HEADLINES

VI now eligible for UK Official Development Aid

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– after some small Caribbean islands hit by Hurricane Irma last month were deemed too wealthy to qualify for aid

 

 

ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- The territory can breathe some sigh of relief as the [British] Virgin Islands and other UK territories will now be eligible for Official Development Aid (ODA).
On Tuesday, October 31, 2017, BBC reported that Britain will now be able to spend Official Development Aid (ODA) on the hurricane hit-islands after changes to the international rules agreed in Paris on Monday, October 30, 2017.
Additionally, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) ruled that the aid could be used for short-term help for middle-income countries such as the [British] Virgin Islands, according to the BBC report.
Reports from BBC stated that the OECD that sets the rules on aid can give money to countries such as the VI when catastrophic humanitarian crisis hit’.
Priti S. Patel, International Development Secretary said, “[The] agreement is a real step forward, and we welcome the clear support from the head of the OECD for our efforts”.
“Let’s do it together” – Premier Smith
Meanwhile, Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL), Premier and Minister of Finance, who is currently in the United Kingdom with Governor Augustus J. U. Jaspert said, “This is a huge step forward for us and we thank the British government for assisting the BVI government in this very important way.”
The Premier urged the residents that it is up to them to continue moving forward with the rebuilding of the territory.

 

See previous article published on October 29, 2017
Hope for VI! Aid rule change to be considered
– after some small Caribbean islands hit by Hurricane Irma last month were deemed too wealthy to qualify for aid
After being deemed too rich to qualify for international aid by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the Virgin Islands recently ravaged by Hurricane Irma may qualify if a proposal finds favour on Monday, October 30, 2017 when the body that sets international aid rules will consider allowing countries to return to the list of poorer, eligible recipients.
Some small Caribbean islands that were hit by Hurricane Irma last month were deemed too wealthy to qualify for aid and, according to the BBC, middle-income countries cannot currently re-register for aid if they suffer an unexpected economic decline.
Another option that will be discussed is an “emergency waiver”.
This would allow a country to be included on the list of eligible Official Development Assistance (ODA) recipients for a short period after a crisis.
“But this proposal is expected to face opposition from some members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) development assistance committee when it meets on Monday in Paris,” the BBC reported on October 28, 2017.
Last month, the British Overseas Territories of Anguilla, Turks and Caicos and the [British] Virgin Islands were badly damaged by Hurricane Irma.
But there was controversy after the BBC revealed that Britain’s £13bn aid budget could not be used to help repair the islands.
All three had gross national incomes higher than the benchmark set by the World Bank for countries to be eligible for ODA.
‘High level meeting’
The BBC further reported that International Development Secretary Priti S. Patel, who had visited the Virgin Islands following Hurricane Irma and will attend Monday’s meeting, has been pushing for the international rules to be changed to reflect the vulnerabilities of small island states.
She has discussed the options with Angel Gurria, the secretary general of the OECD, and this week she told MPs that he had been “broadly supportive” of her ideas.
The development assistance committee is made up of 30 countries, and changes to the rules have to be agreed by consensus.
Aid list
At the moment countries eligible for ODA must have a gross national income of less than $12,235 per capita.
That currently includes Antigua and Barbuda, Dominican Republic, Haiti and Cuba.
But Anguilla and St Kitts & Nevis were taken off the ODA list in 2014, the British Virgin Islands in 2000, and the Turks and Caicos in 2008.
Under the new proposal, there would now be a process whereby these countries could be restored to the ODA list, the BBC reported.
This would be good news for the Virgin Islands, which has been struggling to pay its civil servants amid reports that it’s treasury was long drained before Hurricane Irma ravaged the Territory.

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