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Split decision: HOA votes to borrow $65M

Government legislators during a post-hurricane sitting of the House of Assembly.

The House of Assembly has approved for government to borrow a sum not exceeding $65,291,000 from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).

While seeking approval from parliament to borrow the funds yesterday, Premier and Minister of Finance Dr D Orlando Smith said the hefty sum would be used for recovery.

“[The money is] for the purpose of rehabilitation and assisting the territory in recovering from the impact of Hurricane Irma, while reducing risk associated with high winds and flood hazards and to support the population in reestablishing a sustainable livelihood,” Dr Smith explained.

Though government got approval to borrow, the decision in the House was not unanimous.

Six of the 13 legislators in House made up the majority who voted in favour of the loan, while three voted against.

Two legislators abstained from participating in the vote, and another two were absent during yesterday’s sitting of the House.

Melvin ‘Mitch’ Turnbull and Junior Minister for Tourism Archibald Christian were the absentees.

When the votes were being tallied, government backbenchers Marlon Penn and Alvera Maduro Caines were the members who shied away from voting.

Government representative Delores Christopher and Opposition members Andrew Fahie and Julian Fraser made up the trio that voted against the $65 million loan, while Premier Smith and the five remaining parliamentarians supported the move to borrow.

Don’t mortgage our children’s future

Fahie and Christopher did not specify why they voted against the loan. Fraser, on the other hand, said his reason was that borrowing $65 million would be dangerous for the BVI.

“I think that we have to be careful not to rush into it. Because from where I sit, what I see is going to be is a lending frenzy. The off-loading of huge sums of monies to poor BVI is requiring us to mortgage our children’s future,” Fraser said.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

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