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PREMIER: We must hold elected officials accountable

Premier Dr. D. Orlando Smith

Premier Dr. D. Orlando Smith

At a time when his government is being accused of paying scant regard to transparency and accountability, Premier Dr D Orlando Smith has underscored the importance of holding civil servants and elected representatives accountable.

“I believe that prudent and responsible fiscal management by our government is essential for national pride, in addition to forging a principle of solidarity and common purpose in every citizen of this territory. We must, in the process, hold those in public and elected office accountable,” the premier said during his 2017 budget address this month.

He made the comments a day after attending a special church service where Reverend Dr Melvin Turnbull lamented that citizens of the BVI have failed to hold their Government accountable.

“We the people are the true government. We have elected them, but we have failed to hold them accountable…” the clergyman said.

Members of the parliamentary Opposition also have complained repeatedly about the Smith administration not being transparent and accountable especially as it relates to the handling of the territory’s finances.

‘Within striking distance’

During his budget speech this month, however, Premier Smith promised better management in a number of areas, including the Protocols for Effective Financial Management that his government signed in 2012 with the United Kingdom.

“We are within striking distance to finally have the satisfaction of meeting all our obligations under the Protocols for Effective Financial Management, and we intend to satisfy the last of these obligations by contributing some $12.5 million to the Reserve Fund in the coming year.”

“This is cause for a sense of pride and accomplishment! Not only does it indicate a milestone that will now be met, but it also significantly promotes our fiscal independence and autonomy within the guidelines, into the future. I urge all to help us to reach this goal within the coming year,” added Premier Smith, who also is the territory’s minister of finance.

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