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UK further criticised for low-grade treatment

Chairman of the BVI Chamber of Commerce and Hotel Association (BVICCHA) Louis Potter has joined the growing number of critics who have accused the United Kingdom (UK) of not doing enough for Overseas Territories.

He criticised the UK government for not implementing adequate measures to ensure the British Virgin Islands had relief funding in the event of a disaster such as Hurricane Irma.

“That [is something] they should have accomplished or they should have been working on long time,” Potter said in a recent interview with BVI News.

“In a way, the British are the ones responsible for governance in the BVI… [and] the British are coming to the table with very little,” Potter added.

The BVICCHA chairman went on to compare the UK to other sovereign states such as France, which he said practised good governance over French territories also ravaged by Hurricane Irma last year.

“You have the French, you have the Dutch, and you have the British [governments]. The storm hit the region where all the countries were affected. The French President came down and he came walking with a few hundred million dollars. The US and the British are not coming up with enough. The British supply a significant amount of money to the European Union budget for aid. The French use their aid for their colonies. But not the British.”

Should BVI be independent?

Asked whether he felt the BVI would fare better if it severed ties with the UK, Potter said: “Personally the way the world is today, I don’t see a distinction [between an independent or dependent territory].”

“As an independent territory, the World Bank and the IMF are telling you what to do anyway. And as a colony (dependent territory), given the global climate change alliance and given the things that are happening, and your ability to go to any world conference through the Commission as the BVI, the difference are very blurred,” he explained.

In the meantime, government minister Ronnie Skelton is also among the critics who blasted the UK recently for what is being described as second-rate treatment to the BVI.

He made specific mention of the £300 million in loan guarantees the UK offered to the BVI and the strict conditions that came with the offer.

A loan guarantee is a promise by one party (the UK government) to pay the debt of a borrower (BVI Government) if that borrower fails to repay. Skelton said the UK is making the BVI appear as if they were prostitutes.

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36 Comments

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  1. Marcus says:

    The French islands are not colonies – they are departments of France, the same status as Provence or Paris. I would have thought the Chairman would understand the difference – and the significance. Would he prefer the BVI to be a county of the UK, like Leicestershire or London?

    • Watcher says:

      The Chairman should perhaps travel to the UK, talk to British taxpayers and explain to them why their hard earned money should be used to improve the BVI. I am sure he will get a sympathetic hearing.

      And he should also explain why they are not welcome in BVI and have no rights there even though they are expected to pay for it.

  2. Iman says:

    Isn’t your same government said over and over again that you don’t want the UK government to meddle in you all affairs? But now you need their help. Wheel and come better than that.

    • Toga boy says:

      Do any British get a break when it comes work permits? Nah….I don’t think but you want more cash from the British public right? Cake and eat it sir?

  3. Albion says:

    So let me see if I have got this right:
    – DDM was so badly underfunded that its headquarters literally blew away
    – Our hurricane shelters are in such poor shape that most of them were either destroyed or were uninhabitable
    – Our roads were so sub-standard they mostly just washed away
    – Our electricity grid was fragile and was completely destroyed
    – Our telephone network almost completely collapsed
    – Our emergency broadcast system completely failed
    – Our police had no way to communicate to each other in the aftermath (those that bothered to come to work at all).

    But, yes, it is all the fault of the UK for “not doing enough” to help us. Not the fault of our Government for being woefully under-prepared and under-investing for years in vital emergency preparations.

    All our politicians love to spout off about how they don’t need the UK and we should be independent. I didn’t hear too many of them saying that when they were begging the UK to send soldiers. But here we are – four months later and they are back to their usual tricks.

    • Hmmmmmmmmmmmm says:

      I couldn’t agree with you more. Don’t forget books that were not audited for what 6 years, giving away 7 mil for an airline that has yet to make one commercial flight up to now and there was no money in the disaster relief fund.

      Why should England give you money when you’ve spent it all with no accountability to the people who elected you. Potter I expected better from a season civil servant. You and the NDP are such a DIASSAPOINT me!!!!!!!! England needs to come and take over her country from ALL the cookie monsters in the cookie Jar and save us from ourselves.

    • Reply says:

      Well. That is some serious truth to power and a straight up verbal thumbing right there.

      Albion, you know how to sock it to them. You are awake. Love it. Bravo! 🙂

  4. Watcher says:

    And what does the UK get out of BVI?

    Nothing whatsoever. Except abuse from idiots who dont know a good thing when they see it.

