BVI News

Constituents’ requests for financial aid is in excess of $2M in D2 and D8

By Kamal Haynes, BVI News Staff

With many businesses and families still being impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, requests for financial aid by constituents in at least two districts have amounted to more than $2 million combined.

Eighth and Second District representatives Marlon Penn and Melvin ‘Mitch’ Turnbull told BVI News during an media conference on Wednesday that the needs of their respective constituents have been growing amid the health crisis.

The legislators were responding to questions about government’s recent allocation of $300,000 to each district. They said the needs of their districts far outweighed the resources made available for each representative.

“I have over $700,000 in requests from persons who have real needs that I have tabulated and I have only gotten $300,000. It shows the grave need of persons within our society,” Penn said during Wednesday’s press conference with members of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition.

“We just got access to those funds less than two weeks now and now we have sent forward requests from our constituency because we see the dire need for persons throughout our community. [These are] persons who have fallen behind on their rent [and] persons who just really need some money to put food on their table for themselves and their families,” he added.

The needs are real!

Penn also said the needs of his constituents are genuine as persons have been submitting proof of hardship to support their claims for relief.

“They are sharing with us their bills and the obligations they have and we’ve been fighting to try to get that support out to persons throughout our communities.”

He further said there are persons and businesses in the tourism industry who have not been paid or earned revenue in six months. 

“How are these people to survive when their businesses and their apartments and their rents that are owed are the only ways of survival for those persons?” Penn questioned.

False rumours of sitting on the $300K

The Eighth District representative also dismissed what he described as circulating rumours suggesting that members were “sitting on the money” and not trying to help persons in need of assistance.

The money wasn’t available … We now see that the money is there. We had a conversation yesterday with the Financial Secretary and the Accountant General to ensure that we are all on the same page in terms of how we can help our constituents and make sure that they get the support in a timely manner,” he explained.

$1.65M in request from Second District

Meanwhile, Second District Representative Turnbull said the requests from his constituents more than double what Penn had declared for the Eighth District.

“Honourable Penn said he had $700,000 in requests. I think in terms of the number of people his district is much bigger than mine, but mine was $1.65 million for the Second District.”

Turnbull said the high volume of requests is because his constituency is heavily reliant on the tourism sector, which continues to be at a halt locally. He listed areas such as Jost Van Dyke, Cane Garden Bay, and Brewers Bay whose “the only means of income” is tourism.

“What we’ve been trying to do since the money has become available is trying to find ways that we can make a dollar out of 15 cents, but trying to help as many people as possible,” Turnbull added.

In the meantime, Penn said that a proper plan is needed for the BVI to assist the affected persons and businesses in getting back to generating some level of income.


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  1. lol says:

    In district 2 that request got to be coming from those g****y clines/clynes

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  2. Is that so says:

    They could have save some money if they accepted the assistance from the UK military.

    But no… they can find the money to spend on equipment etc because of their pride and hatred for the ‘mother country’ but finding it difficult to get funds to assist the constituents.

    Not the way to go in this times.

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  3. #7 says:

    But we living in district 7 and not getting any relief I have two children and I am laid off why am I not getting any help. Not even Social Security giving me anything.

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  4. Sickening says:

    Corruption. We need UK to take over

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  5. 2 Cents says:

    “I have over $700,000 in requests from persons who have real needs that I have tabulated and I have only gotten $300,000. It shows the grave need of persons within our society,” Penn said

    Well, Penn: pay each person $0.42 per $1.00 requested. You could do the Maths. At least this would hold for now and everyone that put in application get a ‘lickle’ bit. No?

    Like 15
  6. Love says:

    Like button not working but what a great suggestion

  7. Hmmm says:

    How many persons have to share that $700 000.??

  8. 1.65 milli says:

    Good day Mitch the Honorable,

    Sending well wishes to you and yours.

    Please after you pay out Pops and them, save some for the rest of us.

    Thanks and all the best,

    Unemployed in district 2

  9. @2 cents says:

    I so agree. It’s simple common sense that we won’t be able to meet every single need. Use the money to ensure that you assist everyone with their immediate and most important needs as best as you can. It’s going to take discipline on the part of those requesting and those giving. I would suggest that all members treat these monies as if it were your own – that would make a real difference in how you consider these requests.

    My five cents.

  10. Laugh out loud! says:

    Let them go and sell them MK things, excess PS,big cell phones, Gucci this and that and so on!!But I have worked for 30 years in government and is deserving of my late and lackadaisical increment. By the way a promise is a comfort to a fool. Shame on you, that’s why the bvilanders have that mentality of not paying NHI, TAXES AND OTHER SALARIES DEDUCTIONS to employees

  11. down2earth says:

    Are district representatives on Social Development’s staff? Isn’t that the best agency to carry out the task so that persons across the board can be treated fairly?

  12. My say says:

    Tortola is not a big Country, $300,000 is more than enough funds to cover each District if the money is budgeted the right way. Everyone is jumping on the band wagon and mooching. Everyone that is asking for help DONT REALLY NEED THE HELP. How come the other Districts is not B***hing about not having enough money. TURNBULL AND PENN, you can’t always please everyone.

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  13. GTFOH says:

    Marlon need to call the man he named the hospital after and tell him he need some of the $1.7 million urgently.

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  14. Clueless says:

    How is a person supposed to apply for financial aid through the district reps? Social security just isn’t coming through.

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