Beautiful Virgin Islands

Friday, Sep 30, 2022

Labour boss chided for vague response to resident’s concerns

Labour boss chided for vague response to resident’s concerns

Acting Labour Commissioner Michelle McLean was chided for a vague response given to a resident recently over concerns about delayed work permit approvals.
The is all unfolded at a virtual stakeholders meeting recently when the resident asked: “We submit permits on behalf of our clients, some are still being processed [from] as far back as August 2021. This obviously affects business for these clients. Can you advise when we should expect a decision on such applications?”

McLean told the resident that she was uncertain about any timeline for the approvals to be processed and usually forwards the residents’ emails to the relevant party.

“I can’t come out and say exactly when it is going to be processed, I can surely look into it,” McLean stated while complaining about frustrations faced by the Labour Department with the online system that had been put in place.

Hearing the acting commissioner’s response, Labour Minister Vincent Wheatley indicated that her statement was unsatisfactory.

“I think we need to give a little better answer as business persons are trying to make some money now,” he stated. “That business might not have made some money for the last year or two years and to tell someone you’re not sure; I think we have to do a little better in terms of assuring businesses that they are going to be able to function,” Labour Minister Vincent Wheatley said.

Wheatley said he understood the situation faced by McLean with the current staff shortage in her department and promised to address the situation with the Deputy Governor as a matter of urgency.

The office of the Governor and Deputy Governor oversees human resources for the public sector in the BVI.

“Businesses work on predictability and I think we need to just remove some of the uncertainty from the situation,” Minister Wheatley said.
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