BVI News

Too much red tape! Govt’s business grants not being released because accounting officers fear ‘going jail’

Monies from government’s COVID-19 grants to local businesses are not being released fast enough because accounting officers employed to the public service have grown fearful of making an error that could cause them to be prosecuted.

This is according government minister, Vincent Wheatley who has responsibility for the Social Security Board — the agency that is financing the $6.5 million grants to micro, small, and medium-sized businesses. 

“The problem we are experiencing in Social Security is part of a bigger systemic problem. Farmers are hurting, fishermen are hurting, people can’t pay their mortgages, can’t pay rent, can’t buy food but the money is locked up in various government coffers,” he explained.

Minister Wheatley said the government’s system is set up in a way that places emphasis on transparency, accountability and good governance.

This, he said, leads to heavy ‘red tape’.

“When you are telling me that unless I cannot account for every single penny, something is wrong with that. Every single elected person can tell you they have heard an accounting officer, ‘I ain’t going jail’. These officers are scared to act. All the red tape that is designed for an account for the money; it is not designed to account, it is designed to stop money from flowing. You paralyze the whole system.”

Wheatley was responding to statements from government consultant and talk show host, Claude Skelton Cline who said the procedures to acquire a business grant is frustrating entrepreneurs.

Addressing the issue on his radio programme, Honestly Speaking on Tuesday, Skelton Cline said he has come to understand persons have become discouraged by the application process because it is “quite cumbersome”.

He said his remarks are based upon feedback from some business owners.

“What they are saying is it’s almost easier to go the bank and try to borrow money than to try to get this funding that is supposed to be a grant. The thing seems to be layered with so many hoops to jump through, that persons have already been through what they are going through, their businesses are taking on water until some of them can’t take on any more water,” Skelton Cline said.

He continued: “It (the grant) has not gotten to the people at the speed and the rate which is consummate with the needs of the people and it raises tremendous questions about our system, about our bureaucracy about what is taking place.”

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18 Comments

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  1. Fake News says:

    Government funds easily accessible for that new Audi thooooooooo!!

    Love ya neighbor.

    Like 16
    Dislike 2
  2. offical says:

    why are they afraid to go jail has the socialsecurity monies gpne missing too well saw i hope that is not the case i an wating my self on monies I tired ask all they tekking me it is been workrd on time gor tyhe ship to vhange captain

    Like 4
    Dislike 2
  3. Mired says:

    Everything the honourable Minister has touched involves extra acres of red tape. These are items that government functionaries could easily accomplish electronically, BUT NO! The learned Minister has fobbed the mountains of red tape off on the tax payers and users.
    Not getting my vote next time round.

  4. hmmm says:

    A little sample of the bureaucracy and tape the common person has to deal with at any government office.

    Hows it taste?

  5. Stimulus says:

    By the time any sort of assistance is given to the Fisher folks and Farmers, the country may already be facing food crisis. I guess that the population will have to eat nail soup and take the sawdust from the construction sites and put mayonnaise in it.

    Like 9
    Dislike 1
  6. expat says:

    Social Security is being unfair to person working and paying social security… how is this money for employee whom was home April n May being paid out?

    My cousin live in the BVI for 1 year and 8 months working for 6:50 per hour was paid June &1880.and something cents for the month of April and May.

    I am living in the BVI for 11 years 2 months working for 6:50 per hour and was paid $1000.00 flat for the month of April and May.

    I find this to be very unfair to me.

    Is there a favoritism going on in there? I really wanted to confront them with this but because am a expat don’t like insult.

    Like 4
    Dislike 2
  7. 55 says:

    you luck I am here 20+yrs anb still waiting always uptodate if you asked

  8. Local says:

    To be honest this is no excuse. This is our money not theirs. Welcome to Social Security where they happy to deduct from our salaries and cant pay us a cent. Mrs. Skelton needs to go as well.

    Like 10
    Dislike 3
  9. Just my 2 cents says:

    When you are telling me that unless I cannot account for every single penny, something is wrong with that. Every single elected person can tell you they have heard an accounting officer, ‘I ain’t going jail’. These officers are scared to act. All the red tape that is designed for an account for the money; it is not designed to account, it is designed to stop money from flowing. You paralyze the whole system.”

    I have reproduced the above as the basis of my comments. Mr. Minister, shame on you! You need to be dismissed from office. What are you suggesting that there should be no accountability, no controls in place? I CAN ONLY IMAGINE WHATS IN STORE FOR OUR PUBLIC FUNDS.

    Accounting officers, the public behind you. You have our support. Your watchwords should remain – Accountability, Transparency and Good Governance.

    The bureaucracy needs re-examination but not at the expense of the watchwords.

    Like 10
  10. Heartbreaking says:

    I lived here 15 years and I was told by Social Security I cannot get no assistance grant.. plus I have to kids to feed!!

  11. Hard work says:

    All my hard working money gone into that AUDI vehicle for Mr Frett give me my money or else JAILEDDDDDDDDD

  12. OMG says:

    Pure BS, plain and simple! No jobs since March and still no assistance? There is NO excuse except inept government.

  13. Bad boy says:

    Am living here 19 years and up to now cannot get a cent no one is calling or sending a message to give an update, still waiting.

    Like 4
    Dislike 1
  14. From here says:

    this is pure Bs not working from march i have my kids at home with me to feed and No sort of income to buy food are even pay my rent !!! What the hell is going on in this place .we cant get our money from SS but government sighing big contract , biying a set a palm trees and fancy car and the list goes on while peoples in the bvi dying from hungry God help us next time around my family will not vote and that 60 Vote gone

    Like 4
    Dislike 1
  15. Whats the Hold Up? says:

    The Government already said how “they” are spending the money for the people:

    https://www.bvibeacon.com/62-9m-stimulus-package-unveiled/

    And… The Government has gotten the money “cheque in hand”, literally.

    https://bvi.org/bvi-government-received-a-check-from-the-social-security-board-for-40-million-dollars

    How the Government accounts for it is up to the public officials elected and hired.

    So I ask, why is Social Security a necessary discussion for small business loans? Which agency has the Government put to administer that program. It is already funded, obviously.

    So whats the hold up now?

  16. Whats the Hold Up? says:

    We’ve been paying Payroll Tax, Import Duty (on everything we buy if it wasn’t locally made or duty exempt – the stores pay it and the pass it on in the price.), and Social Security.

    What are we getting for our money? Where’s the accountability for the rest of it? Not just Social Security money.

    I really hope that when I’m 65 that there’s money there for me.

  17. Wow Claude says:

    The deadline for the Small Business Grants is Aug 21,2020. The process is quite simple. Trade has been very accommodating. Stop your dodo claude

    Like 1
    Dislike 1
  18. Grants says:

    I am aware that Trade Department has a Small to Medium Business Grant program in place. Does Social Security has one as well?

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