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2022 Budget passed to tune of $397,174,331

2022 Budget passed to tune of $397,174,331

After some three weeks of Standing Finance Committee (SFC) hearings, and two days of virtual debates, the Virgin Islands (VI) House of Assembly (HoA) late last evening December 15, 2021, approved the Government’s 2022 National Budget.

The updated figure is to the tune of some $397,174,331.00 (three hundred and ninety-seven million, one hundred and seventy-four thousand, three hundred and thirty-one dollars).

During the virtual debates, Opposition Leader Hon Marlon A. Penn was critical of a lack of funds in the Budget for some projects, however, offered no solutions on the way forward.

During the virtual debates, Opposition Leader Hon Marlon A. Penn  was critical of a lack of funds in the Budget for some projects, however, offered no solutions on the way forward.


NDP wasted funds


Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon Andrew A. Fahie  fired back and reminded the public that the former National Democratic Party (NDP) Government had squandered millions of dollars for a small wall around the Elmore Stoutt High School (ESHS) that could have gone to support teachers and students.

Other failed projects raised included a $7.2 Million Ponzi scheme on an airline for direct flights from Florida to Beef Island that never happened, along with an empty treasury inherited by the Fahie-led VIP administration.

What was left according to some Government Ministers, had to be doled out in over $20 million to pay for lawsuits left by the NDP.

The National Budget via the Appropriation Act will come into force on January 1, 2022, and notably, this is the fourth budget for the Fahie Administration in three years. The Government of the day may set the record for its budget being passed on time.

Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon Andrew A. Fahie  reminded the public that the former National Democratic Party (NDP) Government had squandered millions of dollars for a small wall around the Elmore Stoutt High School (ESHS) that could have gone to support teachers and students following some criticisms from Opposition Leader, Marlon A. Penn.


Opposition Awol?


Not logged on to the session at the time of the vote and were recorded as absent, were all four Opposition Members, including Opposition Leader, Hon Penn; Third District Representative, Hon Julian Fraser RA ; Fourth District Representative, Hon Mark H. Vanterpool and Second District Representative, Hon Melvin M. Turnbull.

Honourable Members present for virtual voting during the 2022 Budget Bill included; Deputy Premier and Minister for Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Fisheries and Agriculture Dr Natalio D. Wheatley ; Minister for Transportation, Works and Utilities, Hon. Kye M. Rymer : Minister for Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration Hon Vincent O. Wheatley ; Minister for Health and Social Development, Hon Carvin Malone (AL) along with the two Junior Ministers Hon. Sharie B. de Castro (AL) and Hon Shereen D. Flax-Charles (AL) and Sixth District Representative, Hon. Alvera Maduro Caines and the Premier who voted in favour of the motion.

Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly Hon. Neville A Smith (AL) presided over the session in the absence of Speaker of the House, Hon Julian Willock.

The Legislature is expected to resume on Monday, December 20, 2021.

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