BVI News

Gov’t has no intention to cut civil service

The central administration complex in Road Town that houses several government offices. (GIS photo)

Premier Andrew Fahie has dismissed public rumours that the government plans to layoff civil servants because of the economic downturn triggered by COVID-19.

In a recent interview with 284 Media, Premier Fahie said cutting the civil service is a last option for his government. He said his administration’s aim is to diversify the economy in order to generate revenue that will help to maintain the country’s current expenditure.

“The last thing we want to do is cut any public officers from the payroll. We want to make sure that we can maintain what we have and get more efficiency, improve government services, continue with new industries … and continue to create more avenues so that persons can have more opportunities for jobs in the territory,” Premier Fahie said.

No forced retirement

The leader of government business also dismissed claims that his government plans to force public servants into retirement once they’ve reached 65 years. He said he has personally heard the rumours but has not been able to determine how they started.

“Nothing has been given as a policy, we have never discussed that so I do not know where that one came from. What I would say, though, is that 65 years is the age that is allowed for retirement. No one in Finance has told me that this is a policy that they are bringing forward. I’ve not heard that as yet so I will have to wait and see because in this country we have more rumours than facts,” Premier Fahie said.

He continued: “But if this is one that is going to be a policy, as Minister Of Finance, I will tell the people of the Virgin Islands, as of right now, sitting here, no one has told me that this is a policy. I’ve heard it just today, just like everyone else.”

As the government has not made a public statement on the country’s finances, no one knows the exact financial loss the BVI has suffered since the COVID-19 outbreak triggered a total economic shutdown earlier this year. 

However, Premier Andrew Fahie recently told BVI News that the BVI economy is performing as expected given the global COVID-19 pandemic, which has been affecting the territory.

 

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23 Comments

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  1. Worrying says:

    Surely the Covid pandemic has highlighted at least one public servant that is not doing a good job. A number of civil servants have stepped up to the plate, but many many others have not. If they were not all voters, I suspect they would be having their jobs cut. The BVI can not afford to maintain the bloated civil service.

    Like 22
    Dislike 29
    • Public Officers says:

      As a public officer I thank the Premier and his team for how they are handling this virus.

      Like 11
      Dislike 16
      • What’s with the officer nonsense says:

        Why does everybody who works for the Govt have to be an officer – they are actually public servants

        Like 4
        Dislike 1
    • My take says:

      Dam if you do and dam if you don’t. This is what all governments around the world is facing when it comes to dealing with any matter because of this CoronaVirus. I really think our Premier and his Government is doing far better than most of us thought they would. They are not perfect but they are doing good.

      Like 13
      Dislike 6
    • Private Worker says:

      By the number of dislikes at the above comment from “Worrying” we can tell exactly what percentage of Civil Servants come online and post, and click like, dislike etc. … now that’s worrying.

      Like 10
      Dislike 4
  2. Hot air says:

    Yes indeed the Foy intends to keep Civil Servants because it’s the only way he can stay in power and not be lynched. However, with no money to pay people, there will be a delay in pay checks. Foy’s motto “ keep those in government happy and fed and let the rest die out. Eliminates the opposition”.

    Like 26
    Dislike 10
  3. Clearly says:

    All over the world Covid-19 has created many financial issues. We pray that our Government will continue to be able to limit such effects in the BVI. They are doing a good job.

    Like 15
    Dislike 10
  4. Government in debt says:

    The VIP Government has run out of money and will shortly need to borrow >$100M. Why would you not try to reduce costs? It is a political game they are playing with our economy..

    Like 20
    Dislike 6
  5. Heckler says:

    Another raid on SSB money bag is due

    Like 21
    Dislike 2
  6. vip heckler says:

    We all know that this guy has a problem with the truth….You really dont know when this guy is speaking the truth….No wonder people dont trust him

    Like 17
    Dislike 15
  7. pagu says:

    When andrew say walk>>>>>>>>>RUN!!!!

    Like 15
    Dislike 21
  8. strupes says:

    This is the same man who cut salaries on the port..Just a reminder.

    Like 14
    Dislike 1
  9. Cut the Service says:

    I am pleased that you will not do anything to cut civil servants. But the service needs revamping. Too much workers and little work. A lot of these positions can be combined. We as people still not being grateful that we have a job. We go to work and still perform at the minimum. It’s time to clean up.

