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Comm. Centres have no legal authority to charge residents for usage- Malone-Frett

- Chief Social Development Officer Mrs Anne Malone-Frett revealed the information before the Standing Finance Committee in 2016; Most community centres are in disrepair
From left: The Abraham Leonard Community Centre in Carrot Bay and Valerie O. Thomas Community Centre in Sea Cows Bay. Both community centres are in need of repairs, according to information revealed before the Standing Finance Committe. Photo: VINO
From left: Gertrude and Christiana Warner Community Centre in Purcell and Cane Garden Bay Community Centre. It was revealed in the House of Assembly's Standing Finance Committee that most community centres in the Virgin Islands are in a state of disrepair. Photo: VINO
From left: Gertrude and Christiana Warner Community Centre in Purcell and Cane Garden Bay Community Centre. It was revealed in the House of Assembly's Standing Finance Committee that most community centres in the Virgin Islands are in a state of disrepair. Photo: VINO
From left: Legislators Hons Julian Fraser RA, Archibald C. Christian and Andrew A. Fahie all had their concerns expressed before the Standing Finance Committee (SFC) about community centres in the territory. Photo: VINO
From left: Legislators Hons Julian Fraser RA, Archibald C. Christian and Andrew A. Fahie all had their concerns expressed before the Standing Finance Committee (SFC) about community centres in the territory. Photo: VINO
From left: Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Social Development with the portfolio for community centres, Mrs Petrona N. Davis and Chief Social Development Officer of the Social Development Department, Mrs Anne Malone-Frett. Photo: File
From left: Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Social Development with the portfolio for community centres, Mrs Petrona N. Davis and Chief Social Development Officer of the Social Development Department, Mrs Anne Malone-Frett. Photo: File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- In an earth shattering revelation that may have refund implications, the Chief Social Development Officer of the Social Development Department, Mrs Anne Malone-Frett told the House of Assembly’s Standing Finance Committee that her Department “has no source of authority that allowed them to charge for the use of the Community Centres.”

Illegal to charge for use of community centres

Mrs Malone-Frett was at the time responding to a question from the Junior Minister for Tourism and Territorial At Large Member, Hon Archibald C. Christian while testifying before the House of Assembly’s Budget Committee.

The Chief Social Development Officer stated that her Department had drafted legislation two years ago which was sent to Cabinet. She further stated that there were some issues as it relates to the fees that needed to be imbedded into legislation.

To this, the Junior Minister of Tourism enquired whether the concern about the fees was that they were too high or too low. This was when Mrs Anne Malone-Frett unearthed that her Department has no legal authority currently to charge residents for the use of community centres. She noted that “they were looking at developing comprehensive legislation that governed the function of the department and in this way imbedded the fees into same.”

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Social Development with the portfolio for community centres, Mrs Petrona N. Davis alluded to what her Chief Social Development Officer told the legislators and explained that the Attorney General had advised that fees have to be embedded in law.

Mrs Davis stated that at the moment the department would have to put together drafting instructions for the legislation. She further stated that perhaps it would be feasible to move forward with the areas of the policy that are implementable until some consensus could be reached on the legislation.

However, no one discussed the current legal implications of this revelation and if the public can take the government to court to seek refunds for monies paid over the many years for the use of community centres throughout the Virgin Islands.

Community centres in disrepair

Meanwhile, Leader of the Opposition and Member for the Third District, Hon Julian Fraser RA stated that there had not been any significant repairs to the community centre in Sea Cows Bay. He further stated that the Valerie O. Thomas Community Centre was in a terrible state of disrepair. Hon Fraser noted that the lights in the centre were not functional, the grounds needed landscaping and enquired whether the department had included repairs of same in their 2016 Budget Estimates.

In addition, the Junior Minister of Tourism Hon Christian asked about repairs to the roof of the Abraham Leonard Community Centre in Carrot Bay while Hon Andrew A. Fahie, Member for the First District, made inquiries on repairs for the West End Community Centre.

