BVI News

Governor should be seen and not heard – FRASER

Governor John Duncan

By Horace Mills, BVI News Online Staff

Opposition lawmaker Julian Fraser and clergyman Claude Skelton-Cline last evening harshly criticized the outgoing governor, John Duncan.

Both critics are among persons against whom Governor Duncan reportedly took action during his tenure in the British Virgin Islands, which is still under the control of the United Kingdom.

Fraser declared that, at this stage of the territory’s development, a governor should be seen only when necessary – not heard. Governor Duncan was a contradiction of that prescription.

“There is absolutely no reason at this point of our development for us to have a governor who behaves the way this governor behaves. In my view, at this stage in 2017, the governor should be seen and not heard – seen only when it’s necessary,” Fraser said.

“The governor comes here to do a duty; what does the governor do? The governor should not be the chairman of the Cabinet anymore. He has to assent to a bill; he doesn’t have to be seen to assent to a bill. The bill goes to him; he does what he has to do where he is at, and Gazette it, and that’s it. That’s what happens in other developed places where there is a governor general or whatever,” Fraser continued.

“If I ask you to tell me who the governor general of Antigua is – you can’t tell me who it is in St Vincent. But, if you come to Tortola [in the British Virgin Islands) and ask who the governor is, everybody knows,” added Fraser.

Unlike the British Virgin Islands, Antigua and St Vincent are independent countries.

Fraser last evening suggested that his proposal can be made possible through constitutional reform.

What governor did against critics

Under well documented peculiar circumstances, Governor Duncan recently fulfilled a request to have Fraser replaced as Leader of the Opposition.That did not go down well with Fraser.

Also, it is alleged that Governor Duncan, during a Cabinet meeting, pushed the government not to extend Skelton-Cline’s contract as managing director at the government-owned BVI Ports Authority. Skelton-Cline has taken the matter to court.

Hinting at that situation regarding Skelton-Cline’s contract, Fraser last evening said: “I remember your (Skelton-Cline) situation. It goes to Cabinet and there is so much talk about what the governor said and what the governor didn’t say and all that. That is not a matter for the governor to decide; it’s a ministerial thing.”

“You [at the BVI Ports Authority] are a statutory body; you don’t cede any of your powers to anyone. They certainly not gonna cede any of theirs to you. Why should you cede yours to them?” Fraser further told Skelton-Cline during the Honestly Speaking television programme hosted last evening by Skelton-Cline.

Why governor not reported

Skelton-Cline, in the meantime, asked why no official complaint has been made to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office against Governor Duncan.

“That’s a very good question; the only people that could answer that question is the sitting government,” Fraser responded.

Fraser then suggested that the governor seems to have knowledge of something about the government and is using that knowledge to control the administration headed by Dr D Orlando Smith.

“I can’t speak to that intelligently. All I could say is I speculate – I surmise that is what it is. But I know for a fact that that couldn’t happen under a Ralph O’Neal administration – I know that. You couldn’t have done that under a Lavity Stoutt administration,” added Fraser.

Skelton-Cline, in the meantime, asserted: “Never more than in this hour have we seen such kind of a bombastic posture of the Office of the Governor; and this government in particular who just seems to have surrendered their powers. They seem to be powerless men in powerful positions.”

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