by us,” Dr Smith said during an address to the territory on Monday.

Opposition gets a pick

The Premier said government would never be ‘comfortable’ if a Virgin Islands native was not heading the said Recovery Agency.

Dr Smith also said Governor Augustus Jaspert fully agrees and consents to have a local at the helm of the Agency.

He added that both government and Opposition will have an opportunity to handpick a member of the Agency so all parties are equally represented.

“It will be comprised of no more than nine persons including one person appointed by the Leader of the Opposition, one person appointed by the government, another appointed by the UK, and persons representing civil society and commerce,” Dr Smith explained.

Commotion

There has been much commotion about the said Agency that is being set up so the BVI can receive a £300 million loan guarantee from the United Kingdom government.

There is heavy speculation that the Agency is the UK’s way of retaking full control of local governance. But Premier Smith said that is not the case.

He said the Agency is a way of instilling ‘donor confidence’.

“This is international best practice in situations where such extensive damage is experienced in a country,” the Premier said.

CLICK HERE for the Premier’s full statement.

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54 Comments

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  1. Cromwell says:

    Yes, the definition of —— comes to mind, keep doing the same thing over and over again whilst expecting a different outcome. The Airport, The Bridge, The Hospital, the Pier Park and so on and so forth. Really not a good track record for local involvement and achievement.

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    • HMPH says:

      But the only infrastructure that survived the storms was that put in before we insisted that every job goes to overpaid under qualified persons who happen to be from here.

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  2. Sam the Man says:

    This is typical of the “No Direction Party” don’t do what’s best for the BVI but just look after locals ! Locals that are competent will always be included it’s a reality though that the BVI needs and relies on continued expat professionalism and accountability (but sadly these concepts aren’t in the NDP vocabulary) The criteria should be based on who is best to undertake the project at the most economic price and deliver it to the required quality standard… but the No Direction Party seem incapable of abiding by any proper due diligence … and there lies the main issue ….

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    • Nonesense says:

      You may be correct, and they should be BVI Belongers. Not all competent BVI belongers were involved in those projects named above.

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  3. Albion says:

    Government’s job should be to secure good quality construction at the best price affordable. Not dish out political favours to potential voters.

    I’ll be pretty upset if I hear they awarded a major contract to a BVI bidder if there was a competing outside bid which was much cheaper. Particularly if the BVI bid produces the same sloppy workmanship we have been accustomed to on public works projects.

    Last thing I want to see is a bunch of over priced public projects that all wash away as soon as next hurricane season comes.

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    • Sam the man says:

      Well said Albion but the No Direction Party won’t listen to you they can’t wait to dish out lucrative contracts to relatives that will deliver the usual sub standard work at hugely inflated prices as they have so many palms to grease (we know what goes on and aren’t stupid) any attempt to insist on good governance, accountability or proper management will be resisted – it will be smoke screened as UK attempting to take over! Sorry weak excuses which hopefully most will see through?

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    • Uncle Buck says:

      That happens frequently, but not even with outside bidders. Other locally based contractors who put in lower bids for projects get rejected on grounds of ethnic origin. The project goes to the family or friend at a much larger cost. There is no long term consideration for the BVI and it’s inhabitants, it is very much a case of how to get rich today. 30 years ago if the BVI had allowed foreign investment, the islands today would be booming.

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    • Nonesense says:

      outside bidders escalate the price as well, especially when Government is involved, and cheaper is not always the best option where certain things are concerned, construction being one of them.

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      • Uncle Buck says:

        Cheaper, not cheap. Im not talking about a cheap bid, Im talking about bids that were less than the others but also much more realistic, bids made by companies who know how to make accurate estimates and know how to manage a budget and who can be trusted to complete a project on time and within said budget. But sure, take the most costly bid, because high cost guarantees quality results…except here!

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  4. At & T says:

    Apparently some of them getting first preferences in prison also. Some prisoners are in possession of cellphones and are on WhatsApp and Facebook

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  5. Brad Boynes says:

    Seize the time. wait for it.

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  6. Oh please says:

    The Premier knows that he can’t promise this but as usual the NDP says what they know the majority of the people wants to hear although they know they will not do it.

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  7. Big Phil says:

    Put Fahie in charge. He seems to have all the answers.

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  8. Crazy says:

    If he doesn’t say this he will still be crucified. You can’t win with in the land of the complainers.

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  9. Concerned says:

    Please Please Please, do what is best for BVI, not what is best for your friends, Mr. Premier. And while I am at it, lets get that new airport OUT of the equation for rebuilding the BVI. When roads, sewers,water, electric grid underground and internet sorted. Then we can consider the new airport.

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    • Rubber Duck says:

      If and its a big if , the Chinese will build and fund the airport in exchange for running it for ten years then why not do it as it would help the recovery plan and cost nothing from the recovery budget.

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  10. Really?? says:

    Reading is really a problem all the man is saying is how the agency would be set up and just to make sure that there is a balance in how the contracts would be given out is the government will select a representative and the opposition also will select one along with whoever else the UK decides and with that said the head of such agency will happen to be a local…. Now the work will be done in phases so it’s the best bidder going get the work but at the same time the final call will come from the agency and not the affiliated ministry of such.. (e.g) the reconstruction of the E.S.H.S which falls under the ministry of education which will be accepting bids for phase 1 which more or less would be clearing the site 10 bids came in then the agency has a look and award such contract to the best suitable bidder remember the purpose of this agency is to control the money from overspending and mismanaging funds

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    • Huum says:

      Reading is not the problem. Understanding is the problem. We oppose everything and cannot take the time to read and understand before the bashing begins.

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  11. watcher says:

    History shows that where provenance supersedes ability disaster follows.

