BVI News

Major red flags: Gov’t addressing ‘oversight’ in spending 11 years later

Premier Dr D Orlando Smith

A major concern has been raised over the general overseeing of the territory’s finances; this after several supplementary bills dating as far back as a decade ago have only now come before the House of Assembly.

According to the Virgin Islands Constitution, a supplementary bill must be brought to the House to ‘regularise’ or balance the territory’s accounts, for a given financial year, when monies allocated for a particular purpose were either underbudgeted or not budgeted at all.

Supplementary bills are usually brought at the end of each financial year but Premier and Minister of Finance Dr D Orlando Smith only introduced a supplementary bill for the year 2007, today (December 28) — a gaping eleven years after.

Premier Smith is also introducing supplementary bills for the years 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013.

Red flags

Newly-appointed Opposition Leader Ronnie Skelton — who served under the Smith administration up till recently — described the situation as “unacceptable”.

“We cannot continue to run the government in this kind of fashion. Whether I was over there (in government) or over here (in the opposition), it is unacceptable,” Skelton said.

Former Opposition Leader Andrew Fahie, in the meantime, said the situation raises several “red flags” with persons responsible for the finance portfolio.

“If it (the territory’s accounts) is off from all those years before, the question is: how far are we now, and what else will we find when we continue to dig over the years that we have missed? I’m not saying somebody willfully done it. But, I can’t say ‘not’ either because it might be something that somebody not being vigilant with their job in the Ministry of Finance over the last few years.”

Not about politics: This happened under VIP and NDP 

While noting that this massive accounting blunder spanned two administrations — the Virgin Islands Party (2007 to 2011) and the National Democratic Party (2011 to present) — government minister Myron Walwyn noted that the situation transcends ‘politics’.

He said the real issue has to do with technocrats that have been within the finance ministry over the years.

He said finance ministers should not be blamed for the problems within the ministry.

“Some of us give the impression as if a minister is responsible for every single thing in his ministry and he does every single thing — we know that is not true. Most times ministers deal with policy. Yes, they push people but there are technocrats on the ground who execute the responsibilities,” Walwyn said.

“I know the talk would almost suggest that the current Minister of Finance (Premier Smith) would have done something or not paid attention to something. This is not his job. Let us be real and be honest … Yes, he should have paid attention — perhaps he should have. But, we have a problem of capacity that we have to address at the core of what we are doing,” added Walwyn, who noted that these problematic years happened under the leadership of two different finance ministers from two different administrations.

All seven supplementary bills were tabled in the House after the Office of the Auditor General discovered inconsistencies with the finances over the aforementioned years.

“The bills, therefore … is to complete the process of regularising this over-expenditure … to ensure compliance with the Constitution and to bring the accounts in line with the Auditor General’s report. This is simply a cleanup exercise and there is no allocation of new monies involved in this process,” Finance Minister Smith told the House on Friday.

Copyright 2019 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

44 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. Anonymous says:

    Not to worry about the red flags now. The Treasury is empty, the Territory has borrowed with no way to pay back, the financial sector is going to be gone shortly and the recovery from the Hurricane has no means to be financed. Basically there is nothing left. Good job Islanders. Next up will be laying off of government workers, mass unemployment and crime will run rampant. Sounds like a bright future!!

    32
    16
    • reply says:

      I BIND THAT IN THE NAME OF JESUS!
      The Treasury will not be empty…
      The territory will pay back ALL that the Country owes…
      The Financial sector WILL remain and/or prosper more than ever…
      The recovery of the territory from the hurricanes will be paid in full…
      Eyes haven’t seen nor have ears heard what BLESSINGS the LORD has prepared for this nation…
      NO GOVERNMENT WORKER WILL BE LAID OFF…
      There will be so many Job opportunities available…
      And Crime WILL be at an ALL TIME LOW!!!

      Yes Our Future looks very Bright!!!

      39
      15
      • yes says:

        AMEN!!!!!!

