BVI News


Vanterpool: Consider the governor’s criticism



Premier Dr D Orlando Smith said the governor acted inappropriately when he criticized the government during a public event this month.

But Minister of Communication and Works Mark Vanterpool wants the government to seriously consider Governor John Duncan’s criticism.

“He has some criticisms which we obviously have to look at. Nothing is wrong with being criticized,” Vanterpool told BVI News Online during an interview on Wednesday.

He added, “Once the criticism is well-intended, we should begin to look at it and see what has to be done right.”

In the meantime, Premier Smith, during a press briefing yesterday, was asked if he thinks Governor Duncan acted appropriately when he blurted out the criticism during an event to launch an educational programme at Her Majesty’s Prison.

The premier, in response to journalists, said: “Let me put it this way, I was taken aback by the governor’s statement, which I thought was not appropriate for the occasion. I also want to add that we all work well together with the governor and all the ministers of government. We have frank discussions in Cabinet, all leading to having what is best for the territory.”

“An example of how we can work closely together is, in my negotiations with the EU and UK, etcetera in financial services, the governor has been very helpful,” added the premier.

Defends action on police, legislation

Governor Duncan this month questioned why the BVI should seek independence or greater self-determination when it is having a difficulty putting measures in place to even ensure human rights are upheld, and Government is made transparent and accountable.

He also criticized the government for dragging its feet regarding crucial pieces of legislation such as the Freedom of Information Act, adding that the administration also continues to reduce the budgetary allocation to the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force.

In response, Premier Smith yesterday said: “We support the police both inside the budget and outside the budget. Just last year, outside the budget, we agreed to provide funding for I think at least 30 extra police officers and several vehicles…”

“As you know, a budget is a budget and, during the budget, you have to make a decision as to what programmes will be carried through in that budget, and decisions made by the Cabinet can be taken to the House [of Assembly], and everybody looks at it, and a final decision is made,” the premier added.

Governor John Duncan (left) and Premier Dr D Orlando Smith

Governor John Duncan (left) and Premier Dr D Orlando Smith

Turning to the governor’s concern about the delay in passing some important pieces of legislation, Premier Smith suggested that the delay is sometimes justified.

“Several of the Bills which the governor spoke about are also on the table for discussion, and some of these Bills that we need to present to the House [of Assembly] take quite lot of discussion; take quite a lot of research; and take quite a lot of negotiating before they are properly presented to the House, because we want to make sure that whatever we do is in the best interest of the people of the territory.”

“And sometimes even when we do that – when we carry Bills to the House – sometimes very shortly after – there is need for amendments or to change some things,” said Premier Smith.

Not discouraged

The premier further told journalists that his spirit is not dampened by criticisms he has been receiving especially in recent times from persons who are usually supportive of him.

When asked if he feels discouraged, Premier Smith replied: “No, because what I am doing here is putting in the time and the care necessary, and meeting with my colleagues to having those discussions – and having discussions with the public, as well as to ensure that we can continue to build an economy for the benefit of the people of the BVI.”

“What I will say is that we work together as a team – the members of government, and we all contribute to all the discussions that go on – whether it’s in financial services; whether it’s in tourism; whether it’s in health; whatever. We make decisions that are collective. So as long as I know that whatever decision we are making is in the best of the territory, I am fine with that,” Premier Smith further told journalists.

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  1. Diaspora says:

    Governor John Duncan out burst at a programme roll out at Her Majesty’s prison at Balsum was not the right venue to vent on the issues brought up.

    It was disrespectful. What if the Premier had gone rogue on the Governor’s office at this event? It would also been inappropriate.

    Nonetheless, the poor timing and inappropriateness do not lessen the urgency to address the issues noted.

    Moreover, the BVI should have one leader at a time. The Premier should take the lead in responding to the Governor, if there is a need to respond.

    The government needs to speak with one voice.

  2. Freedom! says:

    And the Premier should be the “Governer!! politically, nationalistically and humanly speaking, otherwise said.

  3. Boo says:

    All of this brouhaha about protocol and whose ego was bruised could have been avoided if we just had the darn audited accounts.

    cheese and bread!

  4. Bohannon says:

    If the Premier had nuts he would have set Duncan ads straight right there and then. Duncan is undemocratically SELECTED.

    The Premier is Democratically ELECTED to run this country. Please get some balls and Jack this settler up.

  5. Windy says:

    Think about it. He’s just said what the people have been crying out for. For decades

  6. rastarite says:

    Freedom of Information and Human Rights are essential pieces of legislation. Both have been on the books for years… No excuses… Get these bills passed.

  7. My take says:

    Mark should have been fired long ago. He can’t be trusted.

  8. let me put it this way says:

    very well said HON. vanterpoolwether politic or anythimh public araeas one sitting in critics you must looking into thats what buld you .

    make you better best .its clear to see the governor did surprise hon smith .cause he think friend must be in the well beens of the country nomore pamper

  9. VI2UK says:

    “Inappropriate?” What you all have been doing with this government is inappropriate.

    Your actions and behavior towards the people of this country is inappropriate. Take the criticism like a man because the governor spoke the truth.

    Stop acting like spoiled little children and do the peoples’ work that you were elected to do. Your attitudes are inappropriate.

    The people of the BVI need to make all elected officials understand that they work for us and not the other way around.

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