Premier Andrew Fahie says his administration did not in any way try to hide the recent ministerial political advisor initiative from the people, stating that his government made sure the information was brought to residents through publications.
Premier Fahie made the statement during a recent broadcast of the Virgin Islands Party Let’s Talk radio programme.
“We have the political advisors; we were told after consultation with the Governor’s and the Deputy Governor’s Office to change it to ministerial political advisor. Some persons tell me well, you were had, you should have taken out that word political, but what’s amazing about this topic is that we didn’t hide it from the public,” he said.
“We were transparent and accountable and it came out from Cabinet, it wasn’t a surprise. We know that Cabinet minutes are public and we made sure that it got public. So, it wasn’t something that was hidden under the table,” Premier Fahie added.
It was necessary
The premier also justified his government’s decision to have ministerial political advisors, stating that it was necessary considering the present bureaucratic structure of the government, which has been posing several challenges, preventing a number of initiatives from being launched.
He said, “We all know that the system needs some adjusting because all of us know that sometimes even to get a messenger hired takes months and where you have something like the Premier’s Office which is supposed to be the engine office of any country, not the Premier Andrew Fahie, the office, and that’s depleted of staff and we know how all of the other areas are. But now that has been allowed to be depleted over the years and a lot of things that we have met have been things where the can has been kicked down the road.”
“You know ministers in this room and I tell persons listening, this has been months of back and forth, so we have asked for no new monies, none. It was monies already allocated but it would’ve been spent in some other consultancy. So we decided let us target where those monies would be, at least most of them, and put them towards since we have to wait for the system to click in through the different arms which have a lot of bureaucracy to get even a secretary in terms of in the public service structure, then the next thing that is available readily would be this structure for elected officials to get the help,” he further explained.
Existing issues will continue if bureaucratic system is not fixed
Premier Fahie further said that if the bureaucratic system is not fixed, regardless of the government in office, the existing problems will continue throughout the many administrations to come.
“This country is in dire need to build a strong public service which I know that we’re going to do with the deputy governor and the governor that we’re working on now. I can’t be held accountable for any past governor or premiers or chief ministers for what they did or how they did it. How we got to this point of how it’s so depleted is something that persons also have to recognise,” Premier Fahie stated.
He added, “The system needs looking at and I can tell you don’t matter who is out there shouting about this, if we don’t fix this system, even if you feel you need to move out this government and put in a next one, they’re going to come right here and cry to you because if the system is not fixed, then the work of the people can’t be done.”
The leader of government business in a statement issued on Monday July 26 said that if the advisors were to be fully utilised by all eligible persons in his administration, the figures would not surpass $867,000.