BVI News

Outrageous! Penn calls on gov’t to rescind ‘political advisers decision’

Opposition Leader Marlon Penn

Opposition Leader Marlon Penn has called for the governing Virgin Islands Party (VIP) to rescind its recent decision to hire political advisers to service Cabinet and juniors ministers within the government.

The government said it will hire up to nine advisors — no more than three for the Premier and one for each of the remaining ministers — to write speeches and conduct other political duties, among other things. The contract for each advisor will have a remuneration package of not more than $120,000.

In a statement dated Monday, July 26, Penn said he was “disgusted” by this Cabinet-sanctioned decision.

“This is not only wrong, this is outrageous! And we must not accept it! We must stand united against this unconscionable decision being levied upon us. As the voice for the people of this territory, Honourable Premier [Andrew Fahie] and members of Cabinet, we demand that you unequivocally and immediately rescind this callous and reckless decision,” the Penn said.

Seems advisors hired to run VIP’s next election campaign

Explaining why he is against the decision, Penn, among other things, said the appointment of these political advisers seems to be a repetition of the VIP government’s recruitment “political hirees who were paid exorbitant fees with undefined Terms of Reference which have yet to be made known”.

“The mere appearance of this decision has led me and the wider public to believe, the establishment of a nine-member team of political consultants, paid for by taxpayers, is meant to run this administration’s campaign for the next general elections,” added Penn who further said the government’s decision is an affront to the competence of Permanent Secretaries and public officers.

“If it is the current administration’s view that public officers are unable to provide the services and advice needed, it is then their responsibility to ensure that they are trained and receive the necessary resources to carry out their duties,” he stated.

Decisions like these are why a COI was called

The Opposition Leader further argued that decisions like these is what led to a Commission of Inquiry being sanctioned in the first place.

“We already know that the Commission of Inquiry has already solidified that we have some fundamental systemic issues that hinder the proper management of our resources and execution of our operations and therefore restrict the development and advancement of our country. Is our executive body this tone deaf?” penn questioned.

He continued: “We should be drawing up and executing plans that will secure our livelihoods and the future of this territory … I am disgusted that we have a government that is so incomprehensibly clueless.”

Since government publicised its decision to hire political advisors for its ministers, there have been major public backlash. And in subsequent interview with JTV, the Premier sought to defuse the situation by dispelling claims that the combined renumeration for the advisors will cost one million dollars per year.

Untrue! Gov’t political advisers will not collectively earn $1M yearly

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26 Comments

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  1. SlickRickPolitricks says:

    Politics must be kept separate from Governance. Government must not pay for Political Advisers.
    Y’all mixing the chalk with the cheese now.

    Like 29
    Dislike 1
    • Strange says:

      Correct. Government funds should not be used for political purposes. That’s the purpose of the political parties and their financiers. We have already seen Ministets using their positions and powers to award their political associates millions in contracts and schemes. Now they want to create a political advisor position to spend the taxpayers money on political party activities…rediculous! Why the hell the COI on break now? The need to investigate this further!

      Like 24
    • Well Well says:

      I am lost . I thought that CSC were paid almost 400K to do this job, So this is what he came up with? Is he going to leading the Advisers or the Committee . BTW . According to Fahie, the advisers are not expected to be “involved in [any] political party, per se”. REALLY?

      Like 12
      Dislike 1
  2. Eagle Eye 👁. says:

    Why our elected leaders need advisors need to be advised how to steal more of our money? I just don’t get it. Plus they will be paid on top of that. We are doomed in this place. Come down father and help us please. I’m crying with blood in my eyes.

    Like 25
    Dislike 1
  3. Here's advice! says:

    This is, by far, the WORST of all the unpopular decisions you have made thus far, Mr. Premier. What is worst is you would need a political advisor to tell you that. And if any of your ministers don’t convince you to pull this back immediately, they will land in the same big hole you just dug for yourself. This could easily send you and your entire party to land of no return. This crazy idea should never have seen the light of day. Almost seems like self-sabotage.

    Like 43
    Dislike 2
  4. Set of real Gangsters says:

    In the heat of a troubling COI that revealing so many irregularities and misused of public funds, they kept their heartless gangster ways going on without regards and respect…

    Like 32
  5. BVI Future says:

    I am not an educator. However, I think that money should be invested in teachers and in the high school.

    Like 33
  6. Resident says:

    I’m wondering how is that the other members of the cabinet can sit by and allow these things to happen.
    They don’t have a say in these decisions?
    Not one of them could say to Andrew that this is political suicide?
    Similar thing happened with the proposed insurance for them.
    Are they all sheep???

    Like 20
  7. SMH says:

    Whomever advising the Premier at present is causing disarray for these Freshmen in the Administration. They need to STOP the Premier NOW for the betterment of the Territory and their Political Future. He must be under a idiotic and ludicrous omen. He can’t be in his right mind at All.

    Like 21
    Dislike 2
  8. Mmmmmm says:

    Smurf voted for the greedy bill but yet making noise about this? He needs to sit still.

    Like 4
    Dislike 9
    • Wow says:

      You obviously have no idea who sits in cabinet. It didn’t say member if the House. It said Cabinet! I.E. the Premier and all the minsters. Smh. Think before you speak

  9. Sarcasm says:

    “Now” we are going to introduce politics in our unbiased Civil Service…I could not even type that with a straight face. Business as usual.

