The BVI Opposition, led by Hon Marlon A. Penn, has accused the Hon Andrew A. Fahie led Virgin Islands Party (VIP) Administration of marginalising Virgin Islanders out of top government jobs, issuing consultancies to party loyalists and victimising its outspoken critics; however, was hesitant to provide proof.
These sentiments were made at a press conference today November 13, 2019, in the conference room of the Virgin Islands (VI) House of Assembly (HoA) where, in addition to Hon Penn, Opposition Members including Hon Julian Fraser RA, Hon Alvera Maduro-Caines and Hon Julian Fraser RA, all took opportunities to raise several concerns regarding the government.
Opposition must hold Gov't accountable - Hon Penn
"Its been just under nine months since the voters of the Virgin Islands elected a new government led by Hon Hon Andrew A. Fahie, Premier of the Virgin Islands. In his own worlds an unconventional leader, an unconventional government," Hon Penn said in opening statements after a moment of silence in Honour of the late Honourable Ralph T. O’Neal OBE, who passed away on November 11, 2019.
"As an Opposition, we are respectful of the democratic process and the will of the voters of the Virgin Islands and allowed the duly elected government to lead," he continued.
However, according to the Opposition Leader, the Opposition has a role to hold the government accountable and make sure the House of Assembly (HoA) is performing its duties. As such, he said the Opposition has 'grave concern' regarding the governance of the territory.
According to the Opposition Leader, "Over the top spending like a personal security contract for our Premier... for $86,000 per month," he said it has already cost taxpayers over $688,000 and must be investigated and questioned.
Premier Fahie in his rationale to hire security had said in the second Sitting of the First Session of the Fourth House of Assembly on Thursday, April 25, 2019, that he has received three major threats of assassination in what was regarded as a national security issue.
Hon Penn also brought into focus the court case fees between Hon Vanterpool and House Speaker, Hon Julian Willock while raising more concerns on the UK loan guarantee, recovery projects, public register, beneficial ownership and more.
"The economy and recovery are of major concern moving forward," the Opposition Leader charged.
'Show us the Proof'
In a more serious accusation, Hon Penn said "Nepotism and cronyism are at an all-time high," under the Fahie administration.
According to Hon Penn, since its inception in government the Hon Fahie administration has had "Former political candidates and cohorts are being placed in consultancies throughout the government and the statutory organisations, this is happening in unprecedented number, a process that seems to be a literal assembly line on one 90,000 contracts plus contracts after another."
When asked by the media to cite names and provide evidence of such, Hon Penn said that it was the job of the media to investigate. "This is being done irrespective of the individuals' ability to perform the requisite tasks,' he said.
Even as the Government embarks on its 1000 jobs in 1000 days initiative, the Opposition Leader again, without providing examples, noted that well qualified Virgin Islanders are denied opportunities for jobs in their respective fields.
Notably absent from the Press Conference was Second District Representative, Hon Melvin M. Turnbull (R2) who attended the opening of the Youth Parliament in Trinidad on Monday, November 11, 2019.