By Kamal Haynes, BVI News Staff Governor Augustus Jaspert has refuted all claims that suggest the delay of government’s economic stimulus plan is because of the Protocols for Effective Financial Management agreement that was signed between the UK and the BVI.
Governor Jaspert told members of the media on Thursday that the stimulus, which has been promised by Premier Andrew Fahie for months, is not being hindered by any of the conditions relating to the 2012 agreement, as suggested by the Premier.
“It has been suggested publicly that these act as a barrier to the government’s ability to deliver an economic response to COVID-19,” Governor Jaspert said.
“I have not seen any evidence to indicate that they hamper the government’s ability to bring forward an economic package for the people. From what I understand, BVI’s reserves are in a very healthy position – over $80 million according to the budget estimates announced late last year,” Governor Jaspert added.
Purpose of Protocols
The governor also explained the purpose of having these protocols, stating that they are to ensure the sensible management of public finance and accountability to the public.
“By having them in place, BVI is sending a clear message to potential lenders and international partners, but most importantly to the people who live here, that we are committed to sensible borrowing and spending of public funds,” he stated.
He continued: “In practice, they are about making sure governments don’t spend and borrow more than they can afford to.”
Protocols enable flexibility
Governor Jaspert further said that there are aspects within the protocols which allows flexibility for government to seek funding in special situations.
“The UK and BVI Governments have agreed temporary breaches in the past when the BVI Government needed to borrow large amounts in exceptional circumstances. The UK is committed to supporting each territory through this crisis and is working hard to understand and meet any needs on a case by case basis,” he stated.
The governor said he is hoping the Andrew Fahie administration will soon enter into discussions with the United Kingdom, with regards to their economic plans for the territory and any concerns as it relates to the protocols.
The government is expected to reveal the details of their economic stimulus plan on Thursday, May 28.