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Premier ‘relieved’ by majority vote | Turnbull explains ‘no’

Melvin ‘Mitch’ Turnbull (left) and head of the NDP government Dr D Orlando Smith. (File photo)

Premier Dr D Orlando Smith said he is feeling relief now that the much talked about Virgin Islands Recovery and Development Agency Act was passed with a 10-2 majority vote in parliament.

He said it was absolutely necessary that the legislation pass given the current state of affairs in the territory and the glaring $50 million deficit in this year’s budget.

“I am relieved that my colleagues have all – or most of them – agreed to do something which is right for this territory because we all know the status of the country that we are in right now,” the Premier said.

The bill passed on Tuesday with government backbencher Melvin ‘Mitch’ Turnbull and Opposition member Julian Fraser being the only two legislators who voted against the bill. Delores Christopher was absent for the vote.

The majority vote means the territory will implement the Recovery Agency, and has accepted the United Kingdom’s offer of a £300 million (more than $400 million) loan guarantee.

The Agency will have full control over how recovery funds are spent.

Why Turnbull voted ‘no’

After much speculation from residents, Turnbull released a video on social media Wednesday explaining why he voted against the controversial bill.

“I made the decision based on principle – based on the principles for which I debated in the House. As it relates to how we got to this point of the Agency being set up, the lack of information, the lack of transparency,” he said.

“There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that I made the right decision,” he added.

Turnbull further noted the importance of having accountability and transparency in government.

Public interest

He said elected members must always be able to receive information in order to make informed decisions that are in the public’s interest.

“Over the last two-and-a-half days, we went through tremendous amendments and discussions of which I participated. But the principle still remains. We got to a point where we were forced in a direction to make a decision, given a timeline that we didn’t have adequate discussions on,” Turnbull explained.

“As a government member, as the member for the Second District, I hold my position very seriously and I take my responsibilities even more seriously.”

He continued: “I do agree that we need this money to rebuild and recover this territory. I do agree that we need help to do so through the loans or whatever guarantees. But I believe the process is more important,” he reasoned.

Rebuild at a comfortable rate

Turnbull reiterated that the territory should not rush to rebuild at any cost.

“There is no doubt in my mind that we will recover, as I said during the debate, we took over 50 years to build this country. I don’t expect that we will take 50 years, but what I do expect is that we will take our time, do it right with the people, for the people of this territory for which we love.”

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  1. cgb says:

    We the people of cane garden bay need help now. six months down the road and the place looks so bad I cry everyday. m— we are ashamed of you.

    • vi says:

      @cgb. You all voted for him. I always knew he was exactly what he acts like… You all got what you voted for. His district should not get 1 penny of that 400 million

    • @cgb says:

      You can’t speak for ALL cgb residents!!!
      Cane Garden Bay looked bad far before our current representative got in the House! Blame the administration, not him! Mitch you are doing a great Job and you will continue to do so as long as you don’t become a Yes man… continue to do the right thing sir!

      • Cgb says:

        Well that makes alot of sense. Let me stay with the party that is causing my people to suffer. We are not stupid and next elections we hope we have a good candidate running against him in the 2nd. Cant put little boyts with attitude to deal with big man issues.

    • daniel says:

      gov’t has to do every thing? all of us can participate and clean up. each one carry a tool or two to cleAn up like LIONS CLUB PEOPLE USED TO DO BUT SINCE MR.SHIRLY PaSSED AWAY THEY MIGHt BE LOOKING for ANOTHER MR. SHIRLeY.[OTHERWISE THeY WOULD HAVE INTIiATED A CLEAN UP CAMPAIGN BY NOW

  2. TurtleDove says:

    Political talk…where is the substance in what he is saying…principle damaged quite a few….I want to hear I did not vote for it because the UK want us to do this or that…..other than that shutbthe h**l up.

    • cut and paste says:

      Exactly. It lack substance. He didn’t event say what his principles are really. Just a bunch of c-p…. … What principle is he talking about… just because you believe something don’t make it correct or true….

  3. Hmm says:

    He is too a– and c–. He has not surround himself with people in his district who means well and can properly advise him.

    People who dont have an ax to grind with the Government especially the premier. He picks at the premier but what about others in his cabinet who has help made the mess in this country with their bad ideas.

    Your district is hurting you only come around to a selected few. We have been through two hurricane , a flood and coastal high seas and you talking about not wanting money to be approved.

    Money that will be monitored by the UK and a private Board.

  4. Too Young? says:

    I believe this young representative is staying true to his heart – something that should be respected. On the other hand, I do have concerns that he lacks the w— to make intelligent governing decisions.

  5. Principle says:

    So he saying he’s more “principled” than the other elected ministers – what a guy! it’s taken long enough to get to where we are and we need the agreement yesterday, the amendments amounted to nothing more than a bit of detail! District 2 is a mess and M was complaining about not receiving help months ago now he didn’t want the Government to accept a much needed loan security with pretty sensible conditions…he’s in the wrong career….

  6. Hmmmmm says:

    I agree for the help but I will go out and make sure to put down the ndp if this is a political ploy to feed their always hungry cronies and not help the people. I hope Premier that there is n back room deals going on on who get what contract etc..before anything is done. We are watching you closely and we are not doing this bull again.

  7. cut and paste says:

    when you are sitting in you big house with your wife and children tell the people they have to wait while you think of another plan to find money to help rebuild this place. You are a just comer… essentially you are there to learn and observe. you will get your turn to make hard decisions were it truly count. the way you going about it rushing yourself to the top trying to be the big boy at the table when you well know that you are just the little baby boy. learn the game so you can become its master. you will benefit more that way. right now you look like the odd fool out who don’t want this country to go forward.

    • Reality says:

      I agree M currently appears like he should feature in the “Muppet Show” he needs to show more respect to his Premier and much more humility- he’s the new boy and if he ever wants to be a grown up politician he’d better learn fast… but it might be too late? All he seems to do is whine with no positive suggestions for improvement…

  8. Interested says:

    Nuff said.

  9. Principles my foot says:

    Does this young man have a mind of his own? He listens to those Family members all of whom have an axe to grind with the government. I am yet to understand what principles he say that he is standing on. Even the leader of the opposition supported the bill and he was supposed to be the one perhaps not voting in favor. This young man’s conduct since he has been elected has been one full of d—— and a—-. Who calls on their boss to give up his position publicly? Just think about it. Something is wrong with that.

  10. Eagle eye says:

    So doc think we’ll forget about that bvi groundways deal since that 400 mill pass.come quick election

  11. WE Man says:

    His principles should take him across the floor to sit with the Victorious In the Past party.

  12. Give it up! says:

    I am happy that the Premier gave up his part of the financial portfolio that deals with recovery funds to an agency of people that also involves the UK because they are more competent than him, perhaps even the youths that will be joining the agency. However, we still have to talk about him giving up the rest of his financial portfolio. That debate is STILL alive. Ronnie, some of us STILL looking for you! Let’s go…he could give up that portfolio piece by piece or all in one go. To an agency or to one man. I don’t care…as long as he gives it up!

  13. watcher says:

    I would rather have a man who does not have substantial business interests in the territory in charge of finance than one who does. There would be too much conflict of interest.

  14. Mess says:

    Lets wait and see .. You all angry at he now .. But when all hell break loose , you will say Mitch was right .

  15. BVI! says:

    This no vote was a disrespect to the people you (try) to represent and to your own party. This shows that you are not t—— and above all…d—-

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