UK turns back on BVI in COVID-19 fight

TORTOLA, British Virgin Islands (CMC)— The United Kingdom has turned down a request from the Andrew Fahie-led Administration for grants to assist in the fight against COVID-19.

According to the premier, this is not the first time the UK has refused to give the territory grants in time of crisis.

“In 2017, according to the former minister for works & communications, the UK shut down the requests for grants to help the BVI [British Virgins Islands] people to cope with the catastrophic damage to the infrastructure, economy and social situation, following the catastrophic hurricanes,” said Fahie in an address to the legislature.

“Here we are seeing again, in another catastrophic event, the UK is saying no to grants. The UK says it cannot afford to give us grants because its own finances are stressed. The UK’s money is for UK citizens, not Virgin Island citizens and not the other overseas territories.”

However, he thanked the UK for assistance in other areas.

“We do thank them for the areas that they have helped with which matched our US$12 million to start with the preventative measures, and eventually we were able to be fortunate to get the test kits and other medical supplies from the UK, which was a good complement to our efforts,” he said.

The request for funds was made earlier this year.

In March, Fahie then said his Administration was planning to seek help from the UK Government to assist local residents who had become unemployed as a result of COVID-19.

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