BVI News

Governor willing to raise concerns of campaign financing with gov’t

Governor Augustus Jaspert

Governor Augustus Jaspert said he is willing to raise concerns of campaign financing with the Andrew Fahie administration.

A team of international and independent officials who were deployed to the territory to observe the 2019 General Elections said in a preliminary report of their assessment that they were “deeply concerned” that there were no laws requiring parties and candidates to divulge where the funding of their campaign originates and how it was being spent.

Governor Jaspert said he agrees with election observers’ argument that campaign financing laws would limit the risk of corruption and develop trust in a now-questionable voter system.

“I think it is an important issue that should be debated and discussed. There are people who have lived here for many, many years and want to be part of the territory,” the governor said in a press briefing last Friday.

The governor said while he is prepared to discuss the issue with the government, he said it would be left to Premier Fahie to decide if he wants to take it forward to Cabinet.

Governor Jaspert further said he would wait to get the final report from election observers before broaching the subject with the Premier.

In the synopsis of campaign financing outlined in the preliminary report, election observers said: “With continuing rumours of vote-buying and corruption by many interlocutors, a lack of financial accountability and legislative provision undermines and erodes voter trust in the system.”

The report said without adequate legislation governing campaign finance, the Virgin Islands is not compliant with the UN Convention against Corruption which was extended to the Virgin Islands in 2006.

“This issue is further compounded by the lack of any legal requirement to register or be incorporated as a political party in the Virgin Islands or to provide any public or financial reporting.”

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18 Comments

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  1. vip heckler says:

    I too is also wondering where the VIP got all that money to fund their campaign in such a short time????????????????????????????????????????????????

    Like 9
    Dislike 9
    • L says:

      The VIP has been in campaign mode since 2017 or so.

      Like 10
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      • True says:

        We still need to know where all that money came from . Was there not a huge bill to pay as well at least what they had said. This is interesting

    • Really says:

      Didn’t you see all their different functions they were selling food and drinks. They had committees members for each district and a Congress board that contributed which is the right way to do a campaign so your real question is were the other parties got their funds especially the one who had access to the Gov’t funds

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    • VOTER says:

      FROM WHERE YOU AND THE /// GET THEIRS .

      Like 1
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    • School children says:

      Say they were sponsored by the 5th district representative gather in law, who by the way is a shareholder in SOL, and also Outter Box, the company that makes the phone cases. If this is correct I wonder what promises were made.

    • LEGIONAIRE says:

      Where the NDPP got theirs last election? Include the million dollar wall contracts.

      Like 2
      Dislike 1
  2. Confucius says:

    We have been promised transparency by our new Government. Let’s hope the Governor is successful in his efforts to establish “FULL” transparency in ALL things pertaining to Government and that includes campaign financing!

    The days of the white envelop, as well as the practice of awarding Government contracts to “friends and supporters of the party in power”, must stop.

    It is long past time for a political coming of age in the Virgin Islands. Please put your big boy pants on Premier Fahie, and ensure transparency, fairness and honesty at all levels of Government.

    Like 11
  3. Anonymous says:

    People, civil servants and others morale is low, very low and they broke. Increments needed.

    The corruptors will always find a spouting leading to their pockets.

    The people should not wait another year or four for a raise they earned four five years and counting.

    They deserve better.

    Like 9
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  4. Whatever says:

    Another pipe dream! We cannot get them to declare their economic interests but we are somehow going to get people to provide information on their donors? How is this going to be monitored and audited for authenticity etc? Most campaign costs are in connection with printing shirts/posters/flyers, staging rallies (tents/stage/sound) and media/marketing. All one has to do is select their contractor for each aspect and have the contractor ‘pretend’ to offer services at a grossly reduced rate or pro bono. Then under the radar the contractor is paid in full by the donor and the only thing reported is that the contractors have done work either for free or very cheap. I think we have much more important things to focus on.

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  5. skool chayren says:

    We heard most of that money came from tatch

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  6. Albion says:

    I don’t think we have a problem with corruption in funding – but that is the best time to institute new regulations and procedures – before the problem arises.

    It should not be too much to ask political parties to submit accounts showing what they spent and where the money came from. Think of it as a halting first steps on the way to political transparency.

