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‘Hatchet man’ needed to downsize civil service, spending- Doug Wheatley

February 18th, 2017 | Tags: hatchet man Doug Wheatley civil service spending NDP
Doug Wheatley (left) has suggested the employment of a ‘hatchet man’ as a possible solution to keeping a balance on the revenue and expenses of the National Democratic Party (NDP) administration led by Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (right). Photo: VINO/File
Mr Doug Wheatley said what the Virgin Islands Government may need is a hatchet man, whose job will be to maybe downsize the civil service and to get rid of superfluous expenditures. Photo: VINO/File
Mr Doug Wheatley said what the Virgin Islands Government may need is a hatchet man, whose job will be to maybe downsize the civil service and to get rid of superfluous expenditures. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- Talk show host Doug Wheatley has suggested the employment of a ‘hatchet man’ as a possible solution to keeping a balance on the revenue and expenses of the Government of the Virgin Islands.

Hatchet man, according to Wikipedia, is a person employed to carry out controversial or disagreeable tasks, such as the dismissal of a number of people from employment.

Speaking on his 3-D Show aired on ZBVI 780 AM on Friday February 17, 2017 Mr Wheatley said the budget has to be passed before April 30, 2017 and hopefully that will be done; however, one of the problems he sees is how to get the budget balanced and that increasing taxes and fees, which are already sky high, is not the way to go.

“I think the taxes and fees are already quite high…so I don’t know if that is the way to go,” he said.

Cut back on expenses

“There is another way, and that other way is cutting back on expenses but it seems that government is having a difficulty in cutting back on its expenditure although over the many, many months and years I have heard here on talk shows on various suggestions on how the expenditure could be reduced,” Mr Wheatley pointed out.

“But it seems, I don’t know, that the Government is not able to do that, but members of the public call in all the time with suggestions, maybe what we need is a hatchet man in the Government, whose job will be to maybe downsize the civil service and to get rid of superfluous expenditures, but you will need a hatchet man for that and I don’t know if the government at this point is ready to employ the services of a hatchet man.”

Insist on good governance, legislation unnecessary

Meanwhile, Mr Wheatley said among the things Governor John S. Duncan OBE expressed concern about while at a public event held at Her Majesty's Prison, last week, was the absence of a number of legislation.

Governor Duncan had said the United Kingdom would consider self-determination for the Virgin Islands; however, there several systems needed to be put in place, such as Whistle Blower Legislation, Freedom of Information Act and Human Rights Council.

However, Mr Wheatley does not see all these legislations necessary for a small territory like the Virgin Islands (UK).

“What I would say here is, yes it is good to have those things in place in various countries, you have a law, people have to abide by the law, but in the case of the BVI, I think it is a small territory and I think that if the people were to insist that their leaders do that which is right for the people and if they were sufficiently disciplined to do that, then I don’t think we would need all this additional legislation and create little empires et cetera, which is what normally happens,” Mr Wheatley remarked.

“I think what the people should do is insist on having good governance. If we have good governance, yes those other things will come in handy but we don’t need them in order to ensure we have good governance. We just need to let our elected persons know that the 35,000 of us are not satisfied with their conduct, with what they are doing and they need to pull their socks up.”

The usually outspoken host said he thinks everyone knows that the Government’s job is to serve the people of the islands to the best of its ability and, “if that is your emphasis and your objective, then that is what you will do whether you have whistleblowing legislation or not. You will do what is right because that is the undertaking that you have given to the people when they elected you.”

