BVI News

‘I placed too much trust in my deputy, Wendell Gaskin’ — Former FS

Neil Smith is a former Financial Secretary under the previous NDP government.

Former Financial Secretary (FS), Neil Smith, said he may have erred in placing too much trust in his former deputy, Wendell Gaskin.

Smith made the assertion during last week’s appearance before the Commission of Inquiry where he was questioned about the controversial cruise peir project that was deemed to have more than 30 millions of dollars in cost overruns.

“Perhaps I had too much trust, but that is the way it was,” the former Financial Secretary told the COI. “I mean, this is a Deputy Financial Secretary, which is a heartbeat away from being Financial Secretary. You shouldn’t be concerned about that person’s ability to perform.”

The Commission was told that Gaskin attended nearly 90 percent of the meetings held by the Ports Authority Board during the time to cruise pier project was being conducted. Gaskin did so at the instruction of Smith who was an ex officio member of the board.

But Gaskin went in FS Smith’s stead so he (Smith) could attend Airports Authority board meetings.

“Mr Gaskin was — before he became Deputy Financial Secretary, Director of Internal Audit. So, obviously that’s a position where he should understand what the issues are. And because of the multiplicity of tasks that they had, I would expect him if there — if something comes up that requires my attention, that he had enough judgment to say, ‘well, you know, this is an issue’,” Smith told the COI.

He continued: ”But because of where he came from — his background as Director of Internal Audit, I had no cause for pause or cause of concern that he wouldn’t raise an issue if it came up [or] that he couldn’t deal with.”

Smith further told the COI that financial officers often delegate authority to others, just as he did in this case in delegating to his Deputy Financial Secretary, Gaskin.

Smith said he fully expected Gaskin to understand the relevant issues and to manage matters accordingly.

Smith was criticised in a COI document for not safeguarding the autonomy of the Ports Authority — both before and after the Ministry of Finance took over the project.

Allegations were raised that the Ports Authority, which should’ve had oversight over the project, was excluded after government’s Ports Minister at the time, Mark Vanterpool, commandeered the operation.

Shares

Copyright 2023 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

29 Comments

Disclaimer: BVI News and its affiliated companies are not responsible for the content of comments posted or for anything arising out of use of the comments below or other interaction among the users.

  1. Strange says:

    Seems like he throwing Gaskin under the bus. The blame game saga continues…although he was the FS. Why he didnt question his performance then?

    Like 33
    Dislike 5
    • Tye says:

      He not jus throw him under a bus. He strap him down an run over he then back over he body!
      It gettin nasty Lord!

      Like 20
      Dislike 1
    • Strruupes says:

      The first question is, did they have a working relationship? A blind donkey saw that those two were not getting along and thus doing their own thing. He know fully well he had no trust in W.G.

      As I listen to the former FS Evidence about that plane. He clearly was outside his league and put his faih and trust in men whom he should not have relied upon in the first beginning. And thus we have no plane and no 7 million

      Like 14
    • Badgyalbarbie says:

      He need to start calling out OS, BP, LS and the rest of his cronies… stop playinggggg

  2. heckler says:

    Throwing people under the bus is becoming the norm in the BVI now a days

    Like 19
    Dislike 3
    • And.. says:

      Where are you from? Trying to lay blame on others is part of human nature though not a healthy thing to do. Show me where this does not happen. I am sick and tired of persons being quick to condemn the BVI while here getting fat off of the BVI.

      Like 18
      Dislike 22
  3. Where does the buck stop? says:

    Does anyone in government past or current accept responsibility for anything that goes wrong under their watch?

    Every time people are held to account they conveniently throw someone under the bus rather than being forthright and assuming responsibility. Not good form and goes negatively against ines character.

    It’s always..It wasnt me. Shameful.

    Like 30
    Dislike 1
  4. Resident says:

    he didn’t trust throw him under the bus he reversed and drove forward over him several times

    Like 16
    Dislike 1
  5. Well Well says:

    @ Where does the buck stop?
    Next Election, I am going to vote for Shaggy

    Like 12
  6. Unconventional leadership says:

    Are you guys serious. Did you not read this present article and others. Where Mr spoke about doing more and second guessed himself. The FS should be lauded and commended for his work. Bvi is not void of capable people, bvi prefer sheep and cows to lead us even without a shepherd. Gaskin wasn’t thrown under the bus he belongs and should stay under the bus. The way he presented evidence at the coi would indicate that not only he deserves to be under the bus but let’s hope there is no bus stop in view. Mr Neil hold your head high sir. The bvi needs you. A candidate for minister of finance.

    Like 22
    Dislike 18
    • Rolling my eyes says:

      W.G. behavior was deplorable. I know he left there thinking he did well. Sir all you did was show the entire world how simple and petty you are.

