One of the reasons many persons are struggling financially, is due to government's legal obligation to pay out over $30M in bills left over by the former National Democratic Party (NDP) administration.
This is according to Premier and Finance Minister, Hon. Andrew Fahie, who said that the bills were unnecessary and due to bad decisions by the former government.
Premier Fahie was responding to comments made by Opposition Leader, Hon. Marlon Penn that while persons are suffering, the government is giving out consultancy contracts, including a $78,000.00 to an individual who is meddling in BVI politics.
Premier Fahie said in addition to the bills, the former government failed to diversify the economy, which he said could have helped bolster the economy during these trying times of the COVID
“…The reason the people suffering is that COVID
-19 came on and every place have economic problems. But I want to help to remind the opposition, all of them that are there (HoA), the main reason we are suffering is because they didn’t diversify the economy,“ he said.
He added, “All of sudden now everybody wants a plan and it ain’t have no diversification of the economy. Where was the plan with that? Now, I am trying to do it, there is a resistance.”
Speaking to the Bills, the Premier mentioned several court cases the former government lost which were all of because of bad decisions by the then government. He spoke to $6M which has to be paid to Delta Petroleum, over $20M to Global Water, the $2M monthly BiWater bill, and millions owed by the Works Ministry to vendors.
The BiWater deal was struck under the then Virgin Islands Party (VIP) which was inherited by the NDP.
“The people suffering because BiWater we still have to pay them $2M a month, at least I had stand up against them. The people ain’t suffering from consultants, they suffering because we also got to pay back that $6M into the East End/Long Look sewerage project,” he stated.
Premier Fahie continued, “a project that was supposed to done do you know. Money done allocated you know, and they take it and put it down by the Pier Park project, and now we ready to get it going again… Let we don’t talk about the plane (BVI Airways), no plane, no money, no flight. Let’s leave that there. $7.2M gone. We not going to talk about the (Elmore Stoutt High School) wall."
The Territory’s leader then went on to the many court cases.
“Actions (court cases) that were never wise actions in a lot of quarters. We got to go pay Delta over $6M for actions with the same last government, that they could have dealt with differently. We lost the case. All that I finding now, the consultants ain’t the problem. And then we lost the case with the company they had here name Global Waters, over $20M,” he lamented.
The Finance Minister said it is tough for the government during this time.
“I am going to talk and let you know what I am dealing with inside, while juggling to help the people deal with COVID
-19. I am dealing with a lot. It ain’t the consultants, they (opposition) want us to believe it’s the consultants because that sounds juicy on the streets,” he stated.
The Finance Minister disclosed that they were readying to start a project under the Ministry of Transportation, Works and Utilities, but they were hit with a $800,000 bill which they were legally obligated to pay.
“One bill hit us so hard, we were going to start a project but we had to turn around and use $800,000 to go pay that bill…every time we think we finish, bills add up, we are now $3M (works ministry bills),” he said.
The Premier said, “When you add up all what we have to deal with here, we talking about more than $30M odd dollars of losses and monies I have to find to pay from lawsuits and also take losses in other areas, plane and different things. And they telling me a $78,000.00 consultancy contract is why the people suffering?”