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BVI/UK engagement ‘dramatically reduced’ since VIP took office — Director of UK OTs

Director for Overseas Territories, Ben Merrick (Photo from Bermudan Premier’s Twitter account)

Director of the British Overseas Territories (OT’s) Ben Merrick said ties between the British Virgin Islands and the United Kingdom have weakened since the Andrew Fahie-led administration took office in February.

This was expressed via a public letter addressed to Premier Fahie on September 2.

The director said: “It is disappointing that engagement from BVI reduced dramatically after your election six months ago, including the cancellation of your visit to London in May, which would have included meetings with Her Majesty’s Treasury ministers and Lord [Tariq] Ahmad to discuss this very issue (UK loan guarantee).”

“I had wanted my Head of Economics to discuss this with your Financial Secretary during our visit to BVI in June but this offer was regrettably not taken up. However, I am pleased to hear that this is now being prioritised by your government,” Merrick added. 

Misleading information from government

Merrick also said the present government is not being entirely truthful with the public on certain matters.

The director said he was pleased government had public consultations on the UK government’s loan guarantee offer but said he was “surprised” at some of the comments Premier Fahie made at those meetings.

 “I am concerned that your statement regarding the specific detail of the UK government’s offer runs the risk of being interpreted as misleading. I know that these points have previously been clarified to you and your officials, and hope that the Governor’s statement and the letter from the Economic Secretary to the Treasury on August 21, 2019, have assisted,” Merrick said.

One such ‘misleading’ statement Merrick pointed out was that the UK is demanding BVI ‘hand over almost full control of the management of the territory’s finances to the RDA’. 

“The British Virgin Islands Government is responsible for public finances, upholding the principles of sound public financial management. It is BVI’s RDA, implementing BVI’s Recovery to Development Plan. The British Virgin Islands Government sets the priorities. This model is internationally recognised as the most efficient way to implement recovery at pace and is replicated in other Caribbean countries facing similar recovery challenges,” he said while responding to the Premier’s comment.

No changes

Merrick also reiterated Governor Augustus Jaspert’s recent statements that there has been no change to the conditions surrounding the UK government’s offer of a loan guarantee to support the recovery and development of the territory.

“As you highlight, it is the choice of the British Virgin Islands Government as to whether or not to use the loan guarantee to access funding to rebuild,” the UK director said while highlighted that it has been nearly two years since the loan guarantee offer was placed on the table.

He also confirmed that any new borrowing by the BVI could cause the government to breach the territory’s borrowing ratios outlined in the BVI/UK Protocols for Effective Financial Management agreement. However, Merrick again confirmed that the UK government will consider any proposals to help the BVI return to compliance. This, he said, includes allowing the BVI a transitionary period to return to compliance.

“Any transition period can of course only be finalised when you express how long for, and what amount of borrowing the government wish to take up,” Merrick noted. 

The BVI has up to the end of September to decide whether they will accept or reject the loan guarantee offer.

Premier Fahie has since said the BVI will have a referendum on whether to accept the loan guarantee if his upcoming visit to the UK is fruitless.

CLICK TO SEE FULL LETTER FROM
UK’S DIRECTOR OF OVERSEAS TERRITORIES

Copyright 2019 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

60 Comments

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  1. Where? says:

    Where the letter?

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    • Kindergarten phonics says:

      “Where is the letter?”
      Another reason BVI needs the UK……

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      • OurDialect says:

        ANotHer rEaSOn ThE BvI NeEds… strupez Ah said what ah said. Wey Dah Letta mehboi.

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      • Face says:

        Where the letter?

        Stupes we speak how we speak every country has their thing…. s**t…. just p**s you off on a Sunday!

        Trini speak like Trini, Lucian speak like Lucian, Jamaican speak Jamaican, VI ppl speak like VI ppl!!!!

        We aren’t always writing a f*****g essay to be graded on!

        Where the letter!!!!!!

  2. lil bwoy says:

    Fahie is not a leader. He is surrounding himself with some greedy sharks

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  3. vip heckler says:

    This country should’ve never elected the VIP solely. It should’ve been a coalition government.

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    • @vip heckler says:

      Pure foolishness. The Premier is on the right track.

