Good Morning to all. First let me thank all BVIslanders for your overwhelming support as your Government continues to look after the best interest of us all.
It is amazing, but not surprising that the Leader of the Opposition would claim victory for his participation in the discussion, after all an election year is just around the corner.
It is also not surprising that he would regurgitate statements that he has made in the house over the past years, many inaccurate and to which I have responded and will continue to respond when necessary.
Yes indeed, I had spoken to him as well as to other members before the conclusion of the debate about supporting a position that was in the best interest of the people of these Islands and I am grateful that many of them took heed.
This is what is expected of a leader when he is doing something in the best interest of the people.
First, as I said yesterday when I read to the public the cover letter to the document called ‘The high level principles’, I had presented to members all documents that were required on the matter. Indeed the demand for quote unquote “all documents” was much ado about nothing, as Members of the public would have realized on hearing the contents.
Secondly, the Agency had been discussed on several occasions, between October and November of last year, by all members of the Caucus. Furthermore, there was at least one meeting with all members of the House of Assembly.
Third, the decisions on the Bill were all made by the Cabinet of the Virgin Islands before being brought to the House.
Fourth, it is standard operating procedures for all Bills that come to the House of Assembly to be debated by all the members of the House. At the Committee stage all points raised by members are discussed and changes are made when agreement is reached.
I would also note that before having the debate on the Bill, the Cabinet has had continuous engagement with the UK to ensure that the people of the BVI were able to get the help needed and at the best terms, including assurance that the borrowing guidelines would be reviewed to accommodate the necessary increased loans for recovery.
Specifically, I have repeatedly said, including as recently as last Monday in wrapping up the debate, that funding is necessary but that we would not be borrowing 300 hundred million pounds at once. We would borrow incrementally as needed. I share the Leader of the Opposition’s concern that this Territory not borrow in excess of our ability to repay.
The selection of the chairperson would be made by the Governor in agreement with the Premier after the Premier had consulted the Leader of the Opposition.
Finally, contrary to what the Leader of the Opposition said, the composition of the Board was not changed, rather it was agreed that the Leader of the Opposition’s selection would be a youth (a suggestion from my government) and the Premier’s selection would be a member from the sister Islands. Both are important points which would have been addressed in any case.
Later today I will be holding a press briefing on the Recovery and Development Agency and related matters.