Employees of Prospect Reef have been told they must wait a while longer before they are paid their outstanding salaries by the government.
The employees have been working without pay for roughly 14 months and were promised months ago that they would have been paid in full by August 2019.
Two months past that promised date, Premier Andrew Fahie said: “A promise delayed does not mean a promise denied. But I do apologize to them and we are going to make sure that they get paid.”
Why are the employees still not paid?
Fahie, who made that statement last week while answering questions from Third District Representative Julian Fraser, said there were a few reasons behind the delayed payment.
“First, Prospect Reef is a shareholding company established by legislation in this House of Assembly including a memorandum of articles of association. Fifty percent of the shares are held by the Permanent Secretary in the Premier’s Office, and the other fifty percent is held by the Financial Secretary on behalf of the government,” the Premier said.
“Secondly, under the Prospect Reef Management Act 2005, there is to be a non-executive body including a managing director to manage the day to day affairs of the Prospect Reef Management Company,” he added.
Premier Fahie told the House of Assembly that a new executive body needs to be appointed before the payments can be made and plans are already underway in that regard.
He said: “As shareholders, the government is addressing the request for additional monies by the company to pay its debt including outstanding salaries to staff as soon as possible. The salaries owed to staff should be paid in the next few weeks given that these areas are now cleared up. The delay to pay sooner is regrettable, but it was one that was tied up in legal confines,” he remarked.
Pay the people
Fraser then asked the Premier if he did not know about the said ‘legal confines’ when he had initially promised the payments by August 2019.
In response, the Premier said: “There is more in the mortar than in the pestle with this one.”
“They will be paid but I want to tell this Honourable House that it is not just about salaries. And if the government had intervened to pay on top of the board which had certain concerns, we were going into some legal grounds that we were advised not to go,” he further said.
“While I agree the persons who are working there who were owed before we got into office and not saying that it is justified, it is not that simple. But in a few weeks’ time I can say that all the parameters have been dealt with to have them paid,” the Premier said.
Copyright 2020 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.