BVI News

Financial hardships plague D9 residents; eat into district’s budget

Vincent Wheatley.

Ninth District Representative Vincent Wheatley has said money allocated to buffer the financial hardships of Virgin Gorda and Anegada residents took up the second-largest share of his constituency’s $155,000 budget last year.

Addressing residents last Thursday, Wheatley said the most substantial allocation of the districts budget was $49,235, which went towards special educational grants for students studying abroad.

He said $32,574 was disbursed to Ninth District constituents who were in need of assistance because of job loss. That sum was also used to assist persons who needed help in repairing their homes.

The third-largest portion of the 2019 budget for the Nith District amounted to $29,780 and was allocated for sponsorships, Wheatley said. He said constituents would approach him to sponsor pageants or for them to attend various workshops.

In the meantime, $24,950 was spent from the district budget to assist senior citizens; many of whom were not receiving a pension. That allocation was the fourth largest spend, Wheatley said.

Other allocations

Wheatley also said $17,000 was used to support families who lost loved ones. He said the sum was specifically used to assist them in purchasing caskets. Another $18,302.21 went to schools where students of his district attended.

Funds in the sum of $4,500 were channelled towards medical expenses, another $6,000 was spent for what Wheatley described as ‘religious purposes’, while $5,655 was spent on training and education.

Wheatley stated that there was another category within the budget allocations called ‘Other’ where the sum of $14,881.44 was disbursed towards cleaning up of the Sargassum in Handsome Bay and towards events in which young persons stood to benefit, among other things.

Overall, a total of $153,642.65 was spent.

“Every member is given a certain amount of money to spend in their district. These funds are to help persons with various needs, whether medical, financial, it is the public’s money that was given to us to assist you … and to make sure that your life is a little better than when we first came,” Wheatley said.

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  1. Bleak 9th District Tourism History! says:

    “Financial hardships plague D9 residents; eat into district’s budget” – Rather frightening. Yet in the aftermath of hurricane Irma, we were rated among the $36,000 average wage earners.
    Isn’t that something?. What’s wrong with this picture? In the 9th, particularly Virgin Gorda with a population of perhaps a mere 5,000 (if so many), how can that be? The 9th has likely sold more land and islands than the rest of BVI, especially to wealthy investors; Sir Branson owns 2 islands (Mosquito and Necker island), Larry Page of Google, Eustacia Island, Oil Nut Bay Developers, 300 acres
    +, Levericks Bay, Savannah, Pond Bay, Crooks Bay, Spring Bay, Valley Trunk, LDB, more high end tourism development than other BVI areas, including the popular Little Dix Bay/Rosewood, Bitter End, Biras Creek, Saba Rock +++. Meanwhile said fortunate investors continue to be exempt from various taxes (land transfer taxes, import duties, Hotel Aid concessions etc. Meanwhile the children and offsprings of said former Land owners, continue to earn their living wages by working for the New Expat landowners and in more minimum wage positions. For example, at LDB/Rosewood opened since 1964 was opened in the 9th, but as far as this blogger is aware, no positions higher or other than Head of Housekeeping and Human Resources being the highest position obtained; nor scholarships granted by any of said wealthy investors.
    By now, or earlier than now, it should be obvious that though Tourism is and can be a vital part of a country’s economic development that government hasn’t demanded more, (especially in the area of scholarships and understudy) nor employees benefitting beyond mere pittance. Meanwhile after 50+ years history and sold 3 or more times are LDB/Rosewood still allowed to import workers with 5-year contracts w/housing.
    Most amazing is that for such a fantastic job by the country leaders, We reward them after a mere 8 years in office, with some 50% or more of their usual earnings, plus the lush benefits of Jet-setter travel, above average salaries compared to other political positions in the Caribbean and beyond. How can that be; unless we consider ourselves to be oil-wells and mineral-deposits Rich? Rude Awakening Times BVIs!

