Marlon Penn, the representative of the Eighth Electoral District where East End is located, has exposed the Ministry of Finance as the agency behind the so-called unlawful move to divert $8 million from the East End/Long Look sewerage project to the Tortola Cruise Pier back in 2015.
He named the Premier Smith-led ministry as the culprit because of recent claims that he (Penn) had approved the controversial diversion of the funds.
While noting that those claims against him were “manufactured”, Penn said: “The reality is the [government’s] caucus had no clue about what happened with the sewerage money. In fact, it was Finance in their wisdom, without authority, that transferred the monies from the sewerage project to the Port and it was the Cabinet who made the decision to ratify it. That’s the fact. That’s what happened.”
“The finance department decided what they wanted to do with sewerage money of East End/Long Look — [they] cooked up something with the Port and whoever else, and the people had to suffer.”
When the now Opposition Leader Andrew Fahie shed light on the diversion of the funds more than two years ago, Works Minister Mark Vanterpool described his government’s actions as a mere ‘loan’ to the Ports Authority.
The so-called ‘loan’ was to be paid back years ago but, up to March of this year, Premier Dr D Orlando Smith said the BVI Ports Authority still owed $6 million.
Monies were made available for the sewerage project through House of Assembly-approved loan financing from CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank.
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