Premier Andrew Fahie has said persons who keep reiterating his government does not have a plan for the territory during the COVID-19 pandemic are being disingenuous.
The Premier made that statement during a recent video interview while responding to what he described as false statements being made by some persons in the territory.
He said these persons are fully aware of how fluid the nature of COVID-19 is and with that factor, it is not in his government’s interest to prematurely release all their plans at once since they are likely subject to change from COVID-19.
“We have a plan for the Phase II with the persons coming in, whether work permit, etcetera. We had a plan that was projected for the first of November dealing with the economy and we didn’t even get to get that out because we were going to bring that out just last week, then everything started to unravel,” Fahie stated.
“The plans we had last week we don’t have this week. We had to readjust. The plans we had a week before we had to readjust. The ultimate plan is very simple, we want to make sure that we reopen the borders eventually. We were aiming for the first of November. We had all our plans set up for that,” he explained.
Don’t want to end up having to borrow money
The leader of government business also reflected on recommendations made by detractors who called for the government to immediately release stimulus packages to assist the population during the initial stages of COVID-19.
He said if his government had rushed to make that decision, the BVI would have been in a similar position to many countries who released their stimulus packages early but are now experiencing a second wave of COVID-19 with limited or depleted resources to support their residents.
“I kept saying it’s too early to do a stimulus plan because if you do it too early and you don’t know the length or the breadth. You are going to be right back there with the stimulus plan and you are going to be in trouble … Now when you look at this, all the stimulus plans that were given out are finished but COVID-19 is now ramping up. So now the question is where are they going to get this money from?” Fahie asked.
“Some of them have already borrowed money to run the country. Thank God I have not reached to that point. We are trying our best not to get to that point. We’re scrapping, we’re making sure that we don’t get to that point. We’re trying our best to make sure that we keep our eyes on our revenues.”
More plans coming in upcoming weeks
In the meantime, Fahie who is also the Minister of Finance, said his government will be rolling out a number of initiatives and plans to boost the economy in the upcoming weeks.
He said this will happen once the COVID-19 situation in the territory improves.
“If all works well when we find out within a week or two, we will be able to come back and say ‘well, all right. Based on the numbers and based on what we have done thus far with this case, we have seen that now we can go back and tell you that on this projected time, this is what we plan to do [and] on that projected time, that is what we plan to do’,” he added.
“I don’t want to release that now whether persons come and trying to pressure or not because we would be just doing it just to answer and look good and then you cannot maintain what you have said,” the Premier further stated.
The BVI currently has 52 active COVID-19 cases.
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