By Davion Smith, BVI News Staff
Government minister Myron Walwyn is pushing for a policy that will bar legislators from reading the names of government contractors aloud in parliament.
The minister said the practice of ‘public naming’ in parliament is prejudicial to contractors.
“I find [it] to be not only unparliamentary but very destructive to the territory of the Virgin Islands,” Walwyn said in a public statement recently.
“Very often it (public naming) serves only to demonise those businesses that are providing such a valuable service to the territory. The Standing Orders need to be adjusted in this regard, in my humble opinion.”
Standing Orders are, effectively, rules governing the procedures of parliament.
Claims of conspiracy to cover up corruption
Walwyn made his statement in response to a suggestion that he is involved in a conspiracy to cover up government ‘corruption’. These corruption claims were made in relation to government contracts distributed for remedial works to H Lavity Stoutt Community College (HLSCC) after the 2017 hurricanes.
The claims were made after Walwyn refused to publicly name the company who received two government contracts, which totalled just fewer than $1.5 million. The contracts were issued without a legally required bidding process being undertaken. HLSCC said they approved the company to become the contractor ‘as a matter of urgency’.
Opposition Leader Andrew Fahie had been the legislator who requested for the name of the HLSCC contractor to be publicly stated in the House of Assembly last Thursday.
Though Walwyn never spoke the name of the contactor aloud, he gave Fahie a document which had the names of the contractor in question.
That document then began circulating on social media with the caption: “No bid for work at HLSCC. Pure corruption. This kind of money is what we have to compete against. This is why he didn’t want to read them out in the House.”
Walwyn subsequently released a statement suggesting Fahie was the author of the caption. He further said the corruption claims were a move to gain “cheap political points”.
“Recklessly using words to suggest that our institutions are corrupt only serve to make life harder for all of us. And so I, therefore, urge my colleagues to look beyond just winning an election and look at winning for our country.”
Walwyn then ran to the defence of the HLSCC board of directors, who would have been the ones to approve the contract without undertaking a bidding process.
“I find it important to defend the board of governors of the college headed by Dr Charles Wheatley on this matter because all the members of the board are persons who are highly respected in our community and are persons of the highest integrity. For something like this (corruption accusations) to be done is certainly taking us down a pathway that will only serve to hurt the territory,” Walwyn said.
HLSCC is is a statutory body which handles its own legal and financial affairs.
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