BVI News

Suicides likely averted with COVID grant $$ to churches — Premier

Premier Andrew Fahie has suggested that his government’s COVID-19 assistance grants given to religious organisations last year likely prevented suicides in the BVI.

During a hearing yesterday, the Premier told the Commission of Inquiry (COI) that churches dealt with a lot of counselling and prayers. He said these religious organisations took away much of what would have likely become social disasters — many of which the government could not have addressed.

“The churches have helped us significantly and I would do it again. The churches have touched the lives of a lot of persons. Around that time, Commissioner, there were people, a lot of people, who were trying to commit suicide — they couldn’t deal with this,” Premier Fahie explained. 

Highlighting another reason for offering grants to churches, Premier Fahie said: “The churches, some of them were on the verge of collapse, because they make their monies by the collection, by the offering. If it is closed, there is no offering and the people (church members) are not working because of COVID [so] they can’t give any tithes.”

According to Premier Fahie, during the early stages of the pandemic, churches were seeing financial challenges like never before.

He told the commission that the churches have been executing social programmes that assist with rent and food for persons in need, especially at a critical time where landlords had been pressuring tenants to produce their rent or be displaced.

A big change in policy, but a needed one

Fahie said that midway through the disbursement, he instituted a policy-shift in the way the monies were distributed to the churches. He said this was done through what he described as a ‘banded system’ that would allow churches to ‘touch more lives’ in a way the government never could.

He further dismissed any insinuation of political motivations behind the grants given to churches. The Premier argued that those who did not support his administration still received help in the same way as other institutions did.

Accountability

And while addressing the issue of accountability, Fahie said there is a system in place to “deal with that”. He, however, said this was not his “section”. Notably, while farmers and fisherfolk were requested to account for how they spent the grants, churches and schools were not required to do the same. 

In the meantime, Premier Fahie urged the COI not to look at the change in procedures during the distribution of the grants to churches as a willy-nilly exercise, and instead to take a more holistic view of the dire circumstances that were happening at the time.

Copyright 2021 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

21 Comments

Disclaimer: BVI News and its affiliated companies are not responsible for the content of comments posted or for anything arising out of use of the comments below or other interaction among the users.

  1. Donation to churches says:

    Allowed the ‘pastors’ and ‘ministers’ to finish building their homes, pay for their trips to Miami and buy a new car..

    Like 43
    Dislike 2
    • Guess What? says:

      It is very interesting that you jumped to conclude with certainty that the Pastors went, building homes, and on shopping spree in Miami. If your assertion is found to be pure falsehood, you would have portrayed yourself, a wicked fellow, a character assassin, a deadly serpent who hates anything good. The Churches have been asked to account for their spending on the stimulus package. Of course, this would be made public. What would it have cost you to have waited for these reports to be published before making such a callous assertion? It’s amazing the kind of society we have raised where the blood of folks boils just at the mention of church or Pastor

  2. Church Member says:

    Hmmmm…. We demand to know how much of our tax dollars went to each and every church… We demand to know… if it is not given officially, be careful it is not leaked out… oh what a day that will be.

    Like 37
    Dislike 1
    • Rubber Duck says:

      How much went to the synagogue, the mosque. to those too intelligent to believe tales of sky pixies?

      Nothing is the answer.

      The state must be separate from religion Fahie or we are no better than Iran.

  3. BS! says:

    More smoke, mirrors, and lies. Unsubstantiated verbal diarrhea from hey, hey, hey.

    Like 27
  4. heckler says:

    What ludacris

    Like 16
  5. WOW says:

    TELLING LIES ON THE CHURCHES NOW?

    Like 19
  6. BVI says:

    We are in big trouble when we have someone like this in charge of our finances.

    Like 31
  7. strupes says:

    Hogwash

    Like 21
  8. Wow says:

    Throwing a dead man under the bus because he is not here to defend himself, praying before questioning and still telling lies and now using the churches as a crutch for wrong doing. The BVI made the biggest mistake in history during the elections of 2019.

    Like 34
    Dislike 1
  9. Lucifer says:

    Be a lot easier if the churches provided audited accounts of how they spend the money they receive. Should be made a condition for their tax exemption. You want to keep tax free, show us how the donations are used to benefit the community

    Like 22
  10. Help! says:

    There was no need for COVID grants to “Churches”. The ‘Church’ is the congregation of people. So, it was people who should have gotten the grants. Then the people who got the grants should then tithe 10% of the grants they received. No? Double dipping – did persons got twice – once in person and once via the ‘Church’?

    Like 23
  11. Deh Watcha says:

    Don’t forget there is still $300k given to each elected official to be accounted for also.

    Like 23
  12. LOL says:

    Really? Clutching at straws. We need elections

    Like 14
  13. BVI says:

    This is a soap opera..As the VIP world turns!

    Like 12
  14. @ THESE FAKE PASTORS says:

    and these fake politicians are really brazen and now the big one playing a psychologist now 🤣

    Like 12
  15. e says:

    Who is it that said the voice of the people, is the voice of God. ?

  16. Unbelievable says:

    “Premier Andrew Fahie has suggested that his government’s COVID-19 assistance grants given to religious organisations last year likely prevented suicides in the BVI” When did you conduct this study?

  17. BVI says:

    Soo here we go again! How much of the monies did Mr Cline get for his church?

Leave a Comment

Shares