In a surprising announcement the CEO of the Recovery and Development Agency (RDA) Paul Bailey’s resignation was announced on Tuesday 14 January causing rapid response from both His Excellency Governor Augustus Jaspert and Premier and Minister for Finance, Hon. Andrew Fahie.
The announcement of Bailey’s resignation was issued by the Board of the RDA on Tuesday 14 January. The RDA Board said: “It is with regret that the Board of Directors of the Recovery and Development Agency (RDA) has accepted the resignation of CEO, Paul Bailey. Since his appointment in 2018, Mr. Bailey has been critical to both the establishment of the RDA and the excellent work undertaken by the Agency to date.”
The Agency said that its structure was designed to meet the needs and ambitions of the original $600m Recovery to Development Plan (RDP), with a team of technical experts equipped with the skills to deliver an ambitious recovery that would be stronger, smarter, more resilient and sustainable. However, it was noted that there is no longer a large demand for certain expertise as when the organization was first conceptualized.
In noting this situation the RDA Board said, “Mr. Bailey, with his infrastructure experience, including large scale disaster recovery, was critical to the successful establishment of the RDA. The revised RDP has a considerably reduced scale of proposed works and projects to be implemented by the RDA than was anticipated when the Agency was established. Mr. Bailey proposed, and the Board has accepted that there is no longer the same requirement for Mr. Bailey’s skills. He leaves the RDA well positioned to deliver the revised RDP for the Government and people of the BVI.”
The Governor’s response came shortly after the RDA Board’ announcement and in his statement His Excellency suggested that Bailey did not receive all that was required for the proper functioning of his tasks. “It is disappointing that Paul Bailey is resigning as CEO of the Recovery and Development Agency (RDA). The RDA is incredibly important to BVI’s recovery and development – a top priority for us all – and I sincerely hope that the setback of BVI losing such an experienced and talented CEO does not hamper recovery efforts.”
The Governor further suggested that the RDA has not been able to achieve all that it is capable of. “Whilst we would never have wanted the devastation caused by the hurricanes, they offered us an opportunity to build back ‘Stronger, Smarter, Greener, Better’ and to become a positive example of what an island state in this region can achieve, operating to the highest standards of transparency, accountability and good governance. It is disappointing that the RDA has not fully been given the opportunity to realise its potential.”
Meanwhile Premier Fahie in his statement delivered in response to the resignation refuted suggestions that government did not fully support the RDA. The Premier declared, “The Government of the Virgin Islands has been advised that Chief Executive Officer of the Recovery & Development Agency (RDA) Mr. Paul Bailey has resigned. As a Government, we thank him for his service and wish him the best in his future endeavours. We are pleased to say that since taking office in February 2019, our Government has supported the RDA and our recovery in the best interest of the people of the Virgin Islands, and we will continue to do so. Anyone who suggests otherwise is intentionally not being factual to the people of the Virgin Islands.”
Further the Premier said that he sees opportunity for the RDA, “Mr. Bailey’s resignation, although coming as a surprise to this Government, now provides and creates an opportunity for qualified Virgin Islanders to step forward and apply for the position when it is advertised,” Hon. Fahie added.