Beautiful Virgin Islands

Saturday, Jan 28, 2023

Money was there for public service increments, Walwyn insists

Money was there for public service increments, Walwyn insists

Nearly four years after his National Democratic Party (NDP) was swept out of office after assuring public servants that they would be paid promised salary increments within one month of the 2019 general elections ending, former Education Minister Myron Walwyn has doubled down on the idea that he could have gotten it done.
Walwyn referred to his assurance at the time and said there was a reason he made the promise in the way he did on the campaign trail, suggesting that there was a need to follow established election protocols at the time.

“When it’s coming close to elections, there are certain things — because of the closeness of the time — that you can’t do in the Westminster system,” Walwyn stated during an appearance on the Talking Points show aired on ZBVI radio recently.

“[There are] certain things that you do [that] may look as if you’re using tactics to influence the outcome of the elections. That’s why I said it the way I said it.”

Walwyn had stated at the time that the nearly $9 million in payments was available to be paid out based on the more than-$60 million in excess revenue the territory reportedly raked in at the end of 2018.

The information regarding the NDP government’s assurance and support for paying those increments, Walwyn said, was put to them in “a particular sacred place”, where the government couldn’t divulge what had happened ‘in the room’ at the time.

“The point I am making is this: the money was there,” Walwyn said.

Walwyn said questions related to why the public service increments have still not been paid nearly four years later should best be put to the current government.

“The reason why I made that promise is because I knew the amount and I knew the funding was there to pay the entire amount of outstanding increments to the civil servants,” he added.

During his time in office, Walwyn said his government had paid a portion of the increments before leaving office but was particularly concerned about keeping everyone employed following the two devastating 2017 hurricanes of Irma and Maria and had to take this into account as they sought to respond to the situation.

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