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No substantive talks held between Premier and UK OT Minister on COI

No substantive talks held between Premier and UK OT Minister on COI

Despite the major expense the Commission of Inquiry (COI) had on the BVI government, Premier Andrew Fahie did not seek to discuss this financial impact with the UK Minister of Overseas Territories, Amanda Milling when she visited the territory two weeks ago.

Premier Fahie gave that indication during a press conference on Friday when he also disclosed that the government spent approximately $5 million on the COI so far.

“The Minister and I did not have any substantive discussion about it, except to note that the [COI] report would be completed in April,” the Premier said at a recent press briefing.

“In summary, Minister Milling and I and our respective teams had very good bilateral talks and engagement. Her visit builds on the genuine efforts being made on both sides to restore the modern partnership between the Virgin Islands and the United Kingdom, and I am confident that we can continue to make good progress in this regard,” Fahie added.

Didn’t see it fit

When questioned as to why he did not bring up the negative impacts of the COI on the territory’s finances, Fahie said he did not see it fit.

“[Discussions were held but] not in this vein of how you are saying, we were clear about initiatives we wanted to do to diversify the economy. We mentioned those same areas just in the past of how they have had economic impacts, negative economic impacts on the territory and the world and we had to make some adjustments and we had some good discussions,” the Premier added.

He noted the discussions held were in the vein of having to deal with all the events that occurred in the territory in recent years that hit the territory’s economic progress. The Premier said these included the two major hurricanes and separate floods that affected the BVI back in 2017, as well as having to deal with the threat of COVID-19 and the current fallout of the Ukraine and Russia crisis.

“I cannot join you in your question trying to isolate one section as that is the only section I was referring to. I was saying a build-up of all those has bred a lot of economic hardship overall. Any country that goes through all of that will experience some financial challenges in different areas and what we are saying is in order to ease the burden on the people of the Virgin Islands we have come up with some initiative bearing we had to deal with those I mentioned,” Premier Fahie told the press.


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