Concerns have been raised repeatedly over the past year and even in recent months about the increased pressure placed on public servants given the numerous requests made both during and after the Commission of Inquiry (COI).
Furthermore, there have also been questions raised about the toll that COI
-recommended reforms have taken on the government’s resources, including some about the finances expended by the government to execute these reforms.
Based on a recent quarterly review report issued by Governor John Rankin
on the progress of the implementation of COI
reforms, it was suggested that public servants have been conflicted in doing their day-to-day duties while still having to deal with the additional duties related to the COI
“I note with concern that several reviewers and investigators have reported difficulty accessing relevant documents from the public service. I have asked the Deputy Governor to remind public servants of the need to prioritise cooperation with COI
implementation,” the governor noted in his report.
He added: “If there is evidence that access is being deliberately blocked, action will be taken in respect of the relevant officers. I trust that this will no longer be a concern by the time of my next Quarterly Review.”
But Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley recently attempted to allay those concerns by noting that the reform work needs to be done and is part and parcel of the duties of public servants.
“You know I’ve heard this argument and it’s the same argument in terms of how much money you’re spending on the reforms and how much time you’re spending on the reforms,” the premier said. “It’s important for us to understand that this is an important part of the work of public officers.”
Not only should it be seen as part of the work of public servants, but it should also be viewed as a means of improving their work and making it more transparent, the premier said. He further argued that the reforms will go some measure towards ensuring that the BVI defends against corrupt practices.
“It’s not just a mindless exercise that we’re doing to satisfy the United Kingdom,” Dr Wheatley argued. “It’s actually an effort to improve the way that government functions for the people and it is an important part of public officers’ work. It’s an important part of the work of legislators and the members of Cabinet and that’s how I see it.”
“Even beyond completing the reforms that we agreed to in the framework; on an ongoing basis, we should have a process by which we are examining our processes and seeking to improve them.”
Premier Wheatley further argued the BVI has to spend the money necessary to improve these processes because in the end, the concept is that it will eventually save money and the government will become more efficient and more effective.
Ultimately, he posited, more value will be provided to the taxpayers and the public will be served in a better manner.