As anyone really noticed the heightening animosity between Governor Augustus Jaspert and Premier Andrew Fahie?
The more I live, the more I believe the BVI — particularly its politics — is wildly tempestuous and increasingly unsettling.
Indeed, there is never a dull moment in our beautiful, exotic territory. In fact, instead of calling us a territory, I prefer to call us something resembling a television drama. From our leaders to our citizens — there is something to smile about, be outraged about, and something to comment on every single day that God blesses us with life.
Do you know the BVI’s most popular daytime drama? I’m sure you’ve heard of it. It’s called ‘BVI politics’ and it airs every day in Nature’s Little Secret. It’s a favourite and you’ll often see residents reviewing the latest episodes on blogs and social media.
In the latest episode which unfolded yesterday December 3, the tension heightens between Governor Jaspert and Premier Fahie after Jaspert goes to the media and reveals that his office is overrun by a litany of complaints about the Fahie-administration.
From claims about a ‘lack of transparency’ to ‘intimidation tactics’, Jaspert said he’s received complaints from many public officers and residents alike. As was expected, the Premier didn’t take this very well and took to social media to say his piece on the matter. Calling the Governor’s statements “ambiguous, damaging, and reckless”, Premier Fahie dared the Governor to substantiate these claims.
I know many were pulled into the war of words that were being thrown, but I was pulled into something much bigger than the argument. For the first time since I started truly observing, I noticed that these two officials have had a strained relationship for the past several months, at least.
It seems I wasn’t paying attention to previous episodes, or I would have noticed that it’s been this way for some time.
I know the Premier often uses proverbial language in the House of Assembly and the public domain which suggests that he and Governor Jaspert often ‘butt heads’ especially when it comes to the direction the territory should take. But I always thought this was nothing to worry about as this is normal in every working relationship.
Moreover, I’ve never seen clear evidence of Governor Jaspert directly responding to the Premier’s words. Therefore as viewers, we were always speculating that they aren’t “the best of friends”.
But it seems as though there’s a lot beneath the surface of the relationship between these two. Do you remember in September where the Governor went against Premier Fahie’s wishes and invited the UK navy ship, HMS Medway to secure the Virgin islands borders? At the time, the governor said he had tried to convince the government to invite the UK security earlier, but this was refused.
He didn’t say much about it. But as a member of the public witnessing the skirmish between these two officials, I believe there was a bit of back and forth between the two characters on the matter of the UK navy ship before the Governor showed who was ‘boss’ and invited the ship without Premier’s approval. Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but I’m sure I’m not the only one who sees that these two are fighting a battle that is both public and private at the same time. I can’t help but think that their public comments are extensions of the meetings they have in private where, I imagine, they ‘butt heads’ a lot.
Different sides of the same coin
You can see they are two very distinct characters. Premier Fahie may be the more vocal and seemingly more aggressive one but viewers should not underestimate the silent, passive aggressive moves of the governor.
Notice he doesn’t respond quickly to the jabs and punches being thrown right away. Rather, he’s careful and strategic, choosing the perfect moments to launch his deadly attacks. And oh yes, he always goes for the jugular. I won’t lie, I quite like the way he does his thing. One can never say he’s attacking out of spite or just to score political points because he always speaks at the right moment — never out of turn or out of context. For example, he probably knew that corruption was here in the BVI all along. But he waited until the largest cocaine bust in the history of the BVI to call it out.
And people must have been complaining to him about this government and the one before that. But he waits a few months before his official departure from the BVI to have a regular catch-up with the media and call out whatever he says he’s aware of. Strategic?
My analysis of the characters is not to make light of the matter at hand. Allegations are being thrown around that a growing number of people are not pleased with the leadership style of the Fahie-led government. Additionally, people are concerned that the BVI isn’t making progress in the areas of transparency and accountability — things we aspire to every day.
However, I couldn’t help but notice that there seems to be much more beneath the surface of the relationship (or the lack thereof) between the Governor and Premier. I also believe it runs deeper than the ‘UK vs BVI’ narrative. If nothing else, this latest episode has shown me that the Governor is not a pushover, is strategic and that he doesn’t plan to leave this territory without giving the beautiful Virgin islanders something they’ll always remember.
As for the Premier, we can never be sure what Governor Jaspert’s truest intentions are. Be that as it may, I don’t believe His Excellency is fabricating these claims. There is obviously real concerns about your leadership. Don’t get me wrong, my personal belief is that you and you’re team have handled this unprecedented pandemic exceptionally, in the grand scheme of things. But words such as ‘corruption’, ‘victimisation’, and ‘dictatorship’ are being used far too often to just dismiss as ‘the government stepping on a few toes in the interest of something greater’.
My advice is, though unsolicited, is for you do a little introspection and investigation of your own before outrightly rubbishing and firing back at the governor’s reports. The people being forced to watch you two constantly going at each other’s throats deserve that much.
Waiting To See What Happens Next
(The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the BVI News or its members.)
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