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Fraser defends introduction of Digicel, BiWater

Julian Fraser (File photo)

Julian Fraser (File photo)

By Horace Mills, BVI News Online Staff

While accusing members of the governing National Democratic Party (NDP) of continuing on what he calls a dangerous road of ‘conflict of interest,’ Opposition legislator Julian Fraser has sought to defended an often questioned decision he made years ago to introduce Digicel and BiWater into the local market.

Members of the NDP government have claimed that the introduction of the two overseas firms when Fraser was Minister of Communication and Works has been detrimental to local investments such as Ocean Conversion and CCT Global Communications – two investments in which members of the NDP government previously had shares.

Fraser, in a statement yesterday (January 28), claimed that consumers have benefited from the introduction of Digicel and BiWater. He added that BiWater was brought into the market because of a ‘bloody civil war’ between the then previous NDP government and Ocean Conversion.

While not elaborating, Fraser said: “It was the result of a bloody civil war between Ocean Conversion and the NDP government that resulted in a contract with Bi-Water to produce constant and quality water to the residents of the Virgin Islands at substantially reduced rates.”

“Charges for the supply of water to the government had surpassed $24.00 per 1,000 gallons and, in addition, there were issues with quality and consistency,” he claimed, adding that the sitting government has been trying to sabotage the BiWater contract.

“The NDP government has wasted three years trying to sabotage the Bi-Water contract instead of repairing or expanding the broken water distribution system. Today, as we speak, residents cannot access the water that is now being produced and must continue to suffer from empty pipes – thanks to an NDP government.”

Turning to the Digicel issue, Fraser indicated that he is still standing by his decision to have introduced the telecoms firm into the BVI because – among other things – it forced local CCT to adjust its rates and policies.

DIGICEL“The blatant ‘conflict of Interest’ by members of the NDP has or had resulted in, but not limited to customers of CCT being charged for in-coming calls. Liberalization of the telecommunications market [with the introduction of Digicel] not only removed this crippling incoming charge, but has resulted in reducing cell phone rates to levels never before experienced in the BVI.”

Adding that taxpayers have suffered due to alleged conflict of interest in the NDP administration, Fraser suggested that some government members may still be violating the rules of the House of Assembly.

“Since being elected to the Legislative Council in 1999, most members of the NDP have embarked and continued on the dangerous road of ‘conflict of interest’ as a result of shares held by themselves and/or their families in companies that continue to trade with the government of the Virgin Islands without adherence to the rule of the former Legislative Council and/or the House of Assembly. These violations are significant not only for their violations of the Rule of Law, but they are also significant for their effect on you the hard working tax payers.”

Fraser, in the meantime, listed a number of projects undertaken recently by the government, implying that ‘conflict of interest’ was involved. He however did not illustrate the supposed ‘conflict of interest’.

BiWater plant at Paraquita Bay, Tortola

BiWater plant at Paraquita Bay, Tortola

“The blatant ‘conflict of interest’ by members of the NDP has or had resulted in, but not limited to: Questionable contracts for catering services to the very House of Assembly; questionably contracts for the supply of goods and services to the BVI Hospital Authority; questionably contract for the supply of Chinese road pavement equipment; [as well as] questionable contracts for legal services to the National Bank of the Virgin Islands, BVI Health Services Authority and other government statutory bodies,” added Fraser, who is also Chairman of the Opposition Virgin Islands Party.

 

Copyright 2016 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

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44 Comments

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  1. NDP says:

    Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 14

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  2. youth voters says:

    Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 12

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  3. VI Voter says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 7

    Lame! If this is what they think will win them next elections they may as well wave those white flags from now and save their money. BVI Investment Club, CCT or Ocean Conversion will not be on the ballots come next election so I could give a rats ass about them. Fraser, defend your record from when you were last in Government with your VIP team, that is what our votes will be based on.

  4. NDP Man says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 5

    Ladies and Gentlemen here we have it. This guy and his party has no solutions to move the BVI forward. A vote for them is a vote to take the BVI back to their last administration where it was total chaos and millions spent for nothing. What does this have to do with whether we vote for VIP or not? Fraser needs to take up what appears to be his personal vendetta with investment club and others in another medium. The voters want to hear how they plan on moving this country forward, what are their plans. Over the past week we have seen a vast disparity between the VIP and NDP. On one hand you have the VIP making some serious allegations, baseless, false, unproven foolishness.

    Then we had the NDP responding asking him to prove the allegations and with 2 days passed we have seen nothing but more personal attacks. The NDp have been stating over and over what they have done for this country since 2011 because they are not afraid of their record, they are very proud of it. They are telling the people what they have done and what their plans are moving forward. They have an entire year left to improve things in the country and all VIP has is 1980s gutter politics with no substance.

