Photo Credit: BVI Platinum News
Following the Governor’s approval of the Virgin Islands Recovery and Development Agency Act, 2018, Premier Hon. Dr. D. Orlando Smith said that the members of the agency’s board will be appointment as soon as next week.
“I expect the appointment of the board will happen during the coming week,” he said during a press conference on April 12.
He also told reporters that there were no further issues between the United Kingdom (UK) and BVI government regarding the changes made to the bill during committee stage.
“No (Governor took no issue with changes). We (legislators) had a robust discussion and of course as you would have heard, there were some discussions with the UK during the build up towards the final discussions in the House of Assembly,” he said.
Governor Gus Jaspert said that his assenting to the bill is a significant step forward for the recovery of the Territory.
“With the passing of the legislation comes the start of the process to agree to the terms of the UK loan guarantee. This will involve negotiations with potential lenders, discussion with UK treasury officials and ultimately the approval of the UK Parliament,” he said.
With this, the BVI government will be able to access the $400M in loan guarantees and grants offered by the UK to help with recovery and development.
The government has been divided over the bill where the battle was displayed publicly; however, at the end of discussions, the bill received a 10-2 vote.
The only two members to vote against the bill were government backbencher, Hon. Melvin ‘Mitch’ Turnbull, Second District Representative and Opposition Member, and Third District Representative, Hon. Julian Fraser.
Government member and Fifth District Representative, Hon. Delores Christopher, who was strongly against the bill, was absent with apology.