Beautiful Virgin Islands

Thursday, Dec 07, 2023

We can be trusted, we’re not rogues — Fraser

We can be trusted, we’re not rogues — Fraser

Opposition Leader Julian Fraser has insisted that elected leaders in the BVI can be trusted to implement agreed-upon governance reforms without the threat of a United Kingdom (UK) takeover.
The Third District Representative told residents at a public meeting last evening that he met with UK Overseas Territories Minister Lord Zac Goldsmith during his recent visit to the BVI and shared his position on the BVI’s progress so far on implementing these reforms that were outlined in the Commission of Inquiry (COI) report.

“We are not a group of untrustworthy people. We can be trusted. We are people who have proven ourselves over time,” Fraser expressed.

Fraser said the BVI’s financial services sector remains sound and despite threats from the European Union (EU) and others, the territory has been compliant with onerous regulations that have been imposed. “We, as a legislature, have passed every piece of legislation that was necessary to ensure that we are compliant. We made those laws first, and then we passed them,” he said.

Fraser argued fervently that the BVI does not need the Order in Council placed over the territory by the UK in the event the BVI reneges on an agreement to implement the COI reforms.

“So, it’s not as if we are a bunch of rogues out there that no one can trust. We don’t need to have an Order in Council hanging over our head in order for us to deliver on promises that we have made,” Fraser argued.

We want to operate freely

In the meantime, Fraser said he was questioned by Lord Goldsmith over the sluggishness of completed reforms and asked why only 12 of the 48 recommendations had been delivered upon so far.

“I said, that is not a fair assessment because those 12 of the 48 were done during the time when we were setting up,” the Opposition Leader explained.

Fraser said he told Lord Goldsmith that the government’s Implementation Unit, which was established to help streamline the implementation of the reforms, had to be formed and he assured Lord Goldsmith that things will be different after this period. According to Fraser, there was consensus from the OT Minister and his team over Fraser’s position on the delayed reforms.

“I think what you’re going to see though, is some UK folks coming under the guise of working on the implementation of the plan — those 48 recommendations,” Fraser suggested.

He added: “The government has been under pressure. The government is still under pressure. That is not the position that we want to be in. We wanna find ourself in a place where we can operate freely as we have in the past, serve our people freely and I think that time is coming.”

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