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Smith apologizes for premier’s wrong info

Financial Secretary Neil Smith

Financial Secretary Neil Smith

The government has found itself in another embarrassing situation, which has prompted public apologies at the start of this week from Financial Secretary Neil Smith as well as Premier and Minister of Finance Dr D Orlando Smith.

The apologies came after the Ministry of Finance furnished Premier Smith with wrong information about the status of four cheques that were to be prepared for the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF).

Premier Smith, last week Thursday, relayed the wrong information to the public when he rushed into damage control mode; this after Governor John Duncan announced that he was using his constitution powers to force Government to allocate an additional $800,000 to the RVIPF.

At the time, Governor Duncan also said the staff at the Ministry of Finance had not been adhering to Premier Smith’s instructions regarding disbursement of funds.

Premier Smith, however, defended his staff.

Days later, it has come to light that the staff had provided Premier Smith with wrong information about the status of most of the cheques that were said to be ready for collection since last December.

In fact, none of the six cheques were ready for collection at the time. Two were only made ready for pick-up this month.

The financial secretary, in a media release from government yesterday, suggested that the errors regarding the status of the cheques were picked up during an ‘audit’ of the information transmitted.

“I am pleased that our internal processes were able to identify the discrepancies between what we communicated and what was actually obtained. We remain committed to ensure that all information and advice provided from the Ministry is accurate and factual,” the financial secretary said.

“I apologise to the minister of finance (Premier Smith) for this error, and on behalf of the ministry of finance hereby take full responsibility for providing the inaccurate information that was previously reported.”

The financial secretary, in the meantime, explained that the checks that were readied for the RVIPF in December 2016, and were available for pick-up as of March 16 this year related to:

  • Purchase of six interceptor vehicles and repairs
  • Maintenance and purchase of equipment of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force Marine Unit

The other checks that the premier referenced last week, but were found not to be ready for collection relate to:

  • The upgrade to the CCTV camera system
  • Purchase of Law Enforcement Equipment from TEC Supply
  • Renovation to cells at the Road Town Police Station by J&J Construction
  • Sanitary ware for cells
Premier Dr D Orlando Smith

Premier Dr D Orlando Smith

Premier Smith, in the meantime, said he has been given the assurance that such blunder will not happen again.

“I sincerely regret and apologise that some of the information which I reported to the people of this Territory on March 16 was inaccurate. It is very responsible that the Financial Secretary and his team take ownership for the inaccurate information, which they provided. I am assured that this should never happen again.”

“Very importantly, I have candidly discussed this matter with His Excellency the Governor and have updated him,” added Premier Smith. “As Premier and Minister of Finance, I always endeavour to report to you honestly, truthfully and accurately.”

The parliamentary opposition, on numerous occasions, also questioned the accuracy of Ministry of Finance information that the premier had provided to the House of Assembly.

Copyright 2017 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

23 Comments

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  1. TOL says:

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

    This is the first time the public know about such misleading and wrong information. I hope it’s not the last!!!

  2. well well well says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

    We cannot believe anything the NDP tells us.

  3. Hmmm says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

    The ndp lying to we the people from long especially in the House of Assembly.

  4. Poor leadership says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 3

    Ms P is correct the Premier is a poor leader.

  5. Please says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 2

    The Premier is to blame because he should have had enough sense to know what they send him to read could not be accurate but he & his gang just wanted to embarrass the Governor.

  6. NDP Supporter says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 0

    For a long time now I keep hearing the Opposition complaining that the information the Ministers giving in the House of Assembly is inaccurate. Now I believe them.

    This is an embarrassment. You can’t believe anything the NDP says.

  7. bv air says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 2

    The Premier was too busy killing the local airline so he didn’t get to check the facts.

  8. Samuel says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 2

    What the Premier did was pure ignorance, divisive and controversial.

    He ready to curse off Her Majesty’s representative for no reason except to soothe his ego. Same thing he did with Cline.

    Ready to fire suspend disrespect treat everybody like sh%#t that disagrees with his administration. Should we call this a soft Mugabe?

    • Disrespect says:

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

      Please don’t disrespect Robert Mugabe. Mugabe was a revolutionary leader in his earlier days. As he got older thats when things changed and greed set in. This Premier in all his years cannot live up to one year of Mugabe.

  9. WELL SAH says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

    THIS IS THING TO TALK. GET RID OF THE FS

  10. ndp heckler says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

    Incompetence at it’s best…We haven’t had a financial report in 10 years

  11. damage control says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

    These smith’s aren’t ready for prime time

  12. Hah says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

    The Premier continues to disgrace himself and the BVI. The blunders keep piling up.

  13. wow says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

    that a Donald trump Government nothing they say you believe they was lying all the time.

    time catch up with them now

  14. naked king says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

    Remember when the bald head minister said Ralph was the king without clothes. I guess you can now say that doc is the king with no clue. Hail the clueless King. Hip Hip Hooray.

  15. not good says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

    The ndp meet the BVI a country of Grace but now through them we are filled with DISGRACE!

  16. Political Observer (PO) says:

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

    Governor John Duncan, Her Majesty’s eyes and ears in the VI, pimp slapped Dr. Hon Premier D. Orlando Smith and his government, employing his Reserve Power to increase RVIPF allocation after the budget was passed in the HOA. Thus, the poor staff work by MoF personnel was a further embarrassing slapped in the face. This was not complete staff work.

    Will this be an ah well tory? Or will disciplinary action be taken? How did the staff get such basic information wrong? Clear failure to pay attention to detail. Further, did the Premier had or should have had knowledge that some of information he diseminated was false? Should not the Financial Secretary be taking a close look at info being provided to the Premier? How can the Premier going forward have any confidence in info provided? If there is no confidence in staff, should they be on the payroll?

  17. Respect to FS and Premier says:

    Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 12

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

  18. NDP X-Supporter says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

    I need the Smiths resignations. Please vacate our offices please and take your administration with you to Yemen.

  19. Ocho says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

    The Premier needs reliable staff. He cannot do everything and trust those in his employ to provide correct information.

  20. Watchman says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

    Premier’s Greatest Fails Vol. 1

    1. Firing Cline for speaking his mind.

    2. Writing a letter supporting a private foreign company against a local company in a matter he should not be taking sides.

    3. Falsely discrediting the governor by providing lies as proof in his defense.

    4. Stating that the economy is robust while owing thousands to contractors, government checks bouncing, projects like the new building for 6th form
    students being delayed due to lack of funds despite being announced years in advance and begging for toilet paper.

    5. Being scolded by the governor multiple times due to lack of transparency and failure to act.

    6. Verbally bashed by Miss.P in private letter being leaked to the public by an NDP insider.

    7. Back benchers not supporting the Airport project.

  21. BS says:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    Set of jokers

  22. lol says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

    I have lost all confidence in this government. This constant meandering from the truth and pandering to cronies has to stop.

    This is the final embarrassment. The Governor was right to bitch slap the Premier and the NDP government for their lack of any control or knowledge of the situation and blatant mismanagement

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