Governor Augustus Jaspert has urged members of the public to continue fighting for better governance, even though some may label them as ‘being against the BVI’.
At the start of December, Governor Jaspert rocked the territory with news that his office is investigating a slew of complaints regarding lack of transparency in government spending, as well as intimidation and victimisation in the public sector.
Though the governor’s revelation wasn’t well-received by members of the Premier Andrew Fahie-led administration, Governor Jaspert reiterated his sentiments in his end-of-year message to Virgin Islanders, saying those who speak up are courageous.
“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,” Governor Jaspert’s statement said.
“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. It takes great courage to have these conversations,”
He added that the BVI must be proud of people who believe so strongly and passionately in good governance.
“For me, these conversations reflected the true heart and soul of BVI and its people,” Gover Jaspert said.
At the end of his message, Governor Jaspert sent best wishes to all Virgin Islanders saying it’s “been an honour and privilege to serve this territory”.
“I will forever be grateful to those who have welcomed my family and I with open arms. We wish you all a very Happy New Year from the bottom of our hearts.”
The background of the allegations
When Governor Jaspert first announced the allegations earlier this month, he said there is currently a lack of proper legislation to support the measures that need to be taken in order to address the concerns of the public.
Premier Andrew Fahie who had called Governor Jaspert’s allegations irresponsible, later made a stern promise that his government will be moving to have the Integrity in Public Life Bill passed through the House of Assembly before the end of March 2021.
This legislation is something Fahie had promised during his 2019 election campaign.
Amid the allegations, Opposition leader Marlon Penn raised fresh concerns when he questioned the recent termination of outspoken political critic, Cindy Rosan-Jones, from the state-owned BVI Tourist Board. He said he believes such an action raises a number of red flags in the territory and may lead to persons questioning the BVI as a true democracy.
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