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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