L-R: Claude Skelton Cline, Shaina Smith and Vance Lewis.
Photo Credit: BVI Platinum News
Premier and Finance Minister, Hon. Dr. Orlando Smith has defended his government move to hire consultants to assist in carrying out their agenda in several sectors. The Premier comments came two days after two of his government Ministers in response to questions by the opposition disclosed the amount of monies being spent on consultancies.
"...Sometimes it is necessary to go outside of government in order to get the expertise to be able to assist. And once we got into office, several of my ministers realized that it was necessary to get other expertise in order to be able to help to move the process along. That was done," he said today October 11 during the debate of the Public Finance Management (Amendment) Act, 2012.
The Premier said the consultancies taken on by the government are already bearing fruit.
"And I must say that the results of those consultancy have begun to show fruit and they have been extremely useful," he said.
The Premier also made mention of the Financial Services textbook for schools written by Ayana Hull. "...Got this book on financial services to be put into the schools...So that the young people of this generation will be able to understand what the financial industry is about...So I want to applaud the Education Minister."
Hon. Andrew Fahie, First District Representative during the debate had also made a swing at the government over the signing of what he called a barrage of consultancy contracts.
on Tuesday, October 9 at the sitting of the House of Assembly, at least two government Ministries have publicly disclosed the amount of monies being spent on salaries for consultants in their Ministries.
Combined the Ministry for Health and Social Development and the Ministry for Communications and Works are set to pay about $800,000.00 annually to contracted consultants.
Under the Ministry of Health, there are four consultants with an expenditure tab of around $431,500.00 while in the Communications and Works Ministry there are seven persons employed at a cost of about $343,500.00. Both figures exclude benefits.
Ministers for the respective Ministries made the disclosure in response to questions posed by Hon. Julian Fraser, Third District Representative.
Third District Representative, Hon. Julian Fraser asked the respective Ministers to provide details on the persons hired by their Ministry under consultancy contracts to perform as employees outside the ambit of the Public Service Commission; and the terms and conditions of their contracts.
Health Minister, Hon. Ronnie Skelton said there are four persons currently employed by the Ministry on consultancy contracts, all of whom are assigned to the Ministry´s Project Office.
He said Bennet Smith has been contracted as Project Engineer for the New Peebles Hospital Project for eighteen months with effect from the 1st September, 2011 to February 28th 2013 with an option to extend the contract within three months of expiration as deemed necessary by Government.
Smith´s salary is $95,000 per annum; with paid vacation of 20 days per annum; telephone allowance of $1,200 per annum; travel allowance of $3,000.00 per annum; and performance-based gratuity of 5% of gross salary.
Shaina Smith has been contracted as Assistant Project Engineer for the New Peebles Hospital Project for eighteen months with effect from 1st February 2012 to 31st July 2013 with an option to extend contract within three months of expiration as deemed necessary by Government.
Her salary is $84,000 per annum with paid vacation of 20 days per annum; performance-based gratuity of 10% of gross salary; and gratuity of 10% of gross salary upon successful completion of contract.
Jaffali Kazembe was contracted as Clerk of Works for the New Peebles Hospital Project for eighteen months with effect from the 7th October, 2011 to the 7th April 2013 with an option to extend contract within three months of expiration as deemed necessary by Government.
Kazembe´s salary is $52,500 per annum; travel allowance of $1,200; telephone allowance of $2,400; paid vacation of 20 days per annum; and performance-based gratuity of 10 % of gross salary upon satisfactory completion of contract.
Daniel T. DeMeyer was contracted as Quality Engineer for the New Peebles Hospital Project for eighteen months with effect from the 1st March 2012 to 31st August 2013 with an option to extend contract within three months of expiration as deemed necessary by Government.
DeMeyer's salary is $200,000 per annum and includes paid vacation of 20 days per annum; and performance-based gratuity of 7.5 % of gross salary upon satisfactory completion of contract.
Minister Skelton then commented, "These Engineers and Clerk of Works were employed to deliver the Peebles Hospital Project and to realize a savings of 5-10% of the total value of the contract."
Meanwhile, in relation to the Works Ministry, Minister Mark Vanterpool named seven persons.
He said Raphael Fraser was hired to serve as Water Plant Operator at the Baugher´s Bay Plant to provide maintenance work effective June 29, 2010 for a salary of $25,500.00 per annum and includes a 5% gratuity.
Morrison Wattley has been hired from July 2010 as a Water Plant Operator, but currently serves as Supervisor at a salary of $27,000.00 per annum and gratuity of 5%.
Milford Todman has been employed from July 11, 2011 as Water Treatment Plant Technician - mechanical and preventative maintenance services with a salary of $40,000.00 per annum with gratuity of 5%.
Aaron Mather has been employed from the 10th September 2012 to the 9th September 2013 as Project Coordinator for the East End/Long Look Sewerage Project at a salary of $45,000.00 per annum.
Meanwhile, he said Claude Skelton Cline was contracted from 1st December, 2011 as Project Consultant for assigned special projects, including ports development and civil works projects with a salary of $96,000.00 per annum that includes benefits of travel: $2,592.00 per annum and 5% gratuity.
The Minister stated that Shirlyn Penn was contracted from the 6th February, 2012 to 5th February, 2014 as Management Accounting Consultant contracted to perform functions with regard to the accounting system, policies and practice at the Public Works Department and other related duties.
Penn´s salary is at $60,000.00 per annum and benefits include travel: $1,944.00 per annum; Induce. $6,000.00 per annum and 5% gratuity.
Minister Vanterpool revealed that VM Professional Services Ltd. has been contracted from 1st April, 2012 to 1st September, 2012 to advise the Minister for Communications and Works on all telecommunications matter which impact the territory domestically and internationally. This includes Information Technology, television content and other related matters.
This contract is in relation to Vance Lewis and the Minister said $50,000 is payable each six-month period under the contract.