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Former governor told previous gov’t not to pay increments — Walwyn

Former governor told previous gov’t not to pay increments — Walwyn

Former governor, Augustus Jaspert, has been singled out as the reason behind the non-payment of public servants’ increments during the previous National Democratic Party (NDP) administration.
Throughout the 2023 general elections campaign, the topic of public servants’ increments and whether they will be paid has remained a key issue for many of the candidates. Blame has been lobbed back and forth between the two major parties — the incumbent Virgin Islands Party (VIP) and the previous NDP government — over which was responsible for the years-long delay in payments.

But over the weekend, as parties held their final rallies and made their closing arguments, former Education Minister, Myron Walwyn — now seeking to become the NDP’s next Sixth District Representative — made a surprising revelation in stating that it was Jaspert’s decision for the NDP not to pay increments just before the 2019 elections.

Walwyn related that his party wanted to pay increments in January 2019 just ahead of the last elections, and said the then-NDP government had already calculated that the increments could be paid because the government had nearly $300 million at its disposal.

“The increments were only $11 million or so,” Walwyn stated. “When we were going to pay the increments, we were told by the governor that we shouldn’t do that now because it will look as if we’re buying votes and that’s why we didn’t pay the increments.”

Just one week before the 2019 elections, Walwyn claimed that any party taking office after winning office should be able to pay all outstanding public servants increments by March 15, but this was not done until some time later.

But VIP Chairman and Premier, Dr Natalio Wheatley, reiterated that it was his party that had to pay three years of outstanding increments after entering office back in 2019.

Premier Wheatley explained that not only did his VIP government pay increments left outstanding by the previous NDP government, but his administration also moved ahead with payments for 2019 and 2020, with arrears.

Dr Wheatley announced just weeks ago that monies had been budgeted for, and that instructions were given by Cabinet for increments to be paid. The government said these payments will cover five years extending back to 2018. It further noted that some of these payments should be substantially completed by the end of June 2023.
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