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BVIPA fees hike necessary for upgrades, salaries- Vincent Wattley

- said ports is still reeling from weather events of 2017 & coronavirus pandemic
Businessman and Member of the BVI Ports Authority (BVIPA) Board, Mr Vincent Wattley, left, and BVIPA’s Director of Finance, Mr Claude Kettle, right, on the Honestly Speaking show on Tuesday, March 30, 2021. Photo: Facebook
Businessman and Member of the BVI Ports Authority (BVIPA) Board, Mr Vincent Wattley said part of the reason why the BVIPA had to raise its fees during a global health crisis was to keep their staff contingent employed and to conduct necessary upgrades to the infrastructure and service offerings. Photo: VINO/File
Businessman and Member of the BVI Ports Authority (BVIPA) Board, Mr Vincent Wattley said part of the reason why the BVIPA had to raise its fees during a global health crisis was to keep their staff contingent employed and to conduct necessary upgrades to the infrastructure and service offerings. Photo: VINO/File
BAUGHERS BAY, Tortola, VI- Businessman and Member of the BVI Ports Authority (BVIPA) Board, Mr Vincent Wattley said part of the reason why the BVIPA had to raise its fees during a global health crisis was to keep their staff contingent employed and to conduct necessary upgrades to the infrastructure and service offerings.

Mr Wattley made the revelation during the Honestly Speaking Radio Programme with host Claude O. Skelton-Cline on ZBVI 780 AM on Tuesday, March 30, 2021.

The fees in question came into effect earlier this month.

BVIPA suffered heavy losses in 2017

“I can safely say that one of the reasons the fees are being raised at this point is that the BVI suffered heavily from 2017 with the floods and two major storms. The Port was badly damaged, we lost our buildings, operational equipment, furniture’s, computers, servers and a lot of these things were not replaced, and the port had some difficulties replacing a lot of these things to keep the port running.

"Then we had just recently the COVID-19 affecting the whole world, and it did affect the BVI drastically.”

Salary cuts

Wattley said the global coronavirus pandemic has resulted in less cargo being imported and less movement in general due to the closure of the seaports, which caused them to implement cost-cutting measures, including the cutting of salaries.

“The spending went down because the income also went down. You don’t want to drastically affect everyone who is an employee. Salaries were cut, but you cannot cut salaries for a length of time because these people have lives, so the salaries had to be put back in place. So it boiled down to what you going to do? You going to lay off or you are going to send home a number of employees, put them out of work? Or you are going to find a way to raise revenue? It was decided that it was best to find a way to raise revenue to keep the staff employed, to also find a way to generate revenue to do the upgrades that the port needs.”

He said the upgrades encompassed purchasing new equipment, repairing the infrastructure and the Information Technology system.

“We lost our operating area; we lost our offices, we had to go out and rent space which was never part of what the port had to spend revenue on, so with all of that, we had to find a way to raise revenue without sending home your employees or cutting your staff and that’s where the increase really came about.”

$9M insurance payout wasn’t enough

Joining the conversation, BVIPA’s Director of Finance, Mr Claude Kettle, said the BVIPA had insurance and received ‘upwards of $9 million” after the 2017 weather events, but that was not sufficient.

He said, while not delving into details, the $9 million was used sparingly.

Kettle stated that even before the pandemic struck, the fee hike was already being discussed.

He said a consultant had been hired to seek ways the BVIPA could become a more sustainable entity, and a hike in port fees was among the things recommended.

Additionally, with the III Code audit scheduled to commence late next month, Kettle said, the BVIPA had to be in compliance and revealed that part of the audit is taking into consideration the safety and security of the BVIPA.

27 Responses to “BVIPA fees hike necessary for upgrades, salaries- Vincent Wattley”

  • one eye (31/03/2021, 14:26) Like (18) Dislike (1) Reply
    It’s just a bad time bottom line
  • Welsa (31/03/2021, 15:13) Like (3) Dislike (2) Reply
    You see how your increments being funded?
  • question (31/03/2021, 15:17) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
    Just curious if when things return to normal and goals are achieved will these fees be reduced somewhat or remain in place?
    • west (01/04/2021, 16:07) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      @question, Ah, this is the new normal and worse to come.. NOTHING WILL GET BETTER AS WE CONTINUE TO ACCEPT AGENDER 21!!
  • Lily Ann (31/03/2021, 15:31) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    them bhan ya... so he looking out for dem...
  • Hmmmm (31/03/2021, 15:35) Like (27) Dislike (0) Reply
    If this is the case then why were all board members given a raise in 2019 which was after Irma and when this govt took office? We are in 2021 blaming Irma for things?
  • gfhgfhgfhgf (31/03/2021, 15:45) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    That all the people gets out the deal the weight to carry ...some their by the amount to crippled the country too but nothing putting in place for that but it us the people to carry to ...I personally not for no white men coming here and dictating us but we are ur own I say this to imply let the white come and do there bid for if we stand up against him our own going cut us down we the hard worker ...this system we the people live by and defend is all against us and our kids future we cant get a break through it
  • Rubber Duck (31/03/2021, 15:46) Like (22) Dislike (0) Reply
    And the solution is : screw everybody else to get ourselves out of a mess.

