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Legislators need to have public conversation on fair HoA benefits – Hon Penn

Opposition Legislator, Hon Marlon A. Penn (R8) has called for legislators to start a public conversation on the way forward in terms of fair benefits as the House of Assembly on September 19, 2023, successfully made amendments to the Retiring Allowances (Legislative Services) Amendment Bill 2021. Photo: VINO/File
Hon Marlon A. Penn Legislators must receive fair benefits and not just the house making a decision for the sake of bringing peace. Photo: VINO/File
Hon Marlon A. Penn Legislators must receive fair benefits and not just the house making a decision for the sake of bringing peace. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – Opposition Legislator, Hon Marlon A. Penn (R8) has called for legislators to start a public conversation on the way forward in terms of fair benefits as the House of Assembly on September 19, 2023, successfully made amendments to the Retiring Allowances (Legislative Services) Amendment Bill 2021.

Mr Penn in a debate of the bill said moving forward, legislators should not be afraid to address the topic and have conversations with the public on the benefits package.

The bill was originally referred to as the 'Greedy Bill' and sparked public controversy as amendments granted legislators questionable lump sum payments, gratuity, and guaranteed salaries for an extended period.

Hon Penn said at the same time, legislators must receive fair benefits and not just the House making a decision for the sake of bringing peace, “So that's what I recommend… we also have to quickly look at the comprehensive solution moving forward and have a proper conversation with the public in terms of what is fair,” he said.

Benefits must match global standards - Hon Penn 

Hon Penn said what is fair must be comparable to legislators in the United Kingdom and legislators around the globe, including those in the region.

He added that a comparative analysis will ensure, “we're making sure that we're transparent with this process to the public and we're putting forward a fair recommendation in terms of how we move forward."

"So you have my support and us doing that Premier and us as a body looking at how we can get this done,” he added.

Meanwhile, Hon Penn said the elements of the bill left to address, still needs to be addressed comprehensively and in a more strategic way. 

He agreed with the Premier that it was time to move forward, and that the label given to legislators from the 4th HoA as 'greedy' is far from the truth.  


