It was also a place to build local technical capacity to help the Virgin Islands years after the Hurricanes, and after the term of the RDA comes to an end.
However, the first item of business, with the reported backing of former controversial Governor Augustus J. U. Jaspert aka ‘Gus’, was to hire a Caucasian expat, Paul D. Bayly, with a price tag of $300,000 a year plus room, boarding and airline tickets.
His tenure ended in failure and he abruptly resigned because there were questions from local residents and some elected members of the HoA on performance.
The Recovery and Development Agency (RDA) was commissioned in 2018 via an act of the House of Assembly (HoA) to assist the Territory as an independent body to assist with recovery after the killer storms Irma and Maria of 2017.
A local, Anthony S. McMaster, a former Permanent Secretary, replaced Mr Bayly; however, was not paid the same salary as Mr Bayly. Many public commentators labelled it as downright racism and double standards.
In the past years, there have been issues of the United Kingdom (UK) funding coming to an end, and their lack of honouring their original commitment on the amount of funds promised to the RDA.
Additionally, word reaching our News Centre from two RDA board members familiar with the day to day operations of the organisation is that there are now four British nationals on the payroll working from the UK.
Their average salaries are between $120,000 to $200,000 per year, plus benefits for the four UK Nationals.
The first item of business for the RDA, with the reported backing of former controversial Governor Augustus J. U. Jaspert aka ‘Gus’, was to hire a Caucasian expat, Paul D. Bayly, with a price tag of $300,000 a year plus room, boarding and airline tickets.
The Board Members who spoke to our newsroom, on condition of anonymity, described it as an abuse and could be seen by some as bordering on unfair to the Territory and taxpayers.
The four officers working from home in the UK are; Denise Stabler, a Project Coordinator and is assigned to the Caribbean Development Bank road works; Christopher Coulson, whose title is an Infrastructure planner; Charlie Peschardt, a project manager; and Tom Lilleyman, a chief technical advisor and a pal of the controversial former Governor Jaspert.
One Board Member claimed, “with them making so much money it’s clear that they are not on the ground to address projects, but have to rely on an email from the staff in the BVI.....this is an abuse of office, in my opinion.”
The Board Member asked, “how can they verify projects from the UK?”
There are also unconfirmed reports that the UK nationals working at the RDA have no respect for the CEO, Mr Anthony S. McMaster.
Many locals and other Caribbean national contracts have expired and were not renewed at the RDA; however, the four UK nationals are still raking in huge wages with Mr Lilleyman, a close ally of the former Governor Jaspert, earning some $200,000 a year plus benefits.
There are also unconfirmed reports that the UK nationals working at the RDA have no respect for the CEO, Mr McMaster, who did not respond to our request for a comment on the matter.
Many residents also said this is another reason why the British are anxious to take over the Virgin Islands and impose direct rule under the false pretends of ‘corruption.’ If this happens, it will open the way to lay off locals and hire British nationals.
The British will also move to cut the public service leaving many locals out of jobs, hungry and homeless. Many residents also stated that the example of what is going on in the RDA is yet another form of slavery and exploitation of the people and resources.