Premier Andrew Fahie has indicated that the United Kingdom has denied the territory grants to assist with its battle against COVID-19.
Speaking in the House of Assembly recently, the Premier said this is not the first time the UK has refused to give the BVI grants during a time of crisis.
“In 2017, according to the former Minister for Works & Communications, the UK shut down the requests for grants to help the BVI people to cope with the catastrophic damage to the infrastructure, economy and social situation, following the catastrophic hurricanes,” Fahie stated.
“Here we are seeing again, in another catastrophic event, the UK is saying no to grants. The UK says it cannot afford to give us grants because its own finances are stressed. The UK’s money is for UK citizens, not Virgin Island citizens and not the other Overseas Territories,” the Premier added.
Thankful to the UK
Fahie, however, expressed gratitude to the UK for their assistance to the territory in the other areas where they have contributed.
“We do thank them for the areas that they have helped with which matched our $12 million to start with the preventative measures, and eventually we were able to be fortunate to get the test kits and other medical supplies from the UK which was a good complement to our efforts,” he said.
Grant request to pay unemployed
In late March, the Premier stated in the House of Assembly that his government was planning to seek funding from the UK government to assist local residents who had become unemployed as a result of COVID
“In our plan, we also heard from the governor that the UK is willing to help the OT’s (Overseas Territories) and we are going to put forward that we want that all of our unemployed, for a certain time, be paid at least minimum wage from a grant from the United Kingdom,” he said at the time.