26 Responses to “Legislators need to have public conversation on fair HoA benefits – Hon Penn”

  • asura (21/09/2023, 12:03) Like (2) Dislike (2) Reply
    well you claimed you were against the greedy bill so go sit down!!!
  • D8 (21/09/2023, 12:10) Like (7) Dislike (2) Reply
    I can't believe what this man says because he passed the last set of ammendments to the bill and had no objections. The record of HOA is there to read & pull up & view & it will clearly show none of them who are now talking against it voted against it. So all of this is just a show.
  • my view (21/09/2023, 12:12) Like (4) Dislike (4) Reply
    Not matter what good a politician does most people will never view them in a fair light. It is a can't win profession.
  • Colonial mindset (21/09/2023, 12:14) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    Has anyone ever asked how much a Governor makes and what are his benefits? Most of you will be shocked that it makes elected officials benefits look like a joke. This is why the Governor position needs to be an elected one and be also held accountable to the people.
    • @Colonial mindset (21/09/2023, 12:35) Like (4) Dislike (1) Reply
      You are so correct. These colonial masters have the people so brainwashed with their white magic and evil enchantments that even most of our pastors can't see them for who they really are. They mastered putting us to fight each other and not them. They matered at always having us look at each other & our leaders as corrupt and not them. I pray that God wake us up sooner rather than later and see these people for who they really are and come out from under them.
    • @Colonial mindset (21/09/2023, 14:21) Like (0) Dislike (2) Reply
      Did you research to ascertain who pays the Governor's Salary and Entertainment funds?
      • To @Colonial mindset (21/09/2023, 14:40) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
        The issue is not who pays but how much he is paid while having more autonomy than elected officials through a Democrat process and the Premier of the country while doing little to nothing all day but organize mischief and plots to try to destabilize in way their hands look clean so they can engage in bloodless takeover attempts. In addition to the UK paying Governor salary & their benefits which is lucrative, the BVI Government pays for his expensive car and gas, the driver, security, the upkeep of the house & office, local staff(they don't see what the UK staff sees), butler, chef, domestic staff, entertainment, all his needs, among others that the local Premier nor elected officials do not recieve. I hope this is enough research for you to show the imbalance of the benefits & powers of a Governor versus the Premier as well as all elected officials. If the local government was receiving and paying for all those things they pay for the Governor then most of you would have been hitting the roof all now. This is why your hypocrisy is disgusting.
  • Come on (21/09/2023, 12:17) Like (6) Dislike (1) Reply
    While I am not for all parts of the bill how in the hell can this fool try to put the salary of elected people in BVI or the Caribbean to be that of global standards. Sometimes I wonder if this guy does any research or if he just speaks from his @#$.
  • Not popular (21/09/2023, 12:19) Like (2) Dislike (4) Reply
    All have to remember that politicians are people with family also and their job is a thankless one with no time off and not a 9 to 5 job. They can never please all and always being criticized. Their life is a batering ram for all and few truly care about them. In the past 40yrs in BVI our leaders have done far more good than bad and they must be commended.
  • Ok now (21/09/2023, 12:21) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Now this dude done sell out his people out to the colonial master for power and didn't get it, he is here trying to appease the public's ears. He is nothing but a fraud.
  • The Street (21/09/2023, 12:24) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    The word on the street about this guy is not good. Soon you will hear. Any man who can't take care of their home and be truthful & trustworthy to them will never be truthful & trustworthy to a country.
  • Legal Advisor (21/09/2023, 12:30) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    This Retire Bill is a good Bill & has been around for more than 50yrs. Some of the ammendments to it in the last HOA were good and some excessive. However, the present elected officials must becareful not to try to gain political points with a few of the agreived public against the last HOA ammendments to the Bill and do the right thing and get all the correct ammendments done now or when they retire a dog will live better than them and their family. I am only giving advice because all the past long serving and Stallworth BVI politicians who retired are living like dogs and so are their families because of ppor benefits but no one cares about them because they are no use to them anymore. This is not right. It must be resolved.
  • BVI LEADERS I SAY THANK YOU (21/09/2023, 13:01) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    We need to emancipate ourselves from mental slavery and stop letting the UK, Governor, & their prearranged COI & preauthored 48 recommendations coupled with the few locals who assisting them with their plot make us doubt ourselves and our leaders. If they are doing good vote them back in. If they are doing bad vote them out. But the truth be told they have done well with room for improvement. The list of good works is long but here are some of them...
    1) Building a new major revenue generator with shipping registry
    2)Built a sound Financial Service Industty
    3) Save the economy & many lives during the worse pandemic in the last 100yrs
    4) Continue to rebound from the worse category 5 hurricane in 2017 (Irma then Maria)
    5) Build a strong economy that was a blessing to many locals and Caribbean people to build themselves and their family and their homes where they were from in the Caribbean and locally.
    6) Built a modern hospital
    7)Health care system is fully accredited and the only one in the Caribbean to achieve such.
    8) Built a college that has benefited thousands
    9) College was accredited
    10) Give status to 1000s of Caribbean people who helped to build the BVI
    11) Build homes for many needy people
    12) Educated 1000s of people with free education from primary to secondary to HLSCC.
    13) Build their people with 1000s of scholarships to study abroad who now have all kinds of qualification like Associates, Bachelors, Masters, Doctorates & other certifications.
    14) Build public schools on all islands and roads(these need fixing now)
    15) Free Shuttle bus service throughout the town
    16) Traffic turn around to help traffic in town of Tortola
    17) Put an extension of the college on VG
    18) Built a four lane highway in the town of Tortola
    19) Achieved direct flights from USA
    20) Always pass budgets on time and balanced
    21) Build the public service which was neglected by the Governor for years although it was his responsibility
    22)Build airports and seaports on all main islands
    23) Built and developed the tourism industry for which most people are employed
    24) Tax break for 1st time land and home owners
    25) Built & develop spotting facilities and persons
    26) Support with subsections NGOs and churches & other community minded social organizations.

