Saturday, Dec 09, 2023

Premier questions if blatant UK corruption is benchmark for VI’s good governance

Premier questions if blatant UK corruption is benchmark for VI’s good governance

Virgin Islands (VI) Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) has called out the blatant corruption in the United Kingdom’s management of its COVID-19 pandemic and asked whether that is the benchmark the Virgin Islands (VI) should follow for good governance.

Premier Fahie’s statement and questions came as he appeared before the UK-funded Commission of Inquiry (CoI) on Hearing Day 47 on October 12, 2021.

VI being unfairly judged on a different standard- Premier Fahie

According to the Premier, his comparison was necessary given that governments of the BVI are being judged based on how the UK Government handles certain issues.

Hon Fahie said when it comes to assessment COVID-19 handling, the VI should be on equal footing with that of the UK, given both countries have experienced the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, yet a CoI has been imposed on the VI, when the UK Government has indicated that it is not ready for one.

He said around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has crippled the healthcare system and economies of global economies and still continues to do so, and that it forced the VI, like other governments, to adopt extraordinary measures and procedures.

Hon Fahie, therefore, called for 'Parity and Equity to be afforded to the VI, given it is faced with a pandemic just like the UK Government.

Premier Fahie’s statement and questions came as he appeared before the UK-funded VI Commission of Inquiry (CoI), while in discussion with Commissioner, Sir Gary R. Hickinbottom during hearing Day 47, today, October 12, 2021.

VI seeking 'parity' with UK on COVID-19 handling

"Even though, when you look t the track record of the UK government who called this Commission of Inquiry, how it has handled its economic stimulus and social programmes, how it has failed to have accountability, transparency and value for money, and other governance issues surrounding COVID-19, I think you will find that the BVI with our imperfections do not fail or fall into that same barrel as the UK," he said.

Hon Fahie admitted that while the VI and the UK have made a few mistakes regarding its handling of the pandemic, he said there remains no evidence of the high level of blatant corruption in his government's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, as is the case with the UK under the leadership of the Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson administration.

Hon Fahie in his presentation used an example that pointed to the blatant nepotism to access UK government funding in the billions under Johnson's Government and said that in the VI, the Fahie administration has never been involved in any such practice.

Who is the benchmark for good governance? - Premier asks

The Premier asked rhetorically, "I am appealing to you commissioner in the context of whom is the BVI suppose to pattern and set our good governance benchmarks and standards and against who's standards and benchmarks in the BVI's governance is going to be measured?"

"If it is the UK's, then I can tell you that we have no VIP lane for party supporters in our governance system as an official policy, so therefore if its the UK standard, then the BVI would have exceeded those standards by several thousand percentage points," Hon Fahie said.

More details on the Premier's presentation before the CoI to come.


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