By Davion Smith, BVI News Journalist
Why did the Premier Dr D Orlando Smith postpone today’s critical Budget Address for a tsunami exercise that only lasted one hour?
That is the question weighing on the minds of a number of residents concerned about the leadership of the National Democratic Party administration.
Unofficial reports are that the postponement of the Budget Address is linked to the controversial Recovery Agency, which is being mandated by the United Kingdom.
On UK’s orders, the Agency will have full control over the millions that will be used to finance government’s proposed recovery plan for the BVI.
And since the UK has offered to be the territory’s guarantor so the BVI can borrow up to £300-million for hurricane recovery, the UK must give its approval on BVI’s Recovery and Development Plan.
The Premier reportedly submitted the document to the UK for approval since November. But, he reportedly neglected to publicise that information to members of the public, who had been participating in consultations on the plan for weeks after the document was submitted to the UK.
Opposition Leader Andrew Fahie raised concern about the issue in the House of Assembly today.
Government marketing a lie
Meanwhile, it is said that even some government members had no idea that the document had been submitted since November. These government members reportedly expressed strong concerns when they discovered what had happened this week.
When BVI News invited Fahie to comment, he said: “The government does not intend to tell the truth at any time and they intend to market a lie … It might sound harsh but it is the truth.
“We are where we are because the government has lived a deceptive life with the taxpayers’ money and it has come home to roost. It is as simple as that,” he added.
Tsunami exercise short
In the meantime, today’s tsunami exercise began minutes after 10 in the morning and ended before 11:30am.
The House of Assembly convened shortly after the exercise and was over in less than half of an hour.
Parliamentarians then left the facility leaving persons to wonder why the Premier did not move ahead with budget proceedings as was planned.
Fahie believes this is merely evidence of a clumsy and troubled administration.
“The government is doing a good job of trying to cover up their tracks with some very serious issues. It will not be long before the public gets a clear grasp of what actually is happening.”
“The excuse used today for not having the budget address is one that I can’t digest no matter how I turn it. It’s obvious that it (the budget) is not ready, or there is confusion about the contents. Never before have I heard a Budget Address being put off and/or rescheduled.”
The Opposition Leader noted that it was government that sanctioned the tsunami exercise to begin with. He added that the two events (the Budget Adress and tsunami exercise) should not have been made to overlap.
“It is clear that the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing. But at the same time, there had to be some other major factors,” Fahie reasoned.
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