Minister of Education Myron Walwyn has expressed annoyance towards the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), which still has not released needed rehabilitation and reconstruction funds from the $65 million loan it approved for the BVI nearly a year ago.
Since approving the $65 million loan back in December, the CDB has had the monies tied up in procedures intended to ensure accountability.
But, Walwyn said the duration of these procedures have become unreasonable and inconvenient.
“To say you have a $65 million loan facility in your hands … and you can’t get a cent of it spent almost a year after the hurricane is absolutely ridiculous,” Walwyn said.
“You (the CDB) have to make sure, of course, that you have a very good and comfortable level of transparency and accountability but you cannot have a process to the point where you become impotent where you don’t get anything done. It doesn’t make any sense.”
He said the CDB seems to be operating with little urgency and consideration for the BVI’s situation.
Gov’t should have negotiated better?
The minister further said the CDB should have ensured their loan procedures are specific to the respective needs of borrowing countries.
“You came to a country that had a disaster. You can’t operate the same way as if you went somewhere where the hurricane didn’t go … Your procedures must be sufficiently malleable to address the concerns that are taking place in the particular place to which you are operating,” said Walwyn while making statements seemingly directed at the bank.
He, however, suggested that government should have done more to ensure the funds were released in a timelier manner.
“That was supposed to be thought of and, of course, negotiated by us from our end as well. But the system that we have in place [now]; I don’t think it’s doing us well enough,” said the education minister in the House of Assembly last week.
The CDB’s $65 million loan reconstruction and rehabilitation project will include road rehabilitation works, construction of schools and coastal defences, improvement of water and sewerage facilities, among other things.
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