Virgin Islands Government Has Two Days Cash On Hand Left, Finance Commissioner Reveals
“I always communicate to you that the number of days of cash changes on a day to day basis. But when it’s down to two days, I think that the answer to your question is rather obvious.”
Those were the words of Dept. of Finance Commissioner and Public Finance Authority Executive Director, Valdamier Collens, speaking during a Committee on Finance hearing on Wednesday, where lawmakers and testifiers deliberated Governor Kenneth Mapp’s sin tax bill, which aims to either introduce or increase taxes on rum, beer, tobacco products and sugary drinks, as well as internet purchases and timeshare unit owners.
Mr. Collens said the standard for any government should be three to six months reserved cash. “We haven’t met the standard since I came into the position,” he made known, adding that when he took the Finance commissioner position, the territory only had 15 to 16 days cash on hand.
The alarming revelation jolted lawmakers, who then sought to calm the territory by getting assurance from Mr. Collens that government employees would be paid today. They would, Mr. Collens said, but the upcoming weeks were uncertain, he suggested, stating that the plan is to make sure that government employees are adequately notified if their pay were to be delayed.