BVI News

Six years after, Penn expected to be appointed more permanently as Chief Immigration Officer

Ian Penn. Photo Credit: GIS

After acting in the post for more than half-a-decade, Ian Penn is expected to be appointed more permanently as Chief Immigration Officer of the British Virgin Islands.

This is according to Immigration Minister Vincent Wheatley, who told BVI News that the process to appoint Penn more permanently is expected to commence soon.

“My intention is to confirm Ian to the post. I have already started discussions with the PS (Permanent Secretary) to move forward with that,” said Wheatley, who has only been portfolio minister since the VIP government officially took office last year.

“He is very competent — no doubt about that — and I think he will do a very good also. So, I have every confidence that he will do a good job,” Wheatley added.

Procedural protocol to be followed

Wheatley further said that while it is clear that Penn is suitably qualified for the post, there are still protocols that must be followed.

“I just wanted to make sure he knew my intention and to make sure he was ready for it, so we just casually spoke, and I met with the PS and told him that I met with him (Penn) so we have to start the process. It means advertising the job and so forth. He has to apply and then it goes through a process,” the minister explained.

While no clear date was indicated as to when the full appointment will be finalised, Wheatley said he is hoping to have it done between the first and second quarter of this year.

Issue brought before Standing Finance Committee

The issue was recently raised in the Standing Finance Committee (SFC) deliberations late last year when Opposition legislator Julian Fraser inquired why the position had been vacant for such a long period.

During the deliberations, it was said that Penn has been acting in the post since 2014. He had taken study leave in 2016 and returned to the department in 2017.

At the time of the said SFC meeting, Fraser had asked Penn what was needed to convince his superiors that he was eligible to be promoted to the post permanently. 

Penn replied that he had not been informed by his superiors of any additional requirements needed for him to be confirmed for the post.

He further said the decision would ultimately be up to the Immigration Ministry.

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  1. Really? says:

    How many of those six years were spent away doing his studies which he finally completed?

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  2. Diaspora says:

    “It means advertising the job and so forth. He has to apply and then it goes through a process,” the minister explained.” Why exercised the community by advertising the job when it seems to be a foregone conclusion that Ian Penn who has acted in the position for 6 years is going to be appointed. No other suitably and eminently qualified candidate will apply for the position. Perhaps Guy Hill, former Deputy Chief Immigration Officer and Acting Chief Immigration Officer, should apply. Guy is probably the best qualified candidate in the VI for the position.

    But politics railroaded him, for he administered the department per current policies, laws and regulations and didn’t say how high when politicians say jump. Guy was a political causality but he retired with his head held high. The Hon Vincent Wheatley, R-9, MNRL that includes Immigration, should have been tight lipped about filling the position if it were a fait accompli that he was going to appoint Ian Penn. Will the qualifications for the CIO now be structured that only Penn can meet them? Loose lips sink ship.

    Like 29
    • Mandingo says:

      I agree. Hon. Wheathley should have closed his mouth and just appoint Ian. Don’t talk about going through the process when it is crystal clear from the story that he (Ian) will be appointed. This just shows flaws, favoritism and the inner workings in government that gets young people and other potential applicants frustrated. God bless the BVI

    • NPolitico says:

      Spot on! Politicians like to talk and hear themselves talk but they must demonstrate some discipline and know when to keep the cat in the bag. Now the process is tainted and out in public. Diplomacy. Fire discipline. Inexperience oozing out. Now only candidates who perhaps want to be a fly in the ointment will apply.

    • Ty says:

      None have the qualifications like the Hill man. Not even Penn and his law degree

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  3. ReX FeRaL says:

    They appoint who they can control, simple.

    Like 11
    • Observer says:

      Suitably qualified could be interpreted in many ways. It done sent necessarily have a degree or degrees. It could be mannerism, professionalism, being fair, open minded, flexible, being a leader rather than a boss or supervisor etc. Is it possible that Mr. Penn possesses all of the above qualities. If he does, why wouldn’t they see fit to appoint him to the position? Obviously he was appointed to act in the position because was seen as the most qualified for the position. Sometime we are quick to blame politics and politicians and cry political victimization instead of looking at a situation objectively. Obviously Mr. Hill too was qualified but it doesn’t mean that political victimization was the reason he did not get the job. Is it possible that he lacked some of the qualities that the powers at be felt was necessary to hold such an important position? I for one cannot answer that question. Only those who felt Mr. Hill was not the right person for the post could answer that question. However, none of this matters now anyway. Mr. Hill is happily retired I am sure knowing that he no longer has to deal with the stress and pressure that comes with being CIO.

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      • ReX FeRaL says:

        At Observer. The Hill man had,has and possess all those qualities. The problem is he was no walk over… So much for empowering your own native son.

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  4. Mick Mars says:

    Please tell me that’s an old picture. Ayo too afraid to use the one with the awesome Flat top?

  5. Happily retired says:

    Hands down the best person for this job would have been Guy Hill. But he don’t kiss A$#. So they pass him up

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  6. Common Sense says:

    Mr Wheatley just do like what the Commissioner of Police keep doing in the RVIPF. Promote people in position that they should have advertised and didn’t. You can probably take a leaf from Matthews book and promote Penn into the post that he has been acting for six years.

  7. Wow says:

    Its so funny you can confirm someone who pose no quality as a manager…Mr. Wheatley you hear promoting Ian what about the staff who needs to be promoted or getting a better salaries for the officers I ain’t see or hear you pushing for that

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  8. Eagle and Buffalo says:

    6 years as Acting CIO; this is torturous and cruel and unusual punishment. But, one thing is certain. He demonstrated that he can hang, if only by the finger nails. On the other hand, his acting for 6 years may have been by design. Serving in an acting position, one has to be pliable, flexible and comply with expectations even if they go against one’s core. As the Hon Wheatley prematurely leaked, the long wait paid off, for he is going to be appointed, process tainted.

    [lets lead like eagles, not careen off the cliff like buffaloes.]


    Is this the same Mr. Penn that was on leave to continue his studies to be a barrister-at-law. What he want to do Law or immigration ? Premier and VIP TEAM we are watching.

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