Chairman-elect of the NDP Myron Walwyn has dismissed claims about years of corruption, no transparency, and poor governance in his party as a desperate ploy from the opposing VIP to regain power.
Walwyn made the assertion this week in the first of a series of public radio broadcasts being dubbed NDP Drive Time.
Walwyn – who has come under spells of political fire in recent times – has again singled out Opposition Leader Andrew Fahie as one of the main instigators of the “unsubstantiated claims” against the NDP.
Before running to the defence of the NDP, Walwyn said Fahie has no moral virtue to speak about corruption.
Public is misinformed
He then went on to label talks of NDP corruption and bad governance as ‘misinformation that should have been corrected but was not’.
“However, my fellow residents, a failure to respond to, and correct the misinformation is not corruption. As the new leader of the NDP, you have my solemn pledge and commitment that you will be properly informed and all misinformation will be corrected going forward,” Walwyn said.
He proceeded to list a number of NDP initiatives, which he said are proof the party is not corrupt, does not mismanage public affairs, and is not lacking transparency.
In relation to the issue of transparency, Walwyn said his government presents daily news releases, answers questions in parliament, has ‘regular public meetings’, and the Premier has monthly conferences with members of the media.
“The NDP government is the government that has strengthened the governance structure to ensure accountability and transparency. It is the NDP government that passed the Public Financial Management Act of 2006 in the House of Assembly and amended it in 2012 to increase transparency in government.”
“One of the amendments to the Act calls for monies to be put into our Reserved Fund. This is an accomplishment that the NDP can boast about for having increased the reserves from the amount of $7 million by the VIP in 2011 to $65 million right before Hurricane Irma in 2017. I dare ask, where would we be now had we not had this foresight?” Walwyn questioned.
NDP members have not been arrested or charged
The minister then listed a number of individuals and agencies such as the Office of the Governor, the Office of the Auditor General, and the Public Accounts Committee, which he said are in place to detect corruption and impropriety.
“Under this NDP administration, have you heard of any allegations of impropriety from any of these entities? Has anyone been arrested, charged, convicted or imprisoned? The answer is no. What we have seen from the VIP leader is a steady stream of unfounded, divisive allegations, aspersions, and innuendos for political power, without care for who may be hurt, whether country or individuals,” Walwyn said.
“I will be the first to admit that we have made some mistakes, but our hearts are always in the right place. And we will continue on our quest to improve the quality of life for the people of these Virgin Islands,” he added.
Drowning in scandals
Throughout its time as a government, the NDP administration has come under heavy criticism for issues such as the $30 million cost over-run of the cruise pier project – which has been under auditing for nearly two years now.
They have also come under fire for the controversial $7.2 million BVI Airways deal in 2015, and for some half-a-decade worth of unaudited financial statements.
Government completed the audit for 2012 and 2013 annual reports this year and Walwyn said the audited statements for 2014 to 2016 will be ready by October.
All these political scandals are issues the NDP government are yet to completely resolve.
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