Leader of the Opposition and Virgin Islands Party (VIP) Chairman, Hon. Andrew Fahie announced that certain actions by the government, especially as it relates to the absence of territorial financial audits for the last few years is placing the Territory at this time in the path of direct rule from its mother country the United Kingdom.
While speaking on the Virgin Islands Party’s new radio program that was aired on 20 July Hon. Fahie said: “You continue to do things that are a retrograde step in our financial history, that puts us at risk more now than ever in our history — 60 plus years history of the Virgin Islands direct rule. My job is to let the people know what is happening based on the facts as they happen it is not popular sometimes,” he said.
During the program which was moderated by Party President Dr. Natalio Wheatley tough questions were asked of the party Chairman. One such question was whether the rumor that he was working hand-in-hand with the Governor is true.
In response Hon. Fahie said that he has heard the rumor that he is “the Governor’s crony” and chuckled in his heart because it is not true. He said: “I heard that and I take a lil chuckle in my heart. After people have done all that they have done to erode…most of the tenets of the Protocol that they signed with the UK — most of the areas of the Financial Management Act, even areas in the Constitution and now the results of their behavior are being dealt with they want to blame everyone except themselves.”
Hon. Fahie further stated that for the past four to five years in his First District address he lamented the need for accountability and transparency: “When you research – in every speech … I have been citing these infractions, and stating to the people that if we do not police ourselves, then someone else is going to police us for us in a manner that we all will regret.”
In noting that the issue with the outstanding audit reports are critical, Hon. Fahie explained: “I don’t care who it is whether it’s VIP, NDP or so on, you cannot run a country with a budget of 300 plus million dollars, and then at the end of the year you do not come and have audited financial statements; so that the next year you can understand or have a true picture of what you’re spending and what your income is; based on what happened the year before.”
The Leader of the Opposition added: “Then we have it happen not one year, not two years, three years, not four years, not five years, we (are) up to six years. So after you’ve done spending for five years the question that I have is — how do we know… that you have a true figure, because you might have a make-shift just coming to the people. How do we know our true financial position: that is against the public Financial Management Act which states clearly what you have to do every year with your audited financial statements and even with the Audit Act. That’s not me working with the Governor. I don’t have to go by the Governor to meet with him for that. That is a violation, a clear violation.”