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VI Gov’t spends $8.9M annually on renting office space- Premier Wheatley

Following the passage of hurricanes Irma and Maria in September 2017, a number of government buildings were damaged, including the Ralph T. O’Neal Central Administration Complex. Government offices that were affected had to be relocated to whatever property was left intact or available, increasing the rent bill. Photo: VINO/File
The Government of the Virgin Islands spends some $8.9M annually to rent office space, Premier and Minister of Finance Dr the Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley (R7) has disclosed. Photo: GIS
The Government of the Virgin Islands spends some $8.9M annually to rent office space, Premier and Minister of Finance Dr the Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley (R7) has disclosed. Photo: GIS
PARAQUITA BAY, Tortola, VI- The Government of the Virgin Islands spends some $8.9M annually to rent office space, Premier and Minister of Finance Dr the Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley (R7) has disclosed.

During his Budget Address given at the Sixth Sitting of the First Session of the Fifth House of Assembly (HoA) at Eileene L. Parsons Auditorium, H. Lavity Stoutt Community College campus at Paraquita Bay on Tuesday, November 21, 2023, Dr Wheatley said his government is committed to reducing expenditure as monies saved can be channelled into development work.

He said one expense his government we would like to reduce is the rent paid to accommodate Government offices.

‘We must prioritise repair & reconstructon’- Premier

“For us to reduce the $8.9 million spent annually on renting office space, we must prioritise the repair, renovation and, where necessary, reconstruction of Government buildings. We have done this on Virgin Gorda, Anegada and Jost Van Dyke, as mentioned earlier,” Dr Wheatley stated.

Following the passage of hurricanes Irma and Maria in September 2017, a number of government buildings were damaged, including the Ralph T. O’Neal Central Administration Complex. Government offices that were affected had to be relocated to whatever property was left intact or available, increasing the rent bill.

The Premier and Minister of Finance said; however, that even before the hurricanes, some public buildings had been allowed to become unfit for occupancy, and alternative facilities had to be rented.

$3.3M allocated for repair of Admin Complex

Meanwhile, the Premier said the Minister of Communications and Works and his team have been pushing the work on the Ralph T. O’Neal Central Administration Complex and that the sum of $3.3 million has been allocated to advance the restoration and renovation of the Administration Complex “so that we can get our Ministries back under Government-owned accommodation.”

Some $8.92 million has been allocated for the construction of the Halls of Justice building, and $4.6 million for the fit-for-purpose building for the Department for Disaster Management and the Emergency Operations Centre.

Dr Wheatley also announced that funds have been allocated for renovations to the Water and Sewerage Building, Public Works Building, and the fire stations at Road Town, Virgin Gorda and other fire stations throughout the Territory.

23 Responses to “VI Gov’t spends $8.9M annually on renting office space- Premier Wheatley”

  • Anonymous (28/11/2023, 09:13) Like (8) Dislike (2) Reply
    Ronnie gets most of that so he is compromised as the opposition leader give the post to Marlon
  • My 2 Cent (28/11/2023, 09:34) Like (17) Dislike (1) Reply
    well look them got a set of office space up on the hill is best them use them pay off SS lolol
  • Lb (28/11/2023, 09:49) Like (3) Dislike (23) Reply
    Thanks to HC. I do agree to centralize government offices for customer convenience.but that 8.9 million is stimulating the economy and ensuring that landlords can pay their mortgages and employees. Can’t look at everything as just bottom line dolllar figure. You are responsible for the economy and not just profit loss statement. Make sure the outside rent we are paying is not inflated just because it is government and consider still renting spaces. The cost of maintenance the admin building might end up being the same money you trying to save but not stimulating the economy.
  • Foolish (28/11/2023, 09:52) Like (2) Dislike (13) Reply
    So what's wrong with that? It's money in the local economy.
    • A Capitalist Who Loves the BVI (28/11/2023, 10:39) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
      "It's money in the local economy." You can say the same thing if you pay one person to dig a hole and then another to shovel the dirt back into it.
    • resident (28/11/2023, 12:35) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
      This is money that could be spent on schools, roads, health facilities, social housing. Sure, it is money "in the local economy" but only in the same way that the government gifting me $89m would be 'money in the local economy', and also in the same way that the government instead spending $89m on - for example - educational infrastructure would be "money in the local economy".

