BVI News

Sheep doesn’t legally need permission for festival contract, he’s just being transparent

Premier Andrew Fahie (BVI News photo)

By Esther Durand, BVI News Staff

Premier Andrew Fahie has said Neville ‘Sheep’ Smith never had to declare his company’s interest to provide business services for the emancipation celebrations, but only did so in the interest of transparency and accountability.  

The Premier made those statements amid resistance from the parliamentary opposition when he moved a motion to exempt Smith from having to vacate his seat to provide those services.

Addressing legislators in the House of Assembly on Thursday, Premier Fahie said: “There is no law that anyone could bring — and I don’t care how eloquent they would interpret the law — that could show that we could bring this (the exemption motion) here. There is nothing in Section 67 [of the Constitution] that this government is violating and no lawyer worth their salt could find it. We came here on our own admission. We are transparent, and we are unconventional … so the people could know what their elected officials are involved in.”

“[Therefore], as the leader of government business, I told the member (Smith) that, out of caution, come to the House and ask for permission because right now I done see there are those who are after this government,” Fahie added.  

What is the value of contract?

At the time, the Premier was responding to direct requests for his government to disclose the specifics of the contract such as the value/cost.

The Opposition argued that the cost was critical because it would help to determine whether the services should have been open for public bid.

Fahie, however, rebutted: “The contract is not in question, if the contract under the law were in question, we would have brought the contract.”

He backed his position by arguing that Smith’s company was not doing business with ‘central government’ but rather with the ‘Virgin Festival & Fairs Committee’, which is considered a statutory body.

Fahie said, when the Constitution was drafted, no statutory bodies had been implemented as yet. The Constitution explicitly states that a member shall vacate his seat if he/she enters into a contract with “the Government of the Virgin Islands”.

Excerpt from Section 67(3) of the Virgin Islands Constitution.

And while noting that the Constitution was never amended to included government statutory bodies, Premier Fahie said: “In our humble opinion, that is an anomaly that needs to be clarified in the future. In the constitutional review, we have to look about that area among many other areas because I cannot see how the statutory bodies can be exempted when they too are spending the government’s money.”

Attorney General agrees

When invited to give his legal input, Attorney General Baba Aziz agreed with Premier Fahie.

“My interpretation of Section 67 (e) with respect to the government of the Virgin Islands is that it does not extend to statutory corporations. And I would invite members if and when we have the opportunity to have a constitutional revision if members do want the Constitution to extend to statutory corporations we may be able to do so,” Aziz said.

He continued: “Unless you extend it [the constitution], it does not apply, because this clause does not extend to VI Festival and Fairs Committee.”

Exemption motion passes, split votes

The motion to exempt Smith from vacating passed with a majority of six favourable votes. It received support from all government legislators except for Kye Rymer who was absent and Neville Sheep Smith who could not vote.

Fourth District Representative Mark Vanterpool voted against the move, while his other opposition colleagues abstained from voting.

Sixth District Representative Alvera Maduro Caines was also absent during the voting process.

Report on festival’s expenditure coming 

In the meantime, Culture Minister Dr Natalio Wheatley informed the House that he will bring a full report on the expenditure of the festival at the conclusion of the festivities.

Smith was named as one of the directors of Frontline Systems, a company that provided sound and staging services for the recently-held Buju Banton show and is again providing those services for the upcoming Emancipation festivities. 

Copyright 2020 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

73 Comments

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  1. Jane says:

    From an ethical perspective, Mr Sheep should be cognizant that whilst, technically, there may not legally be any corruption, it is also desirable that elected officials avoid the PERCEPTION of a conflict of interest. With this in mind, government should ensure that lucrative contracts are properly open to public tender so that there can be no perception of a conflict of interest, not simply taking advantage of the apparently lax legal restrictions in place.

    Like 54
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    • @ Jane says:

      Some of you are real hypocrites. The Premier is being transparent. All this negativity is pure politics.

      Like 10
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      • Nooooooo says:

        The Premier is transparent when he wants to be and when it suits his needs. Now go cash the check before it bounce.

        Like 28
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      • No sir/madam says:

        The Premier is our employée,we the people is his BOSS and we have to make sure he walks a straight line. He wanted the position,he got it.He knew what he was sigining for.Politics and negativity plays no part in making sure your employee can do the job he/she signed up for. The Premier will be under the Microscope untill he leaves office BY WE THE PEOPLE HIS BOSS.

        Like 13
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    • Really? says:

      We have so many people with sound systems in the BVI, How cis it Front Line Systems end up getting the jobs to do VG, Town, Carrot Bay, and East End? Don’t you see something wrong with that or do you have your heads so deep up in the VIP @SS and you cant smell the sewage running?

