GOVERNOR’S PRESS CONFERENCE Royal Visit of Prince Edward and Wife; European Union Funds For Anguilla; Matters related to the Anguilla Public Service: Transfer of Permanent Secretaries; Public Service Efficiency Review; Salary Reductions; and Payments to Temenos Suppliers by Mr. Rizzuto

anguillian
By anguillian January 30, 2012 10:25

GOVERNOR’S PRESS CONFERENCE Royal Visit of Prince Edward and Wife; European Union Funds For Anguilla; Matters related to the Anguilla Public Service: Transfer of Permanent Secretaries; Public Service Efficiency Review; Salary Reductions; and Payments to Temenos Suppliers by Mr. Rizzuto

Prince Edward and Princess Sophie

Anguilla’s Governor, His Excellency Alistair Harrison, has formally announced that Her Majesty the Queen had requested their Royal Highnesses Prince Edward and his wife, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, to visit Anguilla as part of a visit to theCaribbean.

The Governor made the announcement at a press conference on Tuesday, January 24. He said the Prince and Princess would be carrying out the visit on Monday, March 5, representing the Queen on the occasion of her Diamond Jubilee.

Mr. Harrison told reporters that a detailed programme on the visit would be announced in due course, but it was expected that their Royal Highnesses would attend a ceremony at the Ronald Webster Park and a church service to commemorate the jubilee. He said a wide range of island-wide engagements was also being arranged for the Prince and Princess and that their visit was part of a series of events to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

Governor Harrison said that Prince Edward and his wife would be travelling to Anguilla on a yacht, the MV Leander, for their one-day visit, accompanied by the Royal Fleet Auxiliary,Fort Rosalie. They are expected to arrive inAnguillaaround 9 o’clock in the morning and leave about the same time in the evening.

Governor Harrison and DG, Stanley Reid

According to the Governor, during the earlier part of theirCaribbeanvisit the couple will be travelling on  RAF aircraft. By the time they arrive inAnguilla, they would have transferred to the yacht on which they will spend the nights as they travel from island to island.

Prince Edward is the fourth child, and third son, of the Queen and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. He was born in 1964 and is about the seventh in line to the throne. When he married his wife, Sophie, he became Earl of Wessex and she the Countess of Wessex as well as a Princess. It has been agreed that he will eventually succeed his father as Duke of Edinburgh.

Following the announcement about the royal visit, the Governor answered a number of questioners on other matters. Responding to one of them, he said he did not think the delay of twelve days in signing the 2012 budget would have any effect on the EDF grant of some 40 million dollars now expected from the European Union. He stated that last year there were longer and more substantive problems with the budget which might have made a difference to the speedy disbursement of the EDF money then. Chief Minister and Minister of Finance, Hubert Hughes, is at present leading the Anguillian delegation to anOverseasTerritoriesmeeting with the European Commission, inBrussels, at whichAnguilla’s disbursement of money is among matters for discussion.

The Governor hoped that the money would be forthcoming. He explained that for various reasons the European Union had always been very careful that “all their’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed” before money is disbursed. “I know from my experience of working with the European Commission for 18 months – 13 or 14 years ago – that it does take a long time, but it worth it in the end when you finally get the money,” he added.

The Governor was asked how the recent transfers of Permanent Secretaries were going.

“As far as I see it, it is shaping up fine with all the four Permanent Secretaries in their new jobs and doing very well in them,” he replied. “For example, the two Permanent Secretaries in the Finance Ministry have accompanied the Chief Minister toBrusselsthis week – Aidan Harrigan and Foster Rogers.”

Deputy Governor, Stanley Reid, was asked by the Governor to comment. “They are functioning as one would expect persons in such positions to function,” he said. “They have assumed their new positions and are carrying out those roles in the appropriate fashion.”

Asked about the Anguilla Public Service Efficiency Review, Mr. Reid stated: “That is ongoing. We have identified two specific areas… and we will be progressing the actual work in relation to those areas. They were the merger of the Departments of Agriculture and Fisheries; and the other was to bring to one place all the matters that pertain toissues of passports, naturalisations and so forth, so that persons can go to a focal point to ask questions and receive answers when they put in applications of that nature. These are not issues that are resolved tomorrow. These are issues that will be resolved during the course of the year and into next year, so we are working on it.”

Mr. Reid said the merger involved the senior persons in the departments who were well-placed to offer views regarding the implications of the merger. “Obviously, from our standpoint, we should listen to those views as well and respond appropriately. We are in that process where we are urging persons to understand that from where you sit you have a particular viewpoint, and if you want to inform the process, and actually make things better than they are currently, we expect to hear from you.”

Replying to a question regarding the repayment of salary deductions to civil servants, Mr. Reid said it was a matter for the Executive Council to deal with. It was confirmed that the Government had received the report from Lawyer Anthony Astaphan ofDominicawho was contracted to deliver his opinion on the matter.

Mr. Reid continued: “Over the course of time, public servants’ salaries have been reduced with the understanding that there will come a point in time when the Government of Anguilla is able to repay the monies that were reduced. Obviously, the Government of Anguilla is incurring a debt over the course of time to public servants.

“The issue was raised was about how can that debt be brought to a halt, paying due regards to the rights of public officers… and that was the issue that was put out there for consideration.”

Governor Harrison replied to a question in connection with the payment of monies owed to a number of suppliers (of goods and services) by the former owners of the Flag/Temenos project. He said that the Executive Council had confirmed a decision on Monday, January 23, that the funds would be disbursed by Cube Credits Limited which is John Benjamin’s firm.

“It was always made very clear from Mr. Rizzuto’s side [the new owner] that he didn’t want to be the person handing out the money himself,” the Governor said. “I think it is better that it is not the Government, and I hope the disbursement will take place as quickly as possible. There may be one or two legal delays, but I think that very soon the local vendors should all be paid.”

The Governor said the total amount to be disbursed was about 3.2 million US dollars. “These are ex gratia payments by Mr. Rizzuto,” Governor Harrison stated. “He had no legal obligation to pay them, but as part of the negotiation process he offered to make those payments.”

Meanwhile, an announcement from the Ministry of Home Affairs stated on Wednesday that the distribution of funds to local vendors would commence at Cube Credit Services on Thursday afternoon.

Money owed to the Government of Anguilla will be sorted out otherwise.

 

anguillian
By anguillian January 30, 2012 10:25

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