Member of her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition and second district Representative Hon. Melvin Mitch Turnbull in an invited comment shared with our newsroom his frustration with the recent cabinet decisions which makes provisions for seven members to have political advisors at a cost of $120,000.00 per annum, per contractor of their choice. All cabinet members and junior ministers get to contract one consultant, while the Premier contracts three. Bringing the total number of political advisors to nine.
The second district member said, “This was a cabinet Decision and not shared or discussed with members of the House of Assembly. I Melvin Mitch Turnbull am not a part of this. We must do better.”
See previous story.
MINISTERIAL POLITICAL ADVISER, TENDER PROCESS WAIVED
INSERT PHOTO OF CABINET MEMBERS
In recent cabinet decision dated July 5th and 8th, the Cabinet of the Virgin Islands has considered and approved along with waving the tender process for Government Ministers including junior ministers a political advisor at a cap of ($120,000.00) per annum.
The Premier of the Virgin Islands Hon Andrew A. Fahie will have up to three (3) political advisors, while all additional four cabinet members and two junior ministers will each have one political advisor of their choice.
This comes to a total of $1,080,000 per annum for Government Political advisors.
This announcement comes at a time when the territory of the Virgin Islands is experiencing great economic hardships with many national projects placed on hold for various reasons. For example, suitable Educational infrastructure.
The cabinet decision article number 3 states, “The Cabinet Considered and approve the consultancy of Ministerial Political Adviser, similar to the model as used in the United Kingdom, where the Premier would be assigned no more than three (3) Ministerial Political Advisers and each other Cabinet Minister and Junior Minister would be assigned no more than one (1) Ministerial Political Adviser; reviewed and decided on the Terms of Reference for the Ministerial Political Adviser to include research and analysis, assisting in speech writing for the Minister, and other areas as outlined in the job description. Decided that:
a. the tenure of each Ministerial Political Adviser, who will be hired as an independent contractor, to be the same as the tenure of the Minister to whom they are assigned;
b. each Ministerial Political Adviser be subject to all Public Service Laws, Regulations and Policies during their tenure, save and except where research, advice and other support to the Minister may incorporate political considerations into their analysis, advice, speech writing etc. in
a manner that would not be permissible for a permanent public officer;
c. Ministerial Political Advisers would be required to adhere to the Code of Conduct for Ministerial Political Advisers;
d. consider and decide that an Integrity Committee for Ministerial Political Advisers shall be set up comprising the Permanent Secretary, Premier’s Office as Chair; Permanent Secretary, Deputy Governor’s Office; and one of the four other Permanent Secretaries in rotation each year;
e. Ministerial Political Advisers would be required to declare any private interests that they may hold in any matter that may be deemed relevant to their work, upon assumption of duties and periodically as circumstances may require, and this disclosure shall be made by letter to the appointing Minister and copied to the Permanent Secretary in the Premier’s Office as Chair of the Integrity Committee for Ministerial Political Advisers; and to the Premier;
f. the Integrity Committee for Ministerial Political Advisers would have the authority to call and question Ministerial Political Advisers on their adherence to the Code of Conduct for Ministerial Political Advisers or matters of conflicts of interests, and that the Committee may submit a report to the Premier for his or her consideration; consider and decide that the contract will not exceed one hundred and twenty thousand dollars ($120,000.00) per annum in accordance with the established pay bands;
g. each contract for each Ministerial Political Adviser does not cover gratuity payments, annual leave and sick leave;
h. each Ministry will allocate payment of remuneration for Ministerial Political Adviser under their Consultancy vote, and payments for the Ministerial Political Adviser to Junior Ministers will be borne from the Consultancy vote of the Premier’s Office; and
i. considered and approve the waiver of the tender process to allow Ministerial Political Adviser to be contracted for any tenure that allows the cumulative compensation to be no more than one hundred and twenty thousand dollars ($120,000.00) per annum.”