      Like 17
    • Bono bibo says:

      The thing is, the FS is paid to make decisions on our behalf. If the decision is who to give work to then that’s something we are paying him to get right. We don’t expect the FS to do all the work himself but we do expect him to make sure he puts the right ppl in place and monitor them. If his deputy isn’t capable that’s something the FS should be on top of . Otherwise what the f**k are we paying him for?

      Like 15
      Dislike 2
    • @unconventional says:

      A whole “lauded”??? Oh my goodness, the COI think everyone in BvI retarded.

  7. SMH says:

    He right! He should have never put a 🐀
    to guard 🧀

    Like 9
    Dislike 1
  8. hmm says:

    …heard some of the government money was used as a down payment for … home. hmm

  9. @Unconventional leadership says:

    FS should be lauded for flushing $7.2 million down the toilet? Everything about the deal was bad from the beginning. By his COI testimony Mr. Neil Smith could only tell this in hindsight which means by definition he was incompetent.

    Like 15
    Dislike 1
  10. lol says:

    Only the deputy he shouldn’t have trusted? We shouldn’t have trusted them white man crooks in the first place… Invest in your own! We get exactly what we deserve with this deal it was bad from the start.

    Like 8
    Dislike 2
  11. When says:

    You are the head, you have to behave like the head. Sometimes we have bullies below us. But, if the deputy was already assessed as a bully, you should have gone to the meetings as well. WHY you relying on him? Is it that you couldn’t handle the BVIPA project? Government CASH accounting and straight-forward budgeting ain’t that hard! Cash in less cash out = a surplus or deficit (overrun). Budget versus actual results in meeting the budget, exceeding the budget or bettering the budget. I mean come on man! Take the bull by his horns. You are quite correct to say you throw it all at GW to take care of but as head you are still responsible and have to be held accountable.

  12. Am I hearing right? says:

    I do not know. If I am a financial secretary, my objective would be a bit more weighty and specific than ‘to see direct flights from miami to bvi in a profitable way’. Seriously? Someone’s resume stating that they served in the royal air force and just ‘came off the queen’s plane’was enough to provide comfort that the BVI should part with 7.2 mil? Really? The fact that the plan to have cash was primarily based on being able to secure a line credit, that was not even known before signing a contract, muchless what the requirements were for obtaining this line of credit? Really? Even if he gets a pass on all of the above, he says by the time he started questioning things, they had only parted with 500,000 – so how the hell you reach to 7.2 million thereafter and have the nerves to throw anybody under a bus? Really? Now the COI mussy think everybody in the BVI operating on 1/100th of a brain!! Struupes.

  13. watchman says:

    Well Gaskin was his boss’s political advisor. He was the deputy in title only. The whole Government failed on this front. Gaskin had more power in the NDP government than the FS had in Government affairs. The NDP. And they’re desperate to get in again with all this nonsense that brought the COI. I would have to be a fool to believe in their nonsense again. Look at them. They have more disunity than any other group but Marlon is declaring he is ready to be premier. Go hold a seat by a fowl pen somewhere.

    Like 12
    Dislike 2
    • Unconventional leadership says:

      @watchman you made my day. Haven’t heard fowl pen since I was a boy. Whether fowles have pens like pigs I love it.

  14. Ummm says:

    So he can outright speak bad about his Deputy but can’t outright speak about all the shady others. So sad. We need a disclosure order on his accounts as well then we making progress.

  15. SIMPLY PUT says:

    ITS A RAT RACE

  16. Insider says:

    The former FS need to be investigated

  17. Neil is a Truthful and hon Guy says:

    Neil I gave you much credit and respect for speaking the truth and where the chips fall where they fall. Who wants to see it as blame game or throwing under the bus have no respect for the truth..listening to you. You seem to have these issues with the incompetence of the Premier and your deputy on your chest for years and wanted to get it off, finally you find someone who wants to listen.The COI was willing to listen and you let it out.. This De**** his name been stink on the street for years, he is rude, know it all bad behavioour, Listening to a conversation about him and it wasnt nice seems like his office was a brothel, man hardly anyone had a good relationship with. This the man VIP stoop so low to bring back..

  18. TurtleDove says:

    A good leader would have taken one for the team on this. The short coming was his ability to access his staff properly, not his staff not having the experience. A leader also takes responsibility not throw people under the bus.

  19. Hot Potato Chronicles says:

    These guys playing one setta Hot Potato mehson lol. “I didn’t know ask “. Like dude are you not THE ONE in charge????? Did you not sign YOUR name?????

  20. Shaggy says:

    It wasn’t me

Leave a Comment

Shares