Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon Andrew A. Fahie has fired back at claims that the recovery of the BVI post-Irma and Maria of 2017 is moving too slow as insinuated by Governor of the BVI, H.E. Augustus J. U. Jaspert during a recent meeting press conference. 'We don’t want to give up our birthrights for a bowl of soup'- Premier Fahie
“We continue our recovery process. There are those who think that we should be moving much faster because we have access to £300M, but that’s misleading the people,” Premier Fahie said on the Tuesday, February 4, 2020, edition of the ‘Honestly Speaking’ radio show on ZBVI 780 AM.
‘Speed up recovery’ – Gov Jaspert
Governor Jaspert at a February 3, 2020, press conference dubbed 'Catch up with Governor Jaspert' told the press that while 2020 was forecasted to be a challenging year, the Territory should seize its opportunities and get on with its recovery process.
"It’s a challenging year but also a year full of opportunities. For me, I think we need to make sure that we seize those opportunities. We have a recovery and development that I believe needs to increase the pace and we have the opportunity to do that," the Governor said.
But according to Premier Fahie, the conditions of a UK £300M Loan Guarantee which represents an opportunity for the recovery process is too vague and could mean sacrificing great rights in exchange for the funding.
‘We will take our time’ – Premier Fahie
“We have access to it but there are conditions that are being put on us where we are saying that we agree with most of the conditions… but we don’t want to give up our birthrights for a bowl of soup,” Hon Fahie said.
The Leader of Government Business continued, “We prefer to take our time and continue to recover how we are going and find ways to get the money and then to sign on documents where we are saying that the Territory will no longer belong to us?”
Premier Fahie underscored that while the Territory has always welcomed the UK Loan Guarantee for recovery and development, vague terms such as "other mechanisms" and "conditions" in the loan guarantee document must be well defined.
Loan Guarantee terms must be defined – Premier Fahie
“Other mechanisms could mean that the public service has to be cut, we don’t know… because that is not defined,” he said while giving more examples of how a vague contract could take away power from the governing administration regarding managing the affairs of the Territory.
“In this day and era where we are all mature educational wise, politically wise, it cannot be persons talking to us, or we talking to them, it has to be that we are talking to each other,” the Premier underscored.