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'Butchering of the Public Service has already begun'- Skelton-Cline

- alleged that civil servants are being asked to take a pay cut or leave!
The butchering of the Public Service, in keeping with policies stipulated by the United Kingdom, has already begun, according to commentator Claude O. Skelton-Cline. Photo: VINO/File
Commentator and former Managing Director of the BVI Ports Authority Mr Claude O. Skelton-Cline has challenged Government to respond to reports that persons are being told to take a pay cut or leave the civil service. Photo: Facebook
Commentator and former Managing Director of the BVI Ports Authority Mr Claude O. Skelton-Cline has challenged Government to respond to reports that persons are being told to take a pay cut or leave the civil service. Photo: Facebook
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- Following the passage of the two Category 5 hurricanes in September of 2017, many residents lost their jobs and many more are still expected to lose employment based on the reforms to the public sector, stipulated in the ‘High-Level Framework for UK support' to the Virgin Islands.

According to commentator Mr Claude O Skelton-Cline, former Managing Director of the BVI Ports Authority (BVIPA), quoting from the document, “They will be undertaking, if we do so, any risk assessment and public expenditure and financial accountability assessment funded by the UK Government with a commitment to implementing public sector reforms based on their recommendations. The assessments are to start by March 2018 with an action plan for reform agreed by April 2018.”

Halfway through March 2018 and it is evident that the Public Service Reform is eminent. “The public service we see has already begun to be butchered. It is outlined in the High-Level Framework for UK support to the BVI in hurricane recovery,” stated Mr Skelton-Cline on his radio show, Honestly Speaking, which was aired Tuesday March 13, 2018 on ZBVI 780 AM.

Chopping has begun

He further shared that there are reports of persons in the public service who received notice that their salary would be cut, which they could either accept or leave the job. Whole departments are in for restructuring or eliminating, based on reports reaching our newsroom.

“We are already hearing of departments, such as the Department of Culture, that is under the chopping block as there is no need for [them] to exist anymore,” Mr Skelton-Cline stated. Other areas reportedly under inspection are the BVI Ports Authority, Public Works Department, Water and Sewage Department, and even the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College.

Reports are that UK nationals are already here visiting these locations and carrying out their assessments, which will be feed into the Public Sector Reform Agreement set for April 2018.

“And if the information that I’m giving is wrong, I want the minister of Education in this case, or the Minister of Communication and Works or whomever the subject matter is to what we discuss, to correct us on the record,” Mr Skelton-Cline said, calling on the Government through its ministers to set the record straight.  

He further stated that, “Our elected Government saying little to nothing and when they do say something they say it so poorly you can’t even understand or comprehend what’s going on.”

It was on October 26, 2017 in a press conference that Premier and Minister of Finance Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL), boldly said “I can say that there will be no layoffs in the public service," while responding to questions from journalists.

Five months later, many are back with the same worry, whether their salaries will be cut or lose their jobs all together.

31 Responses to “'Butchering of the Public Service has already begun'- Skelton-Cline”

  • AND? (15/03/2018, 10:29) Like (18) Dislike (10) Reply
    So what is wrong with the public sector reform? Who can get up and say that the service is functioning as it should and doesn't need reform? I can't wait until after elections when NDP win again and Claude shuts his trap for good.
  • Me (15/03/2018, 10:36) Like (11) Dislike (3) Reply
    All this and the house rent still on the rise
    -1bedroom,1bath :$1000<
  • Soo sad (15/03/2018, 10:48) Like (13) Dislike (3) Reply
    I hope they have alternatives for these poor people to make a living before an all out riot start in our country.
  • Peaches (15/03/2018, 10:48) Like (10) Dislike (7) Reply
    People you have got to understand that this a SPIRITUAL battle going on. It is a coming together of things for prophecy to be fulfilled. When we begin to lose our jobs and we can't buy food or sell, that means the MARK OF THE BEAST is upon us. We are living in the last days. This is bigger than us. IT IS TIME FOR US TO REPENT BVI! It is a pity that Minister Claude Skelton can't say that this is a sign of what is to come.
    • Utter Rot! (15/03/2018, 12:02) Like (14) Dislike (4) Reply
      This is foolishness. We were hit by a major natural disaster but even before this the public sector was inefficient and too large... we all know this. Obviously it must now be restructured. It has nothing to do with the 'mark of the beast'.
    • ABC (15/03/2018, 12:18) Like (5) Dislike (1) Reply
      Ndp will go trust me
    • @Peaches . Bill crap (15/03/2018, 12:33) Like (5) Dislike (1) Reply
      Every time nature takes its course and disrupt lives from the norm these religious fonatics use it to scare people.. Say your our father prayer anf take note of the rnd of it...
  • Civil Servant1 (15/03/2018, 11:14) Like (12) Dislike (8) Reply
    This gov’t better know what they are doing because I am a woman with 3 mouths to feed, and if they continue playing politics and me and my children can’t eat anymore bread, I for one, will not be taking it lightly.

