Minister for Communications and Works, Hon. Mark Vanterpool continued his attack of the various rumors that are circulating. The most recent response to some of the things that are being said about him were tackled by the Minister at the 11 October sitting of the House of Assembly.
The criticisms and rumors about the Minister began to surface during the planning phase and construction of the Tortola Pier Park. Since then Hon. Vanterpool has on more than one occasion responded to some of the accusations – chief of which are claims about the huge cost overrun for the project.
In referencing that particular accusation Hon. Vanterpool, while mentioning the Pier Park during the House of Assembly announced: “I could have listened to naysayers, I could have listened to all the people who said who thief up money and who do what and all kind of foolishness as if the Minister and others can go in some checking account and take some money. Talking things what they don’t know about.”
In recent months as the National Democratic Party formulates its slate for the upcoming elections it has been mentioned that Hon. Vanterpool did not intend to contest the 2019 race. However, rumors began circulating that the Minister’s decision not to run was not his own.
However, Hon. Vanterpool declared last week that this is false: “I have been listening to some of these radio talk show hosts – Mr. whatever he name Henry or something name — who saying he got a letter saying the British Government say I can’t run again. He aint showing me the letter yet. All sort of nonsense,” he declared.
“British government said I can’t run again… They better be careful or I might run again… I am concerned Madame Speaker that these things we must be careful with. People are talking rumors, talking all kinds of foolishness nothing they can prove,” Hon. Vanterpool said.
The Minister explained that he was addressing the rumors because people are talking these things even though they are not true: “Madame Speaker I raise them because they are things out there that people are talking…they are talking without having any proof of what they are talking.”
Of all the rumors mentioned the Minister seemed most hurt about the accusations that port funds were used to construct his new home: “A gentleman told me the other day that he was coming down from Virgin Gorda on the boat and somebody look up on the hill at what I worked hard for, what my wife work hard for, and look at the house and said ‘see we port money’ up there up on the hill. Madame Speaker, I remodeled my house that I built in 1979/1980 with hard work. My wife and my children and I, we finally remodeled that house …and sensible people say that that house up there was from the port money – it’s unfortunate; but that’s what you get when you are in politics,” Hon. Vanterpool stated.
The Minister hinted that at times he has considered litigation as a means of dealing with the rumor mongers. “You know sometimes you wish you could hear what they say, tape what they say, go to court and tell them prove what they say, and if they can’t prove what they say, lock them in jail for as long as we could, but that’s not us”
While still addressing the port funds allegations Hon. Vanterpool said: “I heard the talk-show man, the same one again say that I must account for the $40M what cost the port…wherever it gone I must find it. My grandchildren must hear that and must see that on the blogs and see that everywhere… For what they know and everyone that I know around me know how hard I work for what I have had in my life since I was 10 years old. My mother taught me to work hard.”
Hon. Vanterpool said he is not the type to get caught up or bothered by rumors but he said that people close to him are asking him questions. “I don’t listen to the rumors and that’s of no concern to me. People come to me, many people come to me and say if it’s true. They even ask me if it is true that I have a boat. Some big nice fancy yacht that came in that they say gone somewhere else …I hope I find it…nonsense Madame Speaker,” he added.
The mention in the House of Assembly last week was the third occasion in recent months that Hon. Vanterpool has sought to address the various accusations being leveled against him in the public arena.
On the first day of this month during the NDP Radio programme Hon. Vanterpool stressed that contrary to what was being said he is not being investigated: “There have been no investigations or cause for any…These rumors are purely rumors, and I hope that we can get off the track from spreading all these terrible rumors.”
In stressing the point the Minister for Communications and Works declared: “I am not being investigated as far as I know…I am not telling you that there couldn’t have been mistakes while the project was being executed, but I don’t know of anyone, including myself, who has stolen any money on that project…I am prepared to have anybody investigate me; if they want to look into my accounts, look into my business, look into whatever because I am very clear.”
Last month, Hon. Vanterpool during the NDP Drive Time Radio Programme that was aired on 4 September also tackled the various rumours surrounding the project stating that no money was siphoned from the venture, he also vouched for the manner the Ports Authority carried out the works: “I can honestly and confidently account to you, that not one penny of your funds has been taken by myself or any other Minister of Government, despite the various rumors that have so loosely been spread, without any proof.”