Beautiful Virgin Islands

No loan guarantee, but UK favours COI technical assistance

No loan guarantee, but UK favours COI technical assistance

Governor John Rankin has confirmed that the $400 million loan guarantee previously offered by the United Kingdom (UK) in the aftermath of hurricanes Irma and Maria are now off the table for the BVI.
The Governor gave that indication while speaking on the Talking Points radio programme recently after he was asked whether his office planned to support efforts to reinstitute the loan guarantee offer from the UK government.

Much of the discourse over the election campaign period centred on the BVI’s need to improve its crumbling infrastructure. But without the necessary funding, the government could be left hamstrung in trying to deliver on its promises in that area.

While declining to give specifics or any indication as to whether this is something the UK will move to assist the territory with, Governor Rankin said the subject may well have been broached during talks at the recently held Joint Ministerial Council (JMC) in the UK.

The Governor acknowledged that there is an urgent need for infrastructure improvements to be completed and said he was just as keen as any other resident to ensure that there is an approach that can be found to have this initiative moved forward.

Reviews need to be considered

In the meantime, Governor Rankin suggested that the UK may be inclined to support the BVI by providing further technical assistance to the government as it looks to complete the current suite of Commission of Inquiry (COI) recommended governance reforms.

The Governor reiterated that fewer than half of the nearly 50 COI reform recommendations have been implemented thus far, but confirmed that technical assistance had previously been sought by the BVI government, and granted by the UK in an effort to move the process along.

“There certainly have been requests made for technical assistance, which… the UK government is happy to provide where it can,” Governor Rankin stated. “Fewer than half of the COI recommendations have been implemented and we’re now, almost a year down the line.”

The Governor shared that, in some instances, all that has happened so far is that COI-recommended reviews have been produced for some areas of concern. “What we need to now get on with is actually considering the contents of the reviews, consulting on them as necessary, and then implementing them,” he added.

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