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Smith says 2019 HOA exemption sought was to avoid corrupt label

Tracking Transparency

Government legislator Neville ‘Sheep’ Smith

Territorial At-Large District Representative Neville Smith told the ongoing Commission of Inquiry (COI) the voluntary disclosure he made regarding a 2019 contract between his business and a government statutory body was done to avoid being labelled as corrupt.

According to Section 67 of the Virgin Islands Constitution, an elected member of the House of Assembly (HOA) shall vacate his or her seat if the member becomes a party to a contract with the government or if any firm in which the member is a partner, director or manager enters into a contract with the BVI government. It further states, “if in the circumstances, it appears ‘just’ to do so, the HOA may exempt an elected member from vacating his or her seat.”

Smith told the COI that, at the time of making the disclosure, he consulted with the former Attorney General who advised him it was not necessary to do so with a statutory body such as the Virgin Islands Festival & Fairs Committee with which he held the contract.

“I did it (seek the exemption from the HOA anyway) because of the atmosphere in the BVI,” Smith told the COI. “Once [you’re] a political member, everybody looks at you as corrupt, somewhat. So, I decided – to avoid any sort of confusion, any talk – let me just be transparent with it and get it out. That’s why I did that.”

At the time, Premier Andrew Fahie had also said he was the person that told Smith to seek the exemption before the House.

Involved with Festival & Fairs since inception

Smith told the COI he is the sole owner of Frontline Systems, a company that provided sound and staging services through the Festival & Fairs Committee for the Buju Banton show held in 2019 and for the Emancipation festivities that same year.

Smith, a first-term legislator and backbencher in the governing Virgin Islands Party, told the COI his company had been engaged with the Festival & Fairs Committee since its inception.

According to Smith, he had made both successful and unsuccessful bids for government contracts in the past for his business.

When asked to produce the contract he had with the statutory body, Smith explained that he would have to enquire with Festival & Fairs as his living conditions post-hurricane Irma meant that he was living out of a kitchen for an extended period and his personal documents, therefore, may have been in disarray.

 

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21 Comments

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  1. See says:

    That is what you call covering your back in the event that something comes up which is very important. HE IS CALLED SHEEP BUT THERE IS NOTHING SLOW ABOUT A SHEEP. SAME AS THERE IS A MYTH ABOUT TURTLES BEING SLOW, THERE IS NOTHING SLOW ABOUT A TURTLE.

    Like 12
    Dislike 1
    • WEW says:

      @See Now if you want to see slow just look around you at all the “locals”. Obviously you haven’t hired anyone to try to get some work done.

      Like 1
      Dislike 5
  2. Black sheep says:

    Lol the hurricane was 2017 and he can’t find a document for a contract in 2019, well how much contracts he has so, these politicians conducting business with government under $10000.00 to avoid a contract. The commissioner needs to check the treasury.

    Like 9
    Dislike 1
  3. I would agree says:

    Once a person is labeled as being corrupt, you will forever be marked as corrupt and carry the name. CORRUPT AND HATE IS POWERFUL WORDS THAT CAN CREATE AND CAUSE DESTRUCTION. EVERY DECISION ONE MAKES IN LIFE BE IT GOOD OR BAD, THERE IS ALWAYS THE WHAT IF. EVERY THAT WAS ACCUSING EACH OTHER OF BEING CORRUPT STUCK THEIR HANDS AND MOUTH IN PANDORAS ?.

  4. Contract says:

    Hon Smith cannot find a contract from July/August 2019 because he was living in a kitchen for an extended period following Irma in September 2017.

    Was he still in this kitchen accommodation in 2019 after he took office and after the contract was signed?

    Like 24
  5. Answers says:

    Convenient that he could not recall the value of the contract when asked at the COI hearing.

    “Cant recall” seems to be one of the most common answers so far at these hearings!

    Like 23
  6. heckler says:

    I think we need an opinion from popeye who also rent stages and sound systems to the festival and fairs committee

    Like 13
    Dislike 1
  7. hog wash says:

    Sheep wasn’t in power during hurricane Irma so what files he talking bout being destroyed?

    Like 23
    • To hog wash says:

      He’s not the only one that was spewing pure BS….check out Pat$y hearing

      Like 11
      • Lies O plenty says:

        How convenient that so many of them kept no récords of their documents/contracts etc. And how nice is it, that they can’t remember anything…..little Patty can’t even remember how much the government paid her for using her “small hotel” and whining about how long they took to pay her(and still can’t remember how much she was paid)

  8. seriouly? says:

    Corruption to the fullest, we put the greedy pigs in charge of the piggy bank, they squeeze Popeye out of the picture and did the entire festival.

    Like 14
  9. COI says:

    BRING POPEYE TO THE WITNESS SEAT. THEY F HIM OVER.

  10. VG says:

    WELL THAT CHAP FROM UP THERE SAID THAT THERE IS GOING TO BE MENTAL ISSUES BCOMIND DOWN THE TUBE SO IS IT FOR REAL OR ARE THEY FAKING IT ( SELECTIVE AMNESIA )

  11. Hon Sheep. says:

    He seems to be the only one went in prepared, honest and with good intentions..Promote the man..Give him a ministry.

    Like 5
    Dislike 2
  12. @ GOODFELLOWS says:

    LoL? I LIKE THE WAY YOU PUT IT

  13. Tribute says:

    They have to seek with festival? Where is festival office? Pre,Post Irma?

  14. Jimmy Jowe says:

    Damage already done. Coupled with the fact that he didn’t file his declarations are the facts that when he did the didn’t fill them out properly (omitting key info), the use of DBAs (he’s not that smart) and his family contracts being omitted. Thank you Representative foe your part I sinking the Territory

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