Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley has urged public servants and others employed by the government to be grateful, citing the fact that some employers elsewhere have been dismissing persons amid uncertain economic times.
While touting the territory’s ability to double its revenues over the past twenty years, the Premier noted that the BVI’s recurrent expenditure needs to be brought under control and may have doubled within that time as well.
But according to Dr Wheatley, the BVI’s revenues of roughly $400 million is something for residents to celebrate, particularly given the territory’s “enviable position” when compared to other nations.
“I hope that the Most High Creator finds none of us to be ungrateful for our blessings. Oh what a travesty that would be if we would frown in the face of the bountiful blessings that God has bestowed upon us,” the Premier said during the recent budget debate which resulted in an amended budget of $412,971,110 being passed in the House of Assembly. This is an increase from the $399 million budget announced weeks ago.
Dr Wheatley expressed that the BVI government has been able to keep many persons employed, allowing them to provide for their families, own homes and make other purchases due to this employment.
“Many persons are able to do that because they are employed by the government of the Virgin Islands
, and let us never be ungrateful. There are many persons in places [where] they’re not afraid to send people home,” the Premier said. “But we understand how important it is to ensure that your persons have income [and] have a job to be able to support yourself.”
Premier Wheatley shared that a visit to many places around the world will show that there are people who are homeless and unemployed. “If you have a job, just give God thanks that you have a job,” the Premier said.
Premier Wheatley also noted that the territory has never defaulted on its loans and is well below its debt servicing ratio.
“Our economy is producing jobs upon jobs, upon jobs, upon jobs to the point where you have to import people to do work and you have lots of work permits that you issue each year. So, our economy is doing well,” the Premier declared.
The BVI government employs nearly three thousand public servants, and though this has put a strain on the territory’s recurrent expenditure over the years, Deputy Governor David Archer Jr recently dismissed rumours of public sector cuts.