BVI News

UK supports BVI’s constitutional review | Jaspert in favour of debate on powers of governor

The United Kingdom government has expressed its support for a constitutional review in the British Virgin Islands.

This is according to Governor Augustus Jaspert who informed the media during a recent press briefing on Tuesday that he believes the powers of Office of the Governor should also be discussed within the review process.

He gave that indication after being asked his position as it relates to questions over the years on whether the powers of the governor should be reduced.

“I think there should be a debate about where does the governor have certain authorities now or [if] we rely on the governor to do certain things,” Governor Jaspert stated.

“Every governor and myself, we should be looking to take the territory forward every single review. So forward, more successful, more self-determine, having more ability to govern effectively in whatever way is best,” he further said.

As of the UK’s position on the constitutional review, the governor said: “The United Kingdom government welcomes the BVI government’s interest in constitutional review. It has been 30 years since the last review for the Virgin Islands and much has changed since then. Our constitution needs to move with that change to ensure it is delivering for the people.”

“I also see the review as a good opportunity to look at the current way we do things and also there are things we can do to improve our governance, our institutions and our checks and balances ourselves … These areas are important for the territory as it continues towards further self-determination,” he added,

Government should be placed responsible

The governor also made reference to a number of instances where he was questioned by journalists regarding certain topical issues.

He said he believes some of these issues can be handled within government or institutions which are in place to uphold good governance and accountability.

He said: “The media quite rightly ask me all the time, governor what’s happening on this? Well, actually, the question is what’s the government doing on this, or why have we not got government institutions that’s looking into this? Or why is there not transparency on whatever the issue is, or why can we not hold something to account? Why are we looking to the governor to do that?”

Governor Jaspert, in the meantime, is urging all residents of the BVI to be actively engaged in the Constitutional Review process to ensure upon its completion that it improves the governance of the BVI. 

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47 Comments

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  1. Lilly says:

    Interesting. The governor agrees! I wonder if they will encourage independence after this.

    Like 2
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  2. E. Leonard says:

    It is commendable that Governor AJU Jaspert, the de facto head of state, has a favorable view of the VI pursuing a constitutional review. Per the UN, the VI is a non-self-govening territory and is entitled to pursue self-determination that can include independence, free association, integration into larger locales…….etc. The VI needs to pursue further autonomy.

    Currently, the VI is partially governing and shares governing responsibilities with the UK that is represented by the governor. The UK is responsible for external affairs, defence, internal security, RVIPF, civil service, prison (shared), and judiciary; VI, remainder, including finance. The constitutional review should address the VI taking control of civil service, RVIPF, prison, judicial……etc among other things.

    Further, the power of the governor needs to be retrenched. For example, to my understanding the governor is currently part of the Cabinet. Well, if true, in my opinion, the governor should not be part of the Cabinet. The governor has to assent to bills passed in the HOA. As such, the governor should not be active in the bill passing (sausage making )process. The governor’s reserve powers need a close up review. It seems as if the governor has the power to singlehandedly negate decisions made by government. For example, the governor’s predecessor didn’t like the amount of money appropriated in the budget for the RVIPF. Consequently, he used his reserve powers to appropriate more funding for the RVIPF, embarrassing the Dr. Hon Premier D. Orlando Smith government.

    Moreover, in the constitutional review, a higher order of magnitude degree of separation is needed between the Legislative and Executive branches as there is separation between the Judicial and other branches. The current system is flawed; the Legislative and Executive branches are in all practical purposes 6 of one half a dozen of the same.

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  3. Voteless says:

    Any constitutional review that doesn’t address the fact that residents of good character who may have been here 5 years (say) and can’t vote, will be an anti-democratic travesty.

    If the franchise stays as it is and the Governor becomes less involved, the current inadequate scrutiny of government spending and performance will become even more inadequate.

    As we are heading into really bad economic times scrutiny is really important. When only about 1/4 of taxpayers get to vote we don’t get that.

    Like 17
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    • W.E Man says:

      I totally agree, more voters, will lead to a better democratic process.

      Like 7
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      • Soothsayer says:

        Enforced independence, UK need to let the place go… at minimum hold a referendum for the PEOPLE to decide, not them politicians.

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    • Haha says:

      5 years and sending away your money with intentions of not making the BVI a home. Election is every 4 years, one bad decision and we stuck with somebody for almost as long as you been in the territory that’s not good.

      Like 8
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      • Jane says:

        @Haha: presumably you accept that non-BVIslanders send away their money at least in part because current legislation deliberately discriminates against them laying down roots? Stamp duty on property purchases is current 0% for Belongers and 12% for Non-Belongers. Work permit holders pay a higher burden of “tax” – work permits are very expensive and many individuals meet this cost themselves, rather than their employees. Obtaining a trade license without at least 40% Belonger ownership is pretty much unheard of. So you may say that Non-Belongers send their money away, but that may be more of a symptom of the deliberate strategy of stopping them from investing into the Territory.

