BVI News

Budget debate kicks off today, only one Opposition member present for start

The budget debate for the 2020 fiscal year kicked off in the House of Assembly (HOA) on Friday, December 13 and only one member from the parliamentary Opposition was present.

The debate — which can be described as one of the most important parliamentary sittings in any given year — was originally scheduled for Thursday, December 12, but was later postponed hours after the expected start time.

Speaker of the HOA Julian Willock, issued an apology at the beginning of the session, stating the rescheduling was due to technical difficulties experienced by his office.

Meanwhile, after only three minutes into the start of today’s session, the Opposition that comprised only one of five members was invited to make contributions to the debate.

None was given by the lone Opposition member — Sixth District Representative Alvera Maduro-Caines. The session then advanced to the private ‘Committee stage’ of the proceedings.

When the House reopened to the public later, Premier Andrew Fahie moved a motion to allow the debate to be reopened so members of the Opposition who were absent to make their contributions.

When BVI News contacted Opposition Leader Marlon Penn following the morning session of the House, he said: “I was at the hospital and informed the Speaker that I would be late until 11 am.”

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  1. Huh? says:

    At 2:03 PM when this article was posted, Hon Penn was already in the house and Mitch was on the floor… this is really not right to report what happened in the morning as kicking off at this time. It’s almost half way through the afternoon.

    Like 8
    Dislike 4
  2. Mmm says:

    You mean up to now alvera can’t give a statement in the house? She going always be quiet? We need strong female leaders to take over. You have been in house long enough to give a contribution impromptu.

    Like 8
    Dislike 1
  3. BVIlander says:

    The article is right to report their lateness or absence. Half of the legislators take the house of assembly for a joke and are either late or no shows.

    Like 11
    • Haha says:

      We the people should shoulder the blame. Mark didn’t want to run, he changed his mind then quit when he won, changed his mind again and the idiots marched for him to return now he doesn’t care about the job. If this was your private employee nobody would tolerate that behavior.

  4. Diaspora says:

    “Transformation for resilience and sustainability: SMART strategies, Empowered People, and Green Development’.” Nice catchy jingle. But? Undoubtedly, the VI budget needs some structural adjustments. Budgets have been increasing over the years while the quality and level of service delivery is diminishing. Productivity, accountability and budget execution need review and assessment. Further, the high cost of employee compensation needs to be reduced.The 2019 projected budget is $414M.

    Per Wikipedia, the VI has an approximately GDP of $1B, per capita income of $34K (19th in the world)……etc. What is expected outcome? Nuff stuff on bucket list: health, education, environment, economy, infrastructure (roads, water, sewage, electricity, drainage, gas), transportation (road, airport, seaport, ferry, parking), sports and recreation, retirement unfunded liability, social services, tourism, constitutional review, policies and procedures update……etc Here are some stats for 2017-2019(projected):

    1. Total revenue=$311M
    2. Total expenditure=$339
    3. Employee Compensation =$122M (36% of exp)

    2019 (projection)
    1. Total revenue=$362M
    2. Total expense=$331M
    3. Employee compensation =$120M (36% of exp)

    1. Total revenue=$323M
    2. Total expenditure=$281M
    3. Employee compensation =$121M(43% of exp). Territory decimated by a 100-year flood and two monster cat 5 hurricanes in 2017.

    Moreover, every four years VI voters dutifully go to the polls to elect 13 members to the HOA (9 District, 4 At Large) to represent them. Thus, there are only a few reasons that members can be excused for not being punctual or absent from HOA meetings. The budget authorization and appropriation process is vital for effective governing. Every member should be at the HOA during budget hearing to partake in the discussion of how scarce resources are allocated. By the way, the HOA meets infrequently so why cannot members fulfill their obligation to voters and the territory and be on time? Anyone that cannot be on time perhaps should not be in the HOA. Serving in the HOA is a privilege, not a joke.

    Like 13
  5. Quiet Rebel says:

    There will probably some back slapping and high five/ing about the national budget reaching over $400M (proposed $414) for the first time and two years after the monster category 5 hurricanes Irma and Maria in Sep 2017. Further, though the VI national budget is increasing, the level of services is trending toward downward. The VI budget is higher than many other regional countries but may be yielding less than these countries. For example, per the CIA World Fact Book for 2017, St. Lucia had a national budget of $402M, St Kitts and Nevis $370M, Antigua and Barbuda $296M, St, Vincent and Grenadines $222M and so on.

    Serving in the HOA should be an honour and a privilege and members should treat the HOA with reverence. Members need to get their da…n asses to the HOA on time and do the people’s wuk. The HOA is not a social club where members can stroll in when they feel like it or at all. West Indian time is not applicable to the HOA. What if civil servants stroll in when they want?

    Like 10
  6. Meh Belly Hungry says:

    Increment, increments, increments. Give them to the people.

    People need their increments. All prices are through the clouds.

    Salaries are still underground.

    Like 5
    Dislike 2
  7. Heckler? says:

    How come the VIP Heckler not commenting on the absence of the Opposition from the Budget Debate start?
    Because he/she is bias… His/her sole purpose of existence is to throw mud at the VIP.

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