    I hope they know that a hungry woman and her children are 10 times more angry than a hungry man. Let them keep playing the fool with people’s lives.
    • Huh? (15/03/2018, 15:16) Like (11) Dislike (3) Reply
      So the civil service should remain bloated and the Territory suffer because you and your kids hungry? If you are performing and working your ass off then surely you shouldn't have anything to worry about? WTF?
      • @huh? (15/03/2018, 16:13) Like (8) Dislike (2) Reply
        You could be performing well and this government still mess with you if you decide not to be a puppet for them, so what’s your point? I hope they planning this thing out well and not like how they half planned everything else to get us in this mess. Millions of dollars squandered and now people will soon be going hungry and homelessness already begun.
      • Society of Christians (15/03/2018, 16:53) Like (5) Dislike (1) Reply
        @huh? Some of you people are so heartless, but what goes around comes around, so when it’s your turn to walk the talk, I hope you publicly share your experience as well.
  • Culture (15/03/2018, 11:27) Like (15) Dislike (1) Reply
    The Department of Culture should merge back into Education. They can work with the officer responsible for Social Studies to restructure the curriculum and act as resource officers to the schools who will enrich programmes in culture(music, food, local history/significant figures), industry/entrepreneurship, tourism, citizenship, government/laws, patriotism, labor/workforce and the importance of building a healthy family/community/territory.
    • i totally agree (15/03/2018, 12:21) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      with this statement. I always felt that our children need to know more about our culture and where our country was before we arrived to where we are today.
  • If only... (15/03/2018, 11:39) Like (10) Dislike (2) Reply
    Cline-Skelton would serve his community better by doing more and talking less. Where are the community out-reach initiatives? Pointing out governmental short-comings at this time is not helping us as a country. Establishing programmes for skill-building, coordinating the distribution of aid to persons still in need of assistance, creation of new job opportunities.... Much more constructive. Many are using this time to enjoy the sound of their own voices but Irma should have taught us that divisiveness in any form will only cause destruction to the BVI.
  • cay (15/03/2018, 12:16) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Is csc running?
  • things shaping up (15/03/2018, 12:34) Like (6) Dislike (1) Reply

    this is a good move no matter how it comes public sector needs dusting out please tell CSC to hush

  • Unfix roofs (15/03/2018, 12:39) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Government need to look at this seriously. We are a few months from another hurricane season. Government needs to insist that these unfix roofs get fix.. Find away because unfix roofs the remains become misiles if another hurricane come our way..Maybe offer those who has no insurance and cant affort the bill an affordable loan.. Those large buildings im sreing with badly damaged roofs BVI high school also. Not good.
  • Hello??? (15/03/2018, 12:48) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    This is what we want to know:

    Duty Free Goods for April 2018? Need to because of back up and delays by exporting ports!
  • Bout Time (15/03/2018, 12:51) Like (19) Dislike (2) Reply
    The chickens have finally come home to roost. Top heavy public service; employees sitting at their desks and working on degrees when they should be actively giving value for the money they receive; lack of professionalism; out on 'sick leave' or doing laundry or at hairdresser and nail salon when they should be giving a day's work;all this and more. And at the end of the day they can barely sling two decent sentences together. Mapp cut hours and corresponding pay from the get go, because he realised that we, the taxpayers, have challenges, and it can no longer be business as usual.
    We ain’t fools, and we ain’t blind. Everyone knows that since the hurricanes there is not enough work to keep the public servants actively engaged. Something had to give, and more sooner than later.
  • They Caused It (15/03/2018, 13:13) Like (11) Dislike (0) Reply
    And that damn YES program need to join with Labour Dept. NDP caused all this on themselves.
  • gg (15/03/2018, 14:21) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Look trouble for me
  • Boo (15/03/2018, 14:27) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
    Can we hear about the butchering of the Ports Authourity reserve fund of several millions, the butchering of the budget for the Pier Park shopping mall, and what was done with the monies Andrew give him?
  • VIlander (15/03/2018, 15:22) Like (1) Dislike (2) Reply

