BVI News

Public opinion still not for RDA | Residents call for agency to be disbanded

A section of the main island of Tortola. (Photo by Davion Smith/BVI News)

Several residents are calling for the UK-mandated Recovery and Development Agency (RDA) to be disbanded.

These calls were made during the two-day public discussion on the United Kingdom’s £300 million loan-guarantee offer to the BVI.

“We had the ability to properly manage ourselves. We can execute projects. We can build. We don’t have to pay a second government when we have the capability,” businessman and former Virgin Islands Party candidate John Samuel said, referring to the RDA.

“I believe it (the RDA) was a calculated mistake by people who didn’t have no vision and by people who weren’t even listening to themselves … You don’t need no RDA,” said outspoken resident, Julio ‘Sam’ Henry during the government’s Tortola leg of the meetings.

“This government was elected for a purpose which is to get the BVI back in order so this government need to look at things and do things a bit differently. Get smaller [loan] amounts and also reprioritize the developments that need to be done with this money. I’m thinking you probably have to find a way to phase out the RDA because they should not be having more power than the elected government,” one female resident said during the day-two of the meetings; this time on Virgin Gorda.

We are not bashing RDA

Recognising the overwhelming anti-RDA sentiments from members of the public, government minister and Ninth District Representative Vincent Wheatley sought to clarify the government’s position towards the end of the discussion.

“It may seem like we are bashing the RDA, but we are not,” Wheatley said. “They (RDA) are an important and integral part of our recovery, but we are trying to make things better for you … We have to make sure that we have brought you all the information that we have to make the best decision for this country. The BVI came out of nothing, so we know what it is to have nothing. But it is a very different era now — one of competition.”

He reminded residents that any decision would have both good and bad impacts on the territory.

RDA has its place

Premier Fahie, in the meantime, reminded residents that the RDA has a purpose and perhaps, more importantly, has a limited five-year mandate before is phased out.

As it relates to the primary reason for the two day-public meeting, residents have been told they can send in their opinions to the government on whether the territory should accept the United Kingdom’s loan guarantee and accompanying conditions for hurricane recovery.

A delegation of local officials is expected to have talks with the UK on the matter sometime in September.

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  1. Truth Sayer says:

    Abou6t 100 or less persons attended the meeting at HLSCC. Is it fair to say that public opinion are not for RDA?

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    • @Truth Sayer says:

      Nice try but you too lie. You few crooks backing what’s happening in RDA will not get away with this new organized crime. I am with the government.

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    • Nonsense says:

      This is a nonsense article. A few loud mouths don’t represent of us. If people were against the RDA you would have a full auditorium.

      Let the RDA do its job. The Premier must Stop trying to take our Recovery Money to do BS.

      We can’t trust his motives. He should be supporting the recovery process not trying to disband it.

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      • Rubber Duck says:

        Check out the airport story to see why the UK was not happy with government control of spending.

        $5 million handed over there without anyone understanding or agreeing what it was for.

        $7.2 million handed to some Flim Flam artists for an airline that was never going to be.

        Giant money pit dug behind the pier park. Million dollar walls.

        Would you give those people money to spend?

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    • Meh son says:

      You sound like a Brit!

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      • A cana says:

        We ALL Brits here. That why we lucky to have the UK
        Stand up for money we borrow. Would you
        stand up for money ah borrow without wanting
        your hand on how that money accounted for?

  2. Goodsense says:

    Junior Minister Sharie DeCastro was on the RDA Board but she is very quiet on this issue..

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  3. vip heckler says:

    I still cant get over how the then leader of the opposition and now leader of government voted “aye” for something and here now (a few months later) trying to get rod of it ???????? I am puzzled !!!!!!!

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    • To VIP heckler says:

      Your statement doesn’t make sense. If anyone gets more information about any matter they can then decide to change their position.

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  4. Bullshit says:


  5. smh says:

    If it were not for the RDA, we would not be as far along as we are. Look around, read and educate yourself. Don’t be blindsided by the hype!

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    • To smh says:

      Stop talk foolishness. RDA money comes from the same government that you bad talking.

