BVI News

Penn-led PAC promises to probe VIP gov’t and past NDP spending

By Kamal Haynes, BVI News Staff

With a promise of performing effectively, members of the Opposition have given an assurance that the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) will be utilising its legislative powers to probe government spending from both the present and previous administration.

The PAC is scheduled to have its first session on February 4 — which will come just days before the one-year anniversary of the Fahie administration being elected into government.

“If you look at the powers that the Public Accounts Committee has … we do have the powers to summon persons before the PAC and get the answers that we require to be able to relate to the BVI community, the things that may not be too clear,” said Opposition member Melvin Turnbull while speaking at a recent media conference with other members of the Opposition.

Section 7 in Part 2 of the Virgin Islands Public Finance Management Regulations of 2005 outlines at least one of these powers afforded to the PAC.

It states that “an Accounting Officer shall answer to the Public Accounts Committee of the Legislative Council for how he carries out his duties under the Act when required to do so by that Committee”.

Private citizens to be summoned too

But senior Opposition legislator Julian Fraser said government officials will not be the only persons the PAC will be relying on for information.

He said the PAC will also be calling on private citizens. 

“Any private citizen or a company that had business with the government of the Virgin Islands is opened to be summoned before the Public Accounts Committee,” Fraser said.

“They must answer the questions whether or not the matter is in court. We have that power to do those things and answers we must get,” he added.

Robust PAC schedule

Meanwhile, Opposition Leader and Chairman of the PAC Marlon Penn said his committee will be undertaking a robust schedule to thoroughly delve into issues that occurred under the current Virgin Islands Party (VIP) government and the National Democratic Party (NDP) administration for which he was an active member.

“We intend to meet every week to ensure that we go through in detail the audited reports that are laid before the Public Accounts Committee – the ones that had come to the House of Assembly and the ones that are yet to come to the House of Assembly,” Penn stated.

Some of the issues to be investigated

He also listed several issues which are a priority on the agenda of the PAC to be investigated.

“Festival, as I mentioned, is one that is of grave concern to us, $2 million went up in poof in the air in two weeks. We need to give account for that $2 million. The issue with the Premier’s security firm spending $86,000 a month and that went on for 10 months,” Penn said

Other matters the PAC said it intends to probe are the botched $7.2 million BVI Airways deal and the $1 million-plus expenditure for the wall of the Elmore Stoutt High School — both of which happen under the previous NDP administration — as well as the recently executed regularisation initiative that happen under this new VIP administration.

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26 Comments

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  1. ndp heckler says:

    I’ve noticed that Mark is missing in action these days. Makes me wonder if it’s him who is begging Andrew if he can come over

    Like 3
    Dislike 1
  2. good news says:

    It looks/sounds like these 3 will not be playing games with the current government

    Like 11
    Dislike 2
    • @good news says:

      I hope that Marlon investigate himself because we need to know how much money he & side Kicks spent on the Georgie Hill Project.

      Like 6
      Dislike 1
      • Stop Talking P!$$! says:

        Only people who thieving are always the ones suggesting that other people are doing the same thing. You think if smurf did something with Georgie Hill Andrew would have let that rest. I remember every house meeting on that project, everything is public knowledge. Georgie hill was done since 2012 you still here with that.

        You people want to turn a blind eye to what this Government and cronies doing. 86k a month security contract, Millions spent just before Christmas 2019 and 2 million that was stolen from festival and wired out of the territory. Continue to defend wrong in this country, we will see where it gets us.

  3. ok NOW says:

    Let the VIP know that their honeymoon is over and that they only have 36 more months remaining.

    Like 14
    Dislike 8
    • @ok Now says:

      You sound so stupid. Once you are elected the honey moon is over. If what you are saying holds true then it is safe to say that the Opposition has been on a honeymoon to. Tell them invest the RDA also because all that glitters is not gold in the RDA.

      Like 4
      Dislike 4
  4. vip heckler says:

    Lets investigate that festival money for sure . We want to see how much went for stage rental and how much was handled by the candidate who ran against Mitch in D2. Leave no stones unturned, not even with the bodyguard money.

    Like 15
    Dislike 1
    • D3 says:

      And I agree, Baracuda from D2 needs to be looked into. Lots of us said he went over budget. Appears the money was miss handled or the books were altered/cooked.

      Like 6
      Dislike 1
  5. WOW says:

    I hope he finds our $7.2 million for those planes he and his NDP rob we tax payers of.

    Like 8
    Dislike 4
  6. East End Man says:

    Hon Marlon Penn can you now use the PAC to investigate what happen to our $8 million dollars your NDP took from us in the east that was suppose to fix the sewage?

    Like 12
  7. Dear Opposition members says:

    Please don’t let us down, you have to put aside negative feelings against each other and stick together as a TEAM and hold this down. Don’t believe the hype/trap the Premier is trying to get you guys to step into. Sorry.

    Like 7
    Dislike 4
  8. Diaspora says:

    The following is a few bars from Johnny Nash’s 1972 hit song: “I can see clearly now” from the album of the same name:

    “can see clearly now the rain is gone
    I can see all obstacles in my way
    Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind
    It’s gonna be a bright (bright)
    Bright (bright) sunshiny day
    It’s gonna be a bright (bright)
    Bright (bright) sunshiny day.”

