Despite moving into the third year since the United Kingdom offered to become a loan guarantor to the British Virgin Islands, Premier Andrew Fahie said he is optimistic that the people of the territory will still benefit from the offer.
Responding to questions from Third District Representative Julian Fraser on Tuesday, the Premier said the conditions of the UK’s £300 million loan guarantee offer is still being negotiated.
“I can’t say anything about the plan going forward because we are very optimistic that we would be able to work out the areas of concern in the terminology with the conditions because most of them have already been,” Premier Fahie said.
“So I say I can’t say as yet but we are very optimistic that things will work out in favour of the people of the Virgin Islands,” he added.
The Premier said that following the meeting held between officials from the BVI and UK last year, among the things agreed between both parties was for the BVI to submit a revised version of the territory’s Recovery & Development Plan.
That revised version has since been submitted along with other requested information to the UK.
Fahie, in the meantime, said his administration was recently advised by the former UK Minister responsibly for Overseas Territories, Lord Tariq Ahmad that, “having received the necessary submissions from the BVI government, the UK government’s technical team is evaluating the contingent liability checklist.”
He said the checklist is used by Britain’s treasury to ascertain whether the UK should proceed with the proposed loan guarantee offer.
“This, in layman’s terms, is equivalent to assessing the BVI’s creditworthiness, our ability to meet our obligations to the population, to repay existing and new debts, among other things,” the Premier explained.
Loan guarantee isn’t guaranteed
In the meantime, the leader of government business reminded residents that the offer is not set in stone.
“It never was. And this is something that your government has been saying constantly while some persons were trying to drown us out saying, “hurry up and take the money,” Fahie stated.
He continued: “There is no money sitting down idly waiting for us to just grab up and spend. What is actually before us is an offer by the UK government that if the BVI passes the UK’s contingent liability tests and fulfils other stipulations, it would consider providing the guarantee for the BVI to access bank loans which the BVI taxpayers will have to repay.”
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