Premier Andrew Fahie remains evasive about whether a second round of stimulus will be presented by his government to badly hurting businesses in the territory; further fuelling speculation by residents of the Virgin Islands over whether there will be assistance coming their way.
The Leader of Government Business was at the time being questioned by Opposition Leader Marlon Penn about his intention to introduce any new stimulus measures for businesses in the territory.
Penn observed that after a year into the COVID
-19 pandemic, businesses continue to experience severe financial pressure and are continuing to close.
“Unlike larger countries that have their own printery,” Fahie
told the House of Assembly recently. “The BVI does not print money. We have to earn it and build upon it.”
said while he has sympathy for the businesses that are hurting, his government has been trying and has assisted with grants previously.
“What about the almost 2,000 businesses that we helped?” Fahie
asked. “I don’t’ hear anything about them … We pick on the couple that we still haven’t gotten to.”
Penn previously called on government to disperse a second round of economic stimulus to further support residents and businesses still reeling from the effects of the COVID
-19 pandemic. At the time, he urged that funds for this new stimulus to be taken from “reserve funds, including budget reprioritisation to free up funding”.
The Premier, however insists: “In the Virgin Islands
, we are working together doing the best we can with what is in our hand.”
said he previously outlined a raft of initiatives to benefit businesses, families and the economies.
He told the House that while other countries might appear to be flourishing, they were very much like a duck in their appearance; “[they] look good up on top but underneath paddling to stay afloat.”
added: “The world as a result [of the COVID
-19 pandemic] is faced with decreased economic activity because businesses have had to close their doors, people have had to stay indoors and lessen travel.”