A large billboard titled ‘VIP- A Government of mistakes’ erected in Road Town, in the vicinity of CCT Headquarters and the Road Town Fire Station, has been labelled as “shameful and misleading” by Premier and Minister Dr the Hon Natalio D. Wheatley (R7).
NDP behind ‘shameful’ billboard- Premier
While the billboard, which lists several issues it claims were mistakes of the VIP administration, does not indicate who or which party is behind it, Premier Wheatley has said he has been informed by “good sources” that it is the work of the National Democratic Party (NDP).
Dr Wheatley was at the time speaking on the VIP Let’s Talk radio show on ZBVI 780 AM on April 18, 2023, when he was asked to address the issue of increments.
The Premier and VIP Chairman said Government has already budgeted the money in the last Supplementary Appropriation (SAP) and a Cabinet decision has already been made to pay increments for 5 years.
Dr Wheatley said he; however, wanted to set the record clear, “because I saw a billboard, a shameful billboard speaking about not paying increments. I got from good sources the National Democratic Party put up that billboard talking about the VIP is a government of mistakes.”
Premier and Minister Dr the Hon Natalio
D. Wheatley (R7) speaking on the VIP Let’s Talk radio show on ZBVI 780
AM on April 18, 2023, when he addressed the issue of increments.
NDP failed to deliver on promised increments
“They have up on the billboard no payment of increments. And can you believe that? The National Democratic Party of the last administration did not pay increments for 2016, for 2017, or for 2018.”
In fact, it was during the National Democratic Party campaign prior to the June 8, 2015, elections, then leader of the NDP administration Dr D. Orlando Smith had announced on May 12, 2015, that Government had to withhold payment of increments because the Government needed the money to do "other things".
While making a promise to pay, what Dr Smith did not say is that the promised payment of the increments came as a result of heavy agitation by members of the Opposition.
Nevertheless, the NDP failed to deliver on its promise and prior to the 2019 elections it also made another promise to pay but the electorate booted the NDP from office.
The billboard lists several issues as mistakes of the VIP administration.
VIP administration paid increments for 2016, 2017 & 2018- Premier
On VIP Let’s Talk last night, Premier Wheatley emphasised that the Virgin Islands
Party had to pay the increments for those years that the National Democratic Party was in power.
He reminded that the VIP administration paid the increments for 2016, 2017 and 2018, “and in Cabinet we made the decision to pay increments in 2018 and 2019 with arrears. And for 2020, 2021 and 2022, we moved up the steps.
“So when persons coming to you with nonsense telling you there has been no increments paid, you tell them that the Virgin Islands
Party (VIP) in this administration made sure that increments will be paid for 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 years, two of the years in arrears.”
‘Google’ the facts
The Premier urged the electorate not to listen to the misinformation but get the fact “You can look for it. It was a Cabinet decision and it was made public….a press release was done on it, google it. It is the truth and compare it to the lies that are being told on billboards up and down the Virgin Islands
, which in my view is a shameful act to mislead and deceive the people of the Virgin Islands
Our reporter while taking a photograph of the billboard this morning was told by a member of the public that the billboard was spreading misinformation.
“Don’t worry about taking that picture parna, it’s all lies,” a man working in the vicinity stated.
Meanwhile, Dr Wheatley said he will address some of the other misinformation that at the VIP’s closing rally on Saturday, adding that he will be talking about 10 glass houses.
“And you don’t want to miss it. It’s going to be fire!”
NDP Chairman Hon Marlon A. Penn (R8) did not respond to our question about whether the NDP was behind the billboard.