BVI News

Strike it from the constitution! Governors should not be able to dip into govt’s treasury — Premier

Recalling the unprecedented and highly-controversial move by former Governor John Duncan to dip into the Consolidated Fund to pump funds into the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force back in 2017, Premier Andrew Fahie is pushing to change the section of the constitution that gives any sitting governor that power.

During his closing arguments in the debate for a review of the constitution, Premier Andrew Fahie described that provision as a constitutional “loophole”.

“That needs to be amended to reflect what is the reality on the ground. In the constitution where there is a ‘warrant’ [that can be] issued by the governor. [This] means the governor can take up and go to the Treasury and get what he sees fit; especially if it is dealing with subjects around him that he thinks need more money,” Fahie said.

“That in itself is a retrograde step in our constitutional advancement,” he added.

The Premier then questioned whether it was right and fair to allow anyone to override the minister responsible for the territory’s finances. 

“How can two people be in charge of the same chequebook and spending out of the same chequebook at the same time? Nine out of 10 times you are going to have an overdraft, and when the overdraft comes, it is the responsibility of the Minister for Finance. We see the paradox in this?” Fahie questioned.

I will respect the post of Governor

Meanwhile, the Premier said his comments are not meant to disrespect the Office of the Governor.

He, however, declared that he will not sit by and allow himself to be disrespected either.

“I am going to respect anybody in the post of governor but I am not going to be sitting down there and let them disrespect me because there is a constitution that is giving them power. That has to be reviewed,” Fahie argued.

Duncan, who is Governor Augustus Jaspert’s immediate predecessor, had used his constitutional powers to force the government to allocate an additional $1.8 million to law enforcement and legal services.

The move angered many local politicians but Duncan defended his action, adding that his milder attempts to get the money had failed.

Copyright 2020 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

18 Comments

Disclaimer: BVI News and its affiliated companies are not responsible for the content of comments posted or for anything arising out of use of the comments below or other interaction among the users.

  1. Armageddon says:

    will happen when local politicians can raid our pension funds without any supervision! Check out the garbage contracts, the security company contracts, the government housing contracts, our bank accounts are being robbed as we speak!

    36
    2
  2. Diaspora says:

    Agree!

    11
    3
  3. Pandora's Box says:

    How about you focus on our economy and getting people back to work and money in their accounts before you children start to bicker over this $hit?! For the love of God have some urgency … not many of us give a damn about this current discussion!
    How the news is dominated by this I have no idea!

    28
    1
    • Samn Insane! says:

      Premier Fahie has issues with the UK and the governor over limiting the governor’s powers and other financial issues. Hon Fahie has been dipping, or should I say shoveling into government coffers to pay for Body guards, hundreds of thousands to pay for the speaker’s lawyer and court case, to pay for a 5-year lease of a floor of a VIP-founding member/Crony, building that should have been for more like a year or 2 years at most, an expensive.overprice Consultant for services the electorate is unaware of and wasn’t tendered, but the governor, after waiting on the premier for funds in support of the police for some time that wasn’t fort coming after which he redrew from the treasury, Hon Fahie is calling for a Constitution Review to limit.prevent such powers?

      14
  4. Ok says:

    So the politicians including Foy can dip into the government coffers for any whimsical idea they have such as issuing contracts for useless consultancy’s but the Governor cannot take money for policing and other necessary appropriations for the protection of the people. How can this man Foy stand at the podium and cry about a Chequers book when he and his cronies spend whatever they want with no oversight, no population approval, no nothing. What a hypocrite he is.

    22
    1
  5. BVI NEWS says:

    BVI NEWS is and has been playing with and manipulating the thumbs up and down buttons. I guess they want to control the opinion of the people like Democrats in the US.

    7
    3
  6. Sore spot! says:

    Mr. Premier
    Is this why you want constitutional change–so you won’t have to answer to or be overruled on how the taxpayer’s money is spent? The power struggle with you and the Governor always seems to be about money and who determines how it is spent eg. RDA for one. Unfortunately, it was the issue with the last Government.

    Well, you hit a sore spot. We will never be okay with a constitution that provides no recourse when monies are misused or misappropriated by an elected official including the Premier.

    Remember, Duncan won THE most popular vote by the people after he re-appropriated those funds. If he ran for election then, we would have likely won.

    10
    1
  7. Boo says:

    Marriage gone South

  8. Keep it up says:

    Premier want to have his cake with cookies and cream and eats it as well. Premier, please pick your poison. Let sleeping dogs lie or Independent from England. You simply can’t beat
    England. England can make things very hard for you guys and who is going to suffer and feels it most? THE HAVE NOTS AKA THE POOR.

  9. E. Leonard says:

    The VI is a partially self-governing territory; it shares power with the Crown that is responsible for external affairs, defence, internal security, RVIPF , courts, civil service and jail(partial); local government, the remaining functions including finance. In power sharing arrangement, neither the crown nor local government should have dominance over the responsibilities of the other. In regards to finance, there should be unity of command/control. Who is responsible if one or more person is dipping his or hand into the kitty?

    The HOA authorizes funding and appropriates budgetary expenditures. And the overriding action by former Governor John Duncan was a pimp slap to face of former Premier Dr. D. Orlando Smith, MoF. It was an insulting and devastating body blow to the gut that says on paper you got apparent power but the crown has the true power. Furthermore, the UK should be bearing the cost for its territorial rep, eg, housing, transportation, utilities, telecommunications, health……etc.

    Moreover, the reserved powers of the governor needs to be reduced. Further, the governor should not be part of the Cabinet. And in the constitutional review, the VI should vigorously pursue more autonomy, eg, civil service……etc.

    2
    6
    • Then, just go... says:

      If you don’t wish to have a Governor overseeing your greedy interests, vote for independence. Bury yourselves in self-indulgence, nepotism and continue your self-destructive, selfish behavior. Nationalism will sustain you for a couple seasons. Then the typical crab-in-a-barrel Caribbean pattern will have you cursing your neighbors, begging for grants and blaming former captors, instead of planning and producing for future generations. Give Thanks for what we have, or throw it in the bin and Good Luck.

      6
      2
      • Hypocrisy 101 says:

        Then just go: Wasn’t excessive greedy interest that brits went around taking what was not theirs? Wasn’t it bcause of greedy interest why the BVI, among many other countries still sing are “subjects” of the brits?”

        Your comment are racist and its hypocrisy on steriods. Bury your racism, hatred and hypocrisy the first chance you get, please.

    • Sir Francis Drake says:

      Yes Leonard, It’s called INDEPENDENCE. If you seek independence from the U. K. you will receive it with open arms, no fuss. I’m sure Her Majesty the Queen would also agree, so you would no longer sing ‘God Save The Queen’. Instead you would be singing
      ‘God Save Our Gracious President’, President of the Treasury, President of the Bank of the Virgin Islands, President of the New World Order!
      Personal bodyguards can be replaced with nuclear submarines and inter ballistic missiles capable of reaching London, Capital of the UK’S financial district in the event of future English aggression

      1
      2
    • @E. Leonard says:

      @E. Leonard, “pimp slap.”? That is gangster but we got the message. The governor has disproportionate power that wreaks of colonialism control over their subjects.

      2
      3
    • @E. Leonard says:

      @E. Leonard, “pimp slap.”? That is gangster but we got the message. The governor has disproportionate power that wreaks of colonialism control over their subjects. The UK on one hand tries to meet the UN mandate of decolonization and on the other hand, maintaining control.

      2
      3
  10. Captain Flint says:

    And local businesses should not be allowed to not pay their taxes and NHI.

Leave a Comment

Shares