The BVI Ports Authority (BVIPA) has so far made two repayments of the $8Million that the Government had loaned for the completion of the Cruise Pier project. The money transferred to the BVIPA was taken from the East End Sewerage Project and on Tuesday Minister for Communications and Works assured the media that the East End works will continue.
In response to questions from reporters in relation to the loan and the sewerage works Hon. Vanterpool said: “We have in place an arrangement for the Port Authority to repay the $8 million. They started repaying it, and they are paying it in a programme we have arranged with them on a quarterly basis to come back to the sewage programme. So the sewerage programme will be using those funds to continue its works that we have already began in the East End area. So the money has already started to come back from the Ports Authority through the Ministry.”
The Minister disclosed that the arrangement stipulates that the repayment be done in quarterly installments of $500,000. He further mentioned that so far $1Million has been paid back, and that the full loan would be repaid over four years.
“The sewerage project that we have envisaged – I think it’s $4.5 million we have roughly to compete that project, and therefore I would expect it to be completed by the end of next year. So we are using the funding to do that. So we are well on the way with that and we hopefully will be able to carry out that programme,” the Minister added.
The transfer of the $8Million sewerage fund was disclosed on 31 March by Premier and Minister for Finance, Dr. the Hon. D. Orlando Smith during his wrap up of the 2016 budget debate. The Premier confirmed the loan as he responded to comments on the matter that were made by members of the Opposition during the debate.
Hon. Smith said: “There is a suggestion that the monies which were transferred from the sewerage project and to the port was an illegal act. I just want to say that the Public Financial Management Act and the Constitution make provision for the Minister of Finance to…for monies that were borrowed from a particular project to be transferred to another project with consent from the person who loaned the money…So it’s not an illegal act,” he explained in the House of Assembly.
“This decision was made by Cabinet. It was taken to Cabinet and as a result of that, it will be something coming to the House of Assembly as soon as possible to have that rectified…Also the Constitution provides that if there are monies spent on projects which were not put in the budget, that once this is done, the situation must be rectified and a paper must be brought to this House as soon as possible,” the Premier added.