‘Stop demonising consultancies’, Opposition legislator told
Deputy Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley has cautioned Second District Representative Melvin ‘Mitch’ Turnbull against the practice of “demonising” consultancies services taken up by the governing Virgin Islands Party administration.
Dr Wheatley issued that warning as a response to Turnbull’s criticism of the government’s decision to hire Ministerial Political Advisers. The Deputy Premier said at the time that these posts are essentially ‘policy advisors’ funded directly from the government’s ‘consultancy’ budget allocation.
He said all governments hire consultants and even mentioned at a previous House of Assembly sitting that the government engaged Turnbull’s brother — who owns and operates The Wellness Center — for a consultancy with the Education Ministry. He further said Turnbull never criticised that decision.
According to Dr Wheatley, the Second District Representative took offence at the mention of his brother’s consultancy with government.
“[Turnbull] took it as an attack on him and felt the need to come and justify the value The Wellness Center is providing for the money that they’re being paid,” the Education Minister stated.
But Dr Wheatley said the point was not that the Wellness Center did not give value for money. Instead, the point was that “we should not demonise consultancies”.
“You came to the House of Assembly today and you’re able to read the contract from your brother and your brother provides value, but you don’t recognise anybody else who provides value, ” Dr Wheatley argued.
He argued that if Turnbull were to return to government, his (Turnbull’s) government will likely have to engage consultants as well.