Governor Augustus Jaspert has approved the controversial Virgin Islands Recovery and Development Agency Act, which parliamentarians passed in the House of Assembly two weeks ago.
Most of the 13 legislators in parliament had objected to the bill but later voted in favour of it being passed after a number of amendments were made.
The Governor signed off on the amended bill on Thursday, April 12.
“This is a significant step forward for the recovery of the territory,” the governor said.
“With the passing of the legislation comes the start of the process to agree to the terms of the UK loan guarantee. This will involve negotiations with potential lenders, discussion with UK Treasury officials, and ultimately the approval of the UK parliament,” he added.
The governor said legislators should be applauded for passing the bill.
He noted that the bill follows international best practices and “proves to the world that BVI is leading the recovery efforts with a clear set of accountability and good governance standards as a guide”.
Board members to be appointed next week
And now that Recovery Agency Act is officially law, the Cabinet will focus on finalizing the ‘procurement regulations’ that will be used to decide how members are selected to the Agency and Board.
“The Premier has confirmed that the appointment of the most senior staff to the Agency and the procurement regulations Cabinet will approve, will be free from political influence in order to safeguard independence,” the governor assured.
Meanwhile, the Premier announced in a press conference on Thursday that members will be appointed to the Recovery Agency and Board “in the coming week”.
The Recovery Agency being implemented means the BVI has accepted the United Kingdom’s loan guarantee of £300 million (more than $400 million United States currency). The Agency will have full control over how recovery funds are spent.
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