Of the 60 plus applications the BVI Airports Authority (BVIAA) received for the position of Managing Director (MD), none of them was from a Virgin Islander.
Premier Andrew Fahie disclosed this information at today’s one-on-one press briefing. Fahie said he did his due diligence with research and requested information regarding the hiring process from the Airports Authority since it was a corporate body.
He said he was told the Air Safety Support International (ASSI) also played a critical role in the hiring process.
“They told me that in terms of the person that applied, over 60 persons applied for the position. They had persons as far as Afghanistan applied, no person from the Virgin Islands applied for that position, none,” the Premier said.
Fahie said the perception going around is that his government brought in a St Lucian to take a post and they are not looking out for the people of the Virgin Islanders. However, the Premier said the government cannot put someone in a position for which they have not applied.
“You will be sitting down there saying, ‘well, no one applied’ and when we put a Virgin Islander in the post, people will say ‘where is the transparency, where is the accountability, where is the due process’. Now none of them applied and 60 persons applied that are not from the Virgin Islands. They are asking ‘how come no one from the Virgin Island is there?’ It’s like you can’t win with some of these cases. But we need to stay consistent with what’s accountable and transparent,” Fahie added.
The Premier said the current MD, Kurt Menal who officially commenced his duties on Monday, is on a four-year contract with the view of training persons. Consequently, Fahie noted, when Menal’s tenure is completed, someone from the Virgin Islands can take the post.
Fahie also added that contrary to popular belief, the BVIAA board was not the only group involved in the hiring process. He said the information he received indicated that ASSI, which is charged with the oversight of civil aviation and safety regulation in UK Overseas Territories, was heavily involved in the recruitment process.
“It wasn’t only done by the board as persons are saying. It was mainly done by ASSI with the number of applications because they also must certify and regulate the airport. So, they were looking for certain things in the applicants. But it is hard to place the Virgin Islander in a position if none applied. So, with that now, they shortlisted it down to 10 persons from the 60. They had the interviews, and the current MD was selected,” Fahie explained.
The Premier continued by saying it is unfair for the public to give the impression that most of the top positions in the public sector are not made up of locals.
“I don’t want to give the impression that most of these posts are not filled by Virgin Islanders. I also don’t want to give the impression that we do not need the expertise from persons outside of the Virgin Islands. That is every country. They are going to need that balance at the end of the day despite you wanting your people to fill those areas,” the Premier said.
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