By Davion Smith, BVI News Online Journalist
While promising to be an approachable administrator who will listen to all views, newly appointed governor Augustus Jaspert today made it clear that he will take a no-nonsense approach to preserving the best interest of the British Virgin Islands (BVI).
“I will be engaged, but I will not shy away from acting where the values of fairness, security, and good governance are not at the highest standards,” he said during a swearing-in ceremony in the High Court building in Road Town this morning, August 22.
Governor Jaspert added: “I see the role of governor as one of service and a partnership – a service dedicated to bettering the lives of all who live in these islands, and creating a secure and prosperous future to the young and future generations.”
Governor Jaspert also asserted that he will serve with integrity and fairness.
“I will serve with integrity, fairness and impartiality. I want to be approachable, and part of the community, and will listen to all views, and want to support the institutions of these islands to own and tackle any challenges…”
“It is, though, with humility that I approach my task ahead. I am conscious that my priority is to learn and to listen. I intend to visit as many of the islands and connect with as many people as possible to hear your perspectives and views. I hope that you will find that my ears as Governor are always open,” added the territory’s twelfth governor.
My job being ‘seasonal’ doesn’t matter
Governor Jaspert also indicated that he will not compromise his job on the basis that it is temporary.
“I believe that we who occupy positions under the Constitution – whether elected or non-elected; whether we are here for a season or a lifetime – serve as guardians of the best interests of those whom we serve. I hope that you will come to view me as a true friend of the Virgin Islands,” he said.
The new Governor, in the meantime, spoke of his know-how in helping to create conditions for viable businesses and strong communities.
“I have learnt that prosperity, united communities, and a safe neighbourhood are like a three-legged stool. They are not binary choices, but are all critical parts of a flourishing society… Care for the natural environment, the right infrastructure, and a reputation for a as a safe destination underpin thriving tourism.”
“Good public services and the communities all share a stake in the future of the islands to ensure people live free of the fear of crime and the vulnerable and the young are supported,” added Governor Jaspert.
The governor, who now has responsibility for the local police force and overall security of the BVI, noted his vast experience in “working to tackle crime, the harms of illegal drugs, and to ensure that people feel secure in their communities.”
The governor in the meantime served in various posts in United Kingdom – including magistrate, Director of Security and Intelligence, Head of Policing. “I have worked in different areas of public service all my life. Throughout all of it, I am driven by making a difference to improve people’s lives.”
Governor Jaspert – who arrived in the territory yesterday along with his wife Millie Jaspert as well as sons Tobias and Oscar – expressed gratitude for the ‘warm wishes’ his family so far has received. “We look forward to getting to know all of the communities across the Virgin Islands – islands that our family now call home,” he added.
The new governor, so far, has been welcomed formally by local officials such as Deputy Governor Rosalie Adams, Premier Dr D Orlando Smith, Deputy Premier Dr Kedrick Pickering, and Leader of Opposition Andrew Fahie.
The deputy governor, during the swearing-in ceremony today, summed up the feeling of the local officials. “Let it be clear governor that you and your entire family are welcomed into our community, and are supported by us all,” she declared.
Here are some other moments capture today by freelance photographer ANDRE ‘SHADOW’ DAWSON: