BVI News

VIP gov’t will give PAC powers to override questionable Cabinet decisions

Opposition Leader Andrew Fahie. (BVI News photo)

Virgin Islands Party (VIP) leader Andrew Fahie wants to grant more powers to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to the extent where it (the PAC) can, in a sense, override Cabinet decisions if it determines that those decisions reflect poor or ‘questionable’ governance.

In a public statement on Thursday, Fahie promised to facilitate such a move if his party is elected as the next government.

“The Public Accounts Committee’s reach should extend into the government’s affairs to the extent that any Cabinet decision made outside of the scope of government policies can be ceased and re-evaluated rather than waiting until when monies would have already been wasted and not properly accounted for,” Fahie said.

“A VIP government will ensure that a Public Accounts Committee has the authority needed to deal with the government of the day in regards to any misappropriation of funds and any fraudulent or questionable acts,” he added.

He made the promise against the backdrop of the challenges he claims to have faced when he served as Chairman of the PAC — a post held by whoever sits as Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition.

The PAC is effectively in place to monitor government and its handling of the public’s purse and accounts.

Government made to ‘go rogue’

When the PAC had comprised legislators from a two-member parliamentary opposition as well as members who sat on government’s backbench (legislators who do not sit as Cabinet members) last year, Fahie said the PAC was unable to function because government members neglected to attend the committee meetings.

“This intentional disrespectful behaviour, especially by the members of the sitting government who were members of the PAC, contributed to the many questionable actions by ministers to go unchecked. Your VIP will amend the laws to make it mandatory that members of the Public Accounts Committee must attend scheduled meetings and stop shortchanging the taxpayers,” Fahie said.

He said some examples of government “going rogue” and making questionable decisions with impunity are the $7.2 million BVI Airways deal, the cruise pier $30 million cost overran project, and the sewerage scandal whereby government, according to Fahie, “illegally” took $8 million from the East End Sewerage project to help fund the aforesaid pier project.

He further reasoned that an empowered PAC is the only way to truly keep any government accountable.

Promise of consumer protection, freedom of information

Fahie then outlined other plans a VIP government would implement such as passing consumer protection, freedom of information, and whistleblower legislation.

These laws, he said, will “assist in the restoring of democracy and good governance”.

“I must highlight that all of the aforementioned [legislation] were promises made and promises not kept by the sitting government,” Fahie said.

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  1. Hmm says:

    Soooo many promises. A comfort to a fool.

    Like 17
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    • Well sah says:

      Check youtube for the 2011 an 2015 promises and come and say what was done under NDP with Myron as the mouthpiece.

      Like 13
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      • Nonsense says:

        This is a nonsense proposal. The opposition cannot be in a position to overrule the ruling party’s decisions. If so nothing will ever get done. Besides, what is a “questionable decision”?

        Keep it real people.

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    • VIP,ndp etc says:

      What’s the difference

      Like 4
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      • @ VIP,ndp etc says:

        @VIP,ndp etc, come on, lets not live in gloom for ever. The fact that it rained yesterday doesn’t mean it will rain tomorrow. The out of control fire at Pockwood wouldn’t burn for ever.
        Some people are talking and even desiring a Coalition government, (which doesn’t mean they would all be friends; especially coming to the Collision wit their personal beliefs, experiences and beliefs.
        A coalition government without the Checks-and-balances Hon Fahie is talking about will not necessarily guarantee success. Government in the sunshine will a better chance of success when the following are in place: A strong opposition; (as in numbers) a balanced and respected Public Accounts Committee and Auditor General. The various legislation (consumer protection, freedom of the press and whistle blower protection) are be icing on the cake.

        • Really says:

          Can someone tell me y vip still have a hell of a bill board up in Greenland what happen he want to rule the 8 n he ain even have enough to take down his pic please fine this man since he do not remember where he put up his pics. He cannot represent the 8th not u take your pic down its time u have 10 mins

  2. TurtleDove says:

    Then why do we need you all?

    All of you need to settle down and look at what is needed. Stevie Wonder knows it’s the infrastructure. Like roads, water, electricity, tourism and putting a hold on the airport for now and improve the ferry service…STOP all of you with this mess.

    Like 8
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  3. Please says:

    Andrew are you why would you make such a statement the Governor can override decisions of Cabinet.

    I mean how can you have a committee to override elected officials.

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  4. Drake says:

    Checks and Balances!

    This is a very positive idea and a big step in the direction of transparency and giving the people a real voice in our government.

    The Economist reported that the problems we are facing aren’t the result of a lack of revenue but rather the NDP’s fiscal mismanagement and corruption. This idea will prevent huge losses like the NDP’s $7.2M airline investment from ever occurring again.

    Vanterpool and Walwyn have made too many mistakes.

    Time to move forward with leaders who haven’t already taken advantage of us.

    Time for a fresh start. I’m feeling confident in our future now!

    Like 8
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    • Smh says:

      This is the dangerous part of this election that I notice. You just agreed with the foolishness Andrew just said. It can’t happen! The system doesn’t function that way. Cabinet makes executive decision not the public accounts committee. Andrew should know better and he doesn’t know better then we are in more trouble than I thought.

      Like 9
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    • Ariana Grande says:

      @Drake, Just lay off Vanterpool and Walwyn. Let’s keep S**t real, Vanterpool is going to be voted right back in and Walwyn is going to be elected Premier. Just watch.

