Wendy Morton the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (pictured here) and the Department for International Development (DFID) in a subtle way indicated that the United Kingdom Government was not planning to make financial contributions to the BVI or any British Overseas Territory.
The disclosure comes following comments from Premier and Minister for Finance Hon. Andrew Fahie’s that the UK Government can contribute to a part of the Territory’s COVID-19 plan. The Premier’s comment in most instances came in response to the question of needed stimulus of the economy.
However, Morton’s disclosure in her response to an unrelated question indicates that such hope for the UK to contribute may be dashed.
The comment was made in response to a question from Member of Parliament Henry Smith who asked Morton, “how the Department is supporting British Overseas Territories to deal with the effect of the Covid-19 outbreak on their (a) economies and (b) healthcare systems.”
In taking the financial option off the table as it relates to UK support of the Overseas Territories Morton said that it would only be done as a matter of necessity: “Just as the UK is doing, we are looking to Overseas Territories to make full use of their financial resources in order to address the needs of their people. Requests for further support to complement comprehensive economic local response plans are being considered on a needs basis. In the Territories which are in receipt of financial assistance from DFID, the UK Government will continue to provide the support needed to ensure delivery of essential services and to protect their economies.”
She further stated: “The UK Government is firmly committed to supporting the Overseas Territories in dealing with Covid-19. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development are leading a cross Whitehall effort, working closely with the Overseas Territories governments, and taking a needs-based approach to providing support. The Minister for the Overseas Territories and Sustainable Development is in regular contact with the political leaders and Governors of the Territories. The impact of the pandemic on the Territories’ economies and healthcare systems varies, and our support is being calibrated accordingly.”
Meanwhile, it was indicated that the UK government is providing other forms of support to its territories. “In the areas where it’s needed, the UK Government is providing support to strengthen the ability of the public health systems of the Territories to deal with the significant challenges from Covid-19, through provision of essential medical supplies, equipment and personnel.”