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Unfair for local vendors to be owed almost a year - Hon Christian

-called for overseas acts to be reduced & for strict adherence to a set budget
Junior Minister for Tourism and Territorial At Large Representative in the National Democratic Party Government Honourable Archibald C. Christian said Government has to change the way they operate when it comes to the payment of locals who perform for Festival and cannot be paid months after they would have worked. Photo: VINO/File
A local Fungi band on stage during the Carrot Bay Festival 2015. Photo: VINO/File
A local Fungi band on stage during the Carrot Bay Festival 2015. Photo: VINO/File
Jamaican dancehall artist Busy Signal performing during Festival at the Patsy C. Lake Festiville in Road Town in 2015. Photo: VINO/File
Jamaican dancehall artist Busy Signal performing during Festival at the Patsy C. Lake Festiville in Road Town in 2015. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – Junior Minister for Tourism and Territorial At Large Representative in the National Democratic Party Government Honourable Archibald C. Christian said Government has to change the way they operate when it comes to the payment of locals who perform for Festival and cannot be paid months after they would have worked.

He was speaking in the House of Assembly today March 22, 2016 during the commencement of the 2016 budget debates.

And he disclosed that the amount that government has outstanding for Festival 2015 payments is $676,000.

Over the past several months, local vendors and talk show hosts, among others, have been calling on the Government to settle outstanding monies owed to local Festival acts. Minister for Education and Culture Honourable Myron V. Walwyn had said his Ministry had done all their approvals of bills and had handed over everything into the hands of the Ministry of Finance for the outstanding balances to be settled.

Things cannot continue the same way

“Madam Speaker, I subscribe to the philosophy that when a man works he should be paid. If I can't afford to do something then I ain't hiring anybody because I don't like owing people. And I think Government should operate that way,” Honourable Christian said.

He added that Government should not have persons knocking on their door months afterwards saying they still waiting for their payment.

Honourable Christian said he knows the Premier and Minister of Finance Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith and the Government will be doing whatever is necessary to ensure people are paid in a timely manner.

“I look back and say that we cannot continue to do things the same old way. Festival is one of those areas where it is unfair for local vendors to be owed monies almost a year after. It is just unfair,” he said.

Bring fewer foreign acts

He suggested that going forward the focus needs to be on what Festival is all about and reduce the ratio of foreign artists to local ones, suggesting it is more about the territory's culture and its people and what they went through with slavery and emancipation and not a three-day party.

“Our culture is very important and we need to showcase it to the rest of the world,” he said. “We cannot substitute our culture with anything else...our culture is our culture and that's what it is...what we eat, what we wear, how we live, how we used to live and so on,” he said.

The Junior Minister for Tourism pointed out that it does not take six or seven bands on stage to make Festival special. He suggested three bands per night, two local and one overseas.

“But we can no longer afford for these international artists to come to the Virgin Islands, get paid, and our local people six, seven, eight, nine months begging to be paid,” he said. We have to drive the cost down or stabilise the cost, but we cannot continue [as is]. It is costing over $1 million right now to fund Festival."

He said there should be rigid adherence to the Festival budget with no room for additional expenditure. “If we budget $900,000 for Festival 2016, that is what is should be. There should be no bills coming in three and four months later...oh by the way there is a bill for this...oh by the way there is a bill for that,” said Honourable Christian.

15 Responses to “Unfair for local vendors to be owed almost a year - Hon Christian”

  • advantage never done (22/03/2016, 16:20) Like (13) Dislike (1) Reply
    Them conscience start to bother them now?
  • the other one failed (22/03/2016, 16:21) Like (12) Dislike (7) Reply
    I think we should make this man the new minister of culture.
  • just asking (22/03/2016, 16:31) Like (13) Dislike (0) Reply
    Why the hell he never told this to myrun and dr aint have a clue?
  • Nuff Respect. (22/03/2016, 17:48) Like (11) Dislike (10) Reply
    Lovely. Much respect to you Archie. Appreciate you speaking out.
  • SMH (22/03/2016, 18:20) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    He should tell this to his partners in government
  • voiceofreason (22/03/2016, 21:44) Like (21) Dislike (3) Reply
    But wait? Archie just find out that the artistes and vendors owed monies since August? Just a show. You are 8 months too late. Finally the monies are being paid so he now catch he voice. Not impressed.
  • Charley Rose (22/03/2016, 22:18) Like (12) Dislike (5) Reply
    I wonder if the populace is that dull as not recognise that Hon. Christian is bluffing his way into the minds of the electorate. It is a well rehearsed speech and playing with the minds of people. He needs to speak to the school children who he can play with their minds. The members of his party know exactly what he would say. I am not impressed with his presentation.
  • ann (22/03/2016, 22:59) Like (18) Dislike (5) Reply
    this fool should be lucky he saw two terms to get a pension
  • Political Observer (22/03/2016, 23:45) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    Government has a moral obligation to pay its vendors or contractors, especially small businesses ( mom and pop), in a timely manner. Vendors have their own obligations to meet, i.e., paying for goods, paying employees, paying utilities, rent, insurance; taking care of family needs.......etc. Government should not place orders for goods or services unless it has the appropriated funds to pay for them.

    Generally, government should commit to paying bills within 30 days. It is scandalous and unconscionable to procure goods and services and not pay the vendors or contractors for months. Pay the d....n people on time. Do ministers and civil servants go for months without being paid? No. So why should the "lil" man go months without being paid? If civil servants were to go even a few days without being paid, all hell will break loose. What is good for the goose should be good for gander.

    Moreover, can government take advantage of offered discount from vendors and contractors, i.e., net 2% 30. Is the process causing the delay in people getting paid on time and if so change the process? The Premier needs to issue a decree to Accounts Payable (AP) to pay invoices received within 30 days. To make this happen, departments must get certified invoices to AP in a timely manner. Further, the Premier should put together a "Tiger Team" to monitor and measure to payment process.
  • the doc (23/03/2016, 00:05) Like (7) Dislike (3) Reply
    To Ann. Archie did say at one point that he Archie only wants two (2) terms and that's it. When you really look at it he don't care about the people only him self.
  • John (23/03/2016, 00:09) Like (6) Dislike (1) Reply
    Why are all these foreign guys even running for government office?
    They came bere; improved their lives, but that is not enough for them. They think they should run the country.
  • Eagle Eye (23/03/2016, 09:25) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
    This ndp government is going to kill festival to
  • bvi (23/03/2016, 11:04) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Softball umpires didn't get paid for 2 years (2014 and 2015), it's going on 3 now once the league starts in April. Let us see if they will show up to umpire this year.


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