Consultant and outspoken moderator of the Honestly Speaking show, Mr Claude O. Skelton-Cline has remarked that even as Governor Augustus J. U. Jaspert says the Virgin Islands (VI) has healthy reserves and enough finances to handle its own affairs regarding COVID-19, the United Kingdom (UK) still has to approve the funds.
Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1), in a statement on Saturday, March 28, 2020, had said Government was trusting that the Governor is able to assist the Territory with accessing funds from the UK to match what the VI was making available to its unemployed population as a result of COVID-19.
'Be clear on position'
Governor Jaspert responded, “We [VI] have healthy reserves and the Social Security Board Fund is very robust," implying that the Territory has sufficient financing.
According to Skelton-Cline, while that answer is good based on the capacity of the Territory, the response is not good enough.
"I would suggest to the Governor that he tells the UK, through him, to tell us emphatically and conclusively whether or not they intend to help based on the request, or they are not going to help," he said.
"Be simple so that we are clear," he said to Governor Jaspert even as he, Skelton-Cline, had previously urged VI leaders to stop depending on the UK for help.
"If we should go to the Social Security Board... the UK still has to approve us having to borrow from ourselves," Skelton-Cline underscored.
He continued, "Even if we were to dip into our reserves, we still have to go to the UK for approval to use our own reserve funds," he said.
Skelton-Cline commented it is unbelieve that in the 21st century, no matter which way the VI turns and despite good governance, the Territory is still subjected to colonial rule, "how is that we are still in this position?" he asked.