Got TIPS or BREAKING NEWS? Please call 1-284-442-8000 direct/can also WhatsApp same number or Email ALL news;                               ads call 1-284-440-6666

FS Neil M. Smith Out! On vacation

- Accountant General still on job; Confusion & questions loom as to who controls the financial portfolio of the Virgin Islands
The Email which has informed staff of the Ministry of Finance of Financial Secretary Mr Neil M. Smith's leave. Photo: Team of Reporters
The date for Financial Secretary Neil M. Smith's (left) return from vacation leave is unknown. Meanwhile, Acting Accountant General Laurel L. Smith (right) is still on the job. Photo: VINO/Facebook
The date for Financial Secretary Neil M. Smith's (left) return from vacation leave is unknown. Meanwhile, Acting Accountant General Laurel L. Smith (right) is still on the job. Photo: VINO/Facebook
Governor John S. Duncan OBE (left) at the press conference that was hurriedly arranged today, March 24, 2017. Photo: VINO
Governor John S. Duncan OBE (left) at the press conference that was hurriedly arranged today, March 24, 2017. Photo: VINO
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- It was yesterday March 23, 2017 that social network was abuzz with circulation that the Territory's youngest Financial Secretary and most powerful senior civil servant, Mr Neil M. Smith, was being forced out of office and was to be replaced by a United Kingdom national.

And so the 'fake news' kept on social media also stated that the Acting Accountant General Ms Laurel L. Smith was to join her boss on vacation leave.

Our newsroom, with our sources around every table in government, has investigated the matter. Firstly, we can confirm that the Financial Secretary Mr Smith will proceed on leave come Monday March 27, 2017 after discussions with Premier and Minister of Finance Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL).

Mr Smith’s return date is unknown.

Was Governor in on FS vacation?

Governor John S. Duncan OBE today March 24, 2017 at a press conference hurriedly arranged, after being exposed by this news site’s accurate story about his overreach into the Treasury and lying about it, told the press he only "heard about the FS leave."

In fact, when asked by reporters about it, he responded "I have heard that he is intending to go on leave. I have discussed it with the Premier and I am assured that the Premier has matters in hand to make sure that his absence on leave is not prejudicial."

A senior National Democratic Party (NDP) source said; however, that Governor Duncan and Mr Smith never met to discuss his leave and, infact, the Financial Secretary decided on his own to proceed on vacation.

Mr Smith, who has served two Administrations, both Virgin Islands Party with Premier and Minister of Finance Hon Ralph T. O'Neal OBE and now the NDP Administration of Premier and Minister of Finance Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL), has come under fire in recent weeks over misinformation.

He has admitted that his office, the Ministry of Finance, provided inaccurate information to Premier Smith, which he used to fire back at Governor Duncan after the Queen’s Representative announced his historical use of Sec 103 (b) of the Constitution to instruct on how funds are to be used.

Acting Accountant General still on job

Our newsroom can also confirm that to date the Acting Accountant General Ms Smith is still on the job and has not been instructed to take vacation leave. It remains unclear if that will change in the climate of confusion and questions as to who controls the finances of the British Overseas Territory.

The Financial Secretary Mr Smith, an indigenous Virgin Islander, is the son of former Director of Public Works and retired Permanent Secretary Mr Bennett W. Smith. The FS is an electrical engineer and holds a Master's in Business Administration. 