  7. No nonsense says:

    At least VIP money was visible on the campaign trail and not in envelopes, private parties, other bills and imported votes….go sit dung!!

    Like 5
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  8. Anonymous says:

    A certain non government NDP member received the most contracts for the last 8 years so we do need laws so that nobody can say that they got the contracts because of their affiliation to government. This is just a few.

    The Ministry of Communications and Works inked a $332,485 contract Thursday October 16, 2014 to replace a retaining wall and restore a strip of road in Thomas Land that was damaged in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Otto in 2010.

    Rehabilitation works on the Greenland road are substantially complete. The scope of works consisted of rehabilitation of drains and road in Greenland. Works were contracted to Autland Heavy Equipment Co. Limited on June 14, 2016 for $949,875.60.

    March 25, 2014, One contract, worth $633,737, is with Autland Heavy Equipment. The contract calls for the company to do road repairs and construct a drainage system at Ballast Bay. The project, which is expected to take four months to complete, is part of the territory’s ongoing road network repair project.

    In 2015, the BVI Ports Authority contracted Autland Heavy Equipment for $2.5 million to construct “Building Five” at the Tortola Pier Park but after Autland installed pilings on the building site, the project stalled in January 2016. Mr. Vanterpool said later that year that construction had been suspended due to design issues that increased the building’s cost to far more than its original $2.5 million price tag, and that work would not resume until officials decided how to move forward with the project. Officials have now decided on a plan for the unfinished building: BVIPA Acting Managing Director Al Henley told the Beacon last month that the BVIPA has closed out on its contract with Autland — paying the company $564,000 of the $2.5 million contract for the company’s piling work — and that negotiations are again under way to lease the site.

    September 6, 2018 government inked a $1,741,000.91 contract with Autland, to execute rehabilitation works at Windy Hill, Tortola

    March 7, 2017, contract was signed with Autland Heavy Equipment Co. Limited to execute rehabilitation works at Harrigan Estate (Bound Tree Road), which was affected by sub- tropical Storm Otto in 2010.The project has a cost of $623,250.87 and will be funded under the CDB’s Natural Disaster Infrastructure Rehabilitation Programme.

    Also March 7, 2017, Government has signed a contract valued at $623,000 with Autland Heavy Equipment Company Limited, which will undertake works in the Harrigan Estate area of Tortola.
    The company will build a retaining wall, as well as kerbs and slipper drains. It will also pave the stretch of roadway from the top of Fort Charlotte to the Sea Cows Bay Methodist Church

    Government signed a $504,408 contract with Autland Heavy Equipment Company Limited Tuesday, February 10, 2015 for the rehabilitation of culverts and roads at Fortune Ghut in Carrot Bay.

    December 2018, Works at the police headquarters at the Sir Olva Georges Plaza in Road Town has begun. Autland Heavy Equipment Company Limited will restore the law enforcement facility at a cost of $816,467.21.

  9. wow says:

    The VIP spent over half a million dollars. I don’t care wha a man seh

    Like 4
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  10. Politico Nuevo says:

    Guv Jaspert, you probably were debriefed by the election monitors /observers. However, as you stated, why not wait until you receive the full report before commenting?

    In any event, how would campaign reform be structured in the BVI? Would:

    1. Would there be a limit on individual contributions per candidate

    2. Would there be a limit on business contributions per candidate

    3. How often would individual/parties be required to report contributions

    4. What would happen to contributions after an election is over

    5. Would there be guard rails on what contributions can be expended on?

    6.Would foreigners and external companies be permitted to contribute

    7. What would be the penalties fir violations?

    8. Would contributions be allowed to pay the $1000 nomination poll tax

    9. Would there be a limit on registered organizations contributions

    10. Which office would manage campaign donations

    11. Would contributions be limited to money

    12. Would equal air time be required for parties/individuals

  11. LEGIONAIRE says:

    Let the Governor raise concern over rapist.drug convicts.weapons convicts being allowed to remain in the Virgin Islands. Talk that.

    Like 2
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  12. Hmm says:

    You need to address the people about the pier park and the ESHS wall. Stop stalling how long will take the police to do inquires.

    Like 1
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