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Salvage our Sinking Ship

The No confidence motion against Premier Dr. D. Orlando Smith in his capacity as Finance Minister by Opposition Leader Andrew Fahie was unable to muster support among legislators, even his sole opposition counterpart Julian Fraser on August 1, 2017.

However, backing from outside the parliament was provided by a BVI national who is an attorney and a former Chairman of the BVI Chamber of Commerce and Hotel Association, (BVICCHA).

Jamal S. Smith, in an incisive missive penned to Mr Fahie and copied to the Premier and Outgoing-Governor John Duncan also brought his concerns about the state of affairs in the BVI to the attention of the Minister of State for Overseas Territories Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon.

In that four page letter, Smith conceded that while the motion will inevitably fail, it raises the need for a better mechanism to hold the government accountable and pointed to the utility of recall election.

Citing projects such as the Cruise Pier and Park which incurred overspending, the over $1M Elmore Stoutt High School Wall and BVI Airways investment which he argues resulted in the disenfranchising of a Virgin Islands-owned business Smith says “... it is right that the Premier (and his wife) should be removed from Office sooner rather than later”.

He expressed hope that the no confidence motion though an insurmountable challenge would open the eyes of Virgin islanders to what he termed “the enormous levels of corruption within our very small and closely knit society”.

Smith stated that broad scale public sector reform accompanied by legislation such as the Human Rights Bill, Freedom of Information Act, Data Protection Act, revision of the Register of Interests Act and standing orders as done in New Zealand and devolved Scotland are necessary to safeguard BVIslanders against “any further abuses by this government”.

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