    U damn slaves disgust me. How in the world could Culture not be needed anymore? That is the reason that we're in the mess we're in. U dumba&&e$. Local history taught in schools is as far as some of our minds go. We're African people and our history starts at the beginning of time, so our history lessons need to start there. Religion messed us up b/c we accept the slave master's version of it. This is no spiritual battle this is a battle against one set of people foolishly feeling they are superior to another set of people. We think too small and locally and so we can't connect the dots to the bigger issues that affect us & people like us globally and see what the real issue is.

  • Nice (15/03/2018, 15:52) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    Great news! It is about time . Excessive gov workers before Irma and doubly excessive after. Time for people to stop milking the cow. The cow needs to go to pasture and recuperate.

    • TheInsider (15/03/2018, 17:21) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
      The chicken has come home to roost and no one likes it. For years people have been doing wrong without accountablbility. The BVI civil servants over the years have enjoyed the following; turning up for work late , leaving when they want too for the purpose of paying bills, shopping, doing their hair or nails, calling in sick to go STT. Using Government vehicles for personal use even after working hours. Projects for their kids are done using Office supplies during working hours even on week ends. Some take home supplies meant for work related matters. Sleep half of their working hours. Do online study while on the job. Some have even built their homes using government human and other resourses. I could name a host of other things. I am guilty of some these. So the word we all are afraid of is ACCOUNTABILITY. We are so accustomed to do what we want that when ever someone start to take note of what we are doing we cry wolf and there are always people foolish enough to come looking for the wolf every time.
  • Once such a prosperous place (15/03/2018, 16:24) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    Lawd look at what we have been reduced too. I know of some people right now the banks are threatening to take their houses because at the moment they have no jobs. Sad state of affairs; this one will take years to fix.
  • ??????? (15/03/2018, 16:54) Like (8) Dislike (6) Reply
    Some people look like all they do is to go looking for everything negative to talk on. Sir, is there anything good you could report on the BVI? I quite agree the many frustrated situation here but you are always preaching gloom and doom.
  • Diplomat (17/03/2018, 00:58) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    It is a fact that in small locales and small islands that government by necessity is a major employer. In the VI, government has approx 33% of the work force; approx 3000 employees. With a population of approx 30,000 residents and approx 3000 employees, the civil service is bloated and needs to be trimmed; the ratio of employee to citizens needs to be increased. Relative to other locations the ratio is too low. Further, with improvement and advancement in computer technology (hardware and software), less civil servants are needed to deliver a higher level of customer service; government operational cost can be reduced by leveraging technology.

    Moreover, other regional countries have trimmed the size of their civil servants, ie, Barbados. The civil service is bloated and needs to be trimmed; it is the elephant in the room that no one wants to touch with a 100 metre pole. Nonetheless, trimming the service should be a phased, well thought out, fair, well-structured, timely and smoothly executed plan. The April 2018 target date for reforming the civil service seems rushed. Further, it looks like the local government leadership lacks the stones to make the tough decision. Instead, they prefer the UK to make the tough decision.

    Furthermore, the VI has a small, open economy with government being a major employer. As such, government needs to undertake urgent action to grow, improve and diversify the economy to accomodate reduced in force civil servants. The civil service should be trimmed preferably by a) a hard hiring freeze, b) attrition, c)retirement incentives, ie, $25K to retire early (selected employees and skills), d)merging or eliminating some functions, e)reducing the number of statutory bodies, ie, 1 port authority (combined sea port and aviation)......etc.
    • On Point. (17/03/2018, 07:22) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
      To Diplomat. This is one of the most logical strategy put forward on the reforming methodology for the civil service; and I will add that the reduction of that bloating should start from the top-down for any significant impact, particularly in operational cost and supplementary expenses.

      Key Performance of Human Resources, for example, rely on its management and supervisory team to forecasted projections. If that has not been case, then the root of the problem starts at the top brasses, who have not met the demands of the institution; and as such, they are the ones who should be held accountable and made redundant and replaced with a competent management team who can raised the standards of the civil service and produce results.

      Employees too- require effective leadership to support, develop, equip, harness and empower them to put forth their most “suited” potentials for the public/customers they serve, the institution, and ultimately- for themselves.

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