    • Your answer says:

      From BVI and other countries of commonwealth and former colonies the UK gets to send oh allow its nationals who seek work overseas to work and to open businesses abroad and so
      – get to oppress and pay natives of the host country pennies whilst they make millions which they mostly invest in the UK
      – get to buy and maintain land in host countries from UK national realtors who emigrated before them then pay a pittance in taxes
      – get to move out of UK slums and be immediately treated like somebody when they land and work in bvi
      – get to act like tourist when convenient to avoid import taxes on groceries from st martin and st thomas
      – get to help keep UK boarding schools open by sending their children there since BVI made money affords them to do so

      You may forget just how important the commonwealth is to England unless you are just thinking about the threat of free movement of people and forgetting of all the riches to be gained from the accompanying free movement of goods and people like in recent other circumstances.

    • crash says:

      They already raped us and left us to be a bird sactuary.

  5. The real Boo says:

    Want to eat his cake and eat it again

  6. Wow says:

    We made a name for our selves now we are running from it and we blame everyone along the way
    We turn the help away from the floods we were given help with Irma we turned thar away and I personally heard a certain minister laughing about how they turned CNN away and only allowed them 2 hours on the island well that was publicity you could have never paid for and you turned it away
    You didn’t only disgrace the expats of this country but you also turned them away ,now please tell me who is going to pay the taxes ,the social security ,the NHI ,rent your friends homes and support your friends businesses you turned that all away now you find everyone to blame and the funny thing is that most born here like me would believe what you are saying to be true well this one I am turning it away because it’s a lie

  7. Freedom! says:

    From the prism of political neo-colonialism, one can understand our officials frustrations with our former slavers rich children and their seemingly indifference to “the plight of their colonies.”

    However, those off springs of slavers are neither psychologically framed, emotionally care or humanly prepared to give Black people anything remotely looking like financial assistance of any great magnitude. That is the way they were and still being raised to think and act, whether it’s in a personal or political capacity.

    Where they are not forthcoming according to their political obligations, then changes should be made, in the long term, for the long term stabilization of our economy and growth.

    Indeed, independence and dependency, as relates to BVI is a blurred one because so much was accomplished during two hundred years of ancestral toil after world conscience forced the Brits to run with their slave wealth.

    The present off spring of that era, whether he is in a personal or political theater, will not respond to any so called territory of Brown skin people who are in need of financial assistance. It is not their DNA to be humanitarian oriented.

    We must continue to work hard and wisely to rebuild. Our ancestors began with rock stones, sand, soil and hard toil that have brought what we see before our eyes today before Irma. We can and will continue onward and upward.

    So let’s not keep chastising the slave master children in media. That will not change them for they possess neither the political or human will to change themselves for the benefit of others.

    Rise you mighty people, you can accomplish what you will!

  8. Jokes says:

    Is this guy serious? Wow! If the UK Military didn’t come when they did, we would’ve probably been like Venezuela in complete and total chaos. Some people need to think before they speak!

  9. Free Soul says:

    This is a joke right?!

    1. NDP been screaming for independence!
    2. Turned away assistance from the UK
    3. Now bawling that the UK has not done enough
    4. Insult to injury for many years the BVI Gov’t (both parties) has squandered revenue on bull$hi#! So much so that all the necessary infrastructure factors of life deteriorated over the past 20 years! Makes me wonder if these politicians run their finances/households the same nonsensical way!

  10. Diaspora says:

    No doubt the UK could and should do more. The French assistance to its overseas territories dwarfs the UK’s assistance to its. For instance, Emmnuel Macron , French president made a personal visit to the region, putting boots on the ground. Teresa May, UK Prime Minister, is yet to set foot on either Anguilla, Turks and Caicos or VI. Instead, she sent Boris Johnson and Prince Charles. Guess after depleting these islands of their meagre resources they now have no value and importance. They are just tiny dots out in the colonies.

    The £300M ($402M) loan guarantee was just a token. But I guess beggars cannot be choosers. The bottom line is that the VI is on its own. They are small and resource poor. They will have to look perhaps to the IMF and World Bank. Get prepared for some austerity measures, ie, deflating the bloated civil service…..etc.

    • Serious says:

      You make some very good points but the bottom line is we have been HORRIBLE stewards of our finances over the years and it’s now come back to kick us in the ass! After all the nasty banter towards the UK by our politicians over the past few years claiming we don’t need them in our affairs and you think they will be hard pressed to come rushing to our aid? Give it a rest and cut the crap.