  5. How Ironic says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 4

    All this coming from Mr. “Let me give my brother and ardent supporters $90K contracts on my land, with Government funds”.. Or Mr. “Let me give my past VIP chairman a big long-term contract with DMV at his place..”..Talking about conflict of interest? Who cares about Digicel and Biwater, they are not seeking elections next year. Let us talk about Julian Fraser, Andrew Fahie and VIP since they have the most chat lately and accusing people of all manner of things.Mr. Illegal marina and Mr. Kickback have yet to support their accusations of corruption, but there is much information out here when it comes to the conflicts and alleged corruption. They sat back and watched in-laws of a sitting Minister in their party collect millions of our tax dollars for the johnson ghut project and the green houses. Give out contracts to their own committee members time and time again while work wasn’t done. Over inflating of contracts to get their cut no matter how small. Even petty contracts some were eating out of.

    The contractors had enough and they are talking all so this election will be interesting. I have heard from multiple contractors about the schemes and wheeling and dealing with the Bummer, but all of a sudden everybody else corrupt and he and his Great God of the Universe are holier than thou. We not stupid.

  6. Why says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 5

    VIP is asking why this Biwater topic can’t go away.
    The reason slavery will not go away is the same reason Biwater will not go away.
    We have become slaves to Biwater, we all need water daily and what starts as a lie will continue to be a lie. It will not go away for 40 years. We are stuck with the bill and we have burden our youths with it, the same youths the VIP is fight to get on their side.

    • ? says:

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 4

      Good analogy!!!!

      • Dulcina says:

        Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

        Absolutely! Perfect analogy, I agree.
        Fraser’s supporters refer to him as the Liberator.
        Just iamgine !

        The systematic dumbing down and miseducation of the youths, attempts to destroy the local investment group and recently advising the people not to invest in the Pier Project,erroneously promising that locals will be offered shares in BiWater.

        All are some of the direct efforts to enslave the masses while enriching his pockets and those of his relatives.This is the stuff of typical Third World Country governance. We see it a stones throw away in many of our neighboring Caribbean and South American countries.

        Fraser the Liberator? Yeah right!

        Compare all that with NDP type governance whose first priority has always been emphasis on education and investment for all.

  7. Seriously says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 5

    I’m not in favor of either party giving out contracts and favors to supporters. But what annoys me is to hear Fraser and Fahie talk about NDP in a way to give the impression that they handle our affairs so much above board. Yes, NDP may appear to be for big business, they may take care of certain supporters, but the fact is many more contractors small and large are getting opportunities that they never had under VIP. Fraser for example should keep his mouth shut because he gives his contracts to one hand full of guys when he is in power, but when he doesn’t have power they are still crying, how greedy can you be? Both parties give contracts and favors to supporters but VIP in my opinion are more blatant and reckless with how they do it. Look at how many roads to nowhere, sidewalks to nowhere etc. that we have around the place, all to put money in people pockets. Fraser and Fahie you all are sickening man and I will be surprised if anybody with sense join your ticket especially after the recent display of desperation on your part. Fahie, I am more disappointed in you as my former Teacher at BVIHS now ESHS. You had such a bright future ahead when it comes to leadership and being an example but sadly now it’s all going downhill. Shame.

    • Agreed! says:

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 6

      It’s true! No problem for Jamsie and Ashley to get everything under VIP, that’s progress. But if the Crab man and others get anything under NDP it’s bloody murder. Why is there a double-standard? If you support VIP you smart, if you support NDP you dumb, VIP is for the regular man, NDP is for the rich man. Jamsie, Ashley, Mr White for Biwater are small men? We need to stop pitting ourselves against each other. Local is local no matter who we support so VIP please stop the crap and creating division in our country.

  8. ooooo says:

    Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 7

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    • Yawn... says:

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

      This is not about whether NDP likes companies or not, it’s about hypocrisy!! When VIP allow foreign companies in the BVI it is good for the country, it’s positive, it provides jobs, it’s great! When NDP does the same thing it’s conflict of interest, it’s selling out, it’s bad for the country, who owns it, where is the money going, we need to take back our country, we are minority in our country. You see how that works? Foreign investment is a good thing no matter who the Government is. So don’t try to muddy the waters here, it’s all about pure hypocrisy and pettiness. How can foreign companies coming to the BVI be good under VIP but bad under NDP? Explain.

      • vip says:

        Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 5

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        • we know everything! says:

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

          Don’t a certain youth, Mr. Smith, own shares in Biwater or is a director? Who just happens to be Frazer’s lacky. Strupes. I am so tired of this. I have to read all this foolishness until election night when we will quiet them for another three years? Because you see, the way I see it, Hon. Frazer and Hon. Fahie seemingly don’t even know how to act Honourable anymore. They can’t even come up with a good idea to take our country forward and that is a shame for two intelligent fellows. It goes to show you that hunger for power totally clouds your judgment and you will do anything. Do we want them to be our Premier and Deputy Premier? I certainly don’t and I know I speak for others myself. They will say anything not worrying about what effect it will have on the country they want to take over the reins of running come election day. I say let them stay home and talk foolishness or maybe they can go to the beach. Both of them need to soak their heads!