49 Responses to “FS Neil M. Smith Out! On vacation”

  • concerned citizen (24/03/2017, 20:48) Like (34) Dislike (2) Reply
    And if you think it's going to get better, it's not: the British are coming.
  • ... (24/03/2017, 20:50) Like (23) Dislike (11) Reply
    Death by a thousand cuts. I'll be watching.
  • ann (24/03/2017, 20:53) Like (32) Dislike (3) Reply
    In some government departments, the abuse and lack of funds are suffered in silence.
  • Ms. P (24/03/2017, 20:56) Like (40) Dislike (2) Reply
    This entire issue is unfortunate, as is the underlying issue of an incompetence Minister of Finance
  • time out (24/03/2017, 20:57) Like (22) Dislike (7) Reply
    Mr. FS, grow up or get out!
  • pressure (24/03/2017, 21:07) Like (15) Dislike (0) Reply
    Burst Pipe!
  • hello (24/03/2017, 21:23) Like (28) Dislike (13) Reply
    I am tired of this man just cutting cutting our Departments money every year. Where is the savings going? School children say you will hear....
  • tretretrete (24/03/2017, 22:24) Like (21) Dislike (1) Reply
    The BVI is in pure trouble......for his Deputy his limited experience in managing public finances at that these hard economic times...
  • belonger (24/03/2017, 22:33) Like (2) Dislike (15) Reply
    Obamacare upheld by US Congress. Donald Trump replacement health bill was dead on arrival to Congress.
    The Governor now begins to implement his strategories, more shake up to come in top tear of the Civil Service.
  • ccc (24/03/2017, 22:56) Like (28) Dislike (11) Reply
    Niel is a good man he has a good heart
  • Blind (25/03/2017, 01:02) Like (13) Dislike (1) Reply
    The government trying to throw blame on all kind of heads but how things suppose to run smooth if their main focus is to spend and not receive funds by find ways to export products. And making sure offices are collecting and not taking the money. A budget is only good if you collect/receive funds. A budget is not actual money it's an estimate as to what you think you'll make or spend.
    • budget (25/03/2017, 06:41) Like (15) Dislike (0) Reply
      I agree with you. Most department heads do not know anything about the budget allocated​. All they see is figures on paper and they believe it's money in the Bank, so they spend like crazy
    • @blind (26/03/2017, 07:27) Like (1) Dislike (2) Reply
      Export product? What product? Are u that really blind?
  • yes (25/03/2017, 01:03) Like (16) Dislike (7) Reply
    MItch you open your mouth and talk crap now the governor is showing you the hand thats in charge, let them know who is in charge.
  • concern (25/03/2017, 03:50) Like (25) Dislike (5) Reply
    Was he qualified for the job or was it a political favor? Why did he leave electricity dept.?was there no one in the civil service who could do the job? Time for this government to see that giving political jobs do not work. Give the jobs to virginlanders who can do the work. NDP GOV. has a number of lessons to learn from. They have the country messed up. How will he carry out the governors warrant on vacation?
    • My Dear (26/03/2017, 19:53) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      The Gov warrant which the Governour informed the public was 800 thousand. when in fact it was 1.8 million?
      FS did what the right thing. Informed the Premier about the lie and then excused himself from the matter.
      Would you want to put your signature and approval on such a historical lie and become a participant in history of such deceit?
    • Mack (28/03/2017, 04:40) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      @Concern: Neil is one of our own. Go and hush your trap.
  • wize up (25/03/2017, 03:54) Like (14) Dislike (0) Reply
    the British done here: some of us thinking the next election will between VIP/NDP or any local political group might be in for a big surprise.....

  • lord o. (25/03/2017, 07:09) Like (22) Dislike (3) Reply
    We can't be hypocritical, we've being calling for the governor involvement to investigate the large over spending on projects without giving us justifiable reasons...Also spending tax payers money like its from a tree in their parents back yard.. We've being calling on the governor for action, it takes long but the action now starts...
    • Tax Refund (25/03/2017, 11:34) Like (5) Dislike (3) Reply
      How come we don't get a tax refund?
      • ------------------- (26/03/2017, 23:14) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        Pay attention folks, this isn't that hard.
      • loi (27/03/2017, 10:59) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
        Because compared to other countries you don't pay no tax to bawl about? If you want tax refund then you have to pay more
  • Jack B Nimble... Time to listen (25/03/2017, 07:31) Like (12) Dislike (1) Reply
    It's been along time coming.. Ms. Please warn them, they supporters begg them. Switch up the thing. They never listen.. Hard to talk to people who think they know it all.. I'm not surprised.. I'm bracing for more... These once rich and beautiful Islands will be bring to shame by the British... Because of.. "God Knows" Switch up the thing now before it's too late. Move Ronnie to Finance, put Myron Health.. Then you all figure out the rest...Time to listen.
  • Mirror.. (25/03/2017, 07:42) Like (18) Dislike (0) Reply
    It will be Better. We had a similar problem the last time when Ronnie was Minister of Finance. We were damning Doc for handing finance to Ronnie.. if money is cheese and the people in charge are proven to be Rats. Then we bring in the Cats...It can't get no worse..
  • No qualifications (25/03/2017, 07:50) Like (27) Dislike (6) Reply
    What qualifies Mr Neil Smith to be the FS? A degree in electrical engineering? So No accounting degrees? Wow..... and you see why the finances cannot be run properly! This is one of the most highest positions in Government. Let the qualified outsiders come in and straighten this mess. Since it appears incompetence is at the highest level.
    • @No Qualifications (25/03/2017, 11:43) Like (15) Dislike (7) Reply
      You clearly missed the MBA degree in the latter part of the sentence. Do your research on MBA programmes and what is taught. Plus he would not have made it through two different administrations in the post if he wasn't qualified. The Acct. General needs the hardcore Accounting degree and professional accounting certifications. The FS needs a business management and a financial management background.
    • rewrsdffds (25/03/2017, 12:07) Like (13) Dislike (2) Reply
      In all fairness to Neil, despite the fact that he does not have an accounting/finance degree he was seconded to the IMF where he was given the necessary training. However, he should have been supported by a certified accountant. His deputy is even less qualified for the job .... No experience and no accounting or finance degree.
  • Wow! (25/03/2017, 08:04) Like (8) Dislike (5) Reply
    I'm surprised that none is commenting on VINO's email caption. If this was sent out to Government users how did they get it??? It's interesting to me.
  • Just saying (25/03/2017, 08:30) Like (3) Dislike (13) Reply
    Give ronnie finance
  • 3rdworlder (25/03/2017, 10:31) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    These positions require backbone
  • BREAKING NEWS (25/03/2017, 11:23) Like (4) Dislike (2) Reply
    • Deputy/Budget (25/03/2017, 16:54) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
      Doc should have sent the bearer of false information home and not the Head who had nothing to do with it. When you want correct information why not ask who knows and not who you favor and think they might know. To me the ENTIRE BUDGET unit must go
  • Concerned Citizen (25/03/2017, 11:33) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    Top Civil Servants are supposed to advise the Ministers in following proper Government procedures. What happen here? How did we reach to this? I know that the FS is a model Civil Servant who knows his job.
  • truth be told (25/03/2017, 13:34) Like (2) Dislike (3) Reply
    The FS is another one of ronnie mistakes
  • W*F (26/03/2017, 08:04) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply

    Don't take the fall for those £$$%^^& crooked politicians. They have to make it look good, so Neil had to suffer. Governor Duncan, please don't stop until all these degenerates are brought to justice.

  • Shameful (26/03/2017, 11:15) Like (6) Dislike (3) Reply
    The acting accountant general needs to go as well. It has come to this point that experienced workers not because you are there long enough to understand the process but you need to know that when a problem arises you know what to do and would make the relevant recommendations despite the challenges. We can no longer play around with the importance of money when it comes to the territory to use and put as a bandage to our problems or a quick fix. It was a bad move from the start that Ms Smith was hired but giving her the benefit of the doubt to act I would have thought that by know a replacement would have been made. We are in some serious times when it comes to finance and i believe in these two areas we should have top qualifiers by certification and the experiences. Government be wise; Proper people positioning prevents problems.
  • cay (26/03/2017, 11:36) Like (9) Dislike (8) Reply
    When is dr smith going take his leave?
    • !! (26/03/2017, 17:15) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      Right. Talk about people in the wrong job. Both he and doc Picko should revisit their medical field. History will not be kind.
  • Pay attention (26/03/2017, 20:13) Like (3) Dislike (2) Reply
    Immediately after revealing that Gov Duncan was requsitioning 1million 800 thousand and not 800 thousand as he the Governor announced to the public, Neil, made the decision to leave. Evidently, he does not want to be a party to Duncan's questionable agenda. Good move Neal. History will not be able to show you or Dr Smith were involved in this disaster. Duncan's appoinment of the current leadership of the opposition is an indication of his intent ....Pay Attention!!!
  • rattie (26/03/2017, 22:28) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    This speaks volume as to why Dr. Smith's legacy is so tarnished. Hope he can read between the lines as to what his own people and FS are saying.
  • wow (28/03/2017, 07:25) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    When will the people put the NDP on Permanent Leave?
  • Interested (30/03/2017, 09:09) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    The buck stops at the top.Dr Smith knew that finance was not his forte,but pressure from within and pride made him hold on to finance.Everyone has their level of incompetence and finance is his.I lay the blame at his feet and nowhere else.He should have heeded Ms Parsons exhortation.Now we are under the thumb of the U.K. government.

Create a comment

Create a comment

Disclaimer: Virgin Islands News Online (VINO) welcomes your thoughts, feedback, views, bloggs and opinions. However, by posting a blogg you are agreeing to post comments or bloggs that are relevant to the topic, and that are not defamatory, liable, obscene, racist, abusive, sexist, anti-Semitic, threatening, hateful or an invasion of privacy. Violators may be excluded permanently from making contributions. Please view our declaimer above this article. We thank you in advance for complying with VINO's policy.

Follow Us On

Disclaimer: All comments posted on Virgin Islands News Online (VINO) are the sole views and opinions of the commentators and or bloggers and do not in anyway represent the views and opinions of the Board of Directors, Management and Staff of Virgin Islands News Online and its parent company.