      Any money the government spends or transfers into the BVI is 'money in the local economy'.

      The difference (and the shame in the Government's failure to rehabilitate the Administration Complex) is in (1) how effective a particular spending arrangement is at stimulating the local economy and (2) what benefits society enjoys from that particular spending arrangement.

      In the case of government's unnecessary transfers to already-wealthy landlords who are more likely to save rather than spend and what is spent is more likely to be spent on themselves and outside of the BVI, the answer to (1) is 'not very', and (2) is 'few, if any at all'.
  • Real Macoy (28/11/2023, 09:55) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    The buildings on the hill owned by Social Security would have been good to use if they had adequate parking.
    But unfortunately they don't.
  • Millions (28/11/2023, 10:47) Like (17) Dislike (1) Reply
    $8.9 million, slightly less than the Premier's annual travel expenses.
    • @ millions (28/11/2023, 11:11) Like (2) Dislike (18) Reply
      You are unelectable so you will never get to travel on we the people, so eat your jealous heart out bam!!! VIP all the way
  • 2023 (28/11/2023, 11:18) Like (1) Dislike (3) Reply
    some of that money is being spent among our own families but what is funny a white gentleman came into our country he was paid something like 34 thousands tax payers money each month and every man mout was zip tied(no questions asked(once it come to our people we should tax the back seat in the BUS
  • Sowande again.. (28/11/2023, 11:41) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    You have the solution. Now make it happen.
  • $8.9 million annual rent (28/11/2023, 12:03) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Sure this number will negatively affect all the loan applications for funding various necessary infrastructure improvements in the BVI. Next there will be multiple tourists in the growing potholes!
  • WOW (28/11/2023, 12:17) Like (12) Dislike (0) Reply
    And, how many government officials (or their families) own the properties the govt rents?
  • Homberg (28/11/2023, 12:44) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Where is the eleven point five millions that was receive by NDP goverment from insurance for the admin building 11.5 millions where is it these people in power believe we stupid warning to dem aint going be no more marching u know stop dis madness we are tired and fedup of the folishness its a warning to all u tricksters get it right
  • Socrates (28/11/2023, 13:28) Like (14) Dislike (1) Reply
    $8, 900, 000. 00 per annum for rent. Wow!

    1. Is this maximizing budget efficiency of limited resources?
    2. How long has government been shelling out and average of $8.9 M per year for rent? Have government already bought new facilities?
    3. Would it not have been better use of taxpayers limited resources to have borrowed money, if needed, to construct government facilities to house employees and functions?
    4. Was this a deliberate plan to rent facilities from family, friends, etc ?
    5. Is the rental temporary, for government is closing down, relocating, etc
    6. How many square feet are government deficient to house effectively personnel ? What is the maximum square feet for a) ministers, b) department heads, c) managers and supervisors, d) storage, e) utilities , f) surge ( growth), etc?
    7. What is the cost per square foot for office facilities?
    8. Is it more cost effective to own or rent?
    9. Is government paying market rate for rent?
    • @Socrates (28/11/2023, 19:14) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
      To Socrates, you seem to have some facilities/ capital planning experience. You are asking the right questions, ie, how many square feet the government needs to house its people, and what maximum square footage is earmarked for each position among other things.
  • concerned citizen (28/11/2023, 14:29) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    I am very concerned by the spending of our 'new' government and I wonder if we have considered 'opportunity cost' in this discussion. How many years have the government office been under repairs and to what tune of expenditure?

    Is there another space that can be rented at a lesser financial pressure to the tax payers? has that been explored or have we just accepted the $ 8.9 Million?

    Have we considered opportunity cost in view of what can be done for that $8.9M in terms of sustainable repairs and advancement, our roads are a mess and I am sure I am not the only one whose garage bill have increased due to repairs or new parts.

    There are still so many suffering since the impact of the hurricanes ((2017) and stop beating that and making it an excuse and get serious about fixing the impacts of those hurricanes) and the inability to repair and secure their homes and businesses, can some of this $8.9M, help if a more economical rental agreement is sought?

    Yes the government is responsible for the growth of the Territory, but the government is not responsible or obligated to rent your place at an exorbitant sum, all of us pay into the tax system, so all should benefit from a pay out, not just a few, a selected few.

