Third District Representative Julian Fraser has categorically dismissed the notion that he was ever involved in vote-buying, insisting that this has played no role in his re-election over the years.
In a recent interview, the veteran legislator pointed to the transfer of assistance grants from legislators to the Social Development Department and commented that residents may still be feeling the proverbial pinch.
Fraser argued that the nearly $2 million in funding previously disbursed by lawmakers, was going directly to seniors and the less fortunate and also suggested that lawmakers have a better understanding of residents who are in need of such grants.
“No matter you hear the talk out there about giving money for votes and all that kind of stuff. Well, okay. So, we didn’t have the money for the votes,” Fraser said. “Take a guy like myself for instance. You want to claim that I was using it all these years for votes? Okay, so I didn’t have it this time. And what happened?”
He added: “You can see it’s a farce. It’s a farce. These people relied on this kind of money for as small as it was. It was still a big thing for them.”
Days ahead of the just-concluded elections, former Territorial At-Large Representative Shereen Flax-Charles contended that persons were soliciting votes from seniors and differently-abled residents in Virgin Gorda by offering monetary incentives.
“I am very disappointed that we’re literally trying to hoodwink our elderly and differently-abled by offering them $40 or $50 to come to the polls and vote for certain candidates. Let’s be real. We have to stop that behaviour,” Flax-Charles stated at the time.
Meanwhile, Fraser also pointed to the now-tightened restrictions over the issuance of petty contracts, a development which came in the wake of last year’s Commission of Inquiry
According to Fraser, “We were pumping over $2.5 million dollars in petty contracts on the district level alone. My district vote for projects and everybody else’s district vote for projects was in the neighbourhood of $2.5 million.”
He added: “Petty contracts … that’s exhausted, evaporated. These are monies that went into the communities. You take that away. So what do you expect?”