Premier Andrew Fahie has stood his ground on his recent assertion that government’s amendments to the territory’s Recovery & Development Plan is the reason the UK is pulling its funding from the agency.
The Premier doubled down on his statement at a recent community meeting on Jost Van Dyke, where he revealed that there are other variables within the previously agreement that would have continued the funding from the UK government past the March expiration date.
“The plan was changed, which most of us learned inside the same Standing Finance, is the reason why they have said they would pull out now in terms of their funding because of the schedule. But the schedule was not only based on a time frame, it was based on certain deliverables also by the UK and that was based on the original plan they’re saying,” Fahie explained.
“But we didn’t sign – in terms of the country, I wasn’t the government then – on to a plan, they signed on to Recovery & Development Agency (RDA), it wasn’t attached to a plan,” he added.
The words came from the RDA not me
Premier Fahie also said his recent assertions did not originate with him, but was rather a regurgitation of what was said and confirmed by a member of the RDA.
“The RDA came in to justify their expenditure from the year before and their budget for the new year. They are the ones who testified on record, not me, that the UK informed the funding will be cut. I’m going to get those records because I saw someone come and said I’m not telling the truth,” the Premier stated.
“When I spoke, I wasn’t speaking from me. I was speaking from the record of the House of Assembly where the staff of RDA confirmed that. The staff from RDA stated correctly … that, because the recovery development plan that was done by the last administration was changed, their agreement was with that plan. When we came in, we did a revision of the plan,” he explained.
UK’s injection was solely towards operational costs
Fahie, who is also the Minister of Finance, further said that when his government came into office in February 2019, it was observed that the UK’s injection of funds into the agency up until that time was strictly towards operational costs and not projects.
He said: “I recognised that the UK did not give us any money for projects — that was not what the money was for. The money was for the running of the RDA office, not for projects. No money for projects was negotiated upon signing anything with the RDA. It was the money to help run the office. The local government was going to put in one section for operation and the UK were putting in a certain amount.”
The plan needed to be changed
The leader of government business added that the plan needed to be adjusted for the betterment and the future of the territory.
He said that under the agreed plan which was signed by the National Democratic Party, there were minimal opportunities for locals to prosper.
“Let me go deeper for you, we changed the plan and I would change it again if it needs to because the plan, in my opinion, mortgaged our future away from … [Based on] how the plan was structured, no local contractor was going to be involved much in this and the plan went beyond recovery and development. And it went beyond recovery and development for [Hurricane] Irma,” Fahie stated.
“RDA was set up at that time to help recover for Irma. If you’re going to have RDA doing all the things that were in that original plan, then you don’t need to go to the polls, you don’t need a government,” the Premier argued.
Bringing both documents to the public
In the meantime, the Premier promised residents that he will be returning to the public with a detailed report of both plans to bring the “truth” to residents.
He said by doing this, residents will be able to conclude for themselves which of the two plans are most beneficial to the territory.
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