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Friday, Dec 09, 2022

Premier says he needs permission to reveal ESHS’ anonymous donors

Premier says he needs permission to reveal ESHS’ anonymous donors

There is a growing public call for the government to name the anonymous donor whose offered $4 million towards the Elmore Stoutt High School redevelopment project, but Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley said he would need permission to reveal the person.
According to reports from now dismantled Fahie administration, the donor had already given $2 million for the project and had pledged another two.

Speaking at a press conference last Friday, Dr Wheatley said he would have to investigate whether the donor wants his name revealed and once he gets an answer, he will respect the person’s wishes.

The Premier noted that the Recovery and Development Agency (RDA) receives donations all the time and there is a structure in place for people to donate.

“No one donates directly to the central government. The RDA was set up specifically for the purpose of providing a transparent means for persons to be able to donate to these projects. We are grateful for their donations. Of course, you know the BVI was devastated in 2017 by hurricanes Irma and Maria and many persons have come to our aid,” Dr Wheatley said.

The Premier said that given the controversial arrest of his former boss and political leader, Andrew Fahie, he wanted to reassure the public that the donations will be used properly for hurricane recovery projects and they are from a legitimate source.

“Certainly, the BVI government continues to be strong, continues to be reputable. And we do want to send a message to our donors that they can have confidence in sending money to our project because it really is for the good of the Virgin Islands and if we are talking about Elmore Stoutt, that is directly related to our children and of course, we do not want our children to be in less than adequate conditions. So, in addition to our government revenue and in addition to our loans, we do need persons to donate to some of these very worthy, worth projects,” the Premier said.

Dr Wheatley was further asked whether he believed making the donors known was a matter of public interest given the Commission of Inquiry findings in this area and also given the sum of money being donated by one person. However, he said this was something he had to discuss with the RDA.

“Because if I understand it now, if somebody is making a donation and they want to remain private, that is also their choice as well. But I can assure you that the donor funds do not have anything to do with any illicit activity or any illegal activity and I have law enforcement confirm that to the public if that is necessary but these funds are legitimate funds and they are legitimate business persons that provide the funds and I will not reveal the name of the persons until I get clearance to do so,” the Premier said.

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