British Virgin Islands

Saturday, Oct 23, 2021

$40M SSB grant channelled to political cronies? COI to investigate

$40M SSB grant channelled to political cronies? COI to investigate

The upcoming Commission of Inquiry (COI) is set to investigate allegations that a portion of the $40 million COVID-19 grant government received from the Social Security Board (SSB) was channelled t…

The upcoming Commission of Inquiry (COI) is set to investigate allegations that a portion of the $40 million COVID-19 grant government received from the Social Security Board (SSB) was channelled to political cronies.

The $40 million grant was part of the government’s Economic Stimulus-Response Plan to assist struggling families and businesses that suffered financially when COVID-19 hit the BVI and forced a territory-wide shutdown in early 2020.

But according to a statement released by United Kingdom Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab earlier this week, impropriety was involved in the spending of the grant. Raab said this allegation was among many lodged at Governor Jaspert’s office last year.

The Foreign Secretary’s statement said there were “allegations that funds set aside for struggling families during the pandemic may have been re-allocated to political allies”.

The SSB’s $40 million grant comprised nearly 64 percent of the total $62.9 million Economic Stimulus Plan implemented by the Fahie-administration.

Of the $40 million grant from the SSB, $10 million was geared towards an Unemployment Relief Support initiative for persons who have been either laid off or placed on reduced working time because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Premier Andrew Fahie stated that he had to take the SSB grant because the UK refused to provide financial support when COVID-19 hit the BVI.

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