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PREMIER: Other supermarkets got COVID contracts from gov’t too

OneMart Superstore, which is owned by Opposition legislator Mark Vanterpool, received a $869,773.34 contract from government during the COVID-19 crisis. 

Premier Andrew Fahie has rushed to the defence of Fourth District Representative Mark Vanterpool, saying the legislator’s supermarket isn’t the only one that got business from the government during the territory-wide COVID-19 shutdown earlier this year.

Vanterpool’s supermarket, OneMart Superstore in Purcell Estate, has been contracted by the Ministry of Health & Social Development to provide $869,773.34 worth of food packages and sanitary supplies to assist the Virgin Islands population during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Speaking in the House Of Assembly on September 22, Premier Fahie said he is aware that some members of the public believe Vanterpool’s supermarket was contracted because of nepotism.

But he said those persons should note that other supermarket owners got similar and possibly bigger contracts to that of Vanterpool.

“What’s amazing is that there are other supermarkets that made the same amount but because they are not in politics, they don’t have to come here to publicly declare a thing. And they gone with the money sailing. We hope they are taking care of their employees like what he [Vanterpool] doing with his. Because they made the money,” the Premier stated.

Fahie said it isn’t illegal for elected officials to do business with the government as long as they declare these conflicts of interest to the House of Assembly.

In Vanterpool’s case, the Premier said the government has been doing business with OneMart long before Vanterpool became an elected representative. He also said Vanterpool donated a lot of supplies to residents outside of what the government contracted his company to provide during the shutdown.

Not all elected reps are corrupt

Addressing critics, Premier Fahie said there are many who believe the elected members are corrupt and acquire wealth once they enter representational politics. 

“There’s a misconception in the public that ‘once you enter politics and you land and you’re rich and you have no need for anything else. And if you’re not rich your’e, going to get rich’ because they perceive some of us as thieves,” Premier Fahie said, as he stressed that many elected representatives have left the House of Assembly with “clean hands”.

According to the BVI constitution, an elected member of the House of Assembly shall vacate his or her seat if that member is a director or manager of a company that is contracted to do business with the government.

However, the constitution also states that the House of Assembly may allow this member to remain in his seat if such contracts are disclosed to the House within a reasonable time.

The House of Assembly yesterday voted unanimously for Vanterpool to remain in his seat as representative of the Fourth District.

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13 Comments

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  1. Preach ! says:

    Yes that’s right Hon.Fahie. Locals are to nasty minded . This is why the country is in the state it is in today. Everyone sitting around counting and watching what others make. Bunch of nasty minded locals. Smh. Only in the BVI do you find this sort behavior. They pull down their own instead of uplifting them and pushing them forward. I say it’s a sin. Lmao .

    Like 17
    Dislike 11
  2. Law is law says:

    Isn’t it about the Law ? Even though all u all break the Law and exempt u all self from the Law. I still prefer One mart getting tax payers money than the other one that quick to layoff people whenever there is any kind of emergencies.. One mart don’t let go people no matter what they try to hold their staff unlike the wrong way one that quick to let go…

    Like 18
  3. vip/ndp heckler says:

    So the kart was placed before the horse? Do the contract first and apply after?

    Like 5
    Dislike 3
  4. vip/ndp heckler says:

    Should both fahie and vanterpool be applying for bail as we speak for breaking the law?

    Like 7
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  5. real says:

    Yes R** did nicely at the beginning and thier bags were nice, the O****** stuff was terrible, tins of beans, pasta, tins, and nothing fresh, so robbery did happen.

    Like 4
    Dislike 5
  6. All in all they R One says:

    These are the same c*****t une*****l politicians they want to give more retirement benefits to… Like Bob Marley say..”All in All they are seen as one, All corrupt politicians”

    Like 4
    Dislike 1
  7. thoughtful sailor says:

    The Premier doesn’t seem to realize that it doesn’t matter that the other supermarkets made money. Their owners aren’t in the HOA. Vanterpool is and that’s why he is treated differently. The owners of the other stores are not bound by the same legal requirements which are there to prevent nepotism and corruption in the government. It sounds like Mark made his application, just as he should have.

  8. Cook says:

    Does this mean Vanterpool hands are clean from the Tortola Pier Park project? I’m confused how to define or when to define a political t***f.

  9. Hmmm says:

    I would put money on it that Hon. Walwyn’s food contract to provide lunch and dinner to the Members of the House was a small fraction of the price paid to One Mart over a very short period, and he was dubbed corrupt by the now sitting head of Government business. In the mean time many members of the sitting Government has or has had huge contracts, even including the S*****r. I guess we have to be ostriches with our heads in the sand as if we do not remember all the things that were said on the campaign trial and on the Opposition Bench. Two faced is what the old people would call these folks. Sad. I am so sad to see the example that we are setting for our young people. God help us all.

    Like 1
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  10. The Future says:

    The amount of food bags the government gave out was unnecessary and a waste of money. Betweent that and the house to house garbage collection, I don’t which one was worse. They wasted so much money in the beginning of this pandemic as if they could forsee how long it would last. Yes, food bags were neccessary for the needy, but many people that requested food bags only did so because they were locked in and couldnt shop for themselves. We need to stop being so reactive and start being proactive. The economy already struggling what are we doing to generate revenue, and don’t say construction.

  11. Ummm says:

    The future what’s your point.
    People were on lockdown with no food regardless of could have afforded to purchased or not but was unable to do so. Some persons tried ordering on line from supermarkets but was unsuccessful. You are saying that they shouldn’t have been given food bags and water and allowed to starve.
    You are also saying that the garbage should have been allowed to accumulate in people’s homes to cause additional problems.
    How selfish and thoughtless of you.

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