Premier Andrew Fahie is refuting claims by the Director of British Overseas Territories, Ben Merrick, that he and his government caused engagements between the United Kingdom (UK) and the BVI to deteriorate since becoming elected in February.
In a September 2 letter addressed to the Premier and released to the public, the UK official expressed his disappointment towards the Fahie administration after a number of important meetings — including ones with UK minister responsible for Overseas Territories, Lord Tariq Ahmad — were cancelled.
Responding a day later on public radio, Fahie referred to the statement by Merrick as “PR (public relation) games that are being played” and confirmed that he and his government have consistently been in contact with the UK.
“I don’t know if there’s a template for how much you have to be involved [but] we have been writing. I have had letters that I’ve written to the same Mr Merrick telling him that these are the areas that we are working on. We are given timeframes on certain things that we have been working on so I do not know what messages are being relayed to him through his local representative (Governor Jaspert). So, I’ll have to ask what do you mean by that?” Premier Fahie said during the Honestly Speaking with Claude Skelton Cline radio programme on September 3.
Gov’t met with Lord Ahmad in June
He further said he and a local delegation had met with Lord Ahmad in the Caymans Islands as recent as June 2019.
“I had a meeting with Lord Ahmad [and] I’ve spoken to Lord Ahmad more than one time. As a matter of fact, both Mr Ben Merrick, Lord Ahmad — all of them I’ve written to them even about concerns with certain things that’s happening here with the Governor that I feel was constitutionally breached,” Fahie said.
“We’ve spoken about other areas that we’ve been working on, so I would have to now come to the public and show them all the letters I have sent to the UK. So I cannot understand how the BVI-UK engagement ‘dramatically reduced’ since the VIP took office.”
We told UK we were new and needed time
Premier Fahie further said they had also made it clear to the UK after being elected that the Fahie administration was a new government that needed to do “research” to ensure it was “fully knowledgeable about all that’s entailed in the loan guarantee”.
“[We told them] we need some time to do that,” Fahie said.
Fahie said he believes Merrick’s letter of ‘untrue accusations’ was a mere plot to damage his reputation as Premier.
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