Two government statutory bodies have paid about $180,000 to collection agents since 2011, Premier Dr. Orlando Smith told the House of Assembly last week in response to questions from Opposition Leader Andrew
Fahie (R-D1).

“Based on the information provided by each of the statutory bodies, only the Social Security Board and the BVI Health Services Authority have contracted or otherwise engaged an agency or individual to act as a collecting agent on their behalf,”Dr. Smith (R-at large) said.

Between 2011 and 2015, the BVIHSA paid $7,734.70 to JEM Services Limited and Zolfo Cooper for “assistance with the collection of accounts receivable,” the premier explained.

In 2014 , he added, the BVIHSA paid $5,900 to Orion Law for the “provision of legal opinions to Zolfo Cooper and for case management.”

“However, no matter progressed to the court system,” he added.“ In 2015, the BVIHSA discontinued this arrangement with Zolfo Cooper and hired someone to head its collection unit.”

SSB payments

Between 2011 and 2016, the Social Security Board paid $95,219 to Orion Law before terminating the agreement, Dr. Smith said.

The SSB also has paid $71,211.30 to Sabals Law since March 2016, according to the premier.

“Each firm was engaged to collect overdue contributions owed to the board by delinquent employers,” he explained.

In response to a query from Mr. Fahie about the procurement process used to hire the firms, the premier said,

“These entities are statutory bodies and each follow their own collection processes.”

The central government did not hire any collection agents during the timeframe in question, the premier told Mr. Fahie.