Ministers Challenged To Take Pay Cut

Melissa Edwards, Senior Journalist | October 11, 2017 9:24 am MDT
Photo Credit: Melissa Edwards/BVI Platinum News
Government Ministers are being challenged to lead by example during these tough times, post hurricane Irma, by taking a cut in their salaries.

Opposition Leader, Hon. Andrew Fahie, directed the challenge specifically to the five Ministers--Premier and Finance Minister, Hon. Dr. D. Orlando Smith, Deputy Premier and Minister of Natural Resources and Labour, Hon. Dr. Kedrick Pickering, Communications and Works Minister, Hon. Mark Vanterpool, Health Minister, Hon. Ronnie Skelton and Education Minister, Hon. Myron Walwyn.

"Together we can come up with solutions. The Government can lead by example by first cutting all Ministers' salaries to be the same as that of the backbenchers and Opposition Members," Hon. Fahie said during a radio programme yesterday, October 10.

Pointing to the issue where civil servants are yet to be paid for September, the First District Representative asked the Government to be truthful with the people and indicate whether there is a financial problem.

He said that the excuse of technical difficulties is not acceptable, lamenting that many public servants were in long bank lines for hours on Friday and Monday, only to be told that Government has not paid.

"This is unacceptable. This is taking advantage of people. Someone has to be the voice for the voiceless and do so respectfully. How does the Government expect families to sustain themselves, especially given that since Irma all businesses are now only accepting cash and the over three thousand public servants cannot get their cash that they worked for from Government," he stressed.

Hon. Fahie insisted that the Government of the day needs to come clean with the people.

"Tell us the truth. We are willing to help build a stronger BVI but it must be done on a foundation of truth. The people of the BVI are a resilient people; they are an understanding people. They know that the government cannot be held responsible for Irma but they must be held responsible for their actions before and after Irma. If the government is having a financial problem, let them just say so," the Opposition Leader stated.

Coming out of Irma, Hon. Fahie said they cannot allow the government's duplicitous ways to once again take roots in the Virgin Islands.

"Irma taught us that the BVI is about the people. The power is the people, be truthful to them, involve them. Communicate with them and it will ease a lot of the current burdens."

The First District Representative said that the people need to know what they are up against, including whether there will be job cuts in the public service.

"Too many rumours like the public service will be drastically cut, their salaries will be cut, government is experiencing financial challenges among others about government is flying around on the streets."

He said, "Together with a truthful foundation despite the challenges we can build an even stronger BVI. I know we can do it but our government has to come clean with the people and do so now."
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