Parliamentarians in the British Virgin Islands are in line for a pension packet which Premier and Minister for Finance Hon. Andrew Fahie says will “make sure that they retire with dignity”.
The provision called the Retiring Allowances (Legislative Services) (Amendment) Act, 2021 will calculate a pension for retiring elected representatives based on their parliamentary tenure.
The issue has been on the cards for some time but has met with resistance.
Premier Fahie said there are already regulations in place to prevent and penalise parliamentarians who exploit their position for personal gain.
A UK-government Commission of Inquiry is currently underway in the BVI with a remit to examine “whether corruption, abuse of office or other serious dishonesty may have taken place amongst public, elected and statutory officials in recent years” following serious allegations.
Defending the pension law he argued that many parliamentarians ended up being less well off financially after leaving the territory’s House of Assembly.
“After they have given a lifetime of service, you send them off with nothing to take care of themselves until they die,” he lamented, referring to instances where he had been lobbied by former parliamentarians to push through the pension plan.
“When you have persons serving for so many years, and then they leave the position and you put them out there with nothing basically, they become less well off than before they went in.”
Former BVI parliamentarians currently receive a retirement package which according to Premier Fahie, amounts to between US$900 and US$1500 monthly.