BVI News

Fraser, Turnbull adamant: Decries ‘issues’ with recovery plan

Fraser (left) and Turnbull.

While ardent Premier Dr D Orlando Smith supporters like Mark Vanterpool insist that legislators should ‘stop wasting time’ but rather back the Recovery & Development Plan, Opposition legislator Julian Fraser and government legislator Melvin ‘Mitch’ Turnbull have maintained that they have issues with contents of the plan.

Among other things, they raised concerns about insufficient details and/or planning of the document that is now being debated in the House of Assembly.

Loans, grants and even public-private partnerships are three of the major ways this now-$580 million recovery plan will be funded. But, Fraser said — besides the $65 million the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) is lending — government has given no evidence of any other lenders in the plan.

“We should have had a list of banks already that are going to lend us the money, what are the general conditions of these [lending] institutions for borrowing, and what are the government’s obligations. [That is:] how many years we talking about down the road and some form of projections as to how we are going to pay back,” Fraser said.

He sarcastically added: “But, no, we in the House of Assembly are supposed to be so reckless and we are supposed to just sit here and say ‘yes’ [to the recovery plan]. We’re not supposed to ask any questions, we are not supposed to raise any concerns or anything. We are just supposed to sit here and say yes.”

Who are the engineers?

Fraser also said there appear to be no assurances that the various infrastructures to be built under the plan will be constucted ‘resiliently’ and in a way that will mitigate against future natural disasters like Hurricane Irma.

“Who are the engineers that are going to engineer our infrastructure and that is going to engineer to the standard that is necessary to sustain another disaster? Fraser questioned. “We’ve [borrowed] monies from CDB and claim that CDB has standards. But, when you look around and you see the structures that has been constructed [through them], they are no different from the ones we had before. But, what is for sure is that we spent the money and got to pay it back.”

“Those are the realities we got to be looking at — spending the money, how it’s being spent, and what’s the product you’re going to get from the monies that you’ve spent.”

He further raised concern that residents seemingly will not benefit directly from the millions that will be used to fund the plan.

“They (locals) are not going to be your engineers, they are not going to be your contractors,” Fraser said while making his contribution to the debate on the plan on Tuesday.

Shared sentiment

Government legislator Turnbull concurred with the opposition member’s sentiments.

He, too, had concerns about what he believes to be little to no inclusion of locals once the various recovery and development projects begin.

Turnbull said: “There are some very unclear issues within this plan and the setup of what we are doing that we have not discussed and that we have not layed on the table.”

He noted Vanterpool’s recent statement that legislators need to ‘get on with approving the plan’ because the territory’s infrastructure has been in desrepair for more than a year now.

Turnbull, however, said: “None of it will be fixed until we (the House of Assembly) fix the details [of the recovery plan].”

Delores Christopher and I were also in agreement

The first-term palimentarian then used the memory of recently-deceased legislator, Delores Christopher, to note that she, like him and Fraser, was against the passing of the Recovery and Development Act back in March.

Both Turnbull and Fraser have made it clear that they are not against borrowing or against the recovery effort. They said they just want to see the effort done in a manner that does not negatively affect the territory.

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16 Comments

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  1. Bykr55 says:

    My millennial children feel less ‘entitled’ than BVI politicians!

    You are holding the people of this country as hostages while you try to maximize your own personal and political stature.

    It’s shameful that one year later the country continues to be in shambles.

    I don’t know how you can sleep at night…oh I forgot…your homes and offices have already been repaired!

    Like 26
    Dislike 2
    • Seagull says:

      We clearly need intelligent oversight in public spending. Our elected officials have demonstrated no capacity for making reasonable decisions. Our Premier and Head of Finance has refused to issue an audit of his activities and has clearly spent our money without proper due diligence. Our Minister of Education assumed the responsibilities of his boss and handed out over 70 contracts to build a simple wall that probably wasn’t necessary to begin with.
      Our schools remain broken. Our roads remain broken. Our utility infrastructure remains broken. Our internet is slow, expensive and unreliable. Our dump is on fire. The status quo isn’t working.

      Like 10
      Dislike 1
    • Auditor says:

      Where did their personal wealth come from? They been elected officials their whole life? People seem to say that’s our money ….

    • Theresa says:

      It’s sad to think that we must suffer and wait for recovery because our elected officials haven’t figured out they can personnaly profit from it. The money is there. The leadership is missing and we and our children must wait and suffer.

  2. Reality says:

    And what do these two muppets bring? Nothing but complaining….no solutions or positive suggestions just trying to curry favour ….like the ruler with no clothes they lack substance but for some reason think they know it all….!