The Chief Social Development Officer told the Committee that “monies allotted under Community Centres were for payment of utilities and minor repairs, and any other major repairs would fall under capital.”

Mrs Malone-Frett further stated that last year they had asked the Public Works Department to go around to all community centres and make an assessment. She explained that from the assessment they would be able to ascertain which centres would need urgent attention, as they were all in need of repairs.

18 Responses to “Comm. Centres have no legal authority to charge residents for usage- Malone-Frett”

  • wize up (08/05/2016, 14:57) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    topics on standing finance committee till now: budget done pass 330 million and the government now have access to another 25 million....ask them for some before BVI Airways & The Pier project goes with all.....
  • just asking.... (08/05/2016, 15:02) Like (15) Dislike (3) Reply
    Where do i go to get my refund?
  • Read Dis (08/05/2016, 15:09) Like (14) Dislike (2) Reply
    so the people are being ripped off?
  • one eye (08/05/2016, 15:14) Like (7) Dislike (2) Reply
    this is trouble and I booked the sea cows bay one and had to pay to confirm well sah
  • vip (08/05/2016, 15:47) Like (17) Dislike (1) Reply
    The infrastructure is crumbling under NDP
  • Me (08/05/2016, 16:10) Like (12) Dislike (1) Reply
    Aren't these community centers hurricane aproved shelters ? As far as I am aware they are and are recognized by the DDM. If they need repairs then this should be priority as hurricane season is just around the corner and it is predicted to be an active one. Money for repairs should be allocated urgently as we never know when we may need to use these facilities . Just saying!
  • Dark Cloud (08/05/2016, 16:31) Like (17) Dislike (2) Reply
    What else do we expect in a Lawless town, everything Shady!
    • @Dark Cloud (09/05/2016, 00:26) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
      And NDP shenanigans only making it worse. This Governor and NDP just need to go. Period!!! They are making our country toxic!
  • messing up (08/05/2016, 18:37) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    these so call young getting old people in government ,only in there messing up things for people giving them hard time in life.nonsense
  • judge (08/05/2016, 19:46) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    what else will come out? keep reading VINO
  • Online Now (08/05/2016, 21:12) Like (4) Dislike (1) Reply
    With a thiefing government this has been the culture...as fot john duncan..zzzzzzzz
  • wtf? (08/05/2016, 21:55) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    So who is keeping the money then?
  • done (08/05/2016, 22:25) Like (10) Dislike (1) Reply
    If the community centers are in disrepair they are right to charge something for it. We don't expect it would be a high fee but something to help maintain. Just get the legal framework done quickly
  • E. Leonard (09/05/2016, 06:04) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    There seems to be a culture of constructing/investing in buildings and other facilities, infrastructure and utilities but not effectively maintaining and repairing them. These assets start to wear out and deteriorate from day one. To achieve the service, extend their life, provide reliability, sustain functionality .......etc they have to be maintain and repair in a timely manner. Government as the public steward has to adequately invest in maintenance and repair. Underfunding maintenance and repair undermines the condition of assets. Maintenance and repair neglect impacts public health and safety, reduce employees productivity and cause long-term financial losses as facilities wear out prematurely and must be replaced ( Building Reserarch Board of National Research Council). There is a minimum cost of ownership in owning any asset.

    If you own it, you to maintain and repair it. Lack of maintenance and repair result in cumulative deficiencies and a maintenance and repair backlog. Budgeting for maintenance includes funding for 1) routine maintenance and repair and 2)backlog reduction. What is the recommended level of maintenance and repair funding for routine work? The Building Research Board recommends as a minimum 2-4% of the aggregate physical plant replacement value(PRV). This sum is in addition to backlog reduction. Committing to timely maintenance and repair avoids having to find funding for major/emergency buildings and building systems premature failure. Maintenance and repair effort must be celebrated in the same manner as cutting the ribbon on a new facility.
  • jacques (09/05/2016, 09:11) Like (2) Dislike (2) Reply
    So I better go to the man and woman up east end centre for my refunds for the times I pay to use the centre,


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