Amid heightened public scrutiny on the government’s economic stimulus payouts - particularly to local fishers and farmers, recipients are being reminded to provide evidence on how they spent their grant monies.
Premier Andrew Fahie
issued that reminder on Wednesday during a press conference to give a general update on public matters.
The Premier said: “I want to remind the recipients of the various economic stimulus packages. They committed to providing statements to confirm how they utilised the funds provided and to provide data on the impact this funding support had on their ventures.”
“Please, do not delay in sending this information back to the ministries so that we can close off the paperwork and complete our report for what you have done with the money you have received,” he added.
Based on a May 13 statement from the Premier, the BVI government disbursed $7,414,082 worth of economic stimulus to businesses across the nine electoral districts in the territory.
Another $6.1 million was given to local fishers and farmers since the advent of COVID
-19. These monies were part of a larger $40 million grant the government took from the Social Security Board to fuel its Economic Stimulus Plan. The Premier has said an internal auditor continues to perform a monthly audit on the funds dispersed to date.
Public interest in the stimulus packages reached a new high after the leaking of two documents showing the names of beneficiaries and amounts they received from the government’s COVID
-19 Fishing and Farming initiative doled out last year.
The contents of the list — some of which Fahie
said was inaccurate and incomplete — raised many concerns among members of the public.
The government has since been reviewing the authenticity of the list and how it might have leaked.
The Premier recently said Opposition Leader Marlon Penn was the only person outside of his government to receive a copy of the official list. Fahie
made it clear that him saying so was not meant to be an indictment on Penn.