Beautiful Virgin Islands

Tuesday, Oct 04, 2022

Penn insists: Evidence is there! Fahie requested SSB grant, not loan

Penn insists: Evidence is there! Fahie requested SSB grant, not loan

Opposition Leader Marlon Penn is insisting that despite statements to the contrary from Premier Andrew Fahie, the government is indeed seeking yet another grant from the Social Security Board (SSB), and not a loan as the Premier suggested previously.

Speaking on the NDP Radio show earlier this week, Penn said the evidence is there to refute the Premier’s statements and suggested that it will materialise at some stage.

“I heard the Premier mention on one of his press conferences that he was going for a loan. That is not accurate. That is not true. He wrote to Social Security [Board] for additional monies as a grant,” Penn claimed.

Here’s what Premier Fahie stated just last month: “We are waiting on the talks to continue and when they are finished, we will be able to tell the people of the Virgin Islands. It is mostly looking like if we are to get something from Social Security, it would be a loan with a favourable interest rate if it comes to that.”

However, the Opposition Leader insisted that the evidence will “surface” in a similar fashion to a list that was circulated in the public domain purportedly showing recipients of farming and fishing grants that had been doled out by the government.

Those lists had been met with much protest and outrage among residents who had seen it; particularly since many of the alleged recipients were not perceived as actual farmers or fisherfolk.

“Just like when the farmers’ and fishers’ lists came out, he [the Premier] said that it’s a false list and that it’s inaccurate and up to now he is unable to provide the accurate list that he claims exists… more than a year later,” Penn argued.

“We are now looking at a situation where he went for a grant,” the Opposition Leader continued. “The evidence is there, there is no evidence that he asked for a loan.“

“He wrote through his office to get a grant to get some of these initiatives going … And again, to go after our pensioners’ monies after you’ve taken $40 million, and I will continue to say this, and it was mismanaged, it was squandered in many instances,“ Penn alleged.

They have not borrowed one dime

In the meantime, while chastising the government for not taking development projects in the territory seriously, Penn repeated claims that major projects executed by the current government thus far have only been done through funding secured by the former ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) administration.

“The projects that they’re moving forward now,” Penn argued, “they have not borrowed one dime to get these products going. Essentially, what we’re going to see is that they are going to now fleece the Reserve Fund to get these projects done.”

The Opposition Leader said the government has a responsibility to find the necessary financing to move its agenda forward, yet it has been unable to borrow a single cent to execute much needed infrastructural and educational projects.

“We’re going to see a million projects started, but none of them is going to be adequately funded because the government has not secured the funding to make sure those projects are adequately funded,” Penn said.


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