BVI News

BVI politician chides May for not visiting

Opposition member Julian Fraser and UK Prime Minister Theresa May

By Davion Smith, BVI News Online Journalist

An opposition parliamentarian in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), Julian Fraser, has lashed out against UK Prime Minister Theresa May for not visiting the BVI, which has been affected by a destructive tropical wave and two category 5 hurricanes within the last three months.

At the time Fraser voiced his grouse in the House of Assembly, he noted that United States President Donald Trump was planning to visit the neighbouring hurricane-battered US Virgin Islands (USVI) and Puerto Rico. Trump, who visited Puerto Rico, did not make the trip into the USVI. He instead spoke with USVI Governor Kenneth Mapp on a US Navy vessel. However, Vice-President Mike Pence later visited USVI.

While comparing President Trump with Prime Minister May, Fraser, who has been a longstanding advocate of greater self-determination for the BVI, lamented: “She (Prime Minister May) probably don’t even know we exist.”

It is not the first time that Prime Minister May is being criticized for her response to the British Overseas Territories that were pummeled by Hurricane Irma in September.

Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn recently accused the prime minister of not responding to the BVI swiftly enough. Prime Minister May refuted that claim, and promised to help with recovery efforts in the BVI and other British territories.

Since then, UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson visited the BVI. The BVI also has received relief supplies as well as major military and police assistance from the UK.

BVI’s political leader, Dr D Orlando Smith, has expressed satisfaction with the UK’s response.

But Fraser, who recently served as Leader of the Opposition and Chairman of the opposition Virgin Islands Party, remains unimpressed with the Prime Minister May-led relief efforts.

Fraser, during the House session, questioned why the UK prime minister has not visited the BVI.

“You gonna tell me that [only] some secretary of state (Boris Johnson) came here? The President of the United States and the Vice President are going to the United States Virgin Islands. Where is Theresa May? She probably don’t even know where the [British] Virgin Islands is,” Fraser further lamented last week during the first sitting of House of Assembly since hurricanes Irma and Maria.

The sitting of the House was held at Save The Seed Energy Centre in Duff’s Bottom; this because Hurricane Irma damaged the usual parliament building in Road Town.

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