Governor Augustus Jaspert’s Office has said there is no truth to the claim that the United Kingdom disagrees with the BVI’s revised Recovery & Development Plan or that it will be pulling funding from the Recovery Development Agency (RDA) as a result.
During the January 5 sitting of the House of Assembly, Premier Andrew Fahie said the UK government will be pulling its contributions by the end of the first quarter of 2021 because they don’t agree with his government’s revised version of the previous NDP administration’s Recovery & Development Plan.
Shortly after BVI News broke the story, a spokesperson from the Governor’s Office responded with a statement saying UK funding will stop at the end of March 2021 only because this was the initial agreement made between both governments back in 2018.
“The RDA was established by the BVI government in legislation in April 2018 to deliver the BVI government’s recovery and development plan. At the time of its formation, the UK government agreed to co-fund operational and project costs up until March 2021, thereby empowering the territory to own and deliver its long-term recovery. From March 2021 onwards, the BVI government would become the sole funder of the RDA,” the statement said.
The statement also said this timeline was made official in a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the UK and BVI Government in October 2018.
Our news centre was told that the full MoU could not be shown as it is a legal document between both governments. But the Governor’s Office assured that everything in the MoU was done according to plan.
“It has not changed since and the UK has met in full the contents of that agreement. As of January 2021, the UK government has invested $4.8 million into the running of the RDA. This is in addition to around $20 million of UK funds which have helped restore power and water and repair houses across the territory from late 2017 onwards. The UK continues to provide financial and technical support on other recovery projects to this day,” the statement from the Governor’s office said.
The spokesperson also said the UK never rejected the Fahie administration’s revised Recovery & Development Plan.
“It is factually incorrect to state that the UK has changed its funding approach. The UK has always stated that it’s for the BVI government to set the plans for their recovery and has fully supported the people’s recovery under both the previous and current administration,” the statement said.
The RDA is the body which was set up after the 2017 disasters to manage funds for the rebuilding process.
To date, the local government is the biggest contributor having made some $10 million as of October 2020. The UK and other philanthropists account for roughly 30 percent of all contributions.