Premier and Finance Minister, Hon. Dr. Orlando Smith
Photo Credit: BVI Platinum News
With the recent setbacks, allegations and criticism being faced by the National Democratic Party (NDP) led government, one could imagine what goes through the head of the Territory’s leader, Premier Hon. Dr. D. Orlando Smith.
BVI Platinum News recently questioned the Premier as to his thoughts and concerns over his legacy, post government, considering all that have transpired. In response, he stated that his concern is primarily on the betterment of the country.
Avoiding the actual question, he said, “What I am concerned for is doing what I can do to continue to improve the economy for this country, so that people can benefit greatly.”
The government is presently addressing several headaches, which threaten their productivity.
Earlier this month, VI Airlink, along with InterCaribbean Airways, filed a joint objection against BVI Airways and its recent application to the Department of Transportation (DOT) for exemption authority and a Foreign Air Carrier Permit (FACP). Subsequently, BVI Airways noted that the joint objection will delay the launch of their services, as well as increase pre-operating financial losses significantly.
The government is also dealing with backlash from persons of the community, as well as other local legislators and members of the NDP government over the T. B. Lettsome International Airport expansion project.
Backbenchers, Hon. Alvera Maduro-Caines, Sixth District Representative, Hon. Delores Christopher, Fifth District Representative, Hon. Archibald Christian, Junior Minister of Tourism, and Hon. Melvin Mitch Turnbull, Second District Representative spoke out publicly during the 2017 budget debate against the Premier proceeding with the expansion project at this time, given the Territory's shaky financial situation.
Added to their list of worries, just last week, March 16, Governor John Duncan exercised his constitutional authority under section 103 of the constitution, and instructed the government to make additional funds, approximately $800,000 available for the police force.
This unprecedented move was noted to have left both the Premier and his Deputy, Hon. Dr. Kedrick Pickering not pleased.
All of these issues come at a time when the financial stability of the country is under questioning by other government members, the opposition and members of the community.
In a sitting of the House of Assembly held sometime last month, February 2017, Hon. Delores Christopher, Fifth District Representative took the floor and slammed claims of the Premier, which spoke to a robust economy.
"Our economy is robust---I really didn’t look up the word, but I believe I know what it means, but I believe that it is not as robust as we saying it is,” Hon. Christopher said in the House.
The government is also being pressured by the Governor and leader of the Opposition, Hon. Andrew Fahie, to present audited financial statement for the Territory, which have been outstanding for the last ten years.