The United Kingdom wants local government to relinquish control of the territory’s financial portfolio in exchange for the £300 million loan guarantee it had promised to the British Virgin Islands.
This is according to Premier and Minister of Finance Andrew Fahie in a statement on August 16. He described the situation as one the most crucial the BVI has ever faced.
“At present, what the UK Government is demanding in order for it to provide its guarantee is for the Virgin Islands to basically hand over almost full control of the management of the territory’s finances to the Recovery and Development Agency (RDA), which was set up at the request of the UK Government,” Premier Fahie stated.
Demands a result of NDP’s mismanagement
The Premier also said this stringent request from the UK Government is a direct result of what he said are the many mismanaged practices and projects under the previous NDP administration.
Listing some of these projects such as the botched BVI Airways deal whereby the BVI lost $7.2 million, Premier Fahie said the previous administration often violated the Protocols Effective Financial Management agreement signed between the BVI and the UK back in 2012.
“May I say that it is unfair and unjust for the UK Government to seek to penalise the people of the Virgin Islands and this new Government on the basis of the actions of a past government – an administration that the people have rejected and voted out of office – without the UK Government and its representatives having exercised their roles in getting those matters investigated and properly ventilated,” the Premier stated.
He further said: “There is a widespread perception that this failure by the UK officials to act swiftly and to have these matters probed was deliberate and designed to hold the door open for the UK Government to impose certain conditions contained in the high-level framework for UK Support to BVI Hurricane Recovery.”
Meetings to be had
Premier Fahie also assured the public that they will be kept updated with the matter as a number of public meetings will be had in the near future.
The first scheduled meeting is set for 7 pm on Tuesday, August 20 at the Eileene L Parsons Auditorium located at the H Lavity Stoutt Community College in Paraquita Bay.