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      • Drake says:

        Our children get to vote now. They are tired of the corruption. They are tired of living in turmoil. They are tired of old men mismanaging our country. They are smarter than you and at the end of the day their votes will help you.

        Don’t be afraid. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said:

        “We shall overcome because the arch of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice.”

      • Wide awake says:

        You either are still asleep or if you are awake, it appears that you did not get a whiff of the coffee that’s brewing.

  5. Blah says:

    I cant wait for Monday. Sick of the VIP talking trash day in and day out. Every weekend is a set of noise and partying with no real plans for the territory. Tomorrow night is another big jam while the people have serious concerns and want to hear how they plan to move the country fwd if elected. I am very disappointed.

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  6. SMH says:

    *Blah…then you should stay focus and let VIP and It’s Supporters Unite as they see fit. All this blah!blah!blah! about making noise and big jams…who send call you?

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  7. Quiet Storm says:

    The BVI has a parliamentary/representative democracy that is flawed. It lacks separation of power between the executive and legislative branches; both branches are fused as one. The people, as they are going to do on Monday, 25 Feb 2019, elect representatives to represent them in the unicameral House of Assembly (HOA). The decisions made by a majority in the HOA should stand unless the judiciary decides that the decisions violated the constitution. The Cabinet is an ill-placed decision body. The PAC is an advisory/oversight body and should not have the power to override the Legisaltive body. That should be the province of the courts and the voters.

    Constitutional reform is needed to 1)directly elect the Premier, 2)create a bi-cameras HOA, 3) Premier as the leader of the executive branch appoint a cabinet from non-elected members. Currently, the Peter Principle, ie, promoting people to levels of incompetence. Winning a popularity contest at polls does not make one an immediate expert in anything. The results prove that. The Premier has to play the hand dealt but the territory suffers. Let the legislators legislate and an experienced, knowledgeable staff carry out the policies. But nothing will change, for in the coming weeks, we will do the same thing and expect diffrent results. Back to hibernation now.

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  8. Know it all says:

    Many of us NDP supporters go to the jam for fun. We still with Myron and the NDP

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  9. Enforcement is the key says:

    I really thought he would promote more discipline and penalties for members who do not prioritize the peoples business but to suggest that pac can override cabinet is to undermine the system. This is not a solution to the problem but rather a misguided campaign promise.

    Like 9
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  10. Nonsense says:

    This is an example of the foolishness that this gentleman continues to spout. We have three branches of government. The executive, the legislature and the judiciary. Cabinet is the executive part of government. There is separation of branches in the Westminster system. The public accounts committee cannot override any decision of cabinet. What they can do is use their powers to look into matters that are of concern but they cannot override the decisions of a government. That’s just crazy. The VIP has been busy miseducating our people for a long time now and it must stop. Hon. Fahie, if you do not know what to say please stop what you’re doing.

    Like 15
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    • @Nonsense says:

      Under the West Minister, the executive and legislative branches are one and the same. They may masquerade as separate but they are uno. There is no clear separation. The Premier is part of the legislature and also part of the Cabinet. A clear separation of powers is needed. Our neighbor to the west has separation between the legislative and executive branches. Our other regional neighbors have a similar system to the BVI’s. Some have the Queen as head of state (ceremonial) and Prime Minister as leader of government and others have the Prime Minister as both head of state and leader.

      • Read says:

        That is not true either. They are not one and the same. There is an overlap but they are different. Please do research before misleading people.

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        • SMH says:

          The last time I checked, in the BVI The Legislative Branch and The Executive Branch consist of the same Members with the inclusion of the Governor and Deputy Governor in Executive Council.

          • SMH back at You says:

            Let me ask this one question. Is every member of the Legislative branch, also a member of the Executive branch? Please ask one of the opposition members when last they participated in a meeting of the Executive branch.

      • @ @Nonsense says:

        All I can say is shame on the people who are liking your comment. You are ignorance parading as intelligence, hiding behind words that sound good when you don’t have a clue.

        Like 2
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        • Truth or Dare says:

          It is quite easy to find fault with others comments but fail to add anything to the discussion. What is the truth as you see it? Criticism without substance is not worthy of response. Go siddung.

  11. Remi Martin says:

    His desperation is showing with all these crazy promises and grabbing of straws. Cabinet should be the highest decision making body in any government. Now this man is saying he wants to give a sub committee the power to overrule Cabinet decisions. Might as well we lock up shop and go home.

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  12. Me says:

    Andrew take ur damn head outta the clouds.Who last headup the PAC.U/Fraser as the opositio n so come on tell me about all that went out the window under U guys watchful eye.Now U here wanting me /my family to come aboard with u on monday for what discourse.When U guys speak liketo the media Ur only sending messages that U can’t manage.So Andrew I’m flabbergasted by this pls.back track.U have1day left to clear the air.VERY DISAPPOINTED ANDREW

    • To me says:

      Your comments are so ignorant. Fahie has proposed an excellent measure to help restore accountability. Not because it wasn’t done before means that it cannot be done. Fahie has my vote for sure.

      Like 2
      Dislike 5
  13. Voter says:

    no Committee anywhere in the world can overide a decision of any branch of government.

    We continue with the miseducation of our people.

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