      Like 19
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      • SMH says:

        Who are the other Sound System Companies and don’t they provide for the staging settings as well? Some of you’ll just darn bias and full of bad personal feelings towards each other.

    • Most Currupt Ever says:

      This government in 6 months has over take the NDP as de Most Currupt Ever. We have never seen the anything like this before, Not only are they moving live Robin Hoods they are changing the law to make sure you cannot challenge them. Don’t worry thought the clock is ticking, I guess we will not see the lights of the whistle blowing legislation any time soon. People wake up!! This NDP and VIP Parties are for themselves.

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  2. vip heckler says:

    If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck it’s a duck.

    Like 54
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  3. talk that says:

    these political bandits know all the loopholes for the same laws that they passed

    Like 40
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    • Come on says:

      There’s no loophole in the law and those who are saying so knows better. This is a political witch hunt by the few ndp supporters who want back the government because they miss the coffers.

      Like 6
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      • Big man says:

        Those same so called NDP PU and PVIM split votes to give you a chance to do better. Now you are taking us for joke? After festival is over the teller’s will be taking notes of the kickbacks going on your accounts. Ur time will come

        Like 7
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  4. Legislators with balls says:

    Look the Speaker needs to say something about legislators being absent in voting on critical matters. It is not fair to the people they were elected to SERVE. I’m not knocking Hon. Caines, I am simply addressing what appears to be a developing unhealthy trend in the BVI House of Assemble. This territory is TOO SMALL for that!

    Like 8
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    • Look says:

      Listen, I thought I was the only one who had a probation with this. You are elected to serve so serve. I personally think ALL elected members need to be present for ALL votes. Voting sessions need to be scheduled better also so that no member will have a reason to be absent.

      Like 15
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    • PROBLEMS says:

      There should also not be any abstentions.
      Its either you are for or against.

      Like 14
  5. granny says:

    Go on VIP keep it up, time longer than twine, every dog has his day, them say what goes over horse back always come under he belly and yo only see fowl bottom when the wind blows.

    Like 46
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    • So true says:

      And my granny say to always keep the grass in your yard cut very low so you can see the snakes comming.

      Like 41
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    • To granny says:

      You just like confusion. The VIP has done nothing wrong or illegal. As a matter of fact what they did was admirable and transparent.

      Like 4
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      • So how says:

        Granny always keep things real, tell it like it is and tells the truth. So learn something.

        Like 9
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      • @admirableandtransparent says:

        You must have had a healthy fose of the green koolaid if you believe what you said above. The law says if you want to fo big business with Government, and note the word big, because that is when you are in the hundreds of thousands and millions, then you should vacate uour seat. What the VIP is using is the clause that says if it is sanctioned by the LegCo. Well the majority sits on the Government side and even though some of them may not agree with these contracts for Hon. Smith and Hon. Malone to come according to the Order paper they will not vote against it for they are being faithful to the pack. So illegal, maybe not, if sanctioned, but unethical and corrupt, oh yes. You see lining your own pockets as members of Government has to be wrong. Where is their moral compass? The Hon. Premier spoke vehemently against this when in the Opposition, but iy is okay now that he is facing the street? I pray that Jehovah God deal with them all for oncr this kind of behaviour is sanctioned by the house, our Treasury will always be undrr attack. Ugly example set and followed. And the fact that some other Government did it whether NDP or any other P gives no right to follow. The people voted against that kind of behaviour. God is noting everything. When he pays it is well done. Don’t be afraid of men on earth. No security can save you all from the wrath of God. The children are watvhing. You are all raising children. Show them the right road to travel or the next generation will destrpy us all.

  6. Hmm... says:

    So the Festival and fairs committee is a statutory body for real? I thought it was just a sub-committee of the Ministry of education and culture.

    Like 31
    • @Hmmm says:

      It was recently classified as such under NDP for the same reason. Do the math and you will see why that was done.

      Like 1
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      • @@Hmmm says:

        Hogwash. While the VIP Government line the pockets of themselves and their family and friends, they are professing to do it all in the name of NDP. NDP did it. NDP did it. Their supporters are now saying their are no clean politicians. So it is well done and whoever comes after should join the dirty band wagon. Well, that beats all. Please, some who are looking for their handouts or payday or whatever they want to call it will condone this kind of behaviour, but the right thinking people of this community will not allow this to continue. Not even a year, in fact, not even six months and this Government seems to be hell bent on destroying this place.

