Shocking & Untrue’ – Premier fires back @ UK’s Ben Merrick
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‘– Hon Andrew A. Fahie refutes claims VI/UK communication has weakened under VIP Gov’t
September 5th, 2019
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – “I wouldn’t stoop to their level,” the words of Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) in response to Director of British Overseas Territories, Ben Merrick’s September 2, 2019 letter stating amongst other claims, that the Virgin Islands Party (VIP) government since taking office in February 2019, has caused engagements between the Virgin Islands (VI) and the United Kingdom (UK) to weaken.
“It is disappointing that engagement from the BVI reduced dramatically after your election six months ago, including the cancellation of your visit to London in May which would have included meetings with HM Treasury Ministers and Lord Ahmad to discuss the very issue,” Mr Merrick said.
Further, in the letter seen by Virgin Islands News Online (VINO) and addressed to the Premeir, Mr Merrick had accused the administration of misleading the public by stating the UK wants the VI Recovery and Development Agency (RDA) to have full control of the territory’s finances.
Premier fires back
However, Premier Fahie speaking at the Tuesday, September 3, 2019, new series of ‘Honestly Speaking’ with host Claude O. Skelton-Cline on ZBVI 780am rebutted the claims, stating that communications with the UK never weakened, in spite of Merrick’s claims.
“I want to assure the people of the Virgin Islands that your Premier continues to be engaged with the UK, I understand the jab that has been thrown at me, I took it… but I’m standing right back up strong.”
According to the Leader of Government Business, “I have enough letters that if I want to release to show how much communications I have had with the UK, but I wouldn’t stoop to their level to go release all of them,” he said.
At the conclusion of his letter, Mr Merrick had asked the Governor to make the document available to the public.
While the Premier did promise to release the dates of his correspondence with the UK, he pointed to a recent June 2019 meeting with Tariq Mahmood Ahmad aka ‘Lord Ahmad’ in the Cayman Islands, in expressing surprise at the claims of the letter.
‘I’m shocked to know that our communication has been reduced since the VIP has taken office,” he said.
‘No interference’ – Premier
Citing interference from a ‘middle man’ the Premier said he was looking forward to the upcoming September meeting with the UK, to sit down and address concerns from both sides of the table.
“I feel that once we get Mr Merrick and all the officials for the UK on a table, face to face and they can hear us out directly… without any interference… we just want to be able to say this is what we want for our people, this is what you want from us, let’s find a middle ground that we can come to agree on,” he said,
“We’re in the middle of a revolution and we need as much prayers as possible,” Hon Fahie implored the listening audience of the ZBVI radio show noting that the ‘untrue accusations’ of Merrick is one to damage his reputation.
He said the Virgin Islands has a bright future ahead, and as such, that future will not come without battles to get what is best for the people of the territory.
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