While reeling off a slew of accomplishments and challenges faced by his Virgin Islands Party (VIP) government over the past four years, Territorial At-Large Representative, Carvin Malone pointed out that there is still more work left to be done.
Malone, who previously served as the territory’s Health Minister, denied accusations that the VIP government had haphazardly distributed handouts three years ago after the onset of the COVID
Assistance grants distributed during that period have since featured in various damning audit reports and have also been a key area of concern and reform recommended by the Commission of Inquiry
) report issued last year.
But Malone, while appearing on the VIP Let’s Talk show, commented that more than $80 million in funding is now needed to continue the government’s various assistance programmes for the people of the territory.
Among other things, Malone shared that his government constructed some 22 social homes and distributed hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants.
Malone said $10 million of that aid came from a $40 million Social Security Board grant the government received, while another $15 million-loan the government inherited had to be repurposed to help with home repairs and assistance to residents.
“We had to repurpose (the loan) in terms of bringing it over so that people can get their homes repaired,” Malone explained. “We needed and we still need about $80 [to] $85 million. We did not have it but we had to work ways in which most people could be assisted.”
He insisted that persons had to go through a process to benefit from this assistance and said the beneficiaries were able to access this fund afterwards.”
“The Minister of Natural Resources tell you about some of the processes that we’ve had. So this was not a willy nilly hand-me-out,” he stated.