        18
        3
      • Truth says:

        There was no Jesus so that won’t work. Yeshua is his name. So none of that will work b/c it’s all fantasy in your head. We need to start being progressive with our reality than burying our heads in the sand and calling a fake name for help. That is what got us here but for some reason we can’t progress past it.

        8
        10
      • Uh says:

        You smoking crack.This is thereal world not your pastors delusional fantasy land.Dream on…were rock bottom…God punished the fake Christians..like you.Now were all suffering..thanks..bind that you hypocrite.

    • @Anonymous says:

      Then all you RDA and other UK implants in top positions will snake your way back to where you rightfully belong.

      7
      12
      • Anonymous says:

        Christianity is the religion of the slave Master. The African has no connection to Christianity. Jesus isn’t saving you. Wake up and celebrate Kwanza

        8
        13
    • Abraham says:

      Our premier has ruined this country. His mismanagement is so blatant. His refusal to conduct due diligence on spending our money, his refusal to issue audits, the secrecy that he deployed to divert our money in directions we may never fully discover.
      He needs to apologize to us today and resign.

      13
      6
    • James says:

      Sound like a disgruntled Euro…n.

  2. Spilt Milk says:

    The question is who has the capacity as leader to find out where the priblems lie, what steps can be taken to rectify the problems so they are curbed, and how can we move forward together as a country. They are our problems! We can’t throw them away. Who has the capacity to move us forward? Let me hear the campaigns focussing on these issues not personal vendettas! I am patiently listening!!

    18
    • Noah says:

      We shouldn’t let the premier hold the finance ministry . Too
      Much power in one persons hands leads to mismanagement or corruption.

      3
      1
    • Oneal says:

      Our Premier and Finance Minister has grossly underperformed his duties. He has failed his people. As a life long public servant he took advantage of us and the trust that we extended to him. His legacy will be remembered as the hospital that sat empty for 10 years because it wasn’t designed or built to code. The 7.2 mill payment made in haste without any due diligence to a group of airline con artists. The massive cost overruns on public projects. The ruin we all live in with broken schools, broken roads, unreliable electricity, unreliable water, slow and expensive internet. This is what the third world looks like people.
      He likes to saw, when we go low and complain about these things he soars. Well certainly are low… third world low… and his fortunes have soared in his 16 years in office. Where did his family’s come from?

      14
      2
  3. Political Observer(PO) says:

    “ Some of us give the impression as if a minister is responsible for every single thing in his ministry and he does every single thing — we know that is not true. Most times ministers deal with policy. Yes, they push people but there are technocrats on the ground who execute the responsibilities,” Walwyn said. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot! Here is a news flash. A minister may not have his/her hands on everything that goes on in a ministry but he/she is da…n sure responsible for making sure everything gets done.

    A minister is responsible for what he/she does and for what was not done but should have been done. If a minister is not responsible for everything that occurs in a ministry, who is? Delegating the work to others does not relieve a minister of the responsibility. Furthermore, the Premier is responsible for what happens in his/her ministry, along with what happens in the other ministries.

    Moreover, the tardiness of these financial report is pure and simple poor accounting of the territory’s financial resources. How can government operate effectively if it does not have leading financial information? It cannot.

    34
    2
    • He is right says:

      You are getting the job if a minister and the permanent secretary or in this case financial secretary mixed up. If we continue to have these unrealistic expectations of ministers we will continue to be disappointed regardless of which party is in office. Yes, in theory the minister takes responsibility as the head but if you want to fix the civil service you have to work on building capacity. This is what I understand Walwyn to be saying and those of us who work in the service knows that he is right.

      5
      16
      • @He's right says:

        Foolishness. Somebody should have been fired long ago. He is responsible. If he did nothing then, he takes the blame now. Can’t have it both ways.

        25
        1
      • PO says:

        @He is right, no problem, for the bar is low and I’m that I will not do any worse; I will probably do better. Cocky, no;confident, yes.

