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Gov Jaspert was ‘disrespectful’ to Acting Governor; misled public

Gov Jaspert was ‘disrespectful’ to Acting Governor; misled public

The matter of Acting Governor and local Mr David D. Archer Jr being bypassed in his position by Mr Augustus J. U. Jaspert, who is on leave in the United Kingdom but yet released a year-end statement to the territory as Governor, has been slammed as “disrespectful” by Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon Andrew A. Fahie.

Deputy Governor Mr Archer, Jr was sworn in as Acting Governor by His Lordship the Honourable Justice Gerhard Wallbank (Ag.) on Friday, December 18, 2020.

“Mr Archer will serve as Acting Governor from Saturday, December 19 until Thursday, January 7, 2021, while His Excellency the Governor Augustus Jaspert is out of the Territory,” a press release authored by Information and Education Manager in the Department of Disaster Management, Mrs Chrystall Kanyuck-Abel had stated.

It said Mr Archer’s appointment is in accordance with section 37 (1) (a) of the Virgin Islands Constitution Order, 2007 which states, “During any period when the office of Governor is vacant, or the Governor is absent from the Virgin Islands or is for any other reason unable to perform the functions of his or her office, the Deputy Governor shall, during Her Majesty’s pleasure, act in the office of Governor and shall perform the functions of that office accordingly.”

Is there an Acting Governor?

The Christmas Message from the Governor’s Office; however, came from Mr Jaspert as if Mr Archer Jr never existed.

A very lengthy End of Year Message was also made by the controversial Mr Jaspert, even while he was still away from the Territory and an Acting Governor sworn in.

In the End of Year Message, Mr Jaspert, who has been accused of trying to cause a strain in the relationship between the people of the Virgin Islands and their duly elected Government, again sought to insinuate that there is a lack of good governance in the Territory and stated that persons have complained to him of this personally.

“Secondly, I hope that the community can continue to have open and honest conversations about what we need to do to build better governance - governance that truly reflects BVI’s values of integrity, fairness and openness. There has been a great deal of conversation about this recently and a number of individuals from across the community, businesses and the public service have come to me and my office to raise their concerns.”

The Governor continued: “It takes great courage to have these conversations. Sometimes those who raise their voices are said to be against BVI. Actually, those who raise their voices are the complete opposite - they are championing the values held up in our Constitution and actively working to make BVI a better and more democratic place. We must take pride in the fact that the people of BVI believe so strongly and passionately in good governance. For me, these conversations reflected the true heart and soul of BVI and its people.”

Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon Andrew A. Fahie  has lamented that no one has taken issue with the fact that Mr Augustus J. U. Jaspert disrespected the Acting Governor, David D. Archer Jr, in not allowing him to make the End of Year Message.

Disrespectful & misleading

Premier Fahie’s focus; however, was on the fact that Mr Jaspert stepped on the position of the Acting Governor held by Mr Archer, in releasing the statement and also misleading the people of the territory on public registers.

“I saw an article where the Governor released over the holidays, which I was dismayed, saying that we agreed to the Publicly Accessible Registers and did not put in under certain conditions. You see the misleading statement? And these are the areas I can’t understand why the acting Governor was disrespected.

There is an acting Governor in position but yet a Governor who is away releasing a statement as the Governor,” Premier Fahie said during today's January 5, 2021, Fifth Sitting of the Third Session of the Fourth House of Assembly of the Virgin Islands (VI) at Save the Seed Energy Centre in Duff’s Bottom, Tortola.

Part of the statement by Mr Jaspert read: “Though it will take some time for our economy and the global economy to recover, we are heading in the right direction. I applaud the Government for re-opening the borders, for committing to introduce publicly accessible registers of beneficial ownership by 2023 – which will put our financial services at the forefront of the industry - and for introducing new initiatives to diversify our economy.”

His Lordship, the Hon. Justice Gerhard Wallbank (Ag.), left, administers the oath of office to Deputy Governor, Mr David D. Archer, Jr. to serve as Acting Governor from Saturday, December 19, 2020 to Thursday, January 7, 2021.

Wong is right when it’s the Governor?

Premier Fahie then lamented that no one seemed to also take issue with the fact that Mr Jaspert had disrespected the Acting Governor in not allowing him to make the End of Year Message.

“And I am saying how could you have two Governors in place at the same time? If you are going to release a statement release it through the Acting Governor and not you releasing one from up there as Governor and then they have one here as Governor…and nobody sees a problem with these things once it’s that entity,” Premier Fahie said.

“And then release things in it, when I read it, were not what this Government stated on doing, but it is what they want the people to believe,” Premier Fahie said.


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