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      • Liar says:

        The Premier has demonstrated a real knack for not liking to be truthful. The letter from the other side now exposes him. He dodges going to the UK now all of a sudden he wants to go to the UK. He dodges the meetings now he’s calling for meetings with the UK.

        I’m sick of him and his lack of leadership skills. I’m also betting he signs on the dotted line. We are not stupid Premier. Just like you, we haven’t eaten our school feels either.

    • Hmm says:

      I wish this was the mindset from jet go.

  4. well meh boi says:

    Is he calling the premier a liard ??? wow !!!

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  5. Hmmm says:

    Why All the TiT for Tat? The NDP did this country really bad and Other Governments have to fix their mess. They have to address the 7.2 million loss to a fake Airline. The disappearance of papers from the Ports Project and many more. UK you should be dealing with them and not blaming Fahie for something that is your fault.

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    • Right Now says:

      This is irrelevant – sunk cost.

      The FUTURE matter at hand is the money needed for recovery from Irma and Maria!

      If you all keep pu$$y footing Bahamas will be back up before us with their offshore, their tourism and their infrastructure! And, what a shame that will be!

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      • Right now says:

        The Bahamas will be up and running before you know it. The Bahamas is not run by a set of MMUMU’s like the BVI is.

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      • To Right Now says:

        If you are so confident in your bold predictions, then go there.

        We believe that direction is better than speed and we stand with our Premier.

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  6. Local says:

    Dem white boys is not to be trusted.

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  7. Reply says:

    Clearly the Director for Overseas Territories, Ben Merrick, sees right thru the Premier and his bs. Any thinking person can see that from a mile.

    As stated, “it is the choice of the British Virgin Islands Government as to whether or not to use the loan guarantee to access funding to rebuild”.

    The Premier can take the offer or leave it on the table, but I will bet my last dollar that after all the noise he makes, he will sign off on that loan guarantee, and the original conditions would remain essentially the same.

    The country needs the money, and he needs the money to do things for the country before the next election or else he is toast. What will he have to show 3.5 years from now? 1000 jobs? Please. He needs the money to do things including creating jobs.

    IMO, he just wants to keep a bunch of noise to distract from his weakness and unpreparedness to do his job, make it appear he is doing something and is the smartest one in the room. Not!

    His constituents bets tell him to stop playing games with people’s lives and get on with it.

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  8. Post the Letter says:

    BVINews, post the letter. Let the people of the BVI read and analyze for our selves.

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  9. Hard Balls says:

    “The BVI has up to the end of September to decide whether they will accept or reject the loan guarantee offer.”

    Take it or leave it. Action, action and more action called for here. Let me here the Territory now. The Territory keep harping about U.K. want take over. The ball is in your (Territory) hands now! Stop the bickering, blame gaming and lies.

    If all the truthful information is not placed before a man, he cannot make a wise and informed decision.

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  10. TurtleDove says:

    An adversarial relationship with England is not in the best interest of the people of the BVI.

    No one is asking the Premier not to stand up but flexing muscle when not needed and not being entirely truthful creates bad relationships. The BVI PEOPLE needs the money not England.

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    • Listen says:

      The public is foolish for just listening to these guys from UK. A person who is trying to help out of good will would not put a deadline on the loan guarantee. What makes you think they care about our well being.

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  11. Lol says:

    The more this issue unfolfds is the more I realise that the gentle from the second does not have what it takes to be this country’s leader. Just not ready!

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    • Kitchen table talk says:

      From day one, I said this man is in over his head. He has no idea what it takes to run the Country. I am going to say this and who ever is mad can continue to eat your cocoa puffs. Our Premier don’t even look like a leader should look… One thing I have to say,the former Premier was always well put together. You represent the Country,you always have to be dressed well.

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      • His looks says:

        I am in agreement that he can do better. Even in terms of how he speaks. I think presentation is important. These UK guys sees him as a joke. He flexing muscles he don’t have. We are our own worst enemy. No one wants to be in debt but the reality is, no one expected Irma. When I look at the Bahamas and their dire situation, we need to stop Bitching and get ourselves in order.

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      • Really says:

        The new Premier is well put together and also well spoken unlike the previous premier who absolutely no one could understand a word the man was saying.

  12. Hmmm says:

    I am with my Premier

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  13. i am with the governor says:

    as fahie is like trump!

