Financial allocations to electoral districts could be abolished under a Progressive Virgin Islands Movement (PVIM) government, PVIM candidate for the Fifth District, Wade Smith, has suggested.
Smith said if elected, those funds would be utilised ‘more wisely’ and diverted to areas of need.
He gave that indication during a PVIM rally in Purcell Estate on Tuesday. He said: “Over the last 24 years, all 13 of our legislators has been given what is called a district allocation; basically funds at their disposal. Each representative has received approximately $125,000 annually, totalling $1.625 million combined for all representatives.”
“And over [the course of] 24 years, you have a total of over $40 million — monies that could be used to benefit the entire Virgin Islands and not just individual persons and families.”
Other areas in need of those funds
Smith said the funds would be better spent in several other areas such as natural disaster preparation and recovery, assisting local fisherfolk, and subsidising the agriculture industry.
He said those monies could also be channelled to purchase teaching materials, pay annual salary increments, and put an end to government employees — particularly in law enforcement agencies — using their own finances to ensure that government operations continue.
“Fellow Virgin Islanders, this must stop,” the former Commissioner of Customs said. “At this time, when our economy is at risk and we are not generating revenues at the rate that we are accustomed, maybe it is time to re-evaluate the district allocation and distribute those funds to the government departments that require it to carry out their functions.”
He said too often heads of government departments are heard crying for more human and other resources.
“In recent times, government have been unable to provide the needed resources … Now is the time for us to be wise about the use of government funds and it is time to allocate the resources to the areas where they are most needed. A priority reallocation will be done under the PVIM government,” he said.