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Where did the $$ go? Caller disappointed in Gov’t for past 4 years

- Opposition Leader Hon Marlon A. Penn said cost of running Gov't too high
The people of the Virgin Islands continue to voice their dissatisfaction of the former National Democratic Party (NDP) administration. Photo: VINO/File
Opposition Leader Honourable Marlon A. Penn (R8) said Government has to find a way to better manage the recurrent expenditure of the country as it is too high. Photo: VINO/File
Opposition Leader Honourable Marlon A. Penn (R8) said Government has to find a way to better manage the recurrent expenditure of the country as it is too high. Photo: VINO/File
On April 2, 2019 Premier and Minister of Finance Honourable Andrew A. Fahie (R1) announced a national budget of $426,112,972, which includes $331,742,666 on recurrent expenditures. Photo: VINO
On April 2, 2019 Premier and Minister of Finance Honourable Andrew A. Fahie (R1) announced a national budget of $426,112,972, which includes $331,742,666 on recurrent expenditures. Photo: VINO
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- It has been well over two months that the National Democratic Party (NDP) Government was booted from office by the Virgin Islands electorate; however, the people continue to voice their dissatisfaction of the former administration.

It was on May 6, 2019 during the show NDP Radio aired on ZBVI 780 AM that a caller let the party know his disappointment.

According to the male caller, for the past four years the Government of the Virgin Islands had budgets averaging over $300M, which would have totaled over $1B over the 4-year period.

Where the money gone?

According to the caller, with that kind of money there should have been much more money in the Consolidated Fund and there should have been much more projects executed.

“How come we don’t have a resource centre in the BVI? How come we don’t have a proper airport? Why we don’t have better ports? Why we don’t have better roads?”

The caller went on to say he understood that in the last three years before the general elections on February 25, 2019 there was not enough money to support education and particularly for granting scholarship to H. Lavity Stoutt Community College.

“We didn’t have any money for scholarships… Something just didn’t add up.”

According to the caller the Virgin Islands, despite its small population, presents one of the largest budgets among the Caribbean islands but yet there is not much to show for it.

Manage recurrent expenditure better- Hon Marlon A. Penn

Responding to the caller, Opposition Leader Honourable Marlon A. Penn (R8) noted it is a frustration many share.

He added that one of the challenges is the cost of doing business in the Virgin Islands. This he said means the recurrent expenditure leaves little left for development.

In 2018 the then NDP administration announced a budget of $299.5M with a recurrent expenditure of $352.8M, a shortfall of over $50M.

According to Honourable Penn, the cost for running Government is too high.

Sending persons home not the ‘answer’

“We have to find a way to better manage the recurrent expenditure of the country. And the answer can’t just be sending persons home. We have to find a way to make the Government more efficient and we have done the work to make that happen.”

One of the ways Hon Penn believes the recurrent expenditure can be better managed is through E-Government.

“One of the ways we have looked at is through E-Government, through online services. We have developed the policies and the framework. This is why the Government was recently talking about the consolidation that is happening at Immigration and Labour. That is going to create more productivity in the labour market as persons now don’t have to come to Labour [Department] and lose a whole day of productivity.”

Hon Penn reiterated that a lot of the recurrent expenditure is through “inefficient operation and inefficient processes.”

On April 2, 2019 the Virgin Islands Party (VIP) Government announced a national budget of $427,657.383, which includes $331,742,666 on recurrent expenditures.

Meanwhile, the other persons on the NDP Radio show were Sixth District Representative Hon Alvera Maduro-Caines, host and NDP member Aaron F. Parillon and former President of the National Democratic Party (NDP) Youth Movement Mr Devin George.

14 Responses to “Where did the $$ go? Caller disappointed in Gov’t for past 4 years”

  • Yo (07/05/2019, 10:38) Like (19) Dislike (13) Reply
    These guys have the heart to be host a radio show, Ndp its over, whicj part u all dont undestand, bye bye!
    • @Yo (07/05/2019, 11:53) Like (12) Dislike (3) Reply
      Why should they this is a democratic society. Did the VIP go into hiding after they lost two elections? Personally I think they need to speak up and give the people answers, secondly they need to rebut on a lot of allegations that where highlighted on the campaign trail. Not saying we will ever put them back in but they want to speak let.
  • ccc (07/05/2019, 10:55) Like (22) Dislike (13) Reply
    It went in some of there pockets
  • BS (07/05/2019, 10:57) Like (11) Dislike (0) Reply
    People see govt and decided they will charge anything because it will be paid.
  • enough (07/05/2019, 11:18) Like (18) Dislike (2) Reply
    stop complaining about what is gone. Lets move on. This new site needs to move forward as well. You cannot advance in reverse.
    • @ enough (07/05/2019, 12:05) Like (3) Dislike (8) Reply

      we will never for get the pass so yo stay there with that sh*t!!!

