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Premier backpedals on no gov’t layoffs guarantee

Entrance to the Central Administration Complex where the main Government offices were located before the hurricanes.

Premier and Minister of Finance Dr D Orlando Smith is apparently backpedalling on what was a guarantee that no government worker will be laid off.

Though noting that the government has ‘no current plan’ to lay off public servants, Dr Smith said: “We have to continue to assess and monitor the situation with government expenditure and income, at the same time, doing what we must do to continue to stimulate the economy to be able to go back to where we were.”

The finance minister made the statement while being questioned by opposition member Julian Fraser during yesterday’s sitting of the House of Assembly.

Dr Smith had also been grilled for answers about layoffs yesterday by Opposition Leader Andrew Fahie.

Fahie challenged Premier on the categorical statement made in a press conference late last month that there would have been no reduction of public servants.

While responding to Fahie, Premier Smith said: “When I gave that answer to the press, there were no intentions of releasing any public servant. The answer to this (Fahie’s) question is that no decision has been taken with regard to reducing the public service.”

Following the September hurricanes, there was widespread speculation that government does not have enough money to continue to pay all its workers.

Fear of layoffs was heightened after the government was considerably late in making payroll on more than one occasions.

Several residents in the private sector lost their jobs after hurricanes Irma and Maria laid waste to numerous businesses, homes, and other properties in the British Virgin Islands.

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18 Comments

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  1. Albion says:

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 17 Thumb down 14

    Of course there are going to be layoffs. Almost every business in BVI has had to make layoffs, and the Government has a more bloated payroll than all of them. The Premier was crazy to even suggest that Government could somehow escape this crisis without reducing overall staffing.

    • Bossman says:

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 1

      A tricky topic… There are other areas within the public expenditure that could and should be considered before layoffs.
      Extremely contentious it would be and a real pity, as at this time the continuance of the government payroll along with insurance payouts are the only economic stimulus.

      • the Watcher says:

        Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 12

        Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

        • Bossman says:

          Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 1

          Rent for buildings not used would be a good start.

          • British Virgin Islands says:

            Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 9

            Thank goodness the Government is finally seeing what is going on here. The idea that we can continue to pay huge numbers of civil servants is ridiculous – especially when so many of them try to make life difficult for anybody doing business here.

  2. watcher says:

    Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 20

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    • Disgusted says:

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 2

      How about laying off all those employees who are running a private business while being paid by government.

    • Mmhmm says:

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

      **NEWS FLASH** I know you lot like to think that you’re a developed country BUT [dun…dun..dunnnnn] the BVI IS a third world country.

  3. abc says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

    Dr D O Smith’s M.O. is becoming more apparent

  4. Politricks says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

    They treading carefully on this one as they understand full well the present temperature of voter anger and frustration is at boiling point and public officers are a major voting bloc

  5. rastarite says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

    It’s all politics. You lay off public servants and you lose votes. But in reality the bloated civil service needs drastically reducing.

  6. HMMMM says:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

    I am not sure of the number needed to be retrenched but I hope they consider what that would do to an already struggling economy!

  7. Socrates says:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

    The civil service was bloated before Hurricane Irma laid waste to the BVI. The BVI economy was battered and some structural adjustments will be needed. Personnel have to be considered in the adjustments. The adjustments may include a 32 hour vice a 40 hour week so that less employees are furloughed. A compressed work schedule may be in order: 4X10 hours.

  8. Looks like... says:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    Looks like the premier needs to take the advice his wife was giving to employers within the private sector the other day. I mean…seriously!

  9. Costs says:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Many government salaries and the perks are extraordinary. If they were paid a decent but not excessive wage, they would still have a job and a comfortable life and there would me more money for new training and initiatives.

    Many other big companies need to pay their due taxes and not just ignore them because they are Belongers or BVIslanders.

    As for job creation, how many businesses has the BVI chased away or made close through strangling with not processing permits and licenses in recent years. It has to stop as killing off diversity in industries gives fewer not more opportunities people.

    We need to clearly demonstrate this will stop.

  10. Jealousy says:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

    Stop the complaining and criticism. We are a third and fourth world country and you still here. That means where you from is a six and seven world country.

    Stop being impatient people. Government did not cause the storms to come. Give them time to make their decisions.

  11. About Time says:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Simple Math…Less money coming in so less money needs to be getting paid out. Expenses need to be evaluated and if its not needed then its gets cut… staff included. The government needs to use this as a opportunity to get rid of all the non performers just like the private sector.

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