British Virgin Islands

Thursday, Jan 27, 2022

Premier denies impropriety in barge contract, stimulus grants

Premier denies impropriety in barge contract, stimulus grants

Premier Andrew Fahie has insisted there has been no impropriety on his part in granting a contract to EZ Shipping to host the government’s radar equipment and assist in detecting smuggling activity in the BVI’s territorial waters.

The government was heavily criticised after it was discovered the BVI government racked up a $360,000 bill for two barges it hired to secure local sea borders by serving as radar platforms from December 23, 2020, to January 22, 2021.

“I can tell the people of the Virgin Islands; not a dime from any stimulus or any barge or anything is in my bank account,” the Premier said in a weekend interview with ZBVI.

Stimulus grants went to unemployment benefits

Premier Fahie said whatever his government did was to the benefit of the people of the BVI.

The Premier also denied suggestions that the stimulus funds his government distributed did not hit their intended target.

Recent audit reports done from the Auditor General and the government’s internal auditor have shown significant discrepancies in the distribution of COVID-19 assistance grants to farmers and fisherfolk as well as grants to small and medium-sized businesses that applied for COVID-19 relief.

But according to the Premier — contrary to those suggestions that the $40 million-plus distributed as stimulus “didn’t reach to the people”, most of these funds had gone to unemployment benefits and National Health Insurance (NHI).

No saviour coming from the sky

He said the public is being given the impression through what he described as ‘public relations’ that elected officials cannot be trusted.

“Some of our people actually buy into these things because they actually feel that [elected officials] are no good,” the Premier suggested.

He noted that while persons are free to disagree with certain laws in the territory, other countries also have similar challenges as the BVI.

“What challenges [do other places] have that we don’t have? What success stories [do other places] have that we don’t’ have? We have to start to believe in ourselves. If you feel that one person isn’t doing a job good, well then let’s replace them with some of our own people,” he stated.

He said persons should “believe in our people” and stop thinking that a saviour will come from the sky to save persons in the BVI.


Related Articles

British Virgin Islands