Leader of the Opposition and First District Representative, Hon. Andrew Fahie is not ruling out the possibility of taking another Motion of No Confidence to the House of Assembly in response to alleged concerns of the management of the Territory’s finances.
Last year Hon. Fahie moved a Motion of No Confidence which was well marketed, but failed when it finally arrived in the House of Assembly on 1 August, because no legislator ventured to second it.
On 20 January while addressing his constituents in the First District, and the Territory via a ZBVI broadcast Hon. Fahie recalled the attempt to move the Motion of No Confidence: “It will always be recorded in history that only six months ago, on Tuesday 1 August 2017 at the Ninth Sitting of the Second Session of the Third House of Assembly of the Virgin Islands – that I sought to move a motion of No-Confidence in the Minister of Finance. The Motion failed to be introduced as it was not seconded by the other member of the Opposition or by any member of the Government.”
As he reminded of the Motion, Hon. Fahie said: “This course of action was needed to allow for urgent actions to be taken by the Minister of Finance to address the significant uncontrolled increase in the cost of living in the BVI …This was done for you. Although I was not supported by a single member in the House of Assembly this was done for all nine districts who cannot get what they need because of the claim that there’s no money while watching an unbudgeted $30 million dollars extra being spent on the Cruise Pier Project that still remains unaccounted for in an accurate and transparent manner,” Hon. Fahie announced.
The Leader of the Opposition stressed that the Motion of No Confidence was not political. In fact, Hon. Fahie said that he made the move to protect the Territory from direct British rule: “Since reinstatement in 1950 we are now the closest than we have ever been towards direct rule because of poor financial management that refuses to ensure transparency and accountability. I am doing this for us…”
“This was not political! Normally the Leader of the Opposition will ask for the head of the leader of the government but this is about finding solutions not a quest for power. This course of action was to allow us to have a country that we all will be proud of. I seek what everyone in the BVI seeks, to be empowered and to be part of a Virgin Islands that embraces good governance and fairness for all,” he explained.
In further addressing matters that he deemed as concerning, the Leader of the Opposition cited the August flood and the two major hurricanes of last year and stated that the Territory is now faced with “a recovery effort that is riddled with confusion”.
In listing other areas of concern Hon. Fahie said that at present the Territory is dealing with: “A Government that is fighting against themselves! A call for change of leadership by strong supporters of the NDP. A call from the floor of the House of Assembly by a member of the NDP for a change of leadership…A NDP Government that is missing in action. A NDP Government that will not come clean with the people of the Virgin Islands.”
He also called on Premier and Minister of Finance Dr. the Hon. D. Orlando Smith to within seven days give a detailed breakdown of how the $65 million loan from CDB will be spent. Hon. Fahie also demanded to know how the loan funds will be monitored, and who are the members of the Board that will be charged with monitoring the Fund will be.
Another Motion of No Confidence
In an interview with The Island Sun newspaper following his address Hon. Fahie was asked whether or not he would move another Motion of No Confidence in consideration of the points he raised in his address.
In response Hon. Fahie said that as Leader of the Opposition he is prepared to take action. “I will do this even if I have to do it alone because as a people we must never allow anyone to intimidate us from doing what is right…never allow anyone to have us feeling that our faults are greater than our faith. Whether it be through another Motion of No Confidence in the Minister of Finance or the championing of new pieces of legislation like Campaign Finance legislation, whistle blowing legislation, Ethics legislation, Amendments to the Standing Orders especially to steps to be taken by any government before approaching any financial institution for loans on behalf of the people.”
In further explaining why action is necessary, Hon. Fahie said: “Anyone who doesn’t balance their financial books for years is headed for financial disaster. Anyone who has to borrow from banks to assist with paying operation expenses is headed for financial disaster. Anyone who only wants to be accountable to themselves is headed for financial disaster. All these signs among plenty others are blatantly obvious in the management of the Territory’s finances. This is not political nor personal but factual. The journey ahead means being accountable and transparent to the people. This journey has one goal and it’s to bring people together.”