    Like 14
  10. Hmmmm says:

    This is why they are the loudest and always calling for lock down this and close that, because they get their sure salary whether they show up or not, but I would like them to do some research and see if a ‘free lunch’ is something that lasts.

    Like 9
    Dislike 3
  11. Diaspora 3-D/360 says:

    Like all other small sister regional countries, the BVI government by necessary is major employer, employing approx 3,000 employees of the approx 13,000 workforce. Covid-19 has shutdown the economy, manifested in massive unemployment and a hard decline in government revenue. This situation is definitely putting a strain on government revenue and may pose challenges in maintaining civil service at current levels. Thus, understand Premier Fahie’s desire to cut civil servants as a last resort.

    Nonetheless, prior to Covid-19, the civil service was bloated and is still bloated. Some structural adjustments are needed. But it is a political hot potato that no neither government nor opposition will touch with a 17 foot pole. Instead, it is passed from one government to the next, continuing to linger as an unsolved problem. Government employs about 3000 employees, which equates to 1employee per 11 residents ( ~340000 population). In the 2020 budget estimate, employee compensation is approximately $124,397,282 of the overall $414,008, 611 that equates approx 30% of budget.

    The civil service falls under the purview of the Governor but it is funded by local taxpayers and needs to under local control. In any event, it is a royal mess and needs to be restructured from its size, improved service delivery, retirement contingent liability……..etc. The retirement contingent liability is well north of $300, 000, 000. In regards to retirement funding, it is not funded from a sinking fund to which active employees and government contribute. Retirees compensation are on a pay as you go system. If government have to cut back, retirees annuities can potentially take a hit. Government needs to develop and put a plan in place to develop the most service to the most people at the least cost. It must work to cut inefficiencies, fraud, waste, abuse, duplications……etc; it must work relentlessly to improve effectiveness.

    Moreover, the HOA is not exempt from any structural adjustments. Currently, the HOA is made up of 9 district reps and 4 at large reps. At the district level, that is 1 rep to approx 3777 residents and at district plus at large, it is 1 rep to 2615 residents. With improved transportation and telecommunications technology, does a small territory need that many rep?

    Like 5
    Dislike 1
  12. Big says:

    If that’s the case why the prison budget cut 1000000 and counting we always gonna be last in everyone’s list always

    • E. Leonard says:

      Though there are no current intentions to trim the public sector, Covid-19 and resulting fallout may drive some structural adjustments to the public sector. The VI economy is small, service-based and fragile with tourism and financial services being the twin pillars. They, along with government services, are the major employers.

      Covid-19 has exposed the the structural weaknesses in the economy. It has adversely impacted the fragile economy, resulting in significant unemployment and a decline in government revenue. Reduced government revenue impacts government operations that can include personnel cuts.

      Moreover, civil servants are the engine that drives the territory and are the lifeblood that carries the oxygen of public life. Though often maligned and caricatured, they are indispensable and the lives of residents would be chaotic without them. Simply, civil servants make government work. They are the workhorses that makes things happen.

      Thus, to protect the public sector, government must actively managed the civil service to keep it strong, functional, flexible and resilient. However, to manage it effectively, must know its current state, what is needed to effectively deliver services…..etc. For decades, school chiren have been saying that the civil service is bloated and a structural adjustment is needed.

      Nonetheless, government is a major employer and any potential adverse structural adjustments will have political fallout so everyone wants to maintain a hands off approach. However, procrastination is not going to solve the problem. The problem and solution have to be actively managed to have the least desired impact for both employees and service delivery.

      As a start, government needs to commission a public sector structural adjustment, modernization, sustainability and resilient study. Other regional countries, eg, Barbados…….etc have conducted public sector modernization studies and have made structural adjustments.

      • Quiet Warrior says:

        Government paid a consultant to conduct a civil service assessment, did it not? If so whatever happened to the report?

      • @E. Leonard says:

        @E. Leonard,, a former civil servant having the back of current civil servants. The blind can see clearly that the civil service is bloated and needs cutting.

  13. vip heckler says:

    This is the same man who told Fraser after he won leadership of the party “I dont want the leader of the opposition position, i will leave you with that” Two days later he went to the governor and pulled the rug from under Fraser’s feet.

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