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VIP wasted public resources on private property

Former Minister of Communication and Works under the VIP government Julian Fraser outside the House of Assembly

The Virgin Islands Party (VIP), which formed the government in 2011, has been criticized for squandering public resources on private properties while the public infrastructure remained in disrepair.

In her report, which was tabled in the House of Assembly this month, the Auditor General noted that the VIP administration failed to discontinue the practice although concerns were raised first in the 1997 Audit Report.

The Auditor General explained that, based on Government policy, retaining walls and roads were to be constructed on private property for the purpose of:

  •  Compensating persons who give up land to accommodate expansion or improvement of public roads
  •  Preventing erosion of soil onto public roads
  • And preventing the erosion of property after the construction or widening of a public road

But, according to then Auditor General Sonia Webster, the VIP government of 2011 used public resources to carry out private work for reasons other than stated in the aforementioned policy.

“During 2011, the government continued to issue petty contracts for building private estate roads and retaining walls which did not qualify under the above criteria [outlined in the policy]. This type of activity is commonplace and a substantial amount of Public Works Department’s time and resources is consumed in performing assessments, costing, preparing petty contracts, and monitoring works carried out on private property,” the Auditor General said.

She continued, “There is now (in 2011) a widespread expectation by citizens that the government will carry out work on their private roads, while the public roads are often left in disrepair.”

REPORT: VIP handled finances poorly in 2011

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