    I will stop there for now but there is plenty more this young, up & coming BVI country has done on its own through ots people and our leaders and we need to celebrate the many good and not just be programmed by the few high powered evil ones as of late to name the few bad areas which all countries have. For me the next step is independence but the UK is trying to play with our minds to not trust ourselves and leaders so we would not be bold enough to take that step but it is the step to take. Long Live BVI & ITS PEOPLE & OUR LEADERS!!! HOLD OUR HEAD UP!!! OUR GOOD FAR OUTWEIGH OUR BAD!!!
    • Disinterested (21/09/2023, 15:54) Like (4) Dislike (2) Reply
      @BVI Leaders I say thank you, this is an impressive list but we need to keep things real and in true perspective. You are thorough so you deliberately left out a) the deteriorated condition of the roads, b) poor sewage system with raw sewage flowing in the street posing a health hazard and risk, c) poor quality and unreliable supply of potable water, c) frequent electricity brown out, d) shortage of teachers at public schools, along with poor working conditions, and poor maintenance and repair projects planning, e)lack of a comprehensive study for the increase in Alzheimer and dementia cases, f) skyrocketing cost of living, g) increase in property and violent crimes, h) lengthy time on remand for people charge but not convicted of v times, i) civil servants impatiently waiting for payment of increments, j) UK flouting unilateral power, putting its nationals in key positions, ie, police, prison, customs, etc.
      • @Disinterested (21/09/2023, 17:01) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
        You sound like a depressed person who see nothing good in anyone or anything in the BVI or even yourself. Find the perfect country and go live in it because you are a troubled child.
        • Disinterested (21/09/2023, 18:43) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
          @@Disinterested, so we celebrate the good and pretend that the bad and ugly is imaginary? We must talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly. Ignoring the bad and ugly is a factor in situation. Continue pretending…….
  • street reporter. (21/09/2023, 13:17) Like (1) Dislike (2) Reply
    What we really need is midterm election for ministers. Ministers only - Premier and back benchers exempted..- - Hold them accountable, force them to do work and to listen to and respect the people..
    • @street reporter. (21/09/2023, 14:46) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
      As long as the Governor is included in this package then I am for it because all need to held accountable and forced to do work and to listen and to respect the people.
      • Sambo (21/09/2023, 16:02) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
        @Street reporter, you Sambo make the dog sick with your low self esteem, lack of confidence in your own people, demonstrating lack of pride, demonstrating much altruism for the interest of others, failing to grasp that unity is power and strength, blind to seeing that you are being used , etc.
    • Mustang (21/09/2023, 15:34) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
      @Street Reporter, on 24 April 2023, voters did not go to the polls to vote directly for ministers, but for 13 members (9 district reps, 4 at large) to represent them in the HoA. The Premier appointed ministers to lead the various functions and can shift ministers around as and if needed. Ministers may need to be replace for other unforeseen events. So there cannot be an election which target specifically ministers who voters did not go to polls to elect in the first place. A mid-term election would have to be held for all elected members. Moreover, mid-term elections are not currently in the constitution and if a majority of Virgin Islanders want mid-term elections, a constitutional change would be needed. However, IMO holding an election every two years would not be productive. Instead I would advocate for a recall provision in the constitution for recalling members for a) poor performance, b) bad behaviors, c) violation of law(s), etc.
      • RealPol (21/09/2023, 18:50) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        @Mustang, real talk. A sensible, reasonable and practical post. Everything we see on TV must be properly evaluated for applicability, functionality and effectiveness before we adopt it, ie, mid-term election.
  • Socrates (21/09/2023, 13:38) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Marlon Penn, R-8, it is indeed a “Greedy Bill.” You are so full of yourself. I’m no fan of the colonialists but why do you think you are deserving of compensation at the same level of UK parliamentarians? Let me see, ministers of government are paid a base salary commensurate with their level of responsibility along with allowances, ie, $2000 per month housing allowance, etc. Opposition members and backbenchers receive a base salary for serving as a representative. They also receive allowance, including the $2000 per month housing allowance. Further, Opposition members and backbenchers can hold down other jobs, operate businesses, etc. Moreover, how often are HoA meetings held? How often are members on time for those meetings? Do most members come prepared for those meetings, winging it? How many often do reps hold constituents meetings? Are members serving for the compensation or to represent the people? Is self-interest the dominant factor in serving? What is the average ratio of a representative to constituents? What is the average ratio of a UK Parliamentarian to constituents? What are the order of magnitude of the size and complexity of bills passed in the UK parliament relative to the BVI HOA?
  • Sine Qua Non (21/09/2023, 14:02) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
    Serving in the HoA, is a sine qua non for this dude, for without the generous, greedy compensation, etc package, etc., this dude don’t want to play. And this dude wants to be premier. We don’t need any more “ Peter Principle” or cow boy leaders.
  • Health care (21/09/2023, 16:26) Like (0) Dislike (2) Reply
    My my look who talking all for themselves look at the benefits the health care (BVIHSA) has in place for it workers that bend over backwards for the goverment and ppl of the BVi during the August Monday floodingsthe hurricanes and this ongoing Covid pandemic the unsound HEROS who got nothing to say thank you but a 1% benefit to take home after them services ended either by contract or yrs of service ppl cant even pay rent with the pensions given and wunna HOA members thinking of wunna selves.
  • my view (21/09/2023, 18:50) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    I don't think the person who can satisfy all the wish list of all of you in the BVI has been created as yet. What a set of people
  • duh (22/09/2023, 05:38) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    An elected official should get paid $125 to 150k total per year in office and once you lose you are done. MAYBE They get one more year pay after losing while they transistion back but that is it. That means they earn $750K total for their 4 years plus a year in office. They dont need extra after that.
    Thry can pay into their own retirement scheme and get SS payouts like everyone else.
    That would also hopefully stop them trying to get kickbacks.

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