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‘BVI will never be alone, UK is with you’ — Lord Ahmad

UK minister for Overseas Territories, Lord Tariq Ahmad. (BVI News Photo)

By Esther Durand, BVI News Staff

UK minister responsible for Overseas Territories, Lord Tariq Ahmad has used his first public appearance in the territory to speak of unity between the UK and the British Virgin Islands.

Giving an address at the official handover ceremony of the Magistrate’s Court modular building in John’s Hole on Tuesday, July 31, Lord Ahmad told residents the UK is proud to be associated with the territory.

“You will never be alone, you are part of our family [and] we are proud of that fact and it is an immense pleasure and a humble honour to be with you today,” he said.

“And let me assure you that we in the UK, the government of the UK, our prime minister and our whole ministerial team together with our excellent governor stands with you to ensure that you build back better.”

Lord Ahmad said he also shares the sentiment of the BVI’s territorial song that the territory is ‘blessed’, and he, in addition, praised the ‘incredible spirit’ of the people despite the challenges faced as a result of the 2017 hurricanes.

The UK parliamentarian said although the hurricanes brought adversity, it brought him closer to British Overseas Territories such as the BVI.

His statement comes at a time when the BVI is at loggerheads with the UK in relation to the public registers of company beneficial ownership controversy.

Following his address, he handed the keys to the new court building to Governor Augustus Jaspert and Premier Dr D Orlando Smith.

Hurricane resistant building

According to Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Deputy Governor, Carolyn Stoutt-Igwe, the 1,365 square-foot building contains raw materials that are fire retardant and impervious to mould and mildew.

It is also eco-friendly and highly energy-efficient, she said.

“Of utmost importance, the building design adheres to Miami Dade’s building codes and is structurally engineered for 200 plus miles per hour winds with hurricane resistant windows and doors,” she said.

The USA-manufactured building features ramps and restrooms facilities, a general waiting area, the magistrate’s courtroom, a prisoner holding area, and an office for magistrates.

The UK’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office contracted Caribbean Basin Enterprises and NG Solutions to undertake work on the building.

Copyright 2018 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

20 Comments

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  1. Eagle eye says:

    Lord Ahmad lol we had Lord Lavity Stout.but since then we never get a next lord until now.

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  2. Wow says:

    Looks like value for money! We need one of these down in West End for the ports! A building a bit bigger than that to house customs/immigration, with another structure outdoors with covering but opened for breeze, for sitting/waiting/vending/ticketing agents.

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  3. Reality says:

    We certainly will be alone if all the Muppets get their way and fool people into independence !

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  4. ndp heckler says:

    a certain minister man turned off the water in john’s hole since yesterday so that big leak next to althea scatliffe school wont embarrass the water&sewage dept while the ceremony was taking place

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    • Horse Path says:

      That water been there for months every day all day long they passing through there the school is right they aren’t fixing it waste of time

  5. A PROUD BVISLANDER says:

    Thank you for coming to us and giving us a more secure feeling, much needed since out two destructive and horrendous hurricanes almost a year ago. We appreciate your caring and hope you will tell all, we are grateful for your help from long distance with immediate assistance and as we see this weekend they are back and helping us with much needed show of Caring. Sincerely, the People of the British Virgin Islands.

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  6. Oh my says:

    This man look like he has the same PR team as the NDP because he’s telling us things that we know isn’t so and want us to believe him.

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  7. My take says:

    While you are here can you get your employee the governor to do his work and deal with these many under hand dealing of this government.

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  8. SMDH says:

    Imagine the UK had to do this project without the NDP inorder to get value for money and have it completed on schedule. What a joy but yet what a shame. These guys have brought us to full disgrace.

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  9. Next Project says:

    Please Lord AHMAD now move on to the next project by launching many investigations into the careless spending of the ndp because they are bragging now that none of them have been arrested.

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  10. My plea says:

    Before you leave please save us from this NDP gang who doesn’t believe in good governance and doesn’t practise it.

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  11. Lordie says:

    Lord Ahmad all I can say is LORD HAVE MERCY PON THIS PLACE.

    YOU HAVE TALL BOY POWER HEAD WALWYN TRYING HARD TO RETAIN POWER AND TALKING PURE CRAP.

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  12. Ausar says:

    And we should all be comforted by such warm words.

    Let’s see how those words would factor in when the registers become public,and the country finds itself struggling to pay its bills.

    Lets see if the Lord would initiate the process of allowing a half billion in loans becoming a grant instead!

    Only then will the words of the Lord be believed!

    And wait we should. Then we shall see what we shall see!

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    • To Ausar says:

      AMEN & AMEN!!!

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    • @ Ausar says:

      Why are we waiting to see? Why aren’t we beginning to build up other revenue sources? Instead of one giant pillar (finance)… let’s work on a few sustainable smaller pillars. We have salt, we have fish, and I’m sure there are other goods or services we can export. This is the problem we are faced with really; not just a threatened financial service, but the need to diversify our economy. Why wait?

  13. Political Observer (PO) says:

    “Giving an address at the official handover ceremony of the Magistrate’s Court modular building in John’s Hole on Tuesday, July 31, Lord Ahmad told residents the UK is proud to be associated with the territory.” Well, let’s keep this real. No disrespect on throwing cold water on Lord Ahmad sentiments but the UK at best is tolerant of the BVI, The UK don’t see the VI as having any strategic value; it can no longer provide any commodities for it factories and will be elated if the VI unhitched itself from the UK.

    The UK is looking out for the UK. The UK government of PM Theresa May didn’t go all out in protecting the VI in debating the amendment to the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill that required the VI and other Caribbean OTs to establish registers of beneficial ownership. The government played politics (all politics is local) and folded like a wet noodle, going along with the Bill.

    Moreover, Lord Ahmad speech and comments were programmed and robotic. He was a team player and towed the party/UK line. If he had said anything different, it would have been shocking. What is Lord Ahmad doing to help the BVI in its fight to avoid the registers? Is the line and expectations that the VI abide by the will of Parliament.

    The VI needs to invest its time on things that improves the lives of its residents, ie, creating economic independence——-strengthening and deepening current economic pillars, diversifying the economic, investing in STEM ( Science, Technology Engineering and Mathematics, building a world class infrastructure (roads, water, electricity, sewage, drainage, gas, ports), strengthening the social fabric, arresting crime, improving healthcare, providing good governance ( accountability, responsibility and transparency), protecting environmental resources, investing in human capital…….etc.

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    • RealPol says:

      @PO, real talk. Who did the UK government side with at crunch time? The Opposition, not the BVI. It siding with the Opposition was no surprise; they are the UK, they are politicians. They roll with the tide on the home front. Government or Opposition, it is still the UK; they are one when the choice is binary, UK or BVI; UK wins every day. Lord Ahmad visit was a like warm appeasement visit. What did his visit change or will change? Nada. We better learn to swim or else……..

  14. ??? says:

    I thought you all said this guy was coming to leave no stones unturned. Guess many of you are disappointed. Seems like a good will tour to me.

  15. Maria Louisa Varlack says:

    Thank God for The United Kingdom. God Save The Queen. Long may she reign.

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