BVI News

No constitutional breach in not assenting to Disaster Mgmt Act

“My view is that disaster management so greatly involves responsibility for security and external affairs that, for the time being, it should remain the responsibility of the governor.” — Governor John Rankin

Governor John Rankin has concluded that no constitutional breach arises from him not giving assent to the government’s Disaster Management Act.

The Act was passed in the House of Assembly (HOA) in January 2021 but both Rankin and his immediate predecessor Augustus Jaspert denied assent, stating that parts of the legislation impinged on the constitutional duties of the Governor’s Office.

During an appearance before the Commission of Inquiry (COI) yesterday, October 19, Governor Rankin said moving policy direction away from the governor to a government minister would not be in the interest of furthering disaster management in the territory.

He further asserted that the previous governor, who was still in office when the Act passed in the House, was not consulted in any detail on the legislation and said the issue – which should be coming up for constitutional review soon – is not a discussion that should be rushed.

“The new legislation involves a wholesale transfer of that responsibility from the governor to the relevant minister. So, Director of Disaster Management would fall under the policy direction of the minister rather than the governor,” stated Governor Rankin, whose office is also responsible for national security.

“And that transfer of direction, means those elements of disaster which relate to security and external affairs – for which the director is carrying out day-to-day responsibilities – would be placed under the policy direction of the minister,” he added.

Governor Rankin said he has seen nothing to suggest that the position taken by himself and his predecessor, Jaspert, is unconstitutional, further arguing that the issue is essentially centred around a policy discussion.

“My view is that disaster management so greatly involves responsibility for security and external affairs that, for the time being, it should remain the responsibility of the governor,” Governor Rankin said. 

A partnership approach needed for disaster management

Describing the issue as an ‘unfortunate debate’, Governor Rankin further offered that both himself and his predecessor were committed to a partnership approach in disaster response.

“Indeed, the current structure of the national disaster management committee provides for that partnership approach which is jointly chaired by myself and the Premier, and involves a host of government departments – many of which the governor does not have responsibility for – including Public Works, for example, health and fire and safety,” Governor Rankin said. 

Pointing to the inadvertent release of prisoners and rampant looting of businesses following hurricane Irma, the governor further argued that disaster management indeed involves security issues.


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  1. Youth says:

    This is total dictatorship by the UK.

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    • Youther says:

      That’s untrue. Everything the Governor said is constitutionally correct. Thank God The soldiers and policemen from England came after Irma. Some of our police looted and hid away.
      We NEEDED help and got it. I went to Road Town station a few days after Irma and our police were literally lying around behind the front desk while the English police were heading out efficiently on patrol. That is the reality. Everything else is childish posturing.

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      • @Youther says:

        You are absolutely right. Four or five days after Hurricane Irma I ran into a couple of policemen (both BVIislanders) who are neighbors and they were laughing as they hadn’t reported for duty yet – completely irresponsible & there was absolutely no excuse for that attitude.

    • Longlookbye says:

      Has anyone noticed that on this site and even the Speaker’s site the ppl defending our corrupt government always have more thumbs down than up. Clearly their point of view is unpopular.

      Like 11
      • @ Longlookbye says:

        And, has this site appear to have highly dubious amount of thumbs up or down, depending upon whether a comment is favorable to their way of being and thinking? It is quite an odd spectacle to behold. Ahhh, the simple and frivilous mind of some is astounding.

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  2. Not good says:

    The Governor’s answer on this DDM is not good. It shows they think nothing of the people of the B.V.I.

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  3. Question says:

    Who holds the Governor accountable? The answer is no one. This my friend is not democracy.

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  4. For real? says:

    The governor is not standing on a legal footing. He needs to say that the colonial rule continues and his ruling has nothing to do with the constitution.

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  5. NDP Supporter says:

    I don’t agree with the Governor on this DDM matter because if we as a BVI people can handle covid then we can handle DDM. Stop insulting our intelligence.

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    • Lol says:

      You think that we really handled COVID? Think again.

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    • Wtf! says:

      How can you possibly say that!? We were literally handed the vaccine for free by the UK. We should be grateful,m. There’s no shame in that. It’s not something to feel diminished by. It’s a kind thing they did and all you do is complain about them.
      It’s pathetic.

      Like 10
  6. TurtleDove says:

    I think the British Government should have Navy vessels in the territory and be in charge of disasters at a certain point. We don’t have the money, equipment and expertise to take on these tasks. We need some new blood in local government who will follow our own rules, policies and the constitution. When we get good at these thing we can talk about self governance. If COI was not here all this crap would continue until we look like Haiti. I know I went off point but it all runs together to me.

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  7. And says:

    now another bitter taste of colonialism to swallow.

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  8. Reality Check says:

    In the aftermath of Irma it was the Governor who secured the Territory and re-established law and order, while our elected officials were in hiding. We need leadership with external resources during a disaster, not elected officials more worried about votes than protecting us. Look at the people and drug smuggling when the Governor allowed our Premier to “secure” our borders. Please, never again!!

    Like 20
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    • Teenagers says:

      Two government two crises both failures in terms of managing storm and pandemic for security, borders, etc. etc. ndp had $200k in new limos and no fkn sat phone after Irma. Cut us off from world. Covid reopening , closing border, testing – violated rights and less competent than 8 yr olds. Sorry. Kids given responsibility, “trashed the house over the weekend”. Hence need for grownups. Build a competent public service with we $300 m/ yr and uk help from own ppl. Otherwise this is circus mini driven by chimps.

      Like 11
  9. @ YOU AGAIN ? says:

    BLONDIE you can blog under as much names as you want , it’s not going to fool everyone / you are like an octupus now 😎

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  10. PT9 says:

    @Question, The UK holds the Governor accountable.

  11. PT9 says:

    @NDP Supporter, Like how we handle the border patrol.

  12. @ Reality Check says:

    Unfortunately, the same ones that are being lifted up, respected and overlooked in every aspect of existing/living in this society are the same ones filling your/our community with drugs and guns, and they are brown or black.

    It is not new. It has been the norm for decades across the globe where Brown skins live.

    Those who participate will be first to deny and redirect, but who know, know.

    Funny how no one would have ever known that there is multi-billion – $ industry called drugs and smuggling, a business that is old as old, until a few small fry brown skin men got caught with a sand grain.

    Meanwhile, the king pins are overlooked and never srutinize as they go on to live large, buy lands and even islands, build big and more.

    Facts are, the Caribbean has been a smuggling arena by European drug smugglers for decades upon decades. However, this and the truth is never brought out into the public view.

  13. @Reality Check says:

    @Reality Check What you said is so true, both the government and the Opposition were nowhere to be seen.

  14. My take says:

    I am not a full Fahie fan but I admire his drive to fight for his people and for us to control our own affairs in an accountable manner.

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  15. TruDat! says:

    I would not give hey, hey, hey access to, or control over, another penny of BVI money. If you did he will surely find a way to distribute it amongst his friends, family, and cronies. If the day ever came that we need proper management of a disaster the cupboard would be bare.

  16. MK says:

    @My take, If that’s your take you must be on the handout list.

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