BVI News

Gov not sure he will invoke power like Duncan

Newly appointed governor Augustus Jaspert and Premier Dr D Orlando Smith during a recent meeting. Government photo

Cautious and unassuming. That’s how newly appointed governor Augustus Jaspert came across yesterday when members of the media had their first opportunity to meet and greet him, as well as to pose questions that would give a clearer understanding of his type of governorship.

His predecessor John Duncan was hard-hitting at times. Duncan, for example, used his constitutional powers to force Government to allocate an additional $1.8 million to law enforcement and legal services.

The move angered many local politicians, but Duncan defended his controversial action, adding that his milder attempts to get the money had failed.

Would the newly appointed governor, Jaspert, have taken a similarly controversial action?

He is the best man to give an answer, and so journalists yesterday put the question to him.

Governor Jaspert, while steering clear of hypothetical cases, said he is not ruling anything in or out.

He explained: “The government here, rightly, needs to set the priorities – and they have to balance a whole host of different priorities that are there… I’m vested by Her Majesty with a certain set of powers and by the constitution with powers within that. In a way, I see those powers as powers on paper and powers that are actually more to enable a strong partnership rather than powers that I will daily be reaching for and grabbing in ways going forward.”

“I’m not going to say what powers or not [will be used]. Actually, the bigger message is about partnership and using all of the tools you’ve got, and that all of the priorities are met in the right way. I’m not in a position at this point to rule in or rule out anything,” Governor Jaspert told further said.

Like he did during his swearing in ceremony a week ago, he yesterday gave journalists the impression that he will have an open-door governorship – one that is willing to empower the so-called common man.

Governor Jaspert yesterday went as far as to urge the media and residents in general to help in holding the government accountable.

“This is not just a role for the governor. This is a role for everybody. It’s a role for yourselves. You are part of good governance. A healthy democracy is all of what you do. It’s also about the public and what they do – how they hold everybody to account, myself included,” Governor Jaspert told journalists.

“It’s also about public services themselves and how public officials, public servants themselves operate to the highest standards – efficient, effective, and are operating in the best way in positions of power – whether that’s me, whether that’s elected officials, or whether that’s those who have certain responsibilities across the territory.”

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