Former governor Augustus Jaspert said he did not recall pressuring Prime Minister Andrew Fahie “intensely” to sign a loan deal proposed by the UK government for recovery after the ‘hurricane.
In a position statement by government ministers to the Commission of Inquiry (COI), it was said that “from day one in office, the newly elected government came under heavy pressure from former Governor Jaspert to accept and sign the conditions. of the loan guarantee contract ”.
The statement further claimed that Jaspert went so far as to place the documents for signature before the Prime Minister immediately after taking the oath.
But the government said it refused to do so on the grounds that it did not want to put itself in the position of sacrificing political and democratic control. The Fahie administration said these were indeed the terms of the UK’s offer to repay up to £ 300million in BVI debt in the event the territory defaulted on its obligations.
The ministers added that the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) – under which the governor is assigned – even informed the government that if it rejects the loan guarantee, the FCDO “will not look favorably on the protocols for a management. financial effective on no alternative loan ”.
The loan guarantee was designed to be a BVI-led takeover
But during his recent IOC appearance, Jaspert refuted the claims and said: “I don’t remember pressuring the Prime Minister to sign while taking the oath. It is not something that I remember from my recollection of the events.
“[However], I remember being very clear throughout my concern about the pace of the recovery and that this was an offer – an offer made in good faith to the territory – to help the government if it wished to provide more money at a lower rate would otherwise be able to get, which in principle is clearly built into transparency, accountability as to how that money is spent for the benefit of the people of the islands Virgins, ”added the former governor.
He further denied the government’s accusations of the UK’s attempts to control and instead insisted that the loan guarantee was designed to be a BVI-led recovery effort.
The government had said some of the UK’s conditions to control the effort were imposed by the Recovery & Development Agency (RDA). The Fahie administration said the GDR was created in a way that allowed the UK to dictate the destination of recovery funds.
Responding to IOC questions on the matter, Jaspert said: “In fact, the UK, the position that the loan guarantee was put forward, was to help the territory itself design its own recovery, to devise its own approach to recovery through legislation on which the House of Assembly, the House of Assembly of the BVI voted on and participated in the Recovery & Development Act. And also to design their own recovery plan, ”Jaspert said.
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