With the recently announced Commission of Inquiry to investigate corruption claims within government, residents should now better understand why there were delays in the distribution of the various COVID-19 stimulus funds.
This is a belief held by the government minister responsible for Social Security, Vincent Wheatley.
Speaking at a recent community meeting, Wheatley said most of the delays came as a result of the government’s adherence to the necessary public spending protocols to ensure every cent distributed to each successful applicant was accounted for.
He said: “Everything is transparent, plain and accountable. As a matter of fact, one of the reasons why somethings took so long to happen during this pandemic, we had to make sure and we said that these things are going to be audited, we had to make sure every ‘t’ was crossed and every ‘i’ dotted.”
“And you all complained, ‘why are we taking so long?’ Now you understand why we took the time to make sure that all systems of accountability were in place because we knew the possibility of this happening and here we are now,” he added.
COI an act to deter self-empowerment
Wheatley also said the Commission of Inquiry is being used as a tool to deter locals from successfully seeking self-empowerment, by painting the territory as one which is filled with corruption and lots of criminal activity.
However, the minister said despite the attempts, they will not distract his government from their mission and purpose of empowering locals — a pledge that was made during their elections campaign.
“We ran on two or three very specific things we want to achieve for this territory. One of them is the empowerment of the people. As a matter of fact, that message was so well taken, so well received that it got some people scared, they say ‘you people are going too far with this empowerment idea’,” Wheatley said.
He continued, “So they’re trying their best to dissuade us from continuing down that trend, but it’s the only way we’re going to go, that is one way, the empowerment of our people to handle their own affairs at some point or the other. There’s no turning back. I don’t care what they try, we are on this path and we are going to stay there.”
More attacks expected
Wheatley further said his government will not be backing down with transforming the BVI and because of this, he expects much more attacks by external sources on his government.
“So you’ll see these attacks here and many more to come, but we know from where our strengths come so we’re not afraid, we’re all sleeping good at night,” he stated.
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