  7. Goodsense says:

    so why put him through this if he doesn’t need to bring it to house…

    Like 19
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  8. Reply says:

    While I do not necessarily think that there is something wrong with a member of the House of Assembly having contractual work with the government so long as it is fully disclosed and void of all conflict of interest, I do take issue with the stench of hypocrisy here.

    If memory serves me right, when the Premier was on the opposite side of the political isle, and the former Education Minister Mr. Walwyn had business contracts with the government with his restaurants serving dinners, there was a big stink about it. Even the now Premier had plenty to say.

    Now that the shoe is on the other foot, suddenly his tone has changed. It’s now about “transparency”. What Mr. Walwyn did back then in terms of contracted work with the government appears to have been no different that what Sheep is about to be doing in principle.

    It’s interesting to me how some people can have disdain for something when it suits them and serves their purpose, in this case politically, and when it’s convenient for them, and serve their purpose in a different capacity, they flip the script.

    Oh..politics..and politicians. They never cease to amaze me. That’s one of the reasons I hold them in low regards. I cannot stomach their hypocrisy.

    Like 53
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    • No Contract GULLIBLE BVI says:

      Myron never had a contractual agreement with the Government Andrew and W*****k (V–O) pushed that story so much that GULLIBLE BVI believed it. The issue was the HOA ordering food from his restaurants, the government and the restaurants never had a contractual agreement, it’s a HUGE difference.

      GULLIBLE BVI loves gossip not fact or truth. GULLIBLE BVI loves to think the worst of others. GULLIBLE BVI will learn that it was all a trick one day for the now party to discredit a creditable man. If Andrew is saying Smith don’t need permission, why did he make such a BIG STINK when there was no contract with Myron?

      GULLIBLE BVI will learn!

      Like 18
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    • Talk of hypocrisy says:

      I sit here and I watch the level of hypocrisy in the House of Assembly and its alarming. It is clear that Walwyn was a target for a particular reason. I get it, he was one of the strongest members of the NDP and they had to get him out. Put that aside, Alvera does exactly the same business that Walwyn does. She does catering for government. Ronnie has been selling concrete to the government through Skelton Concrete for years. Mark has a supermarket that the government purchase things from all the time. The constitution speaks about being engaged in a contract. There is no contract per se if the government calls one of those people’s business place and ask for services and how practical is it for you to go to House to pass a resolution every time a government agency order a plate of food, buy some concrete or order a case of water? It is the government departments calling these places to utilize their services and products as the need arises. Should Mark be put out of the House of Social Department goes to his supermarket and buy two cases of corn beef? Is is sensible to say he has formulated a contract with them? Let us not be silly. If you have written contract that creates an obligation to consistently provide those things then that is a different issue. Additionally, the House of assembly is not a statutory body so providing food to them is the same as providing food to any other government department but again Walwyn is clearly the target so the argument is tailored and manufactured just for him. If Walwyn was doing something wrong for how hungry the VIP was to get him they would have stopped at nothing to get him. Andrew and his team will continue their lies until the people see right through them. The only reason why he insisted that Sheep bring this unnecessary contract to the House was because of the lies and deception he created around Walwyn would have exposed him on the matter with Sheep.

      Like 40
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    • Hm says:

      It is different so got sit down. It don’t make sense to take down the stage to pay a next set of money to put up a next one 2 bird with one stone. VIP all the way….

      Like 3
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      • Talk says:

        So from the day of the buju show until festival starts who is paying for the stage? Because you can’t charge festival committee for those days… I think this was done wrong a bidding process should have been held… But them sure better eat good for the next election they will be all gone… We would like to see the comparison of the previous invoices for staging from past festivals and see what she contract is then we the people will be the judge

        Like 5
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        • SMH says:

          Wasn’t it the same company that has been providing staging and sound system through out past years? You’ll just a bunch of sour grapes,poor loosers and no good haters.

    • Clown says:

      ” former Education Minister Mr. Walwyn had business contracts with the GOVERNMENT”, NOT a statutory body. You answered your own dumb comment.

      Like 6
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      • bias says:

        A government calling the man’s restaurant and order food from it cannot be called a contract for the purposes of the section of the constitution. Stop being bias and make sound reasoning.

        Like 10
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        • Haha says:

          Not just “a government” calling a restaurant. To correct my earlier statement Myron may not have had a contract but he did provide services for government. The same ruling government that he was a part of. There is no difference in this case except the dollar amount. The same conflict that existed for Myron and Marlon exist for Sheep and Carvin. Members of government who have the power to choose the vendors competing with their own constituents for work and winning. A COI isn’t always a guarantee for corruption but people tend to weaponize it based on who they like and hate.

