BVI News

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Gov’t spends millions on rent every year

The RJT Edifice in Road Town is one of a number of buildings government has rented to house departments such as Her Majesty’s Immigration.

Millions are being spent yearly to house various government departments in rented accommodations in the British Virgin Islands.

That is what statistics from the Ministry of Finance for the last five years has indicated. The statistics say government spent more than $30 million during that five-year period.

Last year, the budget allocated for rent for these government departments was $6,286,571 but only $6,087,400 of that sum was spent.

In 2016, the sum of 6,522,505 was budgeted for rent but a total of $6,651,193 was spent.

The budget set aside was in 2015 totalled $6,308,215. However, only $6,071,934 was paid for rent that year.

Statistics show $5,638,599 was allocated for rent in 2014 but government is said to have spent $6,114,474.

In 2013, the sum of $5,465,702 was set aside for rent but $5,232,956 was used.

Recovery is the main priority now

Financial Secretary Glenroy Forbes told BVI News he is not aware of any plans to erect any new government buildings to house its departments and he believes “government will be renting for a while [longer] still”.

Forbes, however, said he is willing to propose to government that they erect structures to house departments still operating from rented space.

“But that is not something that is to the forefront right now. At this time when there are so many competing needs – we need to rebuild the country,” he noted.

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19 Comments

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  1. Lodger says:

    Any guesses as to who the landlords are?!

    24
    1
  2. Hmm says:

    Only that I thought it was alot more

  3. the new party says:

    THE POLITICAL COIN IS DIRTY ON BOTH SIDES…BOTH THE VIP AND NDP GOT TO GO…THEY BOTH RENTING FROM THEIR CRONIES AND COSTING TAXPAYERS MILLIONS

    26
  4. Big Lot says:

    Like Wow! This is nothing new and has been going on for the past 40 years. If I were the government, I would tell landlords what I was paying. Take it or leave it. Some of those buildings don’t worth 2 cents of the rest they charging

    13
  5. Hmmmm says:

    Why are we acting brand new to this? Schups.

  6. Retired says:

    Back in the early 90’s the Central Administration Building(CAB) was built on an extension of Wickhams Cay I. The 9 member Legislative Council was led by the VIP during those years. I recall that the CAB was highly publicized to become the ‘modern new centralized’ seat of the BVI government. It appears that this grand plan failed.

  7. Only Angels says:

    Here’s a controversial suggestion – lets trim the public service. Then there will be less need for rented space to accommodate people who are sitting around working on their private business while waiting for increments and 20 years to pass so they can get full retirement in exchange for poor performance.

    29
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    • Silent says:

      What about the politicians who get a much bigger salary than those civil servants, spend the majority of their time working in their own businesses and are often absent from the house of assembly when meetings are called? Did I mention that they can retire after 5 years and get full pension?

  8. Ratepayer says:

    As “strupes” said, it’s cronyism – pure and simple. This is how our governments (on both sides of the aisle) pay out to their supporters.
    Examples are all over!

  9. Political Observer (PO) says:

    The high average $5M annual real estate rental cost benefits a few, ie, cronies, personal interest…….etc at the expense of the many. The need for space will not reach a vanish point, for even if the bloated civil service is trimmed space will be still needed. As such, government needs to invest in constructing and owning space. The long term cost of government owning space will be less than renting. True, there is an initial construction cost but after that there will only be operations and maintenance cost, along asset capitalizing as needed.

    Moreover, government has an obligation to taxpayers to operate and deliver services at the least cost. Additionally, governments in small island nations by necessity become major direct and indirect employers. Nonetheless, they must operate efficiently and effectively with accountability, responsibility and transparency. The next government must commit to efficiency, effectiveness and productivity. It must invest to last, ie, more than 1 year lifecycle. Taxpayers need value for money.

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  10. Bring the Brits says:

    The government is bankrupt. There is going to be 1,000 government employees laid off. Who is going to occupy the rental space? The politicians and their families own the buildings that the government rents. Hmmmm. Does this sound like Somalia, Uganda, or the rest of Africa? Well where did the politicians and ruling families learn this corruption. They come by it naturally.

  11. Curious. says:

    We are all guessing at who benefits from the rent .
    It is our money so why is a list of properties and rent values and terms of the leases not available on line for us ,the renters , to view. We should also be allowed to see what we get in each building for OUR money such as area rented ,rate /sq ft , condition of building , fitout provided. Then if we cutdown on space we can obviously pick out the price gaugers and eliminate them first. Otherwise if financial services give up any space the pressure will be on for government to expand into that space so their cronies can pay their mortgages. Tethered should also be a comparison of rental costs done to compare what government is paying against what financial services are paying.

  12. A says:

    fix up prospect reef and use it

  13. FIA says:

    A matter for the Financial Investistigation Authority and the police if the allegations above are suspected to be true. $/soft and occupancy rates vetted by the AG will either vindicate or provide better information.

  14. Not at the forefront right now?? says:

    “But that is not something that is to the forefront right now. At this time when there are so many competing needs – we need to rebuild the country,” he noted.

    When has it EVER been at the forefront? Simply kicking the can down the road in the hopes of never having to deal with it. Granted, Government building its own spaces won’t only cost them in terms of initial outlay and political votes, but also in terms of actually needing to MAINTAIN their property and INSURE it for the welfare of the staff and building users, which they will be obligated to do, mark my words.

    Given that maintenance culture is not exactly strong in the territory (for Government and private landlords alike) and that the cronies would need time to get into the insurance game so that they can benefit by the time Government is ‘ready’ to house its own, I wouldn’t hold my breath on this being at the ‘forefront’ anytime soon.

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