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  14. Dman says:

    At the end of the day he will take the guarantee and F.Y.I. nobody in Great Britain wants to take you over. Too expensive, too much headache.

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  15. fromafar says:

    What is the reason for the mad rush to have a close relationship, Britan’s action has always been one of not caring , why now is this goverornor so selective on what to hold accountable? So many things went wrong with the previous administrations and they was not a mention,we finally have a Premier who does not say yes to everything the UK says.I never trusted them from my Youth neither do i trust them now.
    Look, let them keep the guarantee for the loan let the BVI forged the way foward without that massive borrowing, look at the economy, not really a good time for borrowing . And finally who really benefits from this money,most of it wil
    go outside the BVI, while we and our children repay it.

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    • Agreed fromafar says:

      This Governor seems curry favored. NDP was left unsupervised. Now if the Premier sneeze it seems like they want to know if he used Kleenex or charmain. Since when this interest in the BVI cometh?

      Since VIP got back in office, this is the most civilised, humane and respectful that the country has become. This is a Government working for the people so just say thanks and be on your way man.

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      • Caramel Diva says:

        So why not blame the previous Governor, He is just as new as the new Government. What NDP did does not make it okay for VIP to do. Correction needs to start from now before we drag ourselves further down the gutter

  16. My view says:

    Whatever is hidden in the dark will come to light. The Truth will alway find it way out no matter how long it takes. I respect the Governor and the premier and I believe they can find a common ground and bring a balance. Let the public know what is going on before decesions are made this strange fire between the Governor and the premier is not good for the bvi. The BVI needs you to focus and not to be distracted. All advisor working with the government should get their fact right. Any more mistake and misleading information comes with consequences so please do what is necessary and important to improve the economy of the BVI. We need to move forward.

  17. Sugar Mommy says:

    I read the letter. It just sounds like to me that Uncle Ben just vex that he can’t push the Premier around like he want. Why must BVI be in constant contact with these fruitless meetings? What do we have to talk about? The UK ain’t helping us so what is the point of constant contact? Why couldn’t they give the RDA a billion dollars or two to build BVI, and let BVI repay at this magnificent interest rate they keep boasting about? It is not like they don’t have the money.

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    • Short memory says:

      What do you mean they aren’t helping you???? What a short memory you have….I remember the British army bringing in supplies, water, airlifting people out, walking in our streets to maintain order and safety post Irma. They’ve also offered much neeeded monetary help and their only stipulation is the monies be spent in an appropriate way and without corruption! Smarten up. Without them we are a 3rd world county!

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      • Ausar says:

        KEEP UP THE PRESSURE ON ‘EM, PREMIER!!

        All of a sudden the Kingdom is concerned about us, but not concerned about the “millstone- around-the-neck” kind of loans that were forced on us and our continued ability to repay!

        Really???..

        CONTINYA THE PRESSURE ON ‘EM, PREMIER!

        TAKE NO PRISONERS!!

        When it comes to the dealings with the Kingdom, however you choose to deal with those racist bandits, Ausar is with ya!!!

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        • Independent says:

          The UK is not forcing the BVI to take any loans. It has merely offered to act as Guarantor to any banks that are willing to lend BVI money, so that you don’t have to pay as much interest. But if BVI defaults, then the UK will have to repay your loans, so of course UK is interested to ensure that no-one has their hands in the cookie jar and that the money goes where it should.

    • @Sugar Mommy says:

      U sound like a jack a$$. You go play the lottery, when a billion dollars and give to BVI!

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    • You says:

      you are a ungrateful wretched human being
      you are like a child who cant self governor but wants to be rude to the parents that are there to guide and assist you. Not do everything for you.

      And when you hold your hand out and demand disrespectfully to be given a gift and you don’t get it, you become even more disrespectful but still expect the gift.

      ingratitude!

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      • @ Short memory, You and et al says:

        Sounds like you all vex too. Why must attempt at civil conversation turn to name calling and online tantrums?

        Truly the UK can afford a couple billion dollars and not lose sleep. Stop letting the talk of money scare you. It is the UK money, not your money. Either they would have loaned the money or not. It is that simple. Nothing complicated and no hard feelings. Stop overthinking things.

    • @Sugar Mommy says:

      You ungrateful,ratchet B**ch. A person like you need to be dropped kicked and beaten with a heavy duty broom stick. You F***ING I WILL BITE THE HAND THAT FEEDS INGRATE.

