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The powers of our governor is part of a system oblivious to BVIslanders

The powers of our governor is part of a system oblivious to BVIslanders

Opposition Leader Julian Fraser, in his contribution to the Commission of Inquiry (COI) debate in the House of Assembly (HOA), has raised discontent with where the powers of the governor and the legislature come from about making laws in the territory.

The senior legislator said that under Section 71 of the Virgin Islands Constitution Order (2007), which the COI mentioned, the legislature shall have the power to make laws for the peace, order and good governance of the Virgin Islands subject to the Constitution Order.

“Now, here we are looking at a document, 8 June 2022 laid before parliament on the 9th of June 2022 saying the governor, acting in his or her discretion may make laws for the peace, order and good governance of the Virgin Islands,” Fraser said.

“Now, there is a little irony here, because when it talks about the legislature asking to make laws, it says ‘subject to the constitution’. When it speaks about the governor making the laws, it says ‘acting at his or her discretion. Do you see where we are going with this Small minds think that I am wasting my time but the well-informed understands,” the Opposition Leader said.

A system oblivious to Virgin Islanders

The senior legislator, who is also Third District Representative, noted that people have a lot of maxims including ‘ignorance is bliss’ and ‘what you don’t know can’t hurt you’. However, he said if he knows and does not inform the public, then he is worse than the person living in ignorance.

“These kinds of things rub you the wrong way and I want the governor to know that it does not matter who is sitting in that seat right now because I am not speaking about you… a particular governor. I am speaking about a system that is oblivious to the realities of the Virgin Islands,” Fraser said.

“I am speaking to a system that is oblivious to the people of the Virgin Islands. I mention this, dear Governor, I applaud you for having a conscience and without a conscience, no country in a struggle can get out of the struggle. It depends on the conscience of the people to who you are appealing,” he continued.

The Member for the Third also explained the Virgin Islands is being treated like a government department where someone – the governor – is appointed to lead them. He said he could not even compare the situation to the United States or the United Kingdom because the President and the Prime Ministers are democratically elected individuals put in by the people to serve.

“But this individual, whoever, the Governor is, whether it is he, she or someone else. It is someone who is appointed. So, they are treating us like a department. Like you would treat a department in your ministry. Put somebody to run it. A head of department. That is essentially what we would become and that is not something that I see myself or anyone who sought the freedom that we have attained over the centuries to place under,” Fraser said.

“It is ironic that we are going through our emancipation in a few days. A few days ago, we celebrated our first Virgin Islands Day, something that we have all been proud of. A few days from now we will be celebrating our emancipation and I think everybody knows what emancipation means. So, when I was here last week, I was going to debate the same document. It was because I could not afford for our people to go through emancipation and not know about it. I wanted to go in emancipation with the consciousness of knowing that with the stroke of a pen, they can take it away from us,” the Opposition Leader added.


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