      • @Clown says:

        Being called to provide a one-off service is not a contract.

        Like 1
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        • @@Clown says:

          What one-off you talking bout every HOA meeting is not a one off.

          • @@@clown says:

            Firstly it wasn’t every meeting from my research. And secondly, the House was under no obligation to call his restaurant. They could call whoever they wanted to cater. There were times from what I heard that Maria’s and Kenneth catered as well. A contract creates obligations. Stop letting Andrew Fahie and his cronies turn you into a fool for their own benefit. I asked some questions about it and got the answers. Sometimes a little research could go a long way in not making you look ignorant. There was not one thing wrong that Myron was doing. If they don’t want the food then don’t call. Simple!

            Like 10
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          • Anonymous says:

            Dont be an @$$. NDP was in power so who you think choosing the restaurant and “making the calls” on behalf of the HOA. I guarantee it wasn’t the opposition making the selection. The same way they select friends and supporters to give contracts for infrastructure is the same way they select catering as well.

      • Thank you says:

        They so blinded by politics and their stupidity they can’t comprehend or read or understood or be logical.

        Plus Hon Smith be entering in these contracts for Festival long before he was a Minister but this motion is truly good for transparency

        Like 2
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        • @anonymous says:

          The staff at the house of assembly I’m sure are responsible for arranging the caterers. Myron’s company used to provide food to the House way before he got elected. There is no comparison between the concocted issues about Myron and those with Sheep and Carvin. Andrew Fahie and the VIP knows Myron did nothing wrong. Why aren’t they picking on Ronnie, Alvera and Mark who the government calls on their business to provide services when needed. Ronnie would be biggest one because concrete cost money and they used Skelton Concrete a lot. I know because I see it. Why not a peep out of Andrew them mouth on that? That doesn’t tell you something? This is more about eliminating someone they see as a threat more than anything.

  9. @reply says:

    I see Politicains as grimey used car salesmen in cheap suits trying to sell a used car for the price of a new car.

    Like 16
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    • Reply says:

      Yes indeed. They will say any and everything to the public to either gain power or maintain it.

      Some wouldn’t even think twice about throwing their own families under the bus if they got in the way so that they can achieve their goal.

      Honest politicians are few and far in-between. I have learned over my life not to believe a word when they start making their promises until I can see with my own two eyes that they have lived up to their words, or done what they have said/promised.

      My faith and trust in them is that low. One has to have the same level of due diligence with them as those used car salesmen, as they will sell you a dream only for you to realize later that you drove off with a lemon.

      If a politician tells me to walk up the road, I think it’s in my best interest to run, and run as fast as my two legs can take me.

  10. Eagle eye says:

    These polititions really taking the people for fools.who knows if he ain’t getting a cut out of it.

    Like 24
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  11. Time will tell says:

    This is a very convenient way for politicians to pay themselves hundreds of thousands of dollars. Who all getting a cut of this payment that no body wants to say what the amount was?

    Like 24
  12. How much? says:

    I’ve no issue with a ministers company doing work with transparency as to how much? were there others? (VG?) and if not a small contract was it tendered? I dont see VIP answering any of the questions.

    Like 15
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  13. roll eye says:

    doing alot #&*@ VIP

    Like 13
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  14. stink says:

    this guy will go down as the worst premier ever.

    Like 31
    Dislike 4
  15. goat says:

    imagine a deputy speaker that can’t speak.
    what a d**b under the tree type of dialect, very sheepish to me

    Like 14
    Dislike 5
  16. Haha says:

    The behavior by the opposition was terrible. They prolonged the voting by deliberately not responding or rambling when all they had to say was yes, no or abstain. VIP didn’t oppose when it was time for Marlon to get his contract. They didn’t make things hard, they understood that not everything is politics or corruption and they voted affirmatively. Fraser didn’t want to vote because he believed that the matter didn’t need approval and it was a waste of time which was technically true but all he had to say was yes, no or abstain. The others were just hypocrites as they never needed information when, Myron, Marlon, received government contracts.

    Like 12
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    • Walwyn says:

      The man didn’t have a contract with the government!

      Like 5
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      • Haha says:

        What’s the difference between providing paid services continuously for government without a contract and providing paid services for government with a contract. The conflict still exist. That’s like when government gave Skelton Cline a few thousand less than $100,000 just so that there would be no reason for tendering.

        Like 7
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        • NOT THE SAME says:

          The constitution speaks to a contract, we cannot go outside of the scope of the constitution to create our own beliefs of right and wrong. It’s the law, its either a contract or NOT.