    Welcome to BVI.
  • WOW (31/03/2021, 16:11) Like (37) Dislike (0) Reply
    No wonder some of these people private businesses haven't grown or succeeded. Clueless.

    You knew the audit was coming 5 years ago. What did you do to plan for these upgrades?

    What cost-efficiency measures have you taken to reduce your expenses thus increasing your bottomline?

    As a statutory body have you looked at any short term financing to address your shortcomings ahead of the audit?

    Was the logo change a priority/necessity? At what cost?

    What additional consierge styled services can you provide for your more discerning customers at additional costs to raise revenue?

    Why do we still have to bring a ton of paper to you? Cut out paper and save money.

    Any early retirement options for long time staff? Eliminate payroll cost without necessarily cutting staff. The retirees would be taken care of via pensions and Social Security.

    More auctions for unclaimed goods sitting at the ports? Revenue generating.

    Rent space at the port to private businesses in need of temporary storage facilities?

    Noooooo. Let's tax our people instead!

    Where there is no vision, people perish.
  • Checker (31/03/2021, 17:34) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
  • Local (31/03/2021, 17:54) Like (11) Dislike (1) Reply
    Smh a bunch of lies. The ones at the top benefiting, stop telling lie but to keep the staff employed when you still hiring, cargo still being left outside, paying unnecessary rent, it just greed and poor planning,
    • Concur (01/04/2021, 06:59) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
      I totally agree with you all lies.them continue to hire family and friends at high salary and now talking bout keeping on staff hogwash.the port has become a family affair and is been poorly run smdh
  • On the logo (31/03/2021, 18:14) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    Hopefully it wasn't more then $500. My kids would have done it for $20.
    • I thought they said... (31/03/2021, 23:44) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      25k. But shouldn’t have been more than $25. The comment I remember was “the anchor represents being tied to the old foolish ways”
  • jah (31/03/2021, 19:01) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    His statement and the woman statement just doesn't add up ..they just killing the economy..and low income people..
  • NB (31/03/2021, 21:24) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
    I feeling the BVILove bwoi
  • Misguided Blame (01/04/2021, 06:29) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    People blaming BVIPA like it’s not the wholesaler’s fault that the prices are increasing. From what I have heard, BVIPA fees have remained stagnant for something line 20 years, while prices at the stores continued to increase. So I blame previous BVIPA admin for dropping the ball on raising prices and not accounting for inflation and future upgrades when refusing to make these changes. I also blaming the stores because they’re hiking prices during a pandemic to keep their profit margins not because of these fee increases. All I know that if the BVIPA ran in the red, y’all would blame them for poor mismanagement.
  • Irma? (01/04/2021, 07:37) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Irma should have been good for the port because every single item used to rebuild the territory including fixing all the yachts had to come through the port? I know duty was wiaved on some stuff but not port fees. What happened to all that money? Did you reinvest in your future? Every business on island having to make hard decisions, lay offs, pay cuts, reduced hours. But not the port. Not the govt. Not anyone connected to govt. I feel for the day when yall well run dry...
  • 007 (01/04/2021, 09:00) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    The government wants to run everything and time has proven that like all governments they are useless at it. First world countries have privatized ports, power, airports etc etc to general improvement. We need to do the same.
  • wise man (01/04/2021, 09:33) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    I can sometimes understand the need to increase or introduce fees to cover certain operating cost. My question is, do we ever consider doing away with those fees when we get back to normal?
  • Financial Planning (01/04/2021, 09:42) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    Poor finical planning - where are the reserves, where are your 5 year 10 year financial plans, too much spending from the hip and not enough review. Your kitty done empty, so you grabbing at people pockets cos you didn't plan ahead. Why the people have to suffer for your poor planning?
  • raz (01/04/2021, 09:55) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Port worried about all the wrong things. The dock needs repairing its not in good working conditions. I guess this is why they hike up the fees
  • A Living Wage? What is that? (01/04/2021, 12:22) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    The folowing is not the mode of the capitalist, and the policy makers are helpless to change even if the wanted to.

    There are only two solutions that will turn the economy and the people lives around and, unpopular as they are, they are the right solutions for the ailments of the country, people and regeneration of the economy, and they are:

    1) Increase the taxes of the rich and soper rich.

    2) Increase th slave wage to a living wage.
  • RedStorm (02/04/2021, 17:18) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    . But did you realized thT the name of Honorable Wheatley is stated as Wattley or am I wrong.And 9 million dollars should have taken care of the Top priority things On the IMO check list.
  • Over barring (04/04/2021, 08:39) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Upgrading of who's salaries

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