The five members of the Opposition who held a public consultation meeting while the Premier was leading a delegation to the UK were accused of “throwing punches while the Premier was out the ring.” The comment was made by Premier and Minister for Finance, Hon. Andrew Fahie during a press conference on 17 September.
Last week, commencing from the same day the Premier’s delegation left, the Opposition held meetings to discuss “BVI and UK relationship, the Recovery and Development Agency (RDA) and other pertinent issues facing the Territory.”
The five members were — Leader of the Opposition Hon. Marlon Penn, Second District Representative, Hon. Melvin ‘Mitch’ Turnbull, Third District Representative Hon. Julian Fraser, Fourth District Representative, Hon. Mark Vanterpool, and Sixth District Representative, Hon. Alvera Maduro-Caines.
In stating that the meetings “threw punches in his absence” Hon. Fahie said that the Opposition members did not note their issues during the meetings that were held by the Government: “We had meetings on it (Loan Guarantee), the Opposition never raised their voice, they never said well alright let us discuss…”
“As soon as we get up in the plane they started – which is their democratic right might I add. Holding public meetings and them throwing punch while we were out of the ring. Well I am back in the ring. I am back here so they can throw the punch now that I am back in the ring, because we know we are going to answer based on facts.” Hon. Fahie said.
The BVI Leader accused the Opposition of only presenting certain information and leaving the rest out: “I have sat and I have watched them read some documents that they know that they are not reading all of the document, and it sounds good but the point of the matter is that no one is arguing about the loans. No one is concerned about the RDA, no one is concerned about getting the money to spend it. We are concerned about ensuring conditions that we will have to sign off are favorable for the people of the Virgin Islands.”
“We understand what the Opposition is trying to do. They are trying to create an environment that they are trying to make people think that the country is destabilized for their own selfish gains. While they are doing that they are trying to make sure that they speak to any entity that they feel they can team up with to try to dethrone the Government. For their own selfish reasons. I understand clearly what’s happening. I am in politics for quite a while…When they are talking this they are hoping that when we go to the UK, from listening to them that we wasting time and money…They were hoping that we get nothing done. Mind you, this is the same country they love, but they were hoping that we got nothing done and we are going to come back and talk, talk, talk; and nothing happens,” the Premier added.
Minister for Health and Social Development Hon. Carvin Malone was part of the Premier’s delegation to the UK. Hon. Malone was also one of the speakers at the press conference on Tuesday and he fired comments at the Opposition.
The Health Minister, in alluding that the Opposition changed its position, said: “One would have heard me say already that I would have to invest in a DNA lab because we don’t know who we are talking to. They say one thing yesterday and when they speak today you would not know that these are the same people who spoke yesterday; so only through a process of DNA we can really get this handled.”
Furthermore, Minister Malone stated that the NDP – which is the main Opposition Party – was affected by the same document being negotiated by the Government: “This document called the High Level Framework For UK Support to BVI hurricane Recovery – I would go on record as saying has caused the mutation of the National Democratic Party to maybe three pieces. Some have retired, some who went and formed another Party, and some who stayed. To see them speaking in one voice today is quite amazing. Is it the amoeba that gets together even when mutated. It is one in which is quite amazing, we will have to explore. The Premier says he is back in the ring.”