British Virgin Islands

Monday, Jul 13, 2020

Petty contract system being revised after coming under fire from UK. But UK is wrong, as the system did perfectly what it designed to do: help to facilitate bribe

Petty contract system being revised after coming under fire from UK. But UK is wrong, as the system did perfectly what it designed to do: help to facilitate bribe

Premier and Minister of Finance Andrew Fahie said the BVI government’s petty contract system has come under heavy criticism from the United Kingdom (UK) and is, therefore, being revised.

In making the announcement in the House of Assembly recently, Premier Fahie said years of infringements were the root cause of the UK’s lack of confidence in the system.

“A lot of people ask this government, ‘what happened to the petty contracts system?’ The petty contract system came under fire from the United Kingdom. Everyone put pressure down because there was so many infractions,” the Premier said.


The ‘little man’ now suffers

A government petty contract is classified as being more than $10,000 but less than $100,000 and, therefore, does not require a public tender process.

As far as infractions go, some officials from previous administrations have been accused of circumventing the petty contract system by breaking up large contracts valued $100,000 or more into petty contracts.

Now that the UK has flagged the system and petty contracts have been halted, Premier Fahie said, “the little man [that] they say we (my administration) don’t care about [has] suffered as a result”.


Modernized petty contract system

He said the petty contract system is, therefore, being reassessed.

“We want to bring a new proposal up to the UK and [for] everyone to sit and discuss how we can have a modernized form of the petty contracts system in an accountable manner,” the Premier stated.

He continued: “We shouldn’t throw out something altogether because there were issues with it. Let us sit down and look at it in a modern way and make sure the legislation reflects it so we can bring this back up.”

He said a higher level of accountability will be required with the revised system.

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