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  12. CW says:

    GoodBye BVI, it was nice knowing you- when you had people that cared and quality was the focus over quantity. Never in my life have I seen a group of people in a place with more opportunities squander more resources by COMPLAINING instead of solving problems. Glad to take my dollars and expertise elsewhere. I have time and time again volunteered services FOR FREE. builders, electricians, materials, you name it. But, I’m not from BVI. “stick with what you know and spend money like a tourist should”. Soon enough nobody will help the BVI and you will be stuck in a rut for 20 years. St Maarten embraced expat help and is open for business FOR REAL (not pretending like BVI Tourism) only 6 months later. Sad BVI. SAD

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  13. Hmmmmm.... says:

    It is good to see Dr. Smith finally come to his senses. A lot would not be in favour with your comments but right is right. It is about time Virgin Island Natives have a sayin the affairs of their country. Who vex, vex When in Rome,do as the Romans do. Don’t find excuses why his statements shouldn’t hold. Look at the big picture, wouldn’t you want your respective Governments to do the same in your countries? It is time for this little nation to be great again. A little too late Dr. Smith, but better late than never. Sounds like now you accept who God is. Why is the BVI expected to be different from any where else when it comes to laws, rules and preferences? If your Government had displayed this mentality from 2011, our little BVI might have been better off. But one thing I must say, the time before the next general elections is too short to make up but at least let your actions speak louder than your words. The BVI Government MUST make laws to protect their citizens (Virgin Islanders) and other desirable citizens. We MUST be no different than other countries. Please note that my comments have no prejudicial intentions but fair is fair.

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    • @hmmmmm says:

      I 100% agree with you… but it needs to be bvi natives that care about their country NOT about making themselves richer… PLEASE wake up BVI and vote for people who care about the country and not just about themselves.

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  14. Anonymous says:

    “Virgin Islanders are being assured that they will be shown favouritism to acquire contracts or work arising from the recovery plan.”

    That is not nor should it be considered or interpreted as “favoritism.” That is simply doing what is right, procuring jobs and income for “BVIslanders.”

    Everyone will have an opinion, and they all should be respected, yet many will display ignorance of facts and policy, rights and preservation of a slot in the economic spectrum for the BVIslander.

    Lastly,it will be a glorious day when the top jobs of this bountiful nation be set aside exclusively for BVIslanders and not set asides for the Englishman, as that is neither right nor DEMOCRATIC.”

    Anyone who thinks of that practice as being democratic, does not know the difference between democracy, its tenets and disguised hypocrisy.

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  15. Dat so? says:

    Regardless of whether they are qualified or whether their price/costs are reasonable? Statements like “BVI natives will get preference” foment a mentality of entitlement, and promote cronyism. Of course, belongers should get preference if they are equally qualified than expats, but does it make sense to give preference where they are not?

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    • DAT so says:

      The competent in

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    • Lilly says:

      What does “qualify” really mean? Does this come on paper or with experience? I am just trying to get a good understanding because I see work permits issued daily and locals train those people only to lose their jobs to them a few months after.

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  16. Windy says:

    Qualified in the BVI = Show up to work 2 hours late, wearing flip flops, beer in hand.

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  17. The says:

    audacity of ignorance!!!

    Most Bvislanders take pride in their appearance on or off their respective vocations, Windy.

    That description used truly fits another culture and people, not the BVIslander.

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  18. Really says:

    Really NOT feeling this Leader of this country nor his …

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  19. Longshanks says:

    This is going to be the mother of all cookie jars 🙂

    Good statement from the Premier though, well written, and now is the time to get on with the recovery.

    Also, crucial point about the impact of the UK guarantee – with it borrow at <1%, without it borrow at 3.5%. If they borrow the full amount that is a difference in annual interest of $7.5m. With borrowing possible at <1% the BVI really should make every effort to borrow the full amount to invest. It will never be as good a time to do so again.

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  20. Riley Freeman says:

    he means ndp will get preference for all projects

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    • Typical says:

      Wait, and you will see it will be the same contractor on multiple jobs; all the money to one cookie jar. You can’t tell me these politicians don’t get kick backs when they assign these contracts.
      Contractors who still have open contracts and unfinished work will get new contracts (makes no damn sense). If you can’t finish one job we gave you, how can you get another.

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  21. Concern says:

    We all know BVI people will get preference, what is the concern it will be the same BVI people getting the preference.

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  22. concern says:

    If NDP wicked so what VIP will be like if they take over😀

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  23. Rea says:

    some people got some nerves. Got some very disrespectful people (Local and foreign) here in these Virgin Islands. Keep it up!

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  24. oh yeah says:

    Every other country in the Caribbean looks out for their people and that is a great thing but as soon as the BVI does it, it is a crime. The people who the rest of the world think can’t handle their own affair and can’t build their own country are the same people who built it in the first place. it was because of what we built attracted the same set who are now saying we can’t. Once proper guidelines and specifications with proper oversight are in place Virgin Islanders can build anything. It is from us many of who are talking learn your trades. If a check is properly done you will see that most of the shoddy work was done by outsiders. The problem with the BVI is there are to many outsiders trying to make this country like the S—H— countries they came from.

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  25. Daisy says:

    An Antigua minister once stated that “what happens in the BVI pecan never happen in Antigua.” His people agreed with him and that is how it should be. Everyone expects to migrate to the BVI and be given what they cannot get at home. Why do you think BVI belongers do not migrate to other Caribbean countries?

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  26. Beck says:

    Locals never get first preference under this group unless they are their diehard supporters. With this set handling projects one must follow the money. Check all their projects, incomplete and cost overrun.. When questions asked they get their private auditors to. Audit themselves. Audit never disclosed. We want the Freedom of information Act right now. Always check to see where the money goes.

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