17 Responses to “‘Hatchet man’ needed to downsize civil service, spending- Doug Wheatley”

  • hot air (18/02/2017, 11:32) Like (22) Dislike (8) Reply
    Why doug don't suggest putting a freeze on new work permits until all bvislanders are hired?
    • @ hot air (18/02/2017, 11:42) Like (8) Dislike (4) Reply
      Is these the polices of his son and the vip?
      • huh (18/02/2017, 13:02) Like (5) Dislike (9) Reply
        Me like workin og govanmant and no wana work where me have a boss who havin authoroty to tell me o time in mornin or no use internet
        • Belonger With A Broader Perspective (21/02/2017, 14:44) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
          I would hope you aren't a local but most likely you are. I hope @hot air pays attention because "huh" comments are exactly why we can't freeze new work permits. "huh" represents a large majority of locals. Locals who can't spell or write properly and think they come on a job to do as they please. No Thank You. I'll put in a work permit quickly for someone who wants to work and not waste time. THANK YOU!
  • LeftShark (18/02/2017, 12:38) Like (5) Dislike (4) Reply
    Why this man want to put locals out of jobs?
    • SHAME (18/02/2017, 13:23) Like (6) Dislike (1) Reply
      Why Doug do not tell the PREMIER to bring fort the financial status of the country for the past years and how he want to take people out of work how will they feed their families and keep a roof over their head. Not to long he raise the junior salary why not roll back that, both of them have another job and if they had love for the country they would have refuse it since they all help drain the //////// with the snap election. And Doug why you do not give up your pension to help them out instead of looking to take food out of mouth. The NDP waste the money what they did not waste they /////.Doug you make my stomach ache with your piss .
  • part of the coup (18/02/2017, 14:17) Like (7) Dislike (4) Reply
    His son is already the hatchet man for the VIP because he got rid of Fraser
    • @ part of the coup (18/02/2017, 16:34) Like (4) Dislike (5) Reply
      That is why the vip is dead again
      • egg face (19/02/2017, 13:05) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        nathido needs to revisit a truth of leadership: Everyone is not going to like or accept your leadership. Regrettably, Fahie's ego will blinds him to this truth and squashes opportunties for him to lead across party lines.
  • Citizen (18/02/2017, 17:03) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    I find that everything is civil servants. Tell the government stop using taxpayers dollars on the same projects over and over to get kickbacks. How many times will the street below government house be dug up? How many times will the road leading to the third district be dug up? How long will the pipes last? Work started just before the bi election still being worked on. This government must be honest with the electorates. They are not spending their own money.
  • cry (18/02/2017, 17:13) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    Correction, when mr wheatly spoke about cutting jobs , it is beleived that he meant all workers , who are not working for their salary, lazy workers both expats and bvi islanders.what does not make sence when he spoke, is that, human rights, whistle blower, and other laws which are needed in any part of the world is not relevant in the bvi ,as stated by him "because bvi is small". Every one needs to know their rights and should be guided and held responsible by such laws, not by word off mouth that can be easily changed .
  • Secretary (18/02/2017, 22:57) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Why he can't suggested that they stopped renting building allover the places and paying thousands Rather millions in rent,and built a next building somewhere to house a lot of these offices. According to Mr Trump ,this is truth real, but the news is fake
    His 3D show is unlisternable . been old do stress out many , because they're brain or turning back to thinking childish.
    Listen at your age sir I really truly think you should repent and ask God forgiveness as well as others and baptize in Jesus name an enter Jesus government ,
  • Doug Shut 2f up. (18/02/2017, 23:21) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Hope Doug have jobs for those who will have to get cut. ... Doug is an Evil Heartless Man. Why would a good human being wants to see people out of jobs. Bills, food, loans to pay. These people just bla bla... Why D F. He don't tell them to build their complex at Port Purcell on their land to house most of the offices that they are paying millions for in rent per year. That's real savings..
  • E. Leonard (18/02/2017, 23:56) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    A Hatchet Man, BVI Neutron Jack! Wow! Let's talk. Theoretically, the role of government is to serve and protect residents, i.e., putting legislations in place and enforcing them to protect public health and safety, providing public safety to maintain good order........etc. But the reality is that small locales such as the BVI is expected to deliver more. The BVI is small with a small economy and one of its disadvantages of being small is that government by necessity has to be a major employer. The BVI has an approximate workforce of 13,000 and government directly employs about 33%. Thus, using a hatchet to reduce the work force may not be as easy from a political, economic and compassion stand point. What should the government do? As a minimum, there are probably 2 or 3 things it can pursue.

    First, government needs to commission an efficiency/benchmarking study. Findings and recommendations from study can be used to 1) eradicate inefficiencies and duplications, 2) enhance productivity, 3) resource level personnel asset, 4)incentivize early retirement ($20-30K to retire early), 5) improve resource stewardship among other actions.

    Second, diversify and grow the economy beyond tourism and financial services and launch an aggressive job creation programme. Creative environment to attract more external investment, the lifeblood of the economy. Moreover, make effective investment in human capital to take up available jobs.

    Thirdly, set in place internal and management control of work processes and practices. And establish standards, monitoring and measures to ensure value for money is being attained.
    • Political Observer (PO) (19/02/2017, 10:37) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      The VI civil service by many standards is bloated. With a population of approximately 35000 or 40000 (the 2010 Census was late and data probably unreliable), there are about 3300 civil servants, i.e., 1 civil servant to serve 12 or 13 residents. If the civil service is bloated and residents want it right sized, residents will have to demand it, for no politician has the courage and will touch it with a 100 metre pole. It is political suicide. The current civil service situation, along with the pension unfunded liability (that is approaching $300M+), is unsustainable. The BVI cannot continue to behave as ostriches and bury its head in the sand. Governments are elected to govern and governing requires making tough, sensible and reasonable decisions. Nuff tark, dun tark and time to act. Action???

      E. Leonard above laid some viable courses of action if government has the stones to act, i.e., an efficiency/benchmarking study, economic diversification and growth planning, setting in place standards, metrics and internal/management control to achieve value for money, more effective resource stewardship.......etc. Endorsed the message. To Leonard's suggestions, I add leveraging technology and more automation to collect the data needed to effectively govern.

      Douglas was right in that the size of the civil service needs to be assessed. Hopefully, the hatchet man reference was for dramatic effect. The civil service if it is to be reduced will require a surgical scalpel, not a dull hatchet. Further, I have a different view on the need for additional legislations. They are needed if we want to call ourself First World. If we want to be in the major league, we must act like we deserve to be in major league. Is the BVI still a little sleepy hollow or a bird sanctuary?
  • Music (19/02/2017, 21:47) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Perhaps it is time to take a look at the big picture and question whether our civil service, with its extreme reliance on some of the most unproductive workers, is a sustainable option.
  • Diaspora (20/02/2017, 17:35) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Caribbean governments have a habit of bloating the government rolls with cronies. But what goes up cannot come down, for every government, whether the incumbent or succeeding government, lacks the courage to trim the bloated rolls. The BVI is guilty of the same behaviour. For example, of a planned $286.6M expenditure budget in 2016, some $119.4M or approx 41% was projected for employee compensation. Wow! This is not sustainable.

    Consequently, what is needed is a manpower audit to determine how many employees are needed to meet the needs of residents. It (government) needs to determine how many work years of effort is needed to meet requirements. A work year is 2080 hours. Audit aside, government has a problem. The private sector does not yet have the capacity to absorb workers that would be released from government as a result of the audit. Furthermore, politics would not permit any serious cutback of employees, regardless of the bloat. The system will have to collapse under its own weight for anything to happen.

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