On June 7, The BVI Beacon turned 40. To celebrate, it is re-publishing some of the biggest stories from its archives over the past four decades. The article below originally ran on March 7, 1985.


Chief Minister and Minister for Finance Cyril B. Romney presented the 1985 Draft Operating Budget Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure 1985 and Capital Budget Estimates of Receipts and Expenditure at Tuesday’s second sitting of the second session of the Tenth Legislative Council in Road Town.

According to the Operating Budget Estimates, revenue has been estimated at $21,370,000 expenditure at $20,123,000 with a $1,246,900 estimated surplus on the year’s operations.

The contribution to the capital fund totaled $1,246,900.

“Requests for increases in established staff in 1985 have been subject to rigorous examination. Only 19 new posts are included, and these arise because of specific government policy decisions,” Mr. Romney told the packed House. “Furthermore,” he said, “because of the large deficit in 1983, and the cost in 1984 and 1985 of operating the civil service as it is, salaries and wages in the public sector must be held at their present level throughout 1985. The fact is that with a further 21 new posts in 1984, the Public Service establishment increased by a massive 45 percent in numbers in the four years from 1981 to 1984.”

However, provision has been made for the establishment of two new departments based on “inescapable need,” he said, adding, “There is provision for setting up a separate, unified Fire Service while an expanded Ports and Marine Services Department is to be established.”

The chief minister said there was also provision for establishing a small, anti-drug squad in the Police Force.

With regard to Capital Aid and Expenditure, Mr. Romney stated that his government reconsidered some of the capital projects initiated by the previous administration, which were at various stages in the planning process.

The purpose, he said, was to establish overall priorities and to ensure that there was in each case a thorough assessment of the recurrent cost implications of each scheme for the future.

“As a result a number of capital projects previously given priority have been rephrased or put aside for the present. Some existing projects may have to be run down because the cost to the taxpayer of retaining them is clearly too great,” Mr. Romney said.

He said that the BVI was presently into a period of slow but certain decline in capital aid by way of grant from the territory’s traditional major source of such assistance.

Mr. Romney said that it was imperative that all proposals for the use of capital funds, whether by way of external or local resources, should not individually absorb too high a proportion of such funds to the detriment of other smaller priority projects and do not generate annual recurring expenditure beyond the budgetary capacity to sustain them.

“If this is not done, hasty and thus superficial decisions of today in respect of non-viable projects, can bear harshly on the territory’s taxpayers of tomorrow.”

$5.3 million

The 1985 capital budget provides for an estimated total expenditure of some $5.3 million. This is $2 million more than the equivalent figure of $3.3 million in 1984.