    Like 13
    Dislike 1
    • Not2Sure says:

      Boy, I am looking forward to the chance to vote Mitch out. Only ever looking out for himself – no loyalty, no care for the country. Everything that is wrong with our modern politicians in one man. Self, self, self.

  3. Retired says:

    HOA – stop wasting time and pass the RDA plan. The cookie jar is closed so deal with it.

  4. Shame on you says:

    Messing with peoples lives like this. You should step down or step aside and let the RDA start the redevelopment. Enough of your politrics!

    Like 12
    Dislike 1
  5. E. Leonard says:

    The devastation caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria is still lingering like a horrible dream. Well, the thing about dreams is that one wakes up from them; the Irma and Maria devastation is real. The devastation caused damages to the tune of approx $3.6B to physical the infrastructure (road network, telecommunications, water, sewage, electricity, marine ports, airports), schools, medical facilities, fire stations, police stations, government facilities, tourism facilities, economic infrastructure……etc.

    Consequentially, a well-structured, well-planned, responsibly-funded, professionally-and effectively-managed, robust recovery plan is urgently needed and long over due. It has been a year since monster storms Irma and Maria roared ashore, ravaging the BVI and changing lives and circumstances.

    Thus, a supposedly UK-imposed RDA is in the HOA for debate. Some members, given the exigency of the recovery, want to fast track the debate and jump to the vote; others, on the other hand, want to proceed with deliberate speed by dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s. As such, the Hon Fraser (D3) and Hon Turnbull (D2) are on point in requiring a full and robust debate on the issue. The time and place (HOA) is now to get answers to questions, ie, to find out and get answers on details, suggest/make changes to RDA, ascertain and nail down how the plan will be funded, how much it will cost taxpayers individually and collectively, how much locals will be able to participate in and benefit from the RDA, the opportunity cost for BVI residents, sacrifices and inconveniences that residents should expect, government engagement and participation in the RDA………. etc.

    Moreover, have a full and robust debate on the RDA and let’s get at the recovery.

    Like 8
    Dislike 5
    • Roll eyes says:

      Listen to this nonsense. How much more debate and discussion you want to have? Mitch in particular is on a personal ego trip that he will fall down on. I crinched listening to him yesterday in the HOA. The young man doesn’t have a clue.

      Like 2
      Dislike 6
    • BVI Diaspora/Enclave says:

      Wel, mai boi! The Hon J. Fraser, RA (D-3), the Liberator and Leader of PUP, got a supporter. Seriously, the Hon Fraser knows the issues but only if he could shed the perceived arrogant and humility label. Is the Liberator just misunderstood?

      Anyway, concur with the following:”The time and place (HOA) is now to get answers to questions, ie, to find out and get answers on details, suggest/make changes to RDA, ascertain and nail down how the plan will be funded, how much it will cost taxpayers individually and collectively, how much locals will be able to participate in and benefit from the RDA, the opportunity cost for BVI residents, sacrifices and inconveniences that residents should expect, government engagement and participation in the RDA………. etc.” The HOA must be the biggest deliberative body in the territory. In debating issues, no stone should left unturn. Are bills perfect in initial rollout? No. There will be unintended consequences; adjustments will be needed. Nevertheless, the electorate must be assured that any bill received due diligence. Ok, it is also true that analysis shouldn’t cause paralysis. Bring on the debate and respect each other’s point of view.

  6. E leonard says:

    We understand – they want to figure out how much they can put in their pockets without getting caught…

    • E. Leonard says:

      Clearly, I don’t have a trademark on the E. Leonard moniker that I have been using for a while so anyone can use it. Nonetheless, the following is not my creation:
      “We understand – they want to figure out how much they can put in their pockets without getting caught…” Not afraid to defend or take responsible for anything I wrote.

  7. PLEAZE says:

    Ernie and Bert need to go take a seat. Never seen a bunch of bumbling fools with mikes in hand like those two cocky arrogant men.

  8. Anonymous says:

    M—– and his whole clan is exactly what is wrong with this country. If you sit and listen to all the pastors run their mouth you would figure out that it’s all about money and power. They are accustomed of the nipples of the country and they are afraid that it will stop. Nothing is more blaspheming that to use God to push your own personal agenda. It’s sickening but it’s who they are.

  9. Father help says:

    Look at those two. Look at what Mitch has become and he thinks he is anointed. Well at least that’s what Pastor Daddy told him.

    Like 4
    Dislike 1

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