Weeks after he disclosed that central government owes the BVI Electricity Corporation (BVIEC) just over $13.3 million, Premier Dr D Orlando Smith is now stating that Government’s statutory bodies also owe the Corporation a total of almost $11 million.
Of the nine statutory bodies owing, the BVI Health Services Authority (BVIHSA), which manages all public health facilities locally, has the largest individual electricity debt. It owes just over $8.5 million.
Premier Smith was asked to state the reason each statutory body owes the Electricity Corporation.
He declined to fully answer the question posed by Leader of the Opposition Andrew Fahie, but tried to explain the situation only regarding the BVIHSA.
Premier Smith said: “As these entities are statutory bodies – each of which is responsible for its own management, it would be remiss of me to speculate as to the specific individual causes for the arrears for each of these entities. However, in relation to the BVIHSA, which carries the largest debt, it is the only public healthcare facility in the territory, and is therefore mandated not to refuse care.”
“As a result, because of consecutive years of budgetary constraints and the constant pressure to ensure items such as pharmaceuticals, medical, laboratory, cleaning supplies, etcetera are available, the BVIHSA was forced to give those vendors priority in order to ensure the essential services of healthcare was provided,” added Premier Smith, who also is the territory’s finance minister.
Premier Smith further stated that the statutory bodies are making attempts to pay the monies they owe the government-owned Electricity Corporation.
“As of 30th April, 2017 Government statutory bodies owed the BVI Electricity Corporation $10,960,936.64. However, some of this amount relates to current charges which will become due in May.”
“A number of the statutory bodies have indicated that they are making efforts to bring their accounts current by 30th June 2017. The body with the largest outstanding amount – the BVIHSA – has indicated that it has commenced payments to the BVIEC and will continue to make regular monthly payments,” Premier Smith further said.
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