Beautiful Virgin Islands

Monday, Mar 27, 2023

'Every nickel, every penny I managed was spent on the people'- Hon Maduro-Caines

'Every nickel, every penny I managed was spent on the people'- Hon Maduro-Caines

Junior Minister for Tourism Hon Alvera Maduro-Caines (R6) has said she has nothing to hide in relation to how funds were spent in her District, as the debate on the audit report on Assistance Grants from January 2019 to May 2022 commenced in the House of Assembly (HoA) on Thursday, March 9, 2023.

“Over the past few days, many have been shocked by information, figures and names found in this…audit report which was leaked. While I am not condoning any misconduct concerning the way in which this document was released, I believe that the people do deserve to know where public funds are spent. I’m however concerned for the youngest persons on this list, whose identities were splashed across the territory unexpectedly,” she said.

The Junior Minister noted that many have written to her seeking assistance and she has assisted where she could.

'I did not personally assign over $1M in grants'

“I want to make it abundantly clear that I did not personally assign over one million dollars in grants of the amount presented. I was directly able to assist persons out of my district allocation, which is $125,000 per year,” she noted.

According to the Auditor General, Sonia M. Webster, in her report, $1,086,481.00 in assistance grants was distributed in the Sixth District between January 2019 and May 2022.

Hon Maduro-Caines said during the COVID season, Government allocated some $300,000 to assist persons in District 6.

She explained that most of the $300,000 allocated went towards assisting people who couldn’t pay their rent.

“The $300, 000 was part of this money allocated along with the $125,000 per year…those two sums alone amount to $800,000 and you could imagine the other $200,000 plus was spent in the district on much-needed projects…Who want to get a breakdown, I’m certainly sure that they can have access if they go to Finance or whoever to find where the other $200,000 have gone,” Hon Maduro- Caines noted.

She said she is aware that questions are being asked as to whether she has received over a million dollars and where it went.

“The $200,000 plus, like I said, is public information, and the projects such as Fisherman Wharf and a few others is public. Every dollar, every dime, every nickel and every penny that I manage was spent on the people,” the Junior Minister said.
The Auditor General Sonia M. Webster prepared yet another damning report on government. This time it is the Report on Assistance Grants for the period January 2019 to May 2022

'I have nothing to hide'

Hon Maduro-Caines noted; however, that in reality, this kind of money pales in comparison to what is really needed to fix the social problems the territory faces.

“Whether you applied for assistance through me or Social Development or any other public office, the list simply breaks down how much money was received within the district but not necessarily from the $125,000 grant that I administered.

“I hope that this explanation helps some of the persons that are out there making accusations or asking questions, as I’ve always been transparent and clear in my dealings and I can’t allow any confusion to paint a picture that I would have control of that much money and would not have helped each and everyone in the district,” she noted.

Hon Maduro-Caines said some are acting like it was a death sentence handed down.

“I don’t have anything to hide and certainly not in my pocket,” she said.

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