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7 months later working conditions under West End tent has worsened

-no one has even discussed with officers who work under the tent when the matter will be addressed
After two category 5 killer storms, Hurricane Irma and Maria destroyed the Ports Authority building on the western end of Tortola in September of 2017, the working conditions have gotten worse for the Immigration, Customs and Treasury Officers who are being housed under temporary tents. Photo: Facebook
The tent under which Government officials are made to function under at the West End, Tortola, port of entry. Photo: VINO/File
The tent under which Government officials are made to function under at the West End, Tortola, port of entry. Photo: VINO/File
The temporary toilet facility at West End port of entry. Photo: VINO/File
The temporary toilet facility at West End port of entry. Photo: VINO/File
WEST END, Tortola, VI - It was our newsroom who first and accurately brought the shameful conditions of civil servants working under an open tent at West End in our December 28, 2017 article.

This was after two category 5 killer storms Hurricane Irma and Maria destroyed the Ports Authority building on the western end of Tortola in September of 2017.

After our December 2017 article, Minister for Communications and Works, Hon Mark H. Vanterpool (R4) said he was working on addressing the problem and that a temporary fix was on the way.

In fact, it’s now four months after Minister Vanterpool stated that, and seven months following the Hurricanes and nothing has been done. As a matter of fact, the conditions have worsened according to the public.

Officers going home wet after work

The open tent housed Immigration, Customs and Treasury Officers. When it rains the paper works get wet, there are no adequate restrooms especially, for female officers and it is a security challenge for Treasury Officers collecting government monies in that environment.

What is even more of concern is that senior officers from the three departments who are familiar with the situation told our newsroom yesterday April 18, 2018, that after all the talk, no one has come to speak to the officers working under the tent, officially to advise them of what is being done.

"All we know is some political statements we heard on the radio or read online like most recently when the Premier [Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith] said they are working on things,” one officer stated.

On April 15, 2018, there was a rainstorm and all three officers under the tent got sock with water, papers got wet and some even flew away in the sea water. As of today Thursday, April 19, 2018, still no one has spoken to the officers under the tent about steps to be taken to address their issues and poor working environment.

NDP refused help to address the situation - Hon Fahie

Leader of the Opposition, Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) blasted the Government over the poor working conditions and claimed that they even refused to accept an available trailer to address the problem. Hon Fahie who represents the area also said in a statement of April 15, 2018, the same day of the latest rainstorm as the officers had to endure going home wet that “our customs officers, as well as all public officers, deserve to be in a safe and secure working environment”.

Fahie praised the civil servants for "performing beyond the call of duty while working under such horrific conditions".

Immigration, Customs and Treasury Department Heads did not immediately respond to our newsroom inquires about the situation under the west end tent. However, government spokeswomen and Head of the Government Information Services (GIS) Desiree Smith promised to research, if there are any updates and get back to our newsroom before the end of today April 19, 2018.

See link to related article:

http://www.virginislandsnewsonline.com/en/news/shame-civil-servants-working-under-open-tent-collecting-money-safety-compromised

19 Responses to “7 months later working conditions under West End tent has worsened”

  • shame.... (19/04/2018, 12:49) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply

    that is not good at all....they need to do better

    • Really (19/04/2018, 13:34) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply

      They are not tie there if they stand up to this government they would have done something long time when will some people stop being push around from this minister and his leader . Would they work in that condition no so why have people working in it they are not animals. If they think they are hurting FAHIE they are making a sad mistake WEST END is part of the BVI and a PORT of entry it does not belong to FAHIE yes it is his district and he is trying his best to get it fix no one can blame him the NDP GOVERNMENT have no shame box .

  • See (19/04/2018, 13:34) Like (8) Dislike (13) Reply
    Yes the conditions are not good . Yes the conditions should have been improved by now . Yes there should have been better communication . Yes this is an important gateway . Yes we all appreciate their work and dedication . And yes there are probably a thousand people who would be grateful to trade places with them tomorrow or to even have a job.
    • pipe (20/04/2018, 20:28) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      so because you have a job you should accept abuse?.....nonsense .government should lead by example....and from in front not behind
  • Josiahsbay (19/04/2018, 14:16) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    Stop coddling our government and Representative. This is absolutely not acceptable, how much do it take to provide adequate trailers for temporary use until the ferry port is rebuilt? We have to do better. Same issue at Road Town port service.
  • ABC (19/04/2018, 14:25) Like (6) Dislike (1) Reply
    Something fishy about all this.
  • Waitpatiently (19/04/2018, 14:27) Like (1) Dislike (7) Reply
    All you always think that money is there to just pick up and spend. If you only knew. Wait, better days are ahead.
  • Query (19/04/2018, 15:10) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Any reason why the clearance they are doing and whatever else.cannot be done in town?
  • WestEndRebeL (19/04/2018, 17:12) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    Not one Minister or Politician will work in those conditions. I'll just rest this here.
  • Hmmm (19/04/2018, 17:15) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    This doesn't interest the NDP unless there's millions involved and it can get in their pockets like the Ports Cruise Pier Development project in Town. SMDH.
  • Curly (19/04/2018, 17:46) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
    I am sure this was not pleasant howvever not a daily occurrence at least they have employment and this is nothing to the living conditions of some people on a daily basis, the sympathy is misplaced.
  • wet (19/04/2018, 21:39) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Town is no different from West End. Imagine this weekend during all that rain I eitnrsd the officers in town getting soak working under a tent also
  • too many (20/04/2018, 02:09) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    The whole Government service is not getting better at all. It is stressful enough having to deal with home but the workplace too. Many employees have to go through hell and back with some of these head of departments. If we can only TRADE places. Only god can help us.
  • Local (20/04/2018, 03:50) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    Easy solution. The labor code speaks about providing a safe working environment..that is all I have to say.. read between the lines
  • Smiley (20/04/2018, 11:09) Like (2) Dislike (2) Reply

    Right nearby some billionaire is building a marina for the big people. Notice thats' coming along. Interesting
    what goes and what doesn't around here, eh? And the Government just loves to let those billionaires in. So civilized.

  • dog (20/04/2018, 11:24) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    ports of entry should have been the first places to activate- especially for responders and land owners wanting to clean up. Why are these vital points of access the last for attention? Its like fixing houses and picking up brush when the bridge to the island is down. No one can get there, therefore supplies and manpower can't either.
  • Safrone (21/04/2018, 18:36) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Not kool man.
  • Traveler (21/04/2018, 18:48) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Our family is coming down to vacation and sail around the BVi's in May 2018. Could have cancelled trip but want to support the BVI's efforts to rebuild. From the comments I have read, everyone is pointing fingers at everyone else for not getting things done. Step back...who is the captain of the ship? Sounds like everyone and no one. Stop bickering, establish a plan, prioritize it and set a time to complete each task. Someone who respects the citizens and government employees needs to step up and take a leadership role. In turn, the citizens and government personnel will respect that leadership. You know who this is. Get that person moving. Tourist monies are waiting to be spent in your beautiful archipelago.
  • kelo (22/04/2018, 21:47) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Third World country, third word treatment to its civil servants.


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