    Are we heaping debt upon the heads of our children and grand children to repay these loans? And what will they inherit for this commitment that was made before they were born?

    Because one premier made an agreement, a situational analysis should now be conducted to see if this is still a beneficial arrangement to the Public's purse and an explanation given as to the status of the government building and an expected time of completion.

    To have capital projects being carried on and on and on is unacceptable. If this is the case, the government should choose one or two capital projects and see them to completion instead of having unfinished projects drag on for years upon years.

    It is unfair to the Public's purse. I know that individuals would not have projects going on and on, if the money was coming out of their pockets so why does this seem to be the exception when persons take office? We thought in our minds that we have elected financially responsible persons but I think I have yet to see them emerging from this government. The focus seems to be spending from the hard earn money of the tax payers and jet setting all over the place under the guise of 'doing business'.

    I must think even harder when I return to the poles next election period and unless I see candidates who are financially responsible and serious about the BVI and not obsessed with jet setting here, there and everywhere my X will not be given.

    We have elected you to lead ... lead by being financially responsible and committed to the job assigned to you and not continue to jet set while our beloved country, buildings, institution and services (health services) continue to decrease in quality.

    I now ask on a ranking of Caribbean Islands, where does the BVI fall? For years the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis has been able to give their hard working public servants their salary and a bonus at Christmas, I have yet to experience that and I have been in the Government service for over 30+ years.

    Couple months ago we showed off a hospital to the OECS Health Ministers, but what level of services is being offered to us, where are our doctors and other medical staff, are they being paid for their valuable service, what is the doctor patient ratio - what are the oncall hours for our doctors, are lab and ultrasound and other services available after 4: 30 pm? If not why?

    Let us get better Ministers! We deserve better!!

    May God help us all .
  • GateKeeper (28/11/2023, 15:19) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    To Concern Citizen, ‘opportunity cost’ or imperative cost should be a cost in any decision , especially major decision, ie, what option(s) are being given up and what cost. The BVI is operating under the Westminster system, a flawed system which results in unqualified person(s) being put in critical positions, ie., financial positions. It also permits putting non-managers in management positions, creating Peter principling employees, promoting employees from a level of confidence to a level of incompetence. By the way,the Presidential system is only a little better.
  • Tear it down (28/11/2023, 15:59) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Bulldoze the white elephant admin building, tourist boardwalk from the pier park to QE2 with shops etc. BVI never going to stop renting its how the money circulates to cronies. (D'ya think PL going to say fine leave me with numerous empty buildings the private sector wont touch with a barge poll!)
    • GateKeeper. (28/11/2023, 19:09) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
      After monster Category 5 Hurricane ravaged the BVI l, several severely damaged critical facilities should have been razed, redesigned, and deconstructed. For example, Elmore Stoutt High School should have been razed, redesigned and reconstructed to maximized use of the space. The facilitiy/space should have been redesigned with a) gymnasium, b)cafeteria, c) combined indoor Basketball and volleyball court, d) a dual use high school and public library/learning resource center, e) sofballl/baseball/soccer field, etc. Ambitious yes, but was doable. Too much money and time have already been invested in the Ralph T. O’Neal Administrative Building to raze it now and start over. . I like the idea of a board walk from the Pier Park down to possible Clean Hole/ Prospect Reef. Road Town is dull and needs sprucing up with , eg, a SEA ( Sports, Entertainment and Art) district. Hon Luce Hodge Smith you listening. National hero Noel Lloyd and PAM fought gallantly to take back Wickhams from the apartheid colonialists exploiters. Let’s put it too good use. It is a design nightmare and should have been a window to the world. BVI typical emblematic poor planning.
  • Quiet Storm (28/11/2023, 20:53) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    To GateKeeper, a board walk and SEA District now that is out of the sandbox thinking.
    • @ GateKeeper and Quiet Storm (29/11/2023, 12:02) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      To GateKeeper and Quiet Storm,, a SEA District and Board would be nice additions to the BVI offerings but the reality is we cannot even keep with and filling potholes properly. So how can they manage these higher level projects?
  • asura (28/11/2023, 23:30) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Many of you on here telling lies seems like we need peace talks in my bvi

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