Beautiful Virgin Islands

Tuesday, Oct 03, 2023

Public service increments now out of my hands — Premier

Public service increments now out of my hands — Premier

The issue of long outstanding public service increment payments is no longer within the remit of Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley.
Dr Wheatley announced weeks ago that monies had been budgeted for, and that instructions were given by Cabinet for increments to be paid.

However, while speaking during an interview with JTV News on Wednesday, April 26, the territory’s leader explained that the responsibility for those payments have now gone beyond his office.

“So the money has been made available for that, and the Cabinet decision has been made for that and all that needs to be done now is for the Human Resources Department — which falls under the Deputy Governor’s Office — to process,” Dr Wheatley told JTV News. “You know, that’s out of my hands as a Minister of Finance and an elected representative.”

The government previously stated that some of these payments will cover a five-year period extending as far back as 2018. It further noted that several payments should be substantially completed by the end of June 2023.

In adding further clarity to the situation, Dr Wheatley suggested that some residents may not have a clear understanding of how government works and argued that ministers of government are often blamed for things they are not responsible for.

“What you have to realise in a government, different actors have different responsibilities. So the governor under our Constitution is responsible for the public service, responsible for the terms and conditions of employment for public officers. That doesn’t fall under the responsibilities of the Minister of Finance,” the Premier explained.

He added: “[The] Minister of Finance must make sure money is available, and we made the monies available. Now, of course, the governor has to stay within his areas of responsibility and the Premier and the ministers have to stay within their areas of responsibility. But it is a partnership. It is a partnership and what persons need to do is study the system.”

While assuring that he has a good working relationship with both the Governor and Deputy Governor, Dr Wheatley said his government will continue to work together with them to ensure public officers get what they are entitled to under the law.

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