By Esther Durand, BVI News Staff
Using his constitutional powers, Governor Augustus Jaspert has rejected the Public Service Commission’s recent recommendation of Permanent Secretaries and is going with his own choice of who should sit in those top government positions.
Making the announcement in the House of Assembly on Monday, September 2, Premier Andrew Fahie described the governor’s move as ‘unprecedented’ and as an ‘insult’.
Premier Fahie said the governor’s actions are envisaged as another instance of the ‘British Empire’ tugging on the BVI’s invisible shackles and dictating to the people that they are incompetent and incapable.
“My phone has been blowing up since Friday … and while I have no problem with the governor leaning on his own discretion, I see his actions as an insult to self-reliance, self-determination, modern partnership, mutual respect and the democratic future of the BVI,” Fahie said.
“His decision is an insult to all Virgin Islanders and where we have come as a territory as I reflect on our 65th anniversary of emancipation celebrations,” he added.
The Premier said the matter is of concern because the territory has largely enjoyed an amicable relationship with the United Kingdom “without persons in the middle trying to deteriorate the relationship with an agenda not in the best interest of the BVI”.
Affront to the PSC
It is not yet clear who Governor Jaspert’s new choices for Permanent Secretaries are or how many of the current crop will be replaced. But according to Fahie, the governor has termed his choice of Permanent Secretaries as “merit-based”.
Fahie, however, said this rationale by Governor Jaspert is an affront to the “unblemished reputation, integrity and professional competence of our distinguished stalwarts who serve on the Public Service Commission”.
The Premier then said the matter will be dealt with in another arena.
“We will continue to be fully respectful of the United Kingdom and their representative, but it is imperative that this respect is reciprocated,” the Premier said.
He then cautioned the governor-appointed Permanent Secretaries that although they were chosen by him (Governor Jaspert), they are indebted only to the people and the future of the territory.
Gov acted within his rights
Notwithstanding the governor’s actions, Premier Fahie made it clear that Jaspert acted within the ambits of the law.
“I want the public to know that the Governor opted as he is entitled to do under the Virgin Islands Constitution Order of 2007 in accordance with Section 72 to make his own decision,” Premier Fahie said.
On Friday, a government-commissioned release named Kedrick Malone and Sharleen Dabreo-Lettsome as the newest Permanent Secretaries to be appointed.
While Carolyn Stoutt-Igwe, Dr Marcia Potter and Ronald Smith-Berkeley were given new Permanent Secretary posts.
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