BVI News

Possible referendum | Residents to vote on UK loan guarantee if negotiations fail this month

Premier, Andrew Fahie. (GIS Photo)

Residents of the British Virgin Islands could be called upon in a few short weeks to decide whether the territory should accept the United Kingdom’s £300 million loan guarantee offer for hurricane recovery.

Premier Andrew Fahie said a local referendum could be had based on how well discussions go between Britain and the delegation of government officials who are hoping to visit the UK by mid-September.

The UK and the BVI have been somewhat at loggerheads in relation to the conditions of the loan guarantee offer.

“When I come back from the UK, we will see if we will be able to make common ground. And if not, if these conditions are still there and they want to impose these things on us, let’s have a referendum,” Premier Fahie said during Monday’s sitting of the House of Assembly.

He continued: “Let us bring in some persons outside the elections office [for the referendum] and if the people say, ‘Fahie, no matter [how many] generations we get held up, we want the loan guarantee now, and we agree with all those conditions‘, fine. And if they say ‘we don’t want these conditions‘, good.”

September date for possible referendum?

Fahie further said recent correspondence from the UK has indicated that the BVI has until the end of the month to decide on the matter.

Before the proposed referendum, Fahie said the governor — who represents the UK — will inform residents of the reasons to vote for and against the loan guarantee.

Premier Fahie’s statements come following a number of recent correspondence between his office and the sovereign nation.

UK not budging

He said based on those letters, the UK is not budging in their stance on the conditions for the guarantee being offered.

“We listed some of our concerns with the loan guarantee and this is cited in my 29 July 2019 letter to the UK: ‘The terms and conditions in there, most of them are remarkable if you want good governance and accountability’. But, there are some terms in there that we would have to be careful of, that we have to renegotiate,” Fahie said.

Accept it or don’t accept it, BVI told

He said an August 21 letter he received from the Economic Secretary to the UK Treasury had no regard for the concerns of the BVI.

While interpreting the contents of the letter, Fahie said the BVI was effectively told to “accept it or don’t accept it. And if you don’t accept it, we will tell the [British] Prime Minister, [Boris Johnson].” 

The UK is also insisting on the presence of the Governor Augustus Jaspert being part of the BVI delegation heading to the UK to negotiate, Fahie said.

“You understand what is going on in this 21st Century? I got a chaperone,” Premier Fahie commented.

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  1. Nonsense says:

    Look at you. You want to do referendum what about the Immigration act why didn’t you do a referendum on that and the money you spent to rent the stage which I might add the amount and cost is still withheld from the public to this day.

    Six months and the people already fed up. Look at your boards and those close to you.

    You think the UK going give you 300million to spend with sharks around you. If the money is a must the people will prefer the RDA board to control the money don’t bring referendum.

    Like 53
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    • Warning Signs... says:

      This Premier is a DISASTER. Cant make a decision. Determined to get his hands on our recovery money. Why??? Please let the RDA do their jobs. There are other important things that you should be focusing on.

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      • Ha says:

        The RDA should be able to do their job without putting your children in $350 mill worth of debt

        • Pay attention says:

          RDA isn’t borrowing any money. The Government borrows money. And the Government gets to decide how much it wants to borrow. It can borrow $1 million, $5 million $350 million or borrow no money at all.

          Stop being fooled by the nonsense put out by the Premier.

    • ??? says:

      Yes, he bawling about the gov now, but the gov was his bff when he was in the opposition.

      The gov is doing his job, that is to represent the uk, whether we like it or not, and cant blame him for that. UK only interest in the bvi is that we don’t embarrass them with loans we cant pay back or violate any international treaties or standards, that the uk is part of.

      The uk is not going to let us borrow $300m which they have to guarantee, to spend as the premier pleases. Also the uk is not going to let us borrow money, even if not guaranteed by uk, which we cant pay back.

      The people don’t trust either vip or ndp to take us independent, so thats a no go. So look for investors local or international or put aside some money from our limited public budget. If this is not enough, then borrow what we can afford under the uk guarantee and move on.

      We are tired of Govt by press conference.

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  2. Lodger says:

    Who will loan us money without a guarantee from UK?

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    • @Lodger says:

      You are obvioulsy uninformed because the UK always have to guarentee any loan the BVI takes in the past and now. The question is not this extra special guarentee but some of the conditions attached.

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  3. Hmmm says:

    The UK is playing games with our lives in the BVI. The law says that all loans have to be guarentee by the UK so what is so special about this particular loan guarentee. This is modern day slavery at work.

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  4. SMDH says:

    I listen to the premier last night and now I am fully on his side. We cannot sign on to the loan guarentee with some of the conditions that exist. I hope the UK meets us half way and adjust some of those conditions because they are not necessary.