    Look like the Hon Marlon Penn, D-8 and 3-term legislator, is seeing clearly now. The Hon Penn was a member of the NDP government from 2011-2019 when all kind of profligate spending occurred, ie, $7.2M giveaway to BVI Airways, a bruk airline, the transfer of $8M earmarked for EE/LL sewage project to the Tortola Pier Park (TPP) ( when is that $8M going to be reappropriated? Raw sewage still runs in and on the road)……..etc.

    Despite the lack of credibility, the financial concerns are better late than never. He would have had more credibility if he had exercised some courage and spoken out before while he part of NDP government. Instead, he was silent as a church mouse.

    Like 11
  9. ridiculous says:

    PENN we want East End sewage project completed

    • Surely Ridiculous! says:

      Tell the Government he campaign day and night about the sewage where is the money in the budget to fix it? The sewage was only a good talking point to try and win an election. Why isn’t a priority now for the people of east end/long look? You have 3 persons from east end, Hon. Wheatley, Hon. Malone and Hon. Smith and they allow dictator premier to push it on the back burner. A set of wasted votes! They have the executive power and still nothing.

  10. 007 says:

    This is pure manure. If Marlon cared about what was happening with Pier Park, BVIAirways, or anything else he wouldn’t have voted favorably for the projects. If he cared he wouldn’t have stayed with NDP even after we found out about the financial losses. Even Archie was man enough to admit his regret and say he would never support anything without the full details again while Marlon stood his ground. Even after NDP took his sewage money he still remained a loyal soldier.

    Like 4
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  11. Kitchen Table Focus Group says:

    @Diaspora, ok but,he is trying to do what is right for the interest and the good of the Country. Another thing is to stop throwing the Plane, Pier Park and the wall in his face.

    Like 6
    Dislike 1
    • Diaspora says:

      @Kitchen Table Focus Group, a politician must own his record, ie, the good, back and ugly. Seems as if you just want to sweep the plane, pier and wall under the proverbial rug. Though he can see clearly now that he is in opposition, his wanting to be a financial watchdog does not wipe out his record. He is now challenging Mark for the action man title, for all the things he is focus on. However, action without work and outcome is just ground noise.

      Marlon had the opportunity to speak out when the NDP went off the rails but he chose to stay quiet to get a bone, a position, a junior ministry, losing all credibility. It is encouraging though that he is trying to build it back. But the ghost of the past will still be there to confront him, haunt him.

      Like 5
      Dislike 2
    • Diaspora says:

      @Kitchen Table Focus Group, a politician must own his record, ie, the good, back and ugly. Seems as if you just want to sweep the plane, pier and wall under the proverbial rug. Though he can see clearly now that he is opposition, his want to be a financial watchdog does not wipe out his record. He is now challenging Mark for the action man title, for all the things he is focus on. However, action without work and outcome is just ground noise. Marlon had the opportunity to speak out when the NDP went off rails but he chose to stay quiet to get a bone, a position, a junior ministry, losing all credibility. It is encouraging though that he is trying to build it back. But the ghost of the past will still be there to confront.

      Like 8
      Dislike 3
      • Natural Universal Laws says:

        To Diaspora. In agreement, except for the last sentence, for we have all fall short. Not based on the seven (7) Immutable and Mutable Universal Laws, which govern everything in existence. The “ghost of the past can only haunt him” if he does not apply in equal measure- “The Law of Cause and Effect (Mutable) and The Law of Polarity (Mutable). And since he is a public figure, he will have to apply those laws publicly and genuinely. Look them up. Our ancient teachings that are being used against us by the robbers and manipulators of our knowledge to keep us divided for their continued benefit. Balance Vibration Diaspora. Keep it up, learning a lot from you. Not hearing from (PO) these days. Did (PO) join the in-circle now?

      • Natural Universal Laws says:

        To Diaspora. In agreement, except for the last sentence, for we all have fallen short. Not based on the seven (7) Immutable and Mutable Universal Laws, which govern everything in existence. The “ghost of the past can only haunt him” if he does not apply in equal measure- “The Law of Cause and Effect (Mutable) and The Law of Polarity (Mutable). And since he is a public figure, he will have to apply those laws publicly and genuinely. Look them up. Our ancient teachings that are being used against us by the robbers and manipulators of our knowledge to keep us divided for their continued benefit. Balance Vibration Diaspora. Keep it up, learning a lot from you. Not hearing from (PO) these days. Did (PO) join the in-circle now?

  12. Hugh Darley says:

    Call me anytime for port authority spending information. KPMG also has the real numbers not given in the audit! I have original numbers and quotes.

  13. Natural Universal Laws says:

    To Diaspora. Additionally, private human beings only have to apply these principles between the people in their lives who genuinely care: not to gossip mongers, “friendnemies,” traitors, etc.; and certainly, not wolves in ? clothing who use their righteous doctrine for their unrighteous and self-serving agendas.

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