Former financial secretary and incumbent Executive Director in the Office of International Business, Neil Smith has said he agrees with the stringent borrowing conditions imposed on the British Virgin Islands by the United Kingdom government.
Smith said, had the leaders of the territory done the ‘right thing’, those measures would not be necessary.
“Whenever the BVI create a liability – because we are part of the United Kingdom – somewhere along the line their treasury has to back it. That’s the case from the time we became self-governed. What they are saying to us is if we are going to create those liabilities, [we must be] be responsible. And to me, that makes sense,” he said.
“All I am saying is we could impose these standards on ourselves so that they don’t have to tell us anything. This is where we are losing control of the BVI. This is where we have to get people to force us to do the right thing! And we know what to do!”
The former financial secretary was, at the time, responding to questions and statements from Chairman of the BVI Chamber of Commerce and Hotel Association Louis Potter, who publicly criticized the UK on their strict measures.
Potter levelled fresh criticism yesterday during government’s recovery plan consultation with members of the clergy, non-profit organizations, and service clubs.
But, Potter is not the only official who has knocked the UK in recent times. Government minister Ronnie Skelton blasted the UK weeks ago for what is being described as the second-rate treatment to the BVI.
He made specific mention of the £300 million in loan guarantees, which is a promise by one party (the UK government) to pay the debt of a borrower (the BVI) if that borrower fails to repay.
Skelton suggested that the UK was treating the BVI as a ‘prostitute’.
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