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  18. BVI Pride says:

    I always had the position about not taking deh people dem money.

    Premier.. leave deh people dem money alone

    we built the BVi without them.. stop begging.. It is not a BVI thing…

    I grew up in the time when BVI people hungry we stay hungry…
    we never cry or beg..

    we need to get our pride back and build our country

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  19. X-box says:

    This Premier have no idea what he is doing nor do he have the knowledge to run a Country. I see this Premier as a manipulator and embelisher. I am one of the people that see’s right through this man. He wants to control and dominate every aspect. This man is the BVI’s Donald Trump.

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  20. Read the letter says:

    https://m.facebook.com/AUBMediaHouse/photos/pcb.2379144652172625/2379144172172673/?type=3&source=49

    Read all of them. If the BVI Govt is acting in transparent manner with no dodgy deals or anything to hide there is nothing here. The U.K. is only making sure the BVI has and continues to havie the cash to pay back any loans they get with the U.K. guarantee and that they don’t end up having to pay back because someone put their fingers in the cookie jar and the country defaults. Also read that the U.K. has requested the Governor to be at the meeting.

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    • TO Read the letter says:

      Let me ask you a question…who is watching the UK? Also it is clear that the UK IS NOT handling their own affairs well but they want to tell others how to function.

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  21. BAIT says:

    The money or rather the loan guarantee is bait to put us in a position of having to comply with all the stipulations that the UK want to impose on us. We are not in agreement with same sex marriage I saw recently where the EU is proposing marriage between man and animals….that is sick…we do not want to be forced into these sick and demented practices.Something is seriously wrong with the psyche of Europeans. There is no way BVI could fall for this type of madness and still boast of God this and God that.I personally would prefer to go back to fishing and farming rather than be forced to accept this madness. if you don’t stand for something you fall for anything. UK needs to guarantee decency and fairness. I am not impressed.

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    • Independent says:

      Your comments are irrelevant – the UK is leaving the EU anyway.
      And here in the BVI there would be fewer children born outside of wedlock if the people were truly God fearing and you wouldn’t have so many adults raping children or murdering each other! Forced into sick demented practices? They are already happening!

  22. Think says:

    Surely not the VIP was in power when these grants and loan guarantees were placed on the table. The previous government had more than a year to sign off on them but have you ever wondered why they didn’t? Now this new administration is in place and everyone wants them to jump head over heels. Fahie is doing the favorable thing but because these letters back and forth between him and the UK are public knowledge everyone has it to be war and controversy between them. He did say he will engage them with the utmost respect. Again think, the last administration didn’t have any documents to prove only word of mouth. All the premier want is the hard copy that will prove these said loan guarantees stating all the term conditions and conditions. Fahie is willing to do what it takes for the people and honestly the man needs to know the full logistics on where WE stand.

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  23. Just wondering says:

    Has anyone ever given the thought that BREXIT has a huge role to play in this?

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  24. Charnele says:

    Why anytime the white man speaks we blacks tend to believe him instead of our own. When will we stop this they have been controlling us far too long.

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  25. BVIstrongaboveall says:

    Forget the UK invite the friendly Chinese…who will want BVI entire economy as security…

    No problem we be good !! until default

    English complain Human Rights etc etc

    Chinese Guns Troops f**k you locals gun barrel or death

    Lets see BVI STRONG HAHAHA

  26. Bigger Picture to be Seen says:

    All I’m seeing in these comments is a set of judgements people commenting based on what they would’ve done which is to take the money now and worry about the consequences and effects it will have later. The UK is trying to strong arm is and the Premier is trying to prevent that. We take this loan and we will be in debt to our mother land on contract terms that aren’t even clear. BREXIT is still in play which means the UK is trying to leave the EU with as much benefits as possible. Next, it have the Anti-Money laundering law they trying to pass by 2020 so that they could cripple one of our top industries which is Financial Services. The bill would drive the offshore companies away, having a nasty domino effect on our economy. Then this loan with ridiculous interest to be paid back. So because our Premier wants to be certain that he isn’t signing over the BVI’s power, he don’t know what he’s doing. But when tax rates and interest rate bad decisions they want to make the Premier to make hastily, they going still turn around and say it’s bad governance. Relax and respect yourselves. -Citizen

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