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      • smh says:

        Wrong, I am not bad talking our government at all. They are the best thing that has happened to the BVI in the past 12 years. The people and the country are better off with the RDA and government working together as laid out in the plan. If there are problems, sit down and iron it out like adults and stop the whining. Get on with repairing our country.

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  6. New system says:

    I now see how our ancestors were enslaved. This is a new strategy with the same plan by using some of our people to enslave the majority.

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    • Meh son says:

      I totally agree with you

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    • You are not a slave. Get over it... says:

      We would be a lot better off if the politicians would stop trying to manipulate us with the “we is still slaves” mantra.

      The unfortunate thing is that some people are still falling for it.

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      • Hardon says:

        It suits government to let ppl think
        they slave. Easy then to control them.
        Then they won’t question their schemes
        and manipulations. They can make the uk
        put to be bad when all they do is
        help us while making sure the BVi government
        not rip us off.

  7. Why says:

    I am ashamed to know that our people in RDA justify paying a man $350,000 a year to do this job. They have no confidence in their own.

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  8. Governor says:

    RDA is the Governor’s baby not ours in the V.I. That is why they will do anything to see them survive so they can go with the money and make us pay for generations.

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  9. Windy says:

    Do away with RDA, get direct access to the monies and watch it silently disappear.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    It is pleasure to see that our people are not asleep on this issue. And, that they are speaking out.

    Further, any entity that wields more power than the elected body is an entity not for or by the people, and as such, could cause the people and country grave misgivings.

    Indeed, we are capable of competing on the world stage without the burden of high priced $400.000 a year CEO’s, while employess go for years without a pay raise, and most of whom are yet to paid a promised increment. No human can feel good under such circumstances.

    The people do not need a non-elected government within the context of financial governance to execute its economic details, manage it resources or to be the conduit to the world financial apparatuses.

    Even with the reality of corrupt politicians, and thieves, imposters and the voting accomplices, we are capable of strategizing, implementing and competing without utilizing external models as is the case with RDA.

    How do we need to pay exorbitant salaries to enable us to be competitive, suggest and portrays the notion that a degree of ineptness and inabilities to manage our resources, build and sail our own ship exist. That is not the case.

    Definitely, what is needed is hard human resources development and training in fields relative to the responsibilities of the current RDA.

    And last, local developed minds that are focused less on self enrichment, and who are not influenced by and or pocketed by rich expatriates, but who are independently focused on the advancement of people and country.

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  11. Hell yes says:

    If the public servants get paid what them in RDA is being paid then we would do much more. It is unfair. The head man in RDA making $350,000 a year and most public servants do not make $50,000 a year and the governor is okay with this nonsense. SMDH

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  12. FACTS says:

    The RDA rewarding most of the contracts to outsiders which means no work for locals and yesterday we saw more than 300 Virgin Islanders registering to find a job at the Premier’s 1000 jobs in 1000 days initiative. I am with our Premier on this fight. He’s truly on the side of the people and not on the side of those greedy educated no goods.

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  13. Personally says:

    I agree with that there’s need to have just as much accountability on the RDA as there’s on the central government which is not the case at this time.

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  14. Education - Education Sparrow says:

    Some persons do not have a clue about what is going on with the RDA . They are misinformed, blinded by political Bias and just talking off the top of their head with scrapes of information The Now Premier , the party who lost , the Governor and a few others were in full discussion on the RDA proposal and frame work . Listen to the Governor . He has nothing to lose or gain . We are the ones who would suffer . The grants that were given out to people through NCB has now been stopped . The Oremier needs to come clean and say why he did that . All he is doing is creating more insecurity and disunity in the country . Look at the money govt had to pay over MARK saga . If he had listened to the Governor and bring it to ca closure this would not have happened . Our country is sliding down a slippery slope

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    • Education? says:

      Your statement about the Premier is so ridiculously false. You are so blind that yiu cannot see that the Governor is fooling us and taking us over. Wake up out of your sleep and slumber.

