Government is finalising an “accessibility of the laws” scheme that will consolidate Virgin Islands legislation on a website on an ongoing basis, Attorney General Dawn Smith said during the closed-door Standing Finance Committee deliberations late last year.
She added that by 2022 she hoped her office would have established “a workable solution” to build the website with the help of the House of Assembly and the Cabinet Office, according to a report on the closed-door SFC proceedings that was released Monday.
The Department of Information Technology, Ms. Smith said, was finalising a website primarily for the revised legislation, but there would still be a need to link to the Cabinet Office and the HOA. She said this step is necessary to make provisions for bills and repealed legislation to be available on the site.
During the same hearing, Cabinet Secretary Sandra Ward said her office’s revenue is primarily attributed to the Gazette, “which continues to be critical and central to the affairs of the territory,” according to the SFC report.
Like most ministries and departments, Ms. Ward said, the Cabinet Office made some key adjustments as it experienced significant impact on operations, especially to the Gazette Unit.
As of Oct. 31, she reported, the unit had grossed $322,827 for the year, which was sourced from commercial notices, Gazette subscriptions and Gazette sales.
That figure was down 7.2 percent from the same period the previous year, she said.
In 2020, the overall income was $419,199, with the highest monthly revenue occurring in April, at $40,095. The lowest monthly total — $19,850 — came in July, which Ms. Ward noted saw a high number of Covid-19 cases.
With two months remaining in the year, she added, she did not project that the revenue for the office to exceed $400,000.
Deputy Cabinet Secretary Vicki Samuel-Lettsome added that so far in 2021, the Gazette website had received 35,826 visits. The highest number of visitors came from the VI, followed by the United States and the United Kingdom.
During the Covid-19 period, Ms. Ward continued, the Cabinet Office has continued greening processes for digital and paperless meetings.
She concluded by reminding HOA members to subscribe to the Gazette so that they can have access to bills after first readings, acts, regulations, orders “and much more.”
In response to a question from Acting Premier Dr. Natalio “Sowande” Wheatley, Ms. Ward explained that her office had requested and added a new position of “recording secretary.”
Dr. Wheatley responded that he “supported the creation of the post as it would release a post in his ministry in which the recording secretary is currently being paid.”
Funding had been provided for the “recording secretary” position in the 2022budget, according to ActingDeputy Financial SecretaryJeremy Vanterpool.