    Like 14
  10. Heckler says:

    We need to punish the VIP at the poles because they are getting out of hand with our finances. We can no longer trust them.

    Like 21
  11. THE COI says:

    WELL IT SEEMS LIKE THE ( C O I ) HAVE OPENED UP A CAN OF WORMS , DO THEY STILL HAVE TO BEG YOU ALL TO OPEN YOUR EYES FOR YOURSELVES ALSO ? 🤔 , THEY SAY SILENCE GIVES CONSENT , SO THEY AGREED AND NOW THE HERD HAVE ADAPTED THE NEW NORM 👉 ( SILENCE OF THE LAMBS ) 🤫😊😳

  12. LOL says:

    What you do at the strip club poles is your business. The rest of us will go to the polls to vote LOL

  13. Joseph says:

    How can “advisers keep ministers in line” when the latter are their bosses? And what becomes the function of the permanent secretaries?

  14. reporter says:

    Political advisors for what? Why do the government need more advisors / consultants when persons have already been appointed and contracted within each ministry? And, how many persons are being paid to do the same job? It begs the question. Is this really justifiable or is it just another attempt to squander the taxpayers money? In my opinion this money could be put to better use than this such as ensuring that a proper High School is built and furnished to accommodate the students. In addition, some of it could be used in the department of education to purchase supplies for the schools so that the poor parents don’t have to be constantly using their money to buy things for the schools. As far as I know, in every country education and health are priority so please reconsider this and invest the same money into these two areas to benefit the people of this country and not just a few.

  15. Anonymous says:

    No Marlon reasons why the COI were called includes you not declaring your interest for 8 years despite being reminded frequently, like Bilal said you were the biggest breach, you allowing money that was budgeted to fix the sewage problems in your district to be moved illegally to the Pier Park, giving your blessing to a $7.2 million dollars sham airline marketed as “our” airplane.

    Like 7
    Dislike 2
  16. Lodger says:

    If it goes ahead they only have a job as long as their minister does, so the next incumbent can just not hire an adviser.

  17. E. Leonard says:

    Politics is common place in the VI(British) as elsewhere around the globe. Some directly engaged in politics as politicians; others choose to partake indirectly, ie, advisers…..etc. Moreover, some good business decisions are not good political decisions. Similarly, some political decisions are not good business decisions. Further, as politicians, all decisions made in the HOA…..etc may be influence directly and indirectly by politics. This is as true as the sun rises in the east.

    Moreover, paid political advisers, if codified into law, will not be unique to the VI; other jurisdictions employ the practice. Whether the time is right or should be a top priority at this juncture falls under the purview of VI voters; voters at the polls will approve/disapprove of the measure. What is in a name? The name political advisor, if truly the true name, was a poor choice. It should been anticipated that the term ‘political’ would be a lightning rod for criticism. I think in the UK they are titled Special Advisers (SpAd). Was the political adviser name a self inflicted wound or an unforced error?

    Political advisors or special advisers supposedly are temporary civil servants. Regular or permanent civil servants in theory should not engaged in politics. The temporary civil servants can provide political advice to a minister that is germane to the ministry’s business. Moreover, political advisor(s) should a) abide by a code of conduct, b)work under a contract, and c)declare conflict of interest. Further, when an election is declared or a minister resigns/fired or is reassigned, a political advisor’s job ceases.

    Moreover, the reality is that given the environment (political) a reasonable, practical balance between business and political decisions should be expected. Political advisors are just advisors. Ministers are given the authority and must be held responsible and accountable for their decisions. The final decisions rest with ministers and ultimately the voters. Voters have the true power.

    • Mumbo Jumbo says:

      Pure VIP supporter intellectual mumbo jumbo supporter crap. You are skilled at fence sitting but your support and loyalty are obvious. Paid political advisers, temporary or not, is inappropriate and incompatible with government service. Taxpayer money should not be used to fund political campaigns. Yes, elected members are politicians and politics will enter into their decision making. Ministers have senior civil servants, ie, Permanent Secretaries….etc who are were hired for their technical and public affairs knowledge and experience to advised ministers. PSs should be assigned based on their skill, knowledge, experience and expertise, not politics. Too much Peter Prinicipling going on in BVI government. Fix the system if PSs are not meeting expectations, requiring political advisers. Too often, instead of making underperforming employees do their job, supervisors burn out other employees or incur additional cost hiring additional staff.

      Like 1
      Dislike 1
  18. SON says:

    I will always sy Penn full of it till now. HE IS RIGHT. however, why did he sit his behind quitely and accet TH GREEDY BILL. In case you dont know about the greedy bill, it is a bill passed in the house and agreed to by all which says that AS A FIRST TIME PLOITIONS WHO ARE NOT RETURNED TO THE GOVERNMENT BY VOTERS ARE STILL ALLOWED 2 YES 2 YEARS OF SALARY AND BENIFITS. so imagine we fire these people because they are not performing their duties, we the tax payers still have to pay them for the next two years

    Like 2
    Dislike 1
  19. C**man Penn says:

    This will be a sad affair to see Marlon penn c** the BVI people all the way to the treasury. You people see all he jump on. This man has nothing to add. Fahie downfalll will be keeping ndp cronies in high positions. Marlon penn is as w**ked as it gets. Pop corn for everyone.

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