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Social Security Board can fund VI Scholarships - ‘Sheep’

-Says the idea is not new nor speculative; Board offered scholarships before
Virgin Islands Party (VIP) At-Large Candidate for the 2019 General Elections, Mr Neville A. Smith aka ‘Sheep’ is defending comments he made regarding the funding of academic scholarships by the Social Security Board. Photo: Provided
Smith says the idea is not new or speculative, “in January 2018, the Social Security Board offered scholarships to the Government of the VI to train locals in the health services following the outcry for much-needed assistance post-hurricanes, Irma and Maria.” Photo: Internet Source
Smith says the idea is not new or speculative, “in January 2018, the Social Security Board offered scholarships to the Government of the VI to train locals in the health services following the outcry for much-needed assistance post-hurricanes, Irma and Maria.” Photo: Internet Source
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI - Virgin Islands Party (VIP) At-Large Candidate for the 2019 General Elections, Mr Neville A. Smith aka ‘Sheep’ is defending comments he made regarding the funding of local academic scholarships by the Social Security Board.

Mr Smith via a release today, January 30, 2019, is adamant that the board has the capacity to fund the initiative since it already has the funds available.

“On January 26, whilst speaking in Capoon’s Bay, I made a statement proposing the funding of academic scholarships by the Social Security Board. I do understand why this may have caused some alarm but I assure you that its viability is quite possible without further overextending our Social Security Board,” Mr Smith said in the release.

Capacity Available 

According to him, as part of the Social Security Board’s Investment Policy, the Board has the capacity to invest about 10% to 20% of the Social Security Reserve Fund into the local economy. 

“To date, the investments being utilized through the Investment Policy and being requested by the Government of the Virgin Islands, have mostly taken the form of large scale infrastructure, road works and capital development financing,” he said.

He says, however, in January 2017, the Board reported that given the pressures on interest rates and returns on investments, they would look at alternative investment strategies that would increase returns while stimulating the economy.

On strategy was the facilitation of the design and construction of 43 residential units at Joe’s Hill in the Road Town area.

The Board explained that the investment project would stimulate the economy through the creation of hundreds of jobs and the circulation of money throughout the economy by the ‘multiplier effect’.

Alternative Strategy

“My proposal simply explores another alternative strategy for the utilization of a portion of the funds accessible through the Social Security Board’s Investment Policy to be used towards the people of the Virgin Islands,” he uttered.

Smith says the idea is not new nor speculative, “In January 2018, the Social Security Board offered scholarships to the Government of the VI to train locals in the health services following the outcry for much-needed assistance post-hurricanes, Irma and Maria.”

According to him, the Director at the Board, however, stated that the offer was turned down, but mentioned that the Social Security Board had revised its scholarship policies.

“Therefore, while it is important for the Territory to invest in our infrastructure, the investment in human capital is imperative for the Virgin Islands to move forward and without it, I find it difficult to envision a prosperous and innovative Virgin Islands,” Mr Smith noted.

He said it is clear that investing in the education of Virgin Islanders is the best mechanism to ensure that we have a skilled and well-educated workforce.

