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Tuesday, Sep 27, 2022

Ministerial advisors will continue for new gov’t - Premier Wheatley

Ministerial advisors will continue for new gov’t - Premier Wheatley

The establishment of ministerial political advisors - a controversial measure first introduced by former Premier Andrew Fahie to assist government members in executing their portfolios - is expected to remain in place under the new administration.
Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley indicated that under his administration, the post of ministerial advisors will not be disbanded and suggested that it should not be viewed by the public as anything extraordinary.

While responding to questions at a press briefing late last week, Dr Wheatley pointed out that the recently released Commission of Inquiry (COI) report found no issue with the new post and confirmed that special advisors will also continue in the Premier‘s office.

“In fact, the United Kingdom, their ministers have special advisors. It’s standard practice in the United Kingdom and we are going to continue to have special advisors to assist with the very strenuous work and [voluminous] work that exists in the Premier‘s Office and throughout government,” Dr Wheatley said.

When the post was first announced in July last year, the then-Premier, Fahie, faced significant public backlash over claims of unnecessary government spending and for stacking the administration with unnecessary consultants.

Back then, Fahie defended the new addition by contending that it would improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the government.

He said that expectations from ministers and junior ministers had increased significantly over the years and argued the resources that should be available to them had been allowed to be depleted.

Fahie said the public service had suffered institutional capacity issues as a result of that.

And according to the former Premier, the matter of ministerial advisors had been tossed around by governments for more than 20 years and had only been compounded since the addition of junior ministers in the Virgin Islands Constitution of 2007.

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