Amid efforts to restore normality in the British Virgin Islands that has been hit by two massive hurricanes, member of the parliamentary opposition Julian Fraser has raised concern that a United Kingdom representative is in charge of the operations – not the premier who is elected indirectly by citizens.
His wish that Premier Dr D Orlando Smith was the one exercising ultimate leadership follows recent calls for independence or greater self-determination.
Premier Smith, up to recently, said his government will soon approach the United Kingdom for constitutional review, which would pave the way for local politicians to have more power, and the United Kingdom-appointed governor to have less.
Fraser, who is also representative of the Third Electoral District, has indicated that the area of disaster management should also be the ultimate responsibility of the premier.
“We’re under a state of emergency and, as such, the governor [Augustus Jaspert] is in charge. It is my hope that pretty soon our premier who we’ve elected will be the voice that you will be hearing about all that’s going on around the territory and how we’re gonna get out of it,” Fraser said during a meeting with Premier Smith and members of the third district business community yesterday, September 27.
He further reasoned that the premier should be in charge of the recovery efforts because – among other reasons – he is more vested in the territory.
“We can be relatively assured that him being someone that is as involved as the rest of us, he’s had damages just like the rest of us, and he is as concerned about this state of malaise that we’re in as the rest of us. He [should] be the one in charge completely to ensure that we get out of what we’re in,” Fraser further told residents.
The British Virgin Islands continues to receive relief from the United Kingdom and several other countries following widespread devastation caused by category 5 hurricanes Irma and Maria.
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