British Virgin Islands

Friday, Jan 15, 2021

Opposition disassociates from Premier’s ‘derogative’ letter to  UK

Opposition disassociates from Premier’s ‘derogative’ letter to UK

Members of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition have publicly disassociated themselves from the recently leaked letter which Premier Andrew Fahie sent to the UK Minister for the Overseas Territories, Baroness Elizabeth Sugg.

Speaking at an Opposition media briefing on Wednesday, Leader of the Opposition Marlon Penn said the letter carried a very aggressive, confrontational, and derogative tone that only further strains the relationship between the BVI and the United Kingdom government.

He said: “We are now here to the people of this territory first and foremost, disassociating ourselves from the tenor — the tone in which he is speaking to Baroness Sugg — and the suggestiveness that he is speaking on behalf of the territory.”

“He’s also copied us on this correspondence to Baroness Sugg. It is very interesting that he chose to copy us on this correspondence. He didn’t copy us on the letter concerning beneficial ownership as to suggest that somehow the Opposition had conversation surrounding the context of this letter; which is not the case,” Penn added.

Premier playing games/BVI not a dictatorship

The Opposition leader also said he believes the Premier continues to play political games, which he said was seen in Fahie’s suggestion in the letter that the people of territory shared similar sentiments to his view on Governor Augustus Jaspert’s decision.

“The BVI is a democracy. The BVI is not an authoritarian regime. We are not a dictatorship. It is important for us, especially when you’re speaking about situations that impact our relationships with other countries, that the Premier does not write in a way that suggests that he has the support of the people without having a conversation with the people,” Penn argued.

Premier’s letter lacked facts

Senior Opposition legislator Julian Fraser shared similar sentiments to Penn and said he believes the letter from the Premier was unnecessary.

He said: “I find it to be uncalled-for because the facts are not there. The facts doesn’t hold up. The governor is responsible for national security and internal security, so it is uncalled-for to call him out on what he is doing.”

“You are admitting that there were incidents of illegal entry in the territory and then you are making reference to the United States Virgin Islands (USVI) — another problem where are these people coming from?” Fraser questioned.

Governor’s stance should not surprise persons

Fraser said that the illegal smuggling of persons from the USVI into the territory has been occurring for far too long. He said it was only a matter of time before the governor took a stance to diminish the problem.

“You can’t be surprised that the governor is about to take measures and the governor should have done this. It is his responsibility. I don’t know why he allowed it to get to this point … He shouldn’t be asking the Premier and waiting for the Premier to agree to develop a border protection,” he stated.


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