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Should gov’t dip into Social Security fund to secure re-election?

Should gov’t dip into Social Security fund to secure re-election?

Opposition Leader Julian Fraser has pleaded with the government to be creative, make bold moves, and adopt a different approach if it wants to win re-election in the territory. 
While speaking in the House of Assembly (HOA) recently, Fraser said the government was able to construct an entire complex to repair the Elmore Stoutt High School (ESHS), even as the HOA was ‘playing around’ with renovations for its original location. Fraser said this is an indication that the government — led by Virgin Islands Party (VIP) Chairman Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley — could get things done.

He said government should borrow money to complete other important projects in the territory and not allow themselves to ‘sit there’ and ‘sink’ because of inaction amid fears about the likely impact on the upcoming general elections. 

“Government has the ability to borrow up to 30 percent of the Social Security pension fund; irregardless of where the standing is in the borrowing guidelines. Be creative, do things, step out of the box,” Fraser urged.

Mistakes can be corrected

The Third District Representative pointed out that Premier Wheatley and his Cabinet members have youth on their side, offering an opportunity to correct any potential mistakes that might be made.

“If you make a mistake, you still got life to correct it. It ain’t exactly like stepping on a banana peel where you could hurt yourself. It’s a simple mistake. Go borrow money, challenge yourself, fix the country. It’s been wallowing in the slumber for too long,” Fraser said.

The veteran lawmaker questioned what the government was afraid of and pondered what was the worst that could happen if it borrows money to fix the country. 

He insisted that the government should move into action and not wait for another administration to make these much-needed fixes.

“You still got a few months left. Go to work, get some documents drawn up for the Ellis Thomas Downs. Have it there ready going into the election. You could just tell them, this is what we going to do. That’s how you win elections,” Fraser advised. 

VIP slammed the brakes in 2011

Offering his own personal reflection, Fraser recalled that the same thing happened to a previous incarnation of a Virgin Islands Party (VIP) administration of which he was a member.

“That Cyril B Romney Tortola Pier Park, we could have done it in the 2007-2011 administration. But for some reason, our leadership just felt, you know, ‘hold the brakes, slam the brakes’,” Fraser stated.

He continued: “We had a contractor already selected to extend the cruise ship pier. He came [and] he just slammed the brakes, and in came the NDP and they looked like messiahs. Don’t allow another administration to do that with you,” Fraser pleaded.

The NDP won re-election for a second consecutive term in office under former Premier Dr Orlando Smith after calling for snap general elections in June of 2015. The pier park was officially opened months later in February of 2016 after a brief delay.
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