Premier and Minister of Finance Dr Natalio Wheatley has signalled that the $65 million loan granted to the Virgin Islands by the Caribbean Development Bank has mostly been spent and there is no money left to begin any new projects.
In response to a question from the local media at a recent press conference, the Finance Minister said most of the projects from the $65 million loan have already been entrained, ongoing or completed. Hence, the government needs to get more funding to continue the territory’s post-Irma and Maria recovery.
When questioned whether the BVI is considering the £300 million loan guarantee offer from the United Kingdom to continue projects, the Premier said the government is not considering that amount at this time.
“We will have another loan, but it has to be a loan we can afford to service the debt for. So, it wouldn’t be as much as the 300 million because, of course, we would have to be able to service the debt through our annual budgeting process. So, once we have the details of it, we can announce to the public the size of the loan and of course, we will have to show how we will be able to service the debt of that loan and meet all our ongoing expectations,” the Finance Minister explained.
Dr Wheatley noted that the loan would not necessarily be from the United Kingdom, but the Virgin Islands
certainly would need to have a conversation with the UK government on borrowing because there is an agreement between the territory and the UK and they must communicate as it relates to the BVI’s fiscal position.
“So, very soon we will be producing a revised medium fiscal plan. You will also notice that we will soon be going back to the House of Assembly to do what the Ministry of Finance is referring to as a revised mid-year budget. This is information that we regularly share with the United Kingdom on our finances,” Dr Wheatley said.
“You would be aware, of course, that we have the protocols for effective financial management which speaks to some of the ratios that we have to stay within, and we have discussions with the United Kingdom who monitors the ratio and monitors our economic performance,” the Premier said.
He noted that the BVI government always uses the opportunity to work together, co-operate and seek to solve challenges with the United Kingdom during these meeting on the territory’s financial position.