Premier Andrew Fahie has refuted claims that his government has not been in support of the Recovery and Development Agency (RDA) since taking office in February 2019.
Premier Fahie made that assertion in the House of Assembly on Tuesday, weeks after the announcement that the RDA’s Chief Executive Office Paul Bayly was resigning from the post.
Premier Fahie stated: “Allegations have been circulated that ‘the RDA has not fully been given the opportunity to realise its potential’ and that your government is somehow responsible for this. The purveyors of these mischievous, inciteful statements even imply that the future of the RDA and the BVI’s recovery and development now hang in the balance because of Mr Bayley’s choice.”
“It is untrue to say that the Virgin Islands Government has not been supporting the RDA. RDA has always enjoyed the full support of this Premier and my Ministers within the scope of its responsibilities,” he added.
Financial Data to prove
Premier Fahie, who is also the Minister of Finance, pointed to financial data which supports his claim that his government has been lending the necessary support to the RDA.
“Up until the end of October 2019, the Government and people of the Virgin Islands have paid more than $11.887 million to the RDA for administration, operations and projects. The UK would have contributed approximately £2.84 million (US$3.7 million) up to the same time,” he stated.
The Premier added: “The Government of the Virgin Islands paid $10 million to the RDA in 2018 for project funding.”
Government obligated to provide unlimited funding
Premier Fahie further said government, through the Ministry of Finance, is committed to providing a minimum of $300,000 per quarter to the RDA for administration purposes. He also said that as a result of a January 2019 Memorandum of Understanding which was signed between the RDA and Ministry of Finance, government is obligated to provide any additional funds.
“There is no limit, so this is a blank cheque that was signed under the previous Administration. To date, the BVI Government has contributed in excess of $1.887 million to the RDA for administrative and operational expenses,” the Finance Minister stated.
He also explained the reason why government has not yet authorised the commencement of certain RDA projects, as those are the ones which are reliant on funding through UK’s Loan Guarantee, which is still in the negotiation process.
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