ST THOMAS, British Virgin Islands, Wednesday May 20, 2015 – Premier Dr. Orlando Smith has described as “an outright lie” Opposition claims that his National Democratic Party (NDP) administration had agreed with the United Kingdom government to send home civil servants.
He issued a statement yesterday categorically denying any such plan, in response to claims made the previous night by chairman of the Virgin Islands Party (VIP) Julian Fraser.
“A story in Platinum News [yesterday] morning carried the leader of the Virgin Islands Party saying that I, Dr. Orlando Smith, had agreed with the United Kingdom to cut the civil service. This is an outright lie and certainly not reflective of a government that has increased the size of the civil service during the past three and a half years, and has put more people to work, especially young people, than before,” Smith declared.
“Let me state categorically that I have had no correspondence nor entered into any discussion with the United Kingdom government regarding our civil service at any time.”
Fraser made the allegation on Monday night at the launch of one of the VIP’s candidates for the June 8, 2015 election in the British Overseas Territory.
He claimed that Smith had called the election quickly so that he could put the retrenchment plan in action after the polls.
“Now he couldn’t cut the service before elections because he knows that he would never get re-elected. So here is the little trick – just call a quick election and then come back, hopefully, and do the dirty work,” Fraser charged.
‘I don’t tell lies’ – Hon Julian Fraser RA | Virgin Islands News Online http://t.co/tSz4FPxYT2
— VINO (@vinonumber1) May 20, 2015
However, in his statement, Premier Smith suggested that Fraser’s allegation was an election ploy and expressed concern that he would implicate the British government in such a claim.
“I know that the VIP is desperate to win this election at any cost, but I did not think that their vicious lies would come from a man who wants to lead this country and would involve the British Government,” he said.
Fraser has promised that if his VIP wins the election, far from cutting the public service, the administration would ensure workers were paid the increments owed them for 2011.
Increments were withheld to deal with ‘other things’ – Premier Smith | Virgin Islands News Online http://t.co/mycAm8rm4t
— VINO (@vinonumber1) May 13, 2015
He said a former VIP administration had been advised by the UK government to downsize the civil service but then Premier Ralph T. O’Neal had rejected the proposal.