Residents have expressed mixed feelings about the Premier’s first 100 days as leader of government business since winning the general elections in February.
When BVI News roved a cross-section of Tortola and sought the opinions of residents on Premier Andrew Fahie’s performance so far, residents had varying views about initiatives, such as the expat regularisation programme, Fahie’s decision to rotate deputy premiers, the move to spend thousands on a new vehicle for the Premier, among other things.
Notwithstanding the aforementioned initiatives, one local artist from Road Town said he is yet to see any major signs of progressive action from Fahie.
“Out of everything in his manifesto, what has he done so far? That is the real question because to me I have not seen anything done so far … He (the Premier) is making good decisions in certain aspects but in other aspects he is not and I don’t know if it is because he feels obligated to people in his circle that he must do, but he has to think of this as not being his circle anymore because he is now representing the entire territory,” said the artist who spoke to our news centre on the condition of anonymity.
And while commenting on the ongoing legal battle between Speaker of the House Julian Willock and member-elect of the Fourth District Mark Vanterpool, the artist described the situation as ‘a waste of time and taxpayers’ money’.
“They can be putting the focus to doing other things for the islands that they have promised,” he added while also accusing the Premier of causing segregation between expats and BVIslanders.
Don’t judge the Premier on Speaker/Vanterpool case
Meanwhile, another resident Marlon Thomas had different views on the ‘Willock versus Vanterpool’ case. He said while the matter is serious, it ought not to be used to assess how the Premier has performed so far.
“From what I understand, the Speaker is who controls the House and what is happening with the Fourth District Representative has nothing to do with the Premier. Sometimes the decision really is not his but it is a decision for the Speaker,” said Thomas who is a vector control worker.
“To me, he has done a good job so far in the last 100 days … From my standpoint, he seems to be a very genuine person and as a result of that, once you’re genuine, you would demonstrate good governance.”
Premier right to implement regularisation programme?
A retired police officer who opted not to disclose his
“So far, I believe he has been doing very well, especially on the vexing situation of Immigration and looking at regularising persons who have been here for 30 years and still under work permit — which is horrible,” the retired law enforcer said.
He added: “People criticise the ‘Fast Track’ initiative [but] it happens all over the world — Britain, the United States, and some of the independent countries in North Africa have gone that way. If people have money and they can bring in employment, it means a lot, taxes will be collected and people will be productive.”
Too early to cast judgement
Meanwhile, another resident who only described himself as a local consultant was among a number of others who believed the Premier should not be judged so quickly since he is still ‘fresh in office’.
“To be honest, most persons are up in arms about certain things. I’ve said give it two years and then you can really make an informed opinion. The Premier is still getting his feet wet, members of the Cabinet are still getting their feet wet, and most of them are newcomers so they will really have to get themselves familiarised with various ministries and departments before I can cast judgement on how they are performing,” the consultant said.
Rotating Deputy Premier post bad for
He, however, said he had concerns about Fahie’s decision to appoint a new Deputy Premier every three months.
“Nationally, it’s all well and fine. But, internationally, if you are doing negotiations, people want to see a familiar face. You’re rotating Deputy Premier for the first year, something that is being negotiated and then you have to go back to the table. There’s no continuity,” the consultant argued.
He continued: “It almost seems that they are still in campaign mode although it is months after elections, so they kind of have to switch out of this mode and get into work mode.”
Following in the footsteps of former gov’t?
A female Belonger and business-owner said she believes the Premier is following in the footsteps of the former NDP administration.
“In the manifesto, the NDP said about this, the NDP said about that. He (Fahie) has gone and done exactly the same thing as the NDP did,” the businesswoman said.
“They (the VIP) chastised the NDP about the vehicle and first thing he (Premier Fahie) did was to spend $115,000 to bring this new vehicle. Did he really need a new car? Couldn’t the old one be fixed?”
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