  • @ enough (07/05/2019, 11:56) Like (9) Dislike (6) Reply
    Exactly. Focus on what the current government is doing. Really a few things that have been done in essence is no different from what the NDP allegedly did.
  • Short term memory (07/05/2019, 12:51) Like (11) Dislike (0) Reply
    Happy that Hon. Penn did not respond using the floods and catastrophic hurricanes of 2017 in his response cause he may have bee crucified by folk with short term memory for doing so. However I would imagine that 2017 -2018 plans by the then government would have been grossly affected by the noted weather occurrences. I think they did a superb job with the recovery efforts and it would have taken unbudgeted monies to do so much of which remains in the pockets of those complaining. At the current rate of spending we will see how far we get in 2023 + - adverse weather. Hold on!
  • Eyes Rolling (07/05/2019, 13:00) Like (4) Dislike (3) Reply
    My goodness can we move on!!!!! This is crazy are we stuck in reverse.....................
    • wize up (07/05/2019, 15:42) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
      @ Eyes Rolling: all the people of the territory wants to know where is the tax money: we speaking about millions and millions of dollars( as a matter of fact the issue is so serious the royal virgin islands police department is investigating likewise the auditor general have questionable government transactions: you sound upset
  • Hmmmm (08/05/2019, 06:29) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Hon. Penn, The purpose of the Central Administration Building was to be a one stop shop for everything. One issue I saw was Departments were moved out to rental spaces and the Floors at the Central Admin Building was redone with Marble etc.. for just the Minister and his direct staff etc... . So the High cost of renting, Second Water & Sewerage spends around 27 to 30 million a year on buying water and sending it into a broken distribution system and collecting about 2 to 3 million. Maybe a e-Water System can be put in place ( lol ) . Fix the distribution system, BiWater Contract coming to an end and What is being done with regards to a transition over to Government? People should be in there now working alongside the BiWater Staff now so in a few years they will take over. Unless you will sign an e-Contract. Baughers Bay Plant belong to the Government. It need to open back up and operate alongside BiWater. Turn Water & Sewerage into a Private Government Corporation not sell it, so it can collect its own money and move on to cut central Government Cost. Let Government Officers start contributing to the Pension Scheme instead of Government paying the full 100%. Lots of way's Hon. Penn . Summary, What Government need is a Business Manager.
  • E.Leonard (08/05/2019, 16:25) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Government should be producing a Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR), a set of financial statements, that should be audited by an independent agency and be available to the public. A CAFR shows where actual expenditures occurred. The budget is a financial plan and road map; whereas, the CAFR is an end of fiscal year execution report. Due to its small/tiny size, government is by necessity is a major direct and indirect employer. The territory’s small population and limited revenue streams means the cost share of spreading/disbursing the operating cost among each resident will be higher than in locales with larger populations and more revenue streams. Nonetheless, every effort should be exerted to eliminate waste, avoid duplication of services, improve efficiencies and effectiveness, enhance productivity, consolidate services, leverage technology, determine the true cost of doing business, provide effective oversight, conduct audits, improve acquiring /procuring goods and services procedures and standards, pay fair and reasonable prices for goods and services.....etc.
    • Quiet Warrior (10/05/2019, 07:11) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      “Nonetheless, every effort should be exerted to eliminate waste, avoid duplication of services, improve efficiencies and effectiveness, enhance productivity, consolidate services, leverage technology, determine the true cost of doing business, provide effective oversight, conduct audits, improve acquiring /procuring goods and services procedures and standards, pay fair and reasonable prices for goods and services.....etc.” No brainer! Let’s do this ting.
  • RealPol (09/05/2019, 10:15) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Real talk and real deal. Government should commission a study on reducing government’s operating cost. Trimming the bloated civil service should be the outcome of such a study. 20th Century needs employed in the 21st Century. With the availability of technology, no need for as many paper shufflers. Retrain folks on 21st Century needs and get rid of the dinosaur processes.


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