Gubernatorial candidate Soraya Diase Coffelt is calling on the Mapp Administration to provide the independent auditor with the complete financial information it needs to provide a full and accurate audit of the finances of the Government of the Virgin Islands. Because of the Administration’s failure to do so to date, at least one major bond rating company, Fitch Ratings, has recently kept the Virgin Islands credit and bond rating at a “negative watch,” which continues to paralyze bond investors and places the Virgin Islands economy and the people at grave risk.
She is also calling on the Mapp Administration to provide full financial transparency to the people of the Virgin Islands. Lastly, she is urging all residents of the Virgin Islands to contact the Commissioner of the Department of Finance with questions regarding the incomplete financial accounting.
BDO USA, LLP, the auditing company which has performed an external financial audit of the major financial statements of the Government of the Virgin Islands, issued its independent auditor’s report dated June 27, 2017.
In that report, it repeatedly found that the Government had not maintained the required documentation to support the following major figures listed on its financial statements:
1) “its income tax receivables, tax refunds payable, tax revenues, payment in lieu of taxes, charges for services, and interest and other in the amounts of $159.1 million, $52.8 million, $618.0 million, $238.8 million, $73.8 million, $78.8 million, respectively” (page 5);
2) “its accrued retroactive liability, other post-employment liability and disclosures in Note 14 to the financial statements, and net capital assets” (page 5); and
3) “its due to/from federal government and federal grants and contributions revenue” totals (page 6).
The independent auditor also found that the Government had not maintained the required documentation pertaining to its “determination as to the sufficiency of the design and operation of key controls” regarding the processing of Medicaid claims (page 6).
It additionally found that the Government’s financial statements did not provide its liability for medical malpractice claims in the reciprocal insurance fund (page 6).
Lastly, it found that the Government’s records were “not available or contained incomplete information” regarding the Unemployment Insurance-Enterprise Fund (page 6).
As a result of the Government’s failure to provide full and accurate financial statements, the independent auditor had to give “disclaimers” and “qualified” opinions as to the financial status of the Government. In other words, it did not have the accurate information it needed to provide an official opinion. Fitch Ratings, one of the major bond rating companies, has kept the Virgin Islands under a “negative watch” rating because of all this. With the credit rating of the Government in such a poor status, no one wants to invest in the Virgin Islands Government bonds, and the entire economy of the Virgin Islands remains at risk.
At page 20 of the Government’s Management and Analysis, it offers to answer any questions about the report or the financial condition of the Government. It states that all questions are to be directed to the V.I. Department of Finance:
Honorable Valdamier Collens
Commissioner, V.I. Department of Finance
No. 2314 Kronprindsens Gade
St. Thomas, VI 00802
Coffelt is urging all Virgin Islanders to review the independent auditor’s report along with the Government of the Virgin Islands Management’s Discussion and Analysis, as well as the Financial Statements. The 126-page document is on her web site at www.sorayaforgovernor.com .
Join Soraya in directing your questions to the Commissioner of the Department of Finance. Soraya has written a letter to the Commissioner and a copy is available to the media and to the people of the Virgin Islands (on her web site).
The people of the Virgin Islands are entitled to full financial transparency. It is only when the people speak out, ask questions and demand answers from their government officials, will there be any form of a proper financial accounting to them.
Soraya Diase Coffelt, candidate for governor