  9. hog city says:

    Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 7

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    • Yawn says:

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

      Foreign companies coming in under VIP? Good for the country. Foreign companies coming in under NDP? bad for the country. People are not stupid.

  10. wow says:

    Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 5

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  11. blind man says:

    Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 5

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  12. talk bring talk says:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

    Go ahead and spill more beans hon frazer, sister joyce and aubrey will have thing to sing.

  13. Blogs says:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

    The VIP bloggers wake up. The esteemed need to have an English class with his bloggers if they want to make a dent.

  14. Japal says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

    The only time I agree with Fraser is about Digicel and Biwater. Digicel has helped reduced rates all across the industry and has become good corporate ambassador for the BVI sponsoring many events and giving back to the community since their arrival. Maybe Fraser wasn’t being patriotic when he accepted the foreign companies but they have and will be beneficial to consumers and that to me is a plus.

    • Yes says:

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

      I agree with that 100%! Digicel has made the other companies step up and although the telecoms services are still not up to par, they’re a lot better and Digi has helped with a lot throughout the Territory. However, I fail to see how Digicel or Biwater will help Fraser and/or VIP win the next election. People only are about Biwater and Digicel to a certain extent. The voters want to know who they can trust with the next four years running our Government, investing in infrastructure, foreign investment, Education, healthcare etc. The constant bickering does not help anyone right now. So far if elections were held today I would vote NDP hands down based on all the work done in just three years, particularly in healthcare and education.

  15. west farm says:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

    Where are all those bloggers (80plus) who were banging/bashing Andrew? Where are they now?

    • Blogger # 80 says:

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

      We right here reading and laughing at the desperation of you guys. Regardless of whether people think Digicel and Biwater were good for the BVI, they are already here and they will be here for a long time to come. How does that help or hurt either party when it comes to the upcoming elections? Andrew and Fraser have been speaking for weeks and still haven’t said anything of substance. Who are the VIP advisers? Cannot be the esteemed intelligent prince making these rookie mistakes is it?

    • pressure? says:

      Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

  16. ooooo says:

    Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

  17. waalox says:

    Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    • Weakest Link says:

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

      LAME!!! Come again. How much Aqua Design in Sea Cows Bay paying a former Minister for leasing his land and when was the lease put in place?

  18. Traveler says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

    Mr. Fraser’s focus on perceived “conflict of interest” by the NDP in both Biwater and Digicel issues confirms that his motive was one of spite. There is no sound economic reasoning anywhere in his statement.

    The conflict as he saw it could have been addressed by encouraging competition amongst the existing local players, and not by bringing in new outsiders. His decisions show that he appears to be vindictive.

    And for what? Digicel took our government to court and is constantly trying to bully its way to an advantage. Meanwhile, Biwater has strangled the local water industry taking us back into the colonial era.

    • Google says:

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

      Google Digicel and Biwater and research their behavior in other countries and you will understand why they both go well with Fraser. Birds of a feather….

  19. Confused says:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

    I’m reading this and having a hard time understanding what this has to do with the upcoming elections and who voters will elect to run the country for another four years. The NDP are cleaning up all the mess left by VIP’s last administration and we are talking about Digicel and Biwater?

    • Japal says:

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      In all fairness Fraser is responding to the Premier who in his letter to address the statements that Fahie made questioned why Fahie was not critical of Fraser for entering “2 highly controversial contracts” including Biwater. I see many people asking why is he on the topic or implying that this is his campaign statement.

  20. I From Here says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

    Fraser is a BIG CLOWN!

    • Wellsah says:

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

      For real! All he missing is some big b_lls to juggle. I guess the youth mASSter and the ASSteemed PS has them.

  21. VIP TEAM says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

    My team seems to be confused. We were told that to recruit new supporters especially among the youth, we need to tell them how VIP support their people. We were told that we should tell people that when you support VIP and they get in power, they take care of you. You get contracts, favors, jobs, land, house whatever you need, they take care of you. They say NDP only for the rich, but VIP will take care of you, whatever you want.

    Now Fraser is saying that NDP giving their supporters, friends and companies stuff is corrupt and wrong? But when VIP does it, it’s called empowerment and upward movement for our people? I am confused, when is the next meeting?

    • On the Ball says:

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

      NDP giving their supporters, friends and companies stuff. now go back and read your first paragraph. “VIP support their people” – and it is not just supporters, friends and companies stuff —-ALL is “their people”.

      • No more talk just action says:

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

        If the VIP was for all the people how come when ever Fraser is in power there are only 8-9 guys getting all the work? We need action now not talk.

  22. jeffry says:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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