    • RealPol says:

      Some valid points. But the reality is that the VI is an OT of the UK. As such, some diplomacy must be exhibited. Economic improvements have cause some missteps, chest thumping, and loose lips. An example of a misstep is refusal of UK Naval help after the historical flood on 07 August 17. A few corrections: Guadeloupe and Martinique are overseas regions of France. St. Martin is an overseas collectivity of France.

  11. X Pat says:

    Blame the British:
    * traffic lights at the roundabout
    * drag racing feasibility study
    * airport feasibility study
    * greenhouses
    * failure to invest in roads, proper school buildings, electricity, sewerage
    * not paying for insurance in a hurricane zone
    * sending the help offered away
    Yeah, totally the Brits fault. Grow up and accept responsibility for your own democratically elected politicians. Rise up and protest them in the spirit of Noel Lloyd and stop crying like spoilt babies

  12. Velour Track Pants says:

    Bouyie : boy you are sure fighting hard to stay relevant for the upcoming middle-weight fight you got coming up real soon son! Not much substance in your position taken apart from we all can clearly see that your brontosaurus 🦕 POV is irrelevant in today’s social dialogue post The game changers IrMaria….tek a shot of Johnny and enjoy your the rest of your twilight days….slumber on pardna…

  13. Great Dog says:

    Fact is the the French islands are part of France. French and EU citizens have the right to live there. The Dutch islands are part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Dutch cotizens can live there at will.

  14. Generation says:

    These baby boomers are KILLING our country with their outdated ways of spend carelessly then borrow to burden the next generation.

    They need to be out of Government and Civil Service with the quickness!!

    • Diaspora says:

      Generational mix of the greatest generation (though numbers are dwindling; tap knowledge fast), boomers, millennials, and gen z is needed for effective nation building. Each generation must pass and follow on generations must be ready to accept the nation building baton. Too many millennials and gen z wasting time being non productive at Balo; they are taking and contributing nothing to national productivity.

  15. delores says:

    is this gentleman related to delores Christopher?

  16. Tolian to the Bone says:

    Please, all of you who miss the doggone point and just come on here to criticize Government spending without addressing the issue at hand is laughable. The point is we are a dependent Territory in crisis. The UK does not have a track record of coming to our aid. We paddle our own canoe, always have. No matter how mismanaged our funds have been or continue to be, could we have truly prepared for the destruction suffered in these hurricanes? What sticks out like a soar thumb for me is that UK only provides for us a Governor who is only a glorified spy. But oh, I forgot, they provided a big PRISON or hotel jn Balsam Ghut. So naysayers and negative idiots why the h… not a High School to educate our children when it has been blown to bits by Irma? You see, as a people we will never get decent representation because nothing done is ever good enough. You my BVI family are negative, holier than thou, unkind, hateful and plain stupid to each other. To be calling for UK rule and bashing each other on this forum where even Queen Elizabeth herself could read it makes me want to vomit and I mean a daily throw-up gest. Grow up. Give me a break and just plain shut up.

  17. Una says:

    A lot is being said but the truth is not told. Members of this government is trying to scare the Nationals about Britain. But the damage is being done by themselves. Britain must take a stand when the caretakers of this territory do foolishness.. Nationals in this territory no longer has a say. They are outnumbered. One politician did say the time for nationals be given first preference has passed. Now expats brought in to work for them in all areas will be allowed multiple Imigration stay. Why are they not encouragingi locals to be trained in those areas? This territory is being sold out by the ones who should look out for their people.

  18. Eagle and Buffalo says:

    How does our USVI neighbors that were also devasted by the monster storms funding level to date compare to the BVI? Per the VI Consortium, to date, FEMA has made available $456M. $47M in household grants (rental housing, home repairs); $292M Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster assistance loans ($265M home loans; $26M business loans); $118M in Federal grants for power, public buildings, emergency road repair, debris removal……..etc.

    To date by comparison, the UK has offered £300M ($402M)in guaranteed loans(co-signer), and £10M ($13M) in grants. Additionally, the UK has provided security/police services (VI paid for housing?), transported 21 prisoners to St. Lucia, provided some equipment…….etc. Further, France has provided over $700M to its overseas regions.

    Moreover, the UK has its own challenges with Brexit (self-inflicted by Cameron)……..etc but it needs to do more. For starters, it can rebuild schools for the long term, repair the lone corectional facility (jail) (is it not rather interesting that the UK was willing to fund a jail, not schools?), repair and rebuild road infrastructure, repair, rebuild and modernize power grid, provide temporary buildings/facilities for schools…….etc.

