The Premier of the British Virgin Islands has been defending his government’s decision to appoint political advisors.
Critics say this new feature of BVI government and politics reeks of political favouritism and puts more pressure on the government’s finances by hiring supporters to do work already carried out by qualified and experienced civil servants.
But speaking in the territory’s House of Assembly, Premier Fahie said the move is part of his government’s national vision “of transforming the Virgin Islands into a leading regional economy by 2025.”
“Political here does not mean relating to party politics. Political here means relating to strengthening the work of the Government,” he countered.
“The word “political” in the job title simply reflects that the adviser is selected by the Minister and is not a public officer engaged by the Public Service Commission. It does not matter whose party was supported. This role is not about hiring friends and family.”
The BVI Premier made a distinction between what he is pursuing compared to the UK where Special Political Advisors(SPADS) are now a common - and oftentimes controversial - feature of politics and government.
“For example, Advisers will not work with political parties as done in the UK. Advisers cannot instructor override public officers. The adviser will not duplicate the job of any public officer,” he stated.
Mr Fahie said the tenure of each Ministerial Political Adviser, who will be hired as an independent contractor, will be linked to the tenure of the minister.