    • RealPol says:

      @PO, real talk. Ultimately responsibility is in core leadership/management principle. Ever wonder why the farther up the food chain you are the greater authority, responsibility and accountability and the higher the compensation. If leaders do not want to lead, take responsibility for outcomes, they should get out the game.

  4. Blah Blah! says:

    We all know the BVI’s biggest problem is it’s bloated, overloaded, half-assed job doing civil service but we pretend that it’s the politicians’ fault. Look back at the last 20 years and despite having different parties and different ministers, show me what has really changed. We will either make hard decisions that are best for the Territory or keep tip toeing around things to save face and all head to hell in a hand basket together, simple choices.

    28
  5. Ah sah says:

    The NDP does not take responsibility for none of their actions.

    8
    1
  6. Sad says:

    Unacceptable. Some people should have been fired a long time ago. How can billions of dollars be release into the system every year and there is no breakdown to show how it was spent. This is not acceptable in any part of the world. The law has been broken this took so long. if there are persons under your leadership not performing their duties to get the records up to date or standard then why are they still there and the government is paying them monthly salaries. Before the hurricane this government was already broke how did the bvi get to this stage and what went wrong. I just hope one day we will get it right because the people have suffered enough the excuses the govt is given all the time show that they are confused and they have no idea what they are doing any then they will look for what to blame it on or who to Blame it on and yet they are the one in leadership controlling the system this is shameful solution time it time for a reset.

  7. well sah says:

    The bvi deserves the leaders it currently has; the people are so gullible. I am willing to bet that the Ministry of Finance and the Treasury department prepared the SAPs to correct end of year spending every year. The leaders of the opposition where also part of the reasons for any overspending. However technocrats do not make decsions on where to spend money nor do they take SAPs to the house. Why do we call these people honorable?

    10
    • @Well sah says:

      I would never address any one of them as Honorable, I would prefer to sit in a nest of red ants before I call one of those people Honorable.

  8. Be honest for once says:

    Ronnie!!!!, you had hands in the mess too. Be honest and come clean and said what part of the role you played. Now that you sitting up on the perch like the head/alpha rooster, tell the truth. What part did you play? The people that you want to vote for you, deserve to know the truth Ronnieeeeee.

    19
    • Truth Sayer says:

      @Be honest for once

      If you were listening to what Ronnie said you would have heard him say the situation is wrong whether he was on Government side or now on Opposition. That is taking some responsibility. The situation as I see it, is that the Ministry of Finance was lax in doing its work and the Minister of Finance for past and present years was not vigilant in his duties! In Ronnie’s favour, during his years as Minister of Finance this over-bloating of the country’s finances was minimal. That truly says a lot!

      1
      4
  9. wha? says:

    when I checked a few years ago there was strong efforts by the ministry of finance to staff up the Treasury department; who by the way are responsible for the accounting of the Government (not the ministry proper). I wonder why they were doing this? Who began the current accounts that are now being published? the current FS? Who hired the current consultant that is producing these accounts ? the current FS?
    Seems like we may have some polititians trying to cover their tracks; including those on the opposition.

    12
    • @Wha? says:

      Not SEEMS LIKE, they are. They all make me sick to the stomach. I would not be surprised if CNN ran a piece exposing each and everyone of them.Someone is always watching and taking notes. Orrr, things is going to get so bad about the unjust,dishonesty that the Government has done to the prople. Bunch of sick men looking for POWER, PRESTIGE and bragging rights while riding on the backs of the people they could careless about. You come in my face with that fake s**t about you are for people and Country,I’m going to F**k you all real good.

  10. Wow!!! says:

    This is an embarrassement and a disgrace. It highlights that Walwyn is not to fit to lead. He is always throwing the support staff/ civil servants under the bus. A true leaders would take full responsiblity and fix the problem. And if we see it other wise then we are calling leading experts liars because the research states, “EVERYTHING rises and falls on Leadership.”

    The only reason its being done now is because they can not access UK funds and the RDA is making them do it. Because we have had several Financal Secertaries and Ministers of Finance since 2007. #Ridiculous

    12
  11. Anonymous says:

    Billions of dollars disappear and you can’t fix a few miles of road and repair the sewers.Nice job.