    Moreover, the VI needs to get its act together. In the past, it has been a horrible steward of its resources. The silver lining in the destructive storms is that it provided the opportunity for a new beginning, especially in resource stewardship. VI residents must demand responsibility and accountability from elected and appointment members of government. As the VI plows ahead, life and debt will be part and parcel of its life.

    Let’s lead like eagles, not careen off the cliff like buffaloes.

    • Great Dog says:

      And what would be the benefit to the UK ?

      • @Great Dog says:

        @Great Dog, the same benefit that Guadeloupe, Martinique, St. Martin and French Guiana offers France; St. Baths, Sint Maarten, Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçaos, and Sint Eustatius to the Netherlands; and St. Thomas, St. John, St. Croix, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, and Northern Marianas to US.

        Furthermore, the UK economy benefitted tremendously from materials from the Indies (colonies). All material from the Indies produced with cheap labour went to the UK. The UK us d the materials in its manufacturing industry, putting its people to work. The finished products were shipped back to the colonies. Well at least the inferior products. None to few factories were created in the colonies to employ locals. UK owe a debt to the VI, other OTs , as well as other regional Anglophone countries.

        Once the resources were depleted, they ran away faster than Usain Bolt in the 100 metre dash. Now, UK nationals are returning mining lucrative jobs in its OTs.

        • Great Dog says:

          Thank you for the history lesson. You should watch Life of Brian sometime. Especially where they ask “What did the Romans ever do for us.”

          But its now and the future we are talking about.

          • @Great Dog says:

            Let’s us pretend that the past has no bearing on either the present or the future. Well, it does. For example, we can pretend that physical slavery was supposedly in the past so we should pretend it never happened and move on. Further, it is an open secret that the UK bragged that the sun never set on the Commonwealth. The UK benefitted immensely from the commonwealth. The growth of its manufacturing industry was fueled by goods from the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth built Britain. It is about the past, present and future.

        • X Pat says:

          you may think that everyone in UK drives a mercedes and lives in a mansion, alas this is not the case. There is a huge disparity of wealth, with poor and middle income families bearing the brunt of “austerity”. We have disabled people literally killing themselves because they live in abject poverty, we have children going to bed hungry, mothers freezing to death because they cannot afford to heat their homes in Winter. Most BVIslanders would be shocked by some of the poverty and deprivation in the UK.

          In the UK people pay 20% sales tax on everything, they pay at least 20% income tax and higher earners up to 45% tax. There is not a lot of love going round right now as it is and it is not a vote winner for UK politicians to give away UK tax-payers money to people who live in foreign territories who make hundreds of millions of dollars every year by helping people and companies avoid paying UK tax and who don’t even personally pay a commensurate amount of tax themselves as their UK equivalents.

          You know what? BVI politicians don’t want to make unpopular (but probably necessary) decisions on giving foreigners residency rights because they know they will be voted out of office. You know what? UK politicians don’t want to give away hundreds of millions of pounds to a tax haven because they know they will be voted out of office.

          You say learn your history, I say, try and live in the real world as it is today and understand that the average British person in the UK has no more responsibility for the slave trade or colonialism than the average Ghanian or Ethiopian whose ancestors willingly sold your ancestors to the slave-traders. That period brings shame on my country but it is not my fault and I feel I have no responsibility to pay some sort of reparations because of what happened in the past.

          • @Great Dog says:

            @ X-Pat, true not all Britons are living large and in luxury. But that does not change the facts about Britain and slavery. The British Parliament abolished slavery in 1833 yet it took another year (1834) for Emancipation in the colonies, including the VI. Further, slaves and their descendants are the only people that have not benefitted from slavery. Slaves were the straw that stirred the slave trade. But what did they get. Nothing, nought. They got used and abused. But for 3000 British families. Well, that is another story.

            After the abolition of slavery, Parliament appropriated £20M (£1.8B in today’s equivalent)to compensate 3000 slave owning families, per a study by the University College of London. Notable Brits whose families got compensated included George Orwell and Graham Greene. The University College of London has established a website where Brits can find out if their ancestors were slave owners. So don’t tell me that modern day Brits are not responsible. Many have benefitted and are probably still benefitting from the compensation paid to ancestors so the descendants of slaves are entitled to reparation.

  19. Great Dog says:

    Slavery was a disgrace to humanity, but it wasnt only the British and African slaves. The ancient Egyptians and the Romans had slaves of all colours and many of them from Britain.

    The British dont however expect the modern day Italians to look after them forever because of it

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