British Virgin Islands

Sunday, Dec 05, 2021

Gov’t funding for public service training steadily declining

Gov’t funding for public service training steadily declining

Governor John Rankin has raised concerns that government funding to train public servants has seen “a steady decline” over the last five years despite an expansion of the service in that same period.

“In 2016, $138,000 was provided for local training of the public service and then there was additional money for scholarships. In 2021, the provision in the BVI budget for training and public servants is $25,000 for almost 3,000 officials,” the governor stated.

“That is why I say that while I accept my responsibilities for public service, and I wanted to do all I can to assist the public service and provide what we all need and what ministers need and what the public needs, it requires more financial investment from the government, as well as whatever assistance the UK can provide,” he added.

Speaking to the Commission of Inquiry (COI) this week, Governor Rankin compared the funding provided by local government to that which the United Kingdom (UK) government has given to training the BVI’s public service.

UK pumped roughly £2 million for BVI training since 2018

Governor Rankin told the COI the UK government has funded several training programmes in different areas of the public sector in the territory. He noted that since 2018, they have contributed approximately £14.28 million and a total projected spend of £17.656 million at the end of this financial year to the territory.

The governor said not all of these funds have gone towards the public service. He noted that some of it went to environmental projects such as tackling stony coral tissue loss disease in the territory, among other things.

Nonetheless, Rankin said some elements of the monies contributed by the British government was specifically for public service capacity building and training.

“Although it is difficult to disaggregate these figures, and define what is precisely for training or what is wider work for the public service specifically related to capacity building and training, a figure of £2.14 million would be attributable to that,” he said.

“They (the funding used for public service training) have evolved, for example, public finance, management training. It involved IT information, and management kit provision, work on international health regulations, work on child exploitation, online protection, workforce disaster management capacity, [and] building all elements of public service responsibility,” Rankin added.

The governor was called to give evidence as the COI tries to determine whether there has been an abuse of office or other serious dishonesty by government officials in recent years.


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