Statement by the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Honorable Andrew A. Fahie – Looking Ahead 2022

DECLARATION OF
FIRST OF THE VIRGIN ISLANDS
AND THE MINISTER OF FINANCE, THE HONORABLE ANDREW A. FAHIE

WEDNESDAY 29E DECEMBER 2021

OUTLOOK TOWARD 2022

Have a good day and Blessings from GOD everyone as we continue to look forward to 2022.

Let me first let you know that the Deputy Prime Minister and I are making good progress towards a full recovery in a few days as expected by our health officials.

I want to remind all of us to be vigilant because COVID-19 has not gone anywhere. We all need to learn to live and work in the new COVID-19 regular. More and more variants are emerging around the world and the numbers are increasing. It is crucial that we continue to do our part by being vigilant and taking the necessary precautions to protect us all from this dreaded virus. Let us continue to pray for the full recovery of all those who have contracted COVID-19.

I would like to say at this point that as we approach the New Year, your government continues to strengthen our framework for good governance through the passage of many important pieces of legislation in the House of Assembly. The latest is the Act respecting integrity in public life who will do the following:

1) Clearly state the standards of conduct for public officials, statutory councils and elected representatives in the performance of their duties;

2) Develop and further strengthen accountability systems, guaranteeing respect for public policies; and

3) Establish an Integrity Commission that would help achieve the government’s objectives of promoting good governance, improving the ethical conduct of public officials, and strengthening the prevention and detection of potential corrupt acts committed by individuals in public life.

By the first quarter of 2022, this Integrity Commission will be set up and made operational in advance.

In addition, your government will present more bills for discussion, debate and approval that will further strengthen good governance and cement in the minds of all of our people in the Virgin Islands that we can continue to monitor ourselves and run our own affairs as have been with us ever since our ancestors said no to Grant-in-Aid.

Therefore, expect, among others, the following invoices:

1) The Human Rights Commission Act;

2) The law on freedom of information; and

3) Amendments to the Registrar of Interest Act.

Others will be revealed with the Speech from the Throne, which will take place on January 18, 2022.

As we all know now, the throne speech is compiled and compiled by the Prime Minister and Ministers and submitted by His Excellency the Governor. This is a projection of your government’s legislative program.

In addition to strengthening our legislative framework for good governance, we will advance our progress on a new constitution. Your government will release the names of the constitutional review team in a few days.

It should also be noted that your government is organizing a meeting with all players in the horse racing industry at the start of the new year. Horse racing is one of our main cultural hobbies, and together we must discuss the way forward with this industry. More information will be provided on this.

In August 2020, at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the BVI Ports Authority (BVIPA) made the difficult decision to reduce the hours worked by its hourly paid staff, as the organization’s operational needs dwindled. . As a result, the wages of these employees were affected as they were only paid for the hours worked and they earned less than they would have under normal circumstances.

I am pleased to inform the public that the BVIPA Board of Directors has approved one year of increases to be paid to all of its employees upon successful completion of their performance reviews by the first quarter of 2022.

Additionally, all port employees whose hours have been reduced in 2020 due to the impact of COVID-19, will receive a “one-time” ex gratia payment from BVIPA. I am happy that BVIPA workers are recognized for their invaluable service. This has been made possible by the many successful policies of your government which have contributed significantly to the positive surge in our economy despite the continued challenges created by COVID-19. We thank the BVIPA staff for their hard work and continued dedication to the Authority during the pandemic, which continues.

Finally, I would like to thank all visitors, residents and all honorable Members of Parliament for making the Prime Minister’s Christmas Day Cultural Tourism Initiative a success, as many of our fellow citizens were able to enjoy our cuisine and of our local music. This cultural event was experienced in all nine districts, from districts one to nine, and in several areas of each district. It’s true BVILOVE. Together we will always achieve more.

Let us look towards 2022 with the certainty that the GOD of our ancestors and ancestors is still the same God for us today. They trusted HIM and HE did not let them fail. Likewise, we now trust it and look forward to the same or even better results.

Thank you and blessings from God on the people of the Virgin Islands!