20 Responses to “Social Security Board can fund VI Scholarships - ‘Sheep’ ”

  • same old same old (30/01/2019, 18:33) Like (22) Dislike (24) Reply
    And social security can pay for my new taxi, my uninsured home, my new retaining wall and my medical al bills...REALLY sit down Sheep we need notnsomeone who follows old nonsense
    • Reading Comprehension for Dummies (30/01/2019, 20:16) Like (14) Dislike (15) Reply
      This is a silly comment. Perhaps you need to utilize that same scholarship he’s proposing so that you can learn how to read and comprehend. When that social security was paying for roads that lift up from some hard rain, there was no complaints. You the one that need really sit down
    • VIP Supporter (31/01/2019, 11:43) Like (6) Dislike (5) Reply
      After VIP selected their At-Large team I honestly had Sheep to be the strongest of the four. But i am getting very concerned now. Team VIP we in trouble! Maybe Julian Wilock might've been the better choice. Andrew fumble the pass.
      • Hrmph (31/01/2019, 17:40) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
        The VIP did a good job is disassociating itself from the Esteemed, but still shares platforms with the Pier Park Spendthrift. It could cost them the election!
  • Really (30/01/2019, 18:55) Like (28) Dislike (11) Reply
    What these people really trying to say politics not for everybody
  • Hmm... Not a bad idea (30/01/2019, 19:28) Like (25) Dislike (9) Reply
    If you read the story in full once you bypass the title I understand what he’s saying. He’s basically saying since Government always seems to dip into funding from social security for projects, why not use that same funding to assist in educating our own people- serving as a return on investment through human capital. I hear you Sheep. I could work with that
    • Jessica Jones (30/01/2019, 20:26) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
      @Hmm. I did not read the story, just the headline and your conclusion is what I came up with too.
  • Wair D. Playne (30/01/2019, 19:39) Like (17) Dislike (2) Reply
    Well NDP was borrowing from Social Security for all kind of things so this isn't that unreasonable.
    • Yohan R. Sole (31/01/2019, 09:22) Like (13) Dislike (3) Reply
      We need new revenue generators not the same take it from Social Security kitty philosophy.
      • @Yohan R. Sole (31/01/2019, 10:11) Like (8) Dislike (3) Reply
        Same thing I’m saying. Social Security is not the means by which scholarships (and many other programs) are to be funded. How is this money taken going to be reimbursed? A great percentage of them who get scholarships especially to the US don’t return....as all of a sudden the BVI is not good enough....it was when they needed financial assistance. Let’s just pass the Social Security with this mess because when I retire I want my two cents.
  • Diaspora (30/01/2019, 19:59) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    My understanding of the purpose of Social Security is to take contributions from workers and employers and investment some of it so that it can a) provide an annuity to workers who attain the age of 65, b)provide some support to the elderly, c)provide some support to the disable and d) provide some support to the indigent. Payments generally come from contributions and the return on investment. The more workers are contributing puts the agency in a better position to meet its obligation. True, Social Security policy may stipulate that it invest 10-20% of its reserve fund in the local economy. But should not this investment be on projects that provide a direct return on investment, ie, construction projects, housing.......etc. Also true that the BVI must invest on its human capital, its most important resource. Nonetheless, does its investmemt policy apply to scholarships? Scholarships can come from General Government funds or the private sector but not too sure about social security. Investing on needed skills is vital for growth and development and investment in the local economy has a multiplier effect on the economy.
    • To diaspora (30/01/2019, 20:21) Like (14) Dislike (3) Reply
      Government scholarships are given to a selected few based on who you buddies or have relations wit. How much lil boys ayo see get scholarship from Wall-win while it have so much other people deserving of scholarship and can’t get. I understan dat this as a alternative to educating our youth dem because they can’t get it now since the government scholarship requirements so jokey
      • So true (31/01/2019, 06:03) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
        And so sad. And where are the other high ranking officials to speak up and say to the one that this is wrong.
  • musa (30/01/2019, 21:18) Like (13) Dislike (24) Reply
    Ndp all the way
  • RealPol (30/01/2019, 22:42) Like (14) Dislike (0) Reply
    The money alloted to government for various capital improvement projects, ie, roads.......etc are not grants but loans that have to be paid back with interest. The poorly constructed roads that washed away by the rain was funded by a social security loan that still has to be paid back. On the other hand, any scholarship granted will not be paid back, though the recipients may have to come back for a specified minimm amount of time. There is no direct money return on investment on scholarships. Social security money belongs to the contributors and management must manage the fund so that the cash flow is availble to pay people when they retire.
  • Feel n Sad (31/01/2019, 07:31) Like (13) Dislike (5) Reply
    Imaging this guy get voted over Willock ... We still not serious ...
  • Deh Watcha (31/01/2019, 09:46) Like (5) Dislike (2) Reply
    A good idea but I would prefer it as a loan and have the money paid back, no exceptions.

    The Virgin Islands has lost enough on scholarships/assistances to non returning students.
  • Disinterested (31/01/2019, 10:29) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
    Democracy is the most employed form of government but it is not perfect; it has its flaws. As such, there must checks to fix it when it goes south. John Willock clearly should be on the ticket. JW should launch an independent campaign. It is all about self interest, is it not? Who shaking in their boots?
    • @Disinterested (01/02/2019, 05:31) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
      @Disinterested, are you advocating that JW should run though he didn’t make the cut with VIP? JW clearly is an out of the box thinker, demonstrated that he can represent the territory on the international scene, solution oriented........etc. The selection process is not perfect so there must be work arounds. Think JW entry in the At Large race would shake things up. There are examples in the US where senatorial candidates having lost the primary but ran as a write in candidate and won, ie, former Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and Sen Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. There is obviously a down side to bucking party delegates. But Frederick Douglas says: If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Sometimes one has to go with the gut, not the head.


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