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Premier and Minister for Finance, Hon. Andrew Fahie has announced that upon taking office, he discovered that Government was paying deals and facing high cost lawsuits - some in the millions.
Hon. Fahie, who promised repeatedly to present a statement on the Territory’s finances, but never did, announced during the House of Assembly on August 2 that things are not rosy with the the public purse.
The Premier began to reveal the financial issues after he chastised and accused members of the House of Assembly of trying to get media sound bites that would paint his Government in a bad light.
The Premier, while not singling out any particular legislator, stated that he felt that certain comments about Government’s lack of funding were jabs at his administration.
“If you listen to it independently, if you play the tape independently of some of these speeches, this Government gonna be branded as bad,” he said.
Lawsuits and Deals
While Hon. Fahie did not go into details about the deals he was mentioning, he did note that they were costing government.
“We have a lot of deals that have to be paying out all the time,“ the Premier stated.
Meanwhile, the BVI Leader did not conceal the fact that there were costly lawsuits that Government would have to pay.
“We have a lot of lawsuits that we have to look for the money for. There is one lawsuit that is up to $35M and climbing,” Hon. Fahie told the House of Assembly.
“There is another one (lawsuit) for a water company up to $22M and climbing. Those are the figures that we know thus far that I ain’t bring to the public,” he added.
It is not clear if the water company with the lawsuit is BiWater, although the Premier did mention the company in the same statement by stating, “We know that we still have to deal and we still have to pay BiWater.”
Hon. Fahie said he heard Members of the House lamenting that “there was a lot of money”, but he said no mention was made of the obligations.
“We were told we meet a lot of money, but we meet a lot of problems. Problems, some of them were lingering for a while, some of them Irma brought on. Lots of them and what we have to do going forward with financial services and all the other industries is spend the money wisely," Hon. Fahie announced.
The Premier said he is hearing calls for money to be given to various areas without consideration of budget and obligations of government.
“It have a lot of money, that’s all you’re hearing. Well sometimes poor decisions allow these things. Sometimes poor management allows these things.”
While he still did not give a thorough disclosure of the Territory’s financial affairs, the Premier hinted that a loan might be needed.
“The reason you even have to contemplate a loan right now is because the money you have isn’t enough to finish fix the police station, to finish fix the Customs, to fix the incinerator and the problem down Pockwood Pond; to finish fix some of the schools, Mr. Speaker to fix the airport, to finish fix some of our ports, and the list could go on.”
The Premier further announced that the obligations for funding surpasses the available finances.
“When you match what we have to fix that we met, the money would be like butter against the sun. So we need to tell the people that...There is a lot of things why the old people can’t get money for the program.”