Another member of the National Democratic Party government has objected to the Virgin Islands Recovery and Development Act and has requested more transparency from Premier Dr D Orlando Smith.
That member is backbencher and Junior Minister for Trade and Investment Promotion, Marlon Penn.
Penn made his position known during the ongoing Recovery Agency debate in the House of Assembly on Friday.
“I do not support this bill in its current form. I made that clear privately and I’m making it clear publicly now,” Penn said.
Premier, put everything on the table
Penn also made it clear that he is eager to see the territory recover; adding that residents in his constituency and the wider territory have been struggling under the current state of affairs.
However, he reasoned that legislators have a responsibility to make decisions and policies that represent the needs of residents, and not wants of the United Kingdom.
“We have to be more forthright with information as well,” Penn added. “Everything has to be on the table in this discussion [on the Recovery Agency] … Premier, everything has to be on this table — no exception”.
“I look forward to us making a decision that drives the economic development of this country forward. I look forward to us putting the right tenants in place to ensure that we have a strong foundation moving forward from the heels of this disaster,” he said.
Of the five government backbenchers, only Dr Hubert O’Neal has expressed support for the Recovery Agency.
The Recovery and Development Act will be put to a vote among the 13-member House of Assembly.
And if the parliamentarians fail to agree to establish the Agency, the BVI will miss out on the United Kingdom’s offer of a £300 million loan guarantee.
The territory needs to borrow millions to rebuild and restore the hurricane-battered British Virgin Islands.
Damage to the BVI after the September 2017 hurricanes is estimated at $3.6 billion.
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