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    • :) says:

      The Governor was appointed by the UK and works on behalf of the Crown. He was not hired to represent the interest of the BVI. He was chosen to represent the UK not the BVI. The BVI’s representative is the Premier. The RDA was not a brainchild of the BVI. It was a do it or else situation that happened when the BVI was at its lowest point in history.

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  15. Watch the Premier says:

    Start to backtrack as soon as the well of public opinion ( which he is stirring) starts to rise in favor of not taking the loan…Make no mistake he got his eyes on that money

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  16. Lodger says:

    Name one local person who could do the RDA top job?
    If you refuse the loan guarantee and disband the RDA no bank or institution will loan us money, given the publicity of previous mismanagement, and our recovery will be measured in decades, not years.
    Why is the Premier scaremongering the public about this? He will only rouse the uninformed, who are not privy to the way the finance world works.

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    • Concerned says:

      One of he problems migh be that the RDA is supposed to also manage any donation for recovery not just the bank-loan. Rumor has it that might be quite a large amount.

  17. Dman says:

    Don’t take the loan if you don’t like the conditions. Go to the open market and see who gives money away without conditions and sign up. The Mother Country has enough problems with Brexit without backing no strings attached loans.

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  18. What!!!! says:

    Public Opinion ????? No one asked me or anyone I know, what public opinion

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  19. RDA says:

    40 people is a lot. At $400k a month that’s an average salary of $120,000 a year for the RDA staff. I agree with the government. Its a shame the UKs only grant of $10mil is for salaries and not recovery

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    • So much more says:

      The $400,000 a month includes rent, overhead expenses, salaries and the rest. It’s totally operation costs, not just salaries. Plus, the way the Premier speaks, I’m sure its less than that. All the better reason to give RDA more projects to execute.

  20. They Prosper While We Suffer says:

    With regards to a growing thread this past week on this and similar issues, and to those who are reaping the economic and political sweets, and to our government and people;
    the political and economic philosophy of Black Nationalism demands that the Black man must control the politics, economics and the polliticians in his own community, not some rich white expatriates.

    Every day one looks around only to see others other than the Black ibenefiting by enourmous margins, while the local population remains at poverty levels.

    If governments continue to make reckless judgements in favor of outsiders [such as a $350.000 per annum for one expatriate} at the expense and sacrifice of its own people, then surely it will hasten the day when revolution will once again visit its shores.

    Most, have gone years without a salary or increment increase. A very disenfrachised few have gone 28-31 years without a salary or increment adjustment.

    Yet, they are expected to be silent and happy and retire into abject poverty, while others who have never and will never contirbute as much as they have, are given a life of milk and honey, while those that have contributed more than anyone standing against them are denied their fair worth. Those are the kinds of seeds that breeds dissatisfaction and revolution.

    And, when minds become over saturated with such griefs and open oppression and act out, they will be quick to point fingers at the wrong source of blame.

    History, however, is filled with examples of the oppressed becoming tired of being oppressed and taking matters into another level of change.

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  21. winston says:

    RDA is inviting all kind of outside people to do our contracts. Why we need them ? They going to take all the money out of the country while we left to repay the loan.

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  22. :) says:

    We didn’t need the RDA. Dr. Smith, Governor McLeary and Henry Bellingham signed the Protocols for Effective Financial Management with the UK in April 2012. Part of the agreement was “Value for money through recognized and standardized procedures and the application of objective and credible assessments for project development, procurement and implementation” Why do we need the RDA. Government is bound by the agreement that they signed with the UK so why do we need an agency to do what we are already obligated to do. The bulk of the protocol is about value for money and project management so why do we need to import labor from New Zealand for almost half a million dollars to do what we supposed to be doing.

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  23. East end says:

    The answer to your last question is
    “Because we have proven that our governments
    are systemically untrustworthy”.
    I hope that helps.
    You are welcome.

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  24. TPPL says:

    40mil sure sounds good now.

  25. Sorry but says:

    The RDA is here to stay
    The VIP will go away
    When the Queen’s guv dissolves the HOA
    So then BVI run by the RDA.

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