          Like 1
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          • Haha says:

            Whats the point of all the fuss then? Why is everyone so upset? You’re implying that if the constitution allows it and it’s not a crime all is well. The constitution does not state that a member of government cannot do work for government. He did exactly what the constitution said to do seek approval in the HOA. Approval was granted. Cased Closed.

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  17. Yep says:

    Just like Donald Grump will go down in history as the Worst US President.

    Like 16
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    • @yep says:

      what does Grump have to do with this. we now know Grump lives rent free in the minds of some of YOUS socialist fools. get off the plantation and think for your self. slavery ended almost 200 years ago. stop watching the very FAKE NEWS liberal cnn. GET A LIFE FOOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Like 7
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  18. Well sah says:

    The ndp bloggers out in force.

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  19. Premier says:

    Do not mind the noise. You are doing the right thing

    Like 4
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  20. Strupes says:

    If he got a good stage as and better pricing why not use his stage, when Walwyn was using his restaurant to cater for the ssf school functions there wasn’t an issue right, y’all arguing for the wrong stuff in tola.try get them to fix NHI scheme and the tax money that bought a plane none of y’all never sat or flew on

    Like 4
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    • @strupes- liar says:

      You are liar. I work in the ministry. Myron used to tell us not to use his businesses. He made it clear and whenever we used any of his conference room etc he never charged us. This man housed the ministry of education in his private businesses for nearly two months after the hurricane just get children back in school and it hurts me to see how you all just thrash him. He did t charge us one cent. Stop trying to destroy good people.

      Like 17
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      • Hear you says:

        You sound just like one of his Guinea pigs onk onk and did you see NDP doing anything for your children future but enriching themselves while you suffer. Put that in your pipe an smoke it

        Like 1
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  21. Can't stand them says:

    You can smell a Politation a mile away because they reek of corruption and lies. Snake oil salesmen. Keep going the way you going Andrew, one day the people is going to get fustrated and Escort you to the exit door like the People of PR did to the Governour.

    Like 20
    Dislike 4
    • To Can't stand them says:

      You talking piddle. The same set of you all blogging lies. No one can see or point out where any corruption took place by VIP. All the VIP did was come clean with the people to be transparent now to hear all these staged foolishness.

      Like 3
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      • Will you says:

        Just Simply shut up already.

      • @To Can't . stand them says:

        The opposition couldn’t see or prove any of the horrible things they were saying and accusing the ruling of either, but they said them.

        Now they expect kudos and praises? Of course they are due when merited, and will be given where due, but they should also expect the cyclical nature of karma and nature.

        Remember, poltics is cyclical and the same dogma is used in each one.

        The fools will remain foolish and gullible, and the rest will continue to get what they voted for, a charade wrapped in a quagmire masquaradig as a savior.

      • Goodsense says:

        No corruption…so when was the contract signed?

        Like 6
        Dislike 1
      • No sweet pea says:

        This is not staged foolishness. This is called keeping it real. Your Premier need to sign and put a Transparent/whistle blower comitte together and have the boy from Cane Garden Bay run the show as a Thank you for helping him get the Premiership.

        Like 5
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  22. Good old days says:

    Was Sheep a distraction for C@rv1n?

    Like 11
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  23. Gullible people says:

    What Hon. F—, V–O and others political mobsters did to Myron is just wicked. They wanted to win so bad and they knew they couldn’t win unless they destroyed Myron. One of the elected ones told me that directlyti my face. They made up lies on this man and the people believed them. This whole conflict of interest story with providing food to the House of Assembly is garbage and they know but they also know the country is gullible. They never said a word about any of the business owners in the government at the time who were doing business with government because they were not such a big threat. The threat was Myron. Now Andrew is saying Sheep didn’t need permission for a contract but Myron needed permission when he didn’t have a contract. Carvin Malone has nearly 20 different contracts with government departments including the ministry of health and the same Andrew has the heart to ask the House to approve them and give him blanket permission to engage in any others. We know he is after the sewage contract again. Alvera provides food to the government up to now and you never heard them say a word about it because they know that nothing is was wrong with it. Nobody noticed that?They lied. It’s wasn’t about principle. It was about personality just to get rid of a good man. Myron was the best one in there as far I was concerned.

  24. Sin says:

    This minister is allowing trump to be a better leader thank him

    Like 5
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  25. You r right says:

    You are right when u said u never see anything like this before because NDC never make it transparent for u to see it 🙂 and by the way it is not a Government Contract.

    Like 2
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