Chairman of the BVI Ports Authority (BVIPA) Board of Directors, Mr. Wendell Gaskin
Photo Credit: BVI Platinum News
Chairman of the BVI Ports Authority (BVIPA) Board of Directors, Mr. Wendell Gaskin has denounced claims that the move to pay employees of the BVIPA their outstanding increments was politically motivated, saying that the decision had no connection to the promises made by political candidates on the campaign trail.
On the evening of February 17, Chairman of the National Democratic Party (NDP), Hon. Myron Walwyn, while speaking at a campaign, said that civil servants will be paid all their outstanding increments by March 15.
Yesterday, February 19, word broke that employees of the BVIPA have been paid increments for two years, and criticisms alleging that this is a political ploy meant to sway voters have since arisen.
In an interview earlier today, February 20 with BVI Platinum News, the BVIPA Chairman, Mr. Gaskin, when asked whether or not it is true that these increments have been paid, said, “It was a Board decision, that is true. The BVI Ports employees got their increments for 2016 and 2017. And that was a decision made by the Board in regards to increments, it is something that is owed to them.”
Mr. Gaskin also shared that the decision to release the increments was made earlier this month.
Faced with the allegation that the payments were politically motivated, the Chairman denied this insinuation, saying that he is not even aware of such a promise made on the campaign trail.
“I am not aware of any promises. I don’t follow the campaigns,” he stated.
According to the BVIPA Chairman, “There is no other objective; it was a Board decision. We have a Board who made a decision that Port Authority staff should be first preference. And we believe those people deserve those increments because those people have been working very hard from 2016, when the hurricane came in all kinds of adverse conditions.”
Added to that, he said, “I know this is the talking season and people are going to spin things how they want, but I don’t want to be pulled in. Me, and my Board especially don’t want to be drawn into any political…”
He reminded that he only assumed his current position in January, telling this publication, “Part of my responsibility as Chairman is to convince my Board that because the morale of the Ports Authority staff is so low on the ground, that we need to do a couple of things for them.”
He continued, “They have three years’ worth of increments. Right now, we thought it was necessary that we could provide two years and at some later point we are going to consider the 2018.”
The over 100 BVI Ports Authority employees, he stressed, deserve their increments, as “People have families, people have children in school and some of them haven’t gotten an increase in years, and I think it was well deserving….Our main interest is the employees.”