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  5. YOUTH says:

    Premier I was not on your side at first but now I am. Please protect this place for we the youth. They are trying to do a bacan k door economic take over first. Then they will take over everything else after. We have to fight this one TOGETHER.

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  6. Ausar says:

    Thank you Premier, for delaying an absolute response to what can be described only as “benevolent” enslavement!

    I have said this from the incept, that this loan is not good for our country.

    It’s riddled with too many encumbrances that will shackle our progenies for a thousand years!

    What we need from the Kingdom is genuine concern that inspires TRUE willingness for our continued enhanced development, not piece mealed actions, that will hamper our continuity as a people in this area of the world, that we call the Virgin Islands!

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  7. Reply says:

    What kind of leadership is this? Cant the Premier ever make a decision without running to the public every minute for answers?

    People elected this guy to lead and make decisions, not to be running back and forth to consult them on everything under the sun. It’s a recipe for failure as he will never be able to satisfy all people.

    He will inadvertently weaken his hand by seeking this much public input as he will clearly get backlash on what he does not matter the issue. Just piss or get off the potty.

    If this is going to be his approach for the remainder of his tenure, he is in for a rude awakening.

    Strong leaders make wise and strong decisions, and accept consequences. Trying to make decisions based on which way the winds blows in my view is a sign of weakness.

    A strong leader should not have to put everything to the public to determine what to do, otherwise they will fail. Strong leaders act.

    Two years and counting after the most devastating storms to hit our territory in generations, and this guy is here talking about a referendum about accepting a loan guarantee.

    IMO, this country needs to accept the loan guarantee, get the money, start rebuilding the country, and get on with it. All of this referendum talk is nothing but weakness and indecisiveness on the Premier’s part and a waste of time and money we don’t have.

    It’s a 300 Pounds loan guarantee that only covers a pittance of the overall estimated damage to the country. For God’s sake, get on with it!

    Like 48
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    • Brigidaire says:

      Well I listened to the Premier last night myself and I WILL BE voting YES to the RDA. Something about this guy aint right, he flip flops too much. I cant trust him!!

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      • To Bridgidare says:

        You obvioulsy missed the point because the vote is not on the RDA. It is about the conditions surrounding the loan guarentee. You obviously are just a hater and do not read much less understand.

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  8. old crook says:

    Perhaps if he had voted “NO” with Delores, Fraser and Mitch we might not have been in this position now

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  9. mvw says:

    What a horrible background for a photo

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  10. good to great says:

    It seems like we’re eating out of the UK palms….LOL

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  11. vip heckler says:

    Wasn’t it this same RDA board Premier Fahie voted “aye” for a few months ago when he was the leader of the opposition ?

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    • @vip heckler says:

      Your point is mute. If the man voted on something more than a year now with one understanding now that he is premier and have access to all the information and realise that it is not what he was led to believe then he has a right to do what he is doing.

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  12. Wow says:

    It’s clear this Premier has no plans and continues to pander to the ignorant side of the populace. You are a leader and you need to lead, we don’t need a referendum on anything. How many of the populace really understand financing etc. to be able to make an informed decision on this? This is why the Premier has a Financial Secretary, Ministers and other advisers, sit, meet and make a decision. But the Premier is great with words and invoking emotion so he feels a referendum will work in his favor, don’t be fooled. If we doing referendum’s let’s do one on those people who have been appointed to the statutory boards.

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    • Hmmmmmmm says:

      If he going to do a referendum, he has to put ALL the facts out there EARLY so that the people can read, interpret and draw conclusions. That means 1. no word of mouth from Premier, 2. a recording of the discussions with the U.K. and 3. a full and complete copy of the official documents from U.K. in relation to the loan and the guarantee. Why? We can’t trust anyone these days!

  13. watching says:

    The average person wont even begin to understand the terms of the loan and the finances . Remember we EARNED this oversight through corruption and greed . The UK could care less about taking over the BVI . They cant even take care of their own country . We need the loan money and it has to be spent wisely and honestly . Please lets stop the nonsense and get on with rebuilding our country . Its two years for God’s sake !!

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  14. Um says:

    please go and read the letter for yourselves. The Premier is showing his own problems and making noise where there isn’t any. If the BVI govt is acting in a transparent manner with value for money and no dodgy deals then there is no problems with any of the stipulations. Of course if it’s dodgy deal city then that would be why they are crying foul.
    Plus it makes sense for the Governor and the Premier to go to the U.K. as they both have to know what the terms are. Not sure why the Premier feels so threatened. The U.K. just wants to make sure they don’t end up having to pay back the guarantee to who ever the BVI takes the loans from.

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  15. Democracy says:

    In the event of holding a referendum who qualifies to vote? all tax payers or jus indigenous belongers

  16. UM? says:

    Does the BVI even have legislation regarding referendum?

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