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Is there a hunt for a replacement Financial Secretary?

From left: Premier and Minister of Finance Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL), Financial Secretary Neil M. Smith, who is currently on leave, and Mr Glenroy Forbes. Photo: GIS/VINO/LinkedIn
From left: Deputy Financial Secretary Ms M. Alva McCall and Governor John S. Duncan OBE. Photo: HLSCC/VINO
From left: Deputy Financial Secretary Ms M. Alva McCall and Governor John S. Duncan OBE. Photo: HLSCC/VINO
It’s unclear why the senior Deputy Financial Secretary Mr Wendell M. Gaskin has not been asked to act in the post of Financial Secretary. Photo: VINO/File
It’s unclear why the senior Deputy Financial Secretary Mr Wendell M. Gaskin has not been asked to act in the post of Financial Secretary. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- It was from Monday March 27, 2017 that Financial Secretary Neil M. Smith took his vacation, saying it was his choice to do so.

It came days after he admitted his Office had misled the Premier and Minister of Finance Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith, hence the public, with erroneous information given in a late night radio broadcast by Premier Smith after the Governor made history by invoking Sec 103 (b) of the Virgin Islands Constitution.

The internal Email vacation notice told both the Ministry of Finance staff and civil servants that, while Mr Smith is on vacation, the Deputy Financial Secretary Ms M. Alva McCall will handle all matters.

Where is Sr DFS Gaskin?

It’s unclear why the senior Deputy Financial Secretary Mr Wendell M. Gaskin has not been asked to act in the post.

According to a senior National Democratic Party (NDP) source, Premier Smith met this week with Mr Gaskin who was ousted from the inner circle and workings of the Ministry in August of last year.

Mr Gaskin was stripped of his powers and influence and was relegated to a small office outside of the Ministry of Finance while holding his post (title) and salary, at least on paper.

Is there a hunt for a replacement FS?

There are also reports from the same NDP source that persons were urging Premier Smith to return former Financial Secretary and Attorney Glenroy Forbes as a care taker, while the substantive holder of the post Mr Smith is out.

It is also our understanding that another senior officer who worked with Mr Forbes and was an Assistant Financial Secretary was also under consideration to “return and clean up the mess” after she offered her services.

It is believed that Premier Smith was advised not to pursue the Mr Forbes option, so to date following the vacation leave of Mr Smith, nothing has changed.

However, there is confusion as to the Governor’s role in the Ministry of Finance with many saying he has in effect stripped Dr Smith of the portfolio by using the Constitution.

Premier Smith who has come under heavy fire from Opposition Leader Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1), the media and civil society for his poor management of the Territory’s Finances, caused major embarrassment to the Virgin Islands and her people when Governor John S. Duncan OBE had to make use his powers under the Constitution to take over $1.8 Million dollars to fund the police and the Legal Departments.

The NDP has refused to make crime fighting a priority but instead found over $1.2 Million to build a small wall around the Elmore Stoutt High School just before the 2015 snap elections and another $7 Million to pump into BVI Airways who pulled out of the VI in 2014 claiming to be bankrupt and owing the Government close to $100,000 in fees.

Do we need a new Finance Minister?

Former Legislator and NDP spokeswoman Mrs Elieene L. Parsons OBE has said in a letter last year to Premier Smith and the other elected NDP Members that Dr Smith should give up the portfolio of Finance and turn it over to Minister for Health and Social Development Hon Ronnie W. Skelton (AL), who served as Finance Minister under a NDP first time in government from 2003-2007.

Recently, at a general meeting of the Party, the cultural icon told party faithful that she “stood by her letter.”

The Governor’s action has been met with widespread support from the public and the loss of confidence in Dr Smith and his six year old Administration.

