"Mr. Rankin, you are here at an interesting time in Virgin Islands’ history. A time when the relationship between Governors who represent the United Kingdom, has been tested, particularly, within the last 4 to 6 years. You came at a time, when there are discussions, debates, blogs, articles and coffee table talk (in some districts it is called rum shop melee), about the future of the Territory and a path forward....you also come at a time, when some believe we no longer need to fly the Union Jack, while others believe in “Long may she reign over us,” Hon. Willock stated at the Governor's official swearing-in ceremony on Friday, .
The Speaker told the Governor that he will find a BVI people that are resilient, hardworking, honest, and independent and this must never be taken for granted.
"Today, with your swearing-in, it should mark a turning point for improved relations, between governors and the government of the day, between governors and the House of Assembly, and between governors and the people of the Virgin Islands," the Speaker stated.
The Speaker added, "In this partnership, you must also appreciate the awakening of a people who wish to chart their own destiny, an awakening of a people who desire to be free. And I am encouraged that there is an understanding of the concept of letting freedom rain. We are happy to have you here today, and whatever, I can do from the Legislative Branch to make your tenure here, successful and productive, feel free to call on me."
Hon. Willock further pointed out top the Governor that as Speaker of House of Assembly, it has always been his understanding, that the issue of assenting to a bill, passed by Parliament is a mere formality, as it has been for over a hundred years in the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth Parliamentary democracies.
"Notwithstanding Section 79 (2), of the constitution, and in that case, you would have raised those matters within Cabinet, where a bill must be agreed to first, before it arrives at the legislature. But this afternoon, our arms are wide open to welcome you with much humility, understanding and a renewed effort, to have a partnership based on mutual respect, understanding and professionalism.
Former Governor Augustus Jaspert departed the Territory this year without assenting to critical bills which were passed by the House of Assembly. The former Governor was also involved with public spats with Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon. Andrew Fahie.