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    • Concern says:

      Financial hardships were created post irma with all the hotel closures in the 9th district. Several people were forced into retirement due to age, as LDB didn’t rehire etc. LDB is open again, but the other major hotels are still closed, and prior to closing employees were giving small pay outs. Do you think that would sustain some for 2+ years without finding a new job if they good. Some folks in the 9th are doing small odd jobs to make ends meet, as they can’t find full time employment, if all they knew was hospitality.

      Seniors in the 9th were always given stipends in all prior governments (this isn’t new), but could be even more now, or even an increase due to Irma. Many seniors in the 9th had severe damage on homes or even lost their homes, and many of those homes were built cash, no insurance.

      I don’t agree with your assessment of the 9th when you are truly not living the reality of the people of the 9th. After Irma, the 9th had to do for themselves as the capital only favored Tortola – so if Mr. Wheatley finally is looking out for his people the way the government should have ALL the people, then so be it. At least he has receipts to show how he spent funds unlike past district leaders.

      Leave 9th leader alone, he is doing a fabulous job.

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      • @Concern says:

        My post is not at all towards any critique of Hon. Wheatley or the government; at least not the current government; but going back to like forty years and beyond and as far as the 60s; when supposedly most of the Big Ticket land deals took place.
        Finally the 9th is beginning to get some attention. Hopefully Hon. Wheatley is taking note and is up to the challenge to accessing what is wrong and Fixable and get to work. There’s a lot to fix and rearrange. The lands and islands are already gone..and likely not redeemable. Some of the Fixables might include introducing the idea, even a policy of say 2-3 years understudying an expat employee in management perhaps filling that position because a local couldn’t be found”; similarly to how it happened at the Director of Public prosecution office. The lady from the UK held the position for the past two or three years, just prior to her leaving stated that the young lady, her deputy was up to assuming the position and is now occupying that space. Is there any reason why LDB/Rosewood shouldn’t be able to hire a local Chef for once in 60 years, or an assistant manager, or the General Manager’s secretary? Peter Island was opened about 12 to 15 years since LDB/Rosewood; yet they turned out not one but 3 local Chefs including Chef Willow Stoutt who ran Maria’s By The Sea kitchen for several years; now doing his own thing.
        The problems Hon. Wheatley highlighted didn’t however happened mainly because of Irma; though Irma caused the spotlight to shine through. Poverty doesn’t happen in a single year or a single incident. but in many cases could have been brewing.
        @Concern, again, please don’t see my post as being against Hon. Wheatley. He highlighted and explained what he discovered did about the needy situation in the 9th. What I’ve been writing about here is a way of how we can work to empower not bail out.
        Some years ago when Richard Branson had newly bought Mosquito Island. Management had a meeting arranged at the Ashford Waters Community Center to discuss his new acquisition of Mosquito Island and wanted the community’s input of how we wished to see it developed.
        There were about twenty person at the meeting; but the few there were, they put forward some really strong points; including contributing toward scholarships, which of course would have meant higher management later on. We told them that we didn’t wish to see Mosquito Island become another private island like Necker Island where locals were barred from entering and that apart from working at Mosquito Bus boys waiters, bartenders and maids alone, that we would wish to provide the ancillary services; (watersports, Airport pickup services, fishing and day excursions etc). They had agreed to meet with us at a future date but didn’t happen. In all fairness to Mosquito Island Development, they are still in the development stage so it is to be seen what it will eventually grow into

    • @ Black 9th District Tourism Industry says:

      This what happens when legislation is formulated and passed through the urgency for immediate financial gratification and non-supple business and negotiating minds, and done so without a historical perspective orapproach.

      Last, the historical facts pointed out are damning indeed. The territory, especially the 9th -D has been completely sold out.

      It financial and land resourses are completely in the hands of non-locals. Thta, in historical perspective is a death sentence for the BVi, its people and future economic growth and prosperity for it citizens..

      Pittances will be our way of life for the centuries on.

      Like 4
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    • Facts says:

      That 36k is based on salaries of the financial services sector of which most are expats. The average worker in the BVI making 16-24k. This has always been a problem.

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