Premier Andrew Fahie has said taxpayer dollars are being saved because of his decision to give up the option to travel luxuriously when abroad on official business.
He made the remark while responding to questions by Opposition Leader Marlon Penn during Friday’s sitting of the House of Assembly.
“I must tell the public that for different parts of my travel, to help save the government money, I have removed myself from the first class and business [class] and went in coach. I have removed myself from suites and went to regular rooms. But one thing I have never apologized for as Premier is travelling,” Fahie told the House.
“Every time I travel, I guarantee thus far that we have benefitted tremendously as a territory,” he added.
The Premier said he has travelled to Miami, Guadeloupe, Nicaragua, and Antigua.
He promised to provide a detailed account of his accomplishments for the territory while overseas.
“I intend to account for every dime that I spend of the public’s money whether some people like what it is spent for or not,” the Premier said.
He further said his ministers have all been issued a memorandum instructing them to produce a full travel report to Cabinet whenever they travel.
He said this report must be produced no later than a week after returning to the BVI.
“[They are also required to say] what they were able to achieve and bring it to Cabinet so we can lay all these things down on the table,” Premier Fahie said.
More than $80K spent on travel so far
While he did not state how much his decision has saved taxpayers, Premier Fahie said public servants and ministerial travels have amounted to $80,485.43 since he took office.
“Please note that this travel includes travel by public servants for the most part,” he told the House.
“I must say to the people of the Virgin Islands: we cannot fix the Virgin Islands as leaders here alone. We must strengthen our ties in the region and internationally and we must also get out there because there is a lot of other means to help develop this country other than looking for just loans,” Fahie said.