    10
    1
  12. Ausar says:

    Sometimes I wonder whether the good docter and the rest of the gang actually plan to retire here.

    With so many ills facing this country,and their seemingly inability or willfull neglect of major critical issues, how will they be viewed by the future generations of these islands?

    Do they expect to be treated kindly by the next generation, thirty years from now, when they are no longer physically mobile, and must depend on canes and others for movability?

    I guess those whose palms were greased by these fellas, their children and grandchildren will look out for them.

    But those whose lives were disaffected by their actions, their views of them will be the “true” red flags that will count in the years to come.

    The only red flags, in my view, that will have any real, lasting value!

  13. Sam the man says:

    Despite multiple requests for Dr Smith as Premier and finance minister to get his finger out and produce the multiple yearly audited financial accounts he has only just recently started to catch up ! – Appalling negligence and disdain for his duties – he should have been sacked years ago. No wonder the No Direction Party can’t access much needed loans as the left hand doesn’t know what he right hand is doing and the country is in a shambles….Plus We have the ongoing pantomine with Mitch and Ronnie fighting to get their snouts in the trough first!

    14
    1
  14. @Sam the man says:

    Agreed, so correct. That Ronnie and Mitch is setting themselves up for a very hard fall down the hill when the donkey drop kick their A..es over the barb wire fence. I am sick of those two bad grammar speaking people. I would prefer two strays as leader and co-leader of the Country.

    8
    1
  15. BEVI says:

    This country is in a mess! Both Parties has failed us. It’s time for a collision as none of them are fit to lead at this time.

    6
    1
  16. Really? says:

    The captions should read

    Brace for stronger winds, rough seas and wet Days BVI.

  17. Hah says:

    If Myron can never take responsibility or admit his failures he will ultimately be a failure. Blame AG and Governor for poor handling of High School Wall. Blame Dr. Smith’s finance team instead of the man that refused to step down as Finance Minister despite calls within his own party and the public to step down. Dr. Smith made a choice to accept failure rather than admit his failure and give the post to someone more qualified and better suited for the job. If I applied for a job to run finances for a company I would not get the job based on my qualifications but ironically a Medical Doctor can run the finances for an entire chain of Islands with no experience or qualifications just because he was the most popular At large candidate.

  18. USA says:

    Those guys better get down on their knees and kiss the BVI soil, as much as most of you is always calling down the USA,that type of behaviour is not tolerated in Government. The FEDS would open investigations on every last one and most of them would be thrown in Federal Prison. Do your research and you will see how many people who were in Government in the USA is serving Federal time.

    • They still can!! says:

      This was all done in US Dollars so they have jurisdiction. Just like the FIFA mob, the BVIs leaders past and present and the cronies they did and do overpriced and underperforming work with are all available to the US authorities at the drop of a hat.

  19. Ineptitude says:

    And for anyone still wondering why the RDA was necessary, look no further. Total ineptitude at the highest lavels of government, both ministers and civil service.

  20. Oh dear says:

    First just because BVV uses the $ does not mean the USA has any authority in BVI . Mind you that sort of comment is a very good example of why BVI is failing. Uneducated people including those in charge. BVI is smaller than most UK parish councils that are run my old ladies and vickers but they don’t get in the mess you lot do. The few from BVI who get educated bugger off because they know the balance of power in BVI is held by the few who can always rely on the blind god fearing of the BVI to get them votes.

  21. Civil Service says:

    Seems like the blame needs to start with the Deputy Governor’s office, which is responsible for the Civil Service.

    2
    1
  22. Janice says:

    S—- and others should be in jail. And, M—- is worse than Smith.

  23. Lol says:

    GOD forsake yall….time to go back to African beliefs..this Christianity a white thing…turns ppl into chidren when we should be acting like adults.Cant even have money without blowing it all on chinney Jordans.

Leave a Comment

Shares