28 Responses to “Is there a hunt for a replacement Financial Secretary?”

  • FREE ADVICE (31/03/2017, 13:45) Like (11) Dislike (20) Reply
    • U rite (31/03/2017, 16:04) Like (8) Dislike (5) Reply
      Bring back Allen well be great thing. But for some reason the people of the BVI don't believe if giving second chance some . And a other thing the man from east end . But u know he is the best person I think he do has time u don't think he has learned. I do what we have to lost but but a smart man who can do the job ...........Smith go with Allen
  • pure assishness (31/03/2017, 13:49) Like (32) Dislike (4) Reply
    We took an engineer from BVIEC and made him an accountant so wha ayo expect?
  • me (31/03/2017, 14:10) Like (22) Dislike (1) Reply
    NDP got to go next election ,and for the Doc who always sleeping I think he need to wake up and open he dam eye them.
  • VIVIE (31/03/2017, 14:30) Like (8) Dislike (4) Reply
    MS MC CALL you are a very nice lady please do not get caught up in this mess . Is far as I can see this is a rotten fish they are trying to bring back to life. Again MS MC CALL be very careful if you take that position.
    • Well (01/04/2017, 03:40) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
      Haven't you read the article. She is clearly not been considered for the position. The search is on....
  • SMH (31/03/2017, 14:38) Like (9) Dislike (4) Reply
    I do not consider Mr Forbes or the former Assistant FS good choices as too much has changed since their departure.
  • Just saying.... (31/03/2017, 14:43) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
    Yes it is
  • civil servant (31/03/2017, 14:56) Like (9) Dislike (7) Reply
    Gloroy please! To old school...give it to mrs k fraser
  • Intelligence (31/03/2017, 15:00) Like (11) Dislike (1) Reply
    VIslanders are deemed to be very intelligent and hard-working citizens. But it seems when some get certain position,and spend years upon years in that postion,they tend to get too comfortable,and operate as though the company of government department belongs to them. They do,go,say,as they feel,and forget they have to do the will of the minister, and be vigilant in all they do.
    Another vexing issues is with these PS's,another set with a title,but seem not to know their portfolio. Like the premier department is in a mess,and it needs to be fixed.
  • Not Sure (31/03/2017, 15:06) Like (5) Dislike (1) Reply
    if getting to keep your same salary and doing less work is as bad as vino makes it out to be
  • Online Now (31/03/2017, 15:12) Like (16) Dislike (0) Reply
    Do any of these people have accountancy qualifications?
  • belonger (31/03/2017, 20:03) Like (11) Dislike (1) Reply
    A new FS coming from London, he is a Former Governor from the Bank of England.
  • ABC (31/03/2017, 21:26) Like (1) Dislike (4) Reply
    We miss our FS
  • The TRUTH (01/04/2017, 05:44) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    I am the TRUTH & I'm say we better put someone there quick before Virgin Atlantic or British Airways leave London with the next financial secretary...THE TRUTH
  • Solution focus. (01/04/2017, 08:09) Like (7) Dislike (1) Reply
    Mr. Simon Potter from RTW. The man for that Job. The real deal.. Honest, fair, love God, love people, handle and have access to millions of dollars and never once been call dishonest or corrupt... That's very rare in this place.....
  • Caucasian (01/04/2017, 08:33) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
    Here comes a man from the UK
  • max (01/04/2017, 20:24) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Let's be careful what u ask for. We don't want no Edomite..God knows we have enough of them...
  • Scapegoat (02/04/2017, 23:57) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    All that has to be done is to allow Neil to do his job, but the NDP is not about that. Although he showing them the numbers, they will not accept them and he is being overruled. The same thing happened to his father who was chief engineer at PWD, he too was not allowed to do his job. Instead, a politician thought that he should be in charge of road construction and proceeded to screw up all the roads for votes. You know, he has to be seen as though he is doing something. Neil should have resigned a long time ago instead of having his cousin make a fool out of him. But you go ahead on Neil, we know that you know a lot more mathematics than your cousin Orlando.
  • WTF (03/04/2017, 08:58) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Allen Wheatley best qualified for FS.
  • islander (04/04/2017, 13:11) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Glenroy Forbes is the man the territory turned to in 2002 - 2005. He is universally accepted as trustworthy and competent, and has answered the call of the Territory before. He would be a perfect interim steward of the BVI's finances, but is it fair on him to ask him to come back and do it again?

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