  4. Patrotic bvi. says:

    Well guys once again I am getting nervous. I hope that this debate resolved the right way.I hope is just delf governing,not indet.we are not mature for that yet we don’t need that right now.

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  5. Patrotic bvi. says:

    We need to learn from the other island. And most countries in Asia,africa and Latin America,including the Caribbean.

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  6. Dave Henry says:

    We don’t wanna sell passports like the other Caribbean islands. Cbi.please.we have nother els to survive on.only illiterate fools talk about independence. And I guess these want to thief more money.

    Like 15
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  7. hmm says:

    While I agree with a review I get very nervous when local politicians want the governor out of Cabinet, etc. Sadly the local politicians have been so self serving over the years [both VIP and NDP] they kill their own industries due to constant political favoritism. Each party continues to find ways to push through political favors for friends of the party . A lot has changed but far more has remained the same.Until a sitting government can pass legislation that tightens the way they are governed we will always be in trouble.

    Like 22
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    • @ hmm says:

      I am still in disbelief at the friends/party committees/family that are on the various Boards (some on more than one, some with no experience, etc.)

      HoA needs to discuss going forward how Board members are appointed and stop the self-serving favouritism.

      Like 12
      • In Total DisBelief says:

        Two of my Biggest Dissfaction in Politics is the Distance Politicians create between themselves and the electorates; (thei real bosses). During the Campaign, politicians visit our residence in the nights with flashlights; going in your kitchen dipping in your Soup (to make a point of Oneness). After election it can take years to get an appointment with a minister. Its more than 18 months I’ve been trying. I finally got a response and call from the premier’s office about 4 months ago. Thinking that I’n finally going to get a chance to discuss my issues. I was asked what was it I wanted to see the premier about. Wanting to be transparent, I revealed my issues. That has been more than 4 months and I’m still waiting.
        Considering the Good Life treatment of politicians in BVI (the Globe Trotting, the First Class flight treatment, expensive hotel stays, returning to BVI without giving a report of their mission), decent salaries compared to elsewhere, capped off with lifetime salaries after 2 terms, near to what their in office salaries were . Yes, Cronyism with politicians leasing buildings owned by party “Founding Members”, Board Memberships with members serving on 3-4 different Boards etc.
        Until politicians can display true transparency, Accountability, and Good Governance, there’s no reason to give more power to politicians who are unable to govern with their major concern being Loyalty to their base; at the expense of fellow voters.

  8. What a ting says:

    The review should also change status for children born in the BVI of expat parents . Wey yo born is where you come from . That should be part of the review

    Like 10
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    • W.E Man says:

      Not if you are white, a white man could never get elected in a black mans country.

      Dislike 15
      • To says:

        W. E. Man: There is an old African Caribbean proverb that states: You lay down in wha bed yo mak up.

      • BuzzBvi says:

        Not if it is racist country and continues to judge people only by the colour of skin. Like people accuse white people of doing. Do others not want to do better? Guess not. Get the power use the power. Be just as bad as they were but for the other side. Jeez.

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    • BuzzBvi says:

      Be careful of that one. Where a lot of VIslanders is born in not the VI. You want to talk about real VIslanders?

    • Quilter says:

      Unfortunately, that decision rests with the British government; British Nationality Act has to be amended to bring that about.

  9. A House Chicken or a Seeker of Destiny? says:

    Chick, chick,chick,chick!! Here chick. Where can you eat bettter food than this. Where can you wear better clothes this. Tha’s what house chicken said then and still saying today. Wxcept back then they were called house negroes and house n*****s.

    The truths are, every single country god given rights “to self-determination that can include independence, free association, integration into larger locales…….etc. The VI needs to pursue further autonomy.” If some are to chicken scared to stand up and be respected in globally community, instead of being looked down upon as a little colonialized, subservient, insignificant, yes sah no sah, boot licking a** wiping negro.

    Instead (1), there are those who wish to see the people fo the BVI become free from centuries of British colonial rule, period (2).There are thoe who wish to see the BVI people attain free and complete soveriegnty of their lives, lands, economy, future and destiny.

    Any negotiations relative to a constitutional review with those goals not at the forefront for discussion and the final achievement and destination for a people is a waste of time, money and effort in the age of modernity.

    The child that is not mentally equipt and is not psychologically prepared to leave his/her parents dwelling, go out and build a life for him/herself will remain a manipulative and manipulatable parasite and a chid his/her entire life cycle.

    Like 3
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    • Fowl play says:

      @house chicken
      What absolute garbage.
      The VI is a proud territory trying to compete globally in two main industries and currently, albeit decades later that necessary, looking earnestly for other industry as well.
      There is no colonial rule here. The BVI government has had control of billions of dollars in financial services revenue off the back of the people who have come here to help build an industry and evolve it, and are currently sticking up for it against significant international pressure and politricking.
      The governor is here for last resort security issues and to get the territory on an even keel. That is to say to make sure the elected politicians are being transparent and not corrupt. We all know how that’s gone for the territory in the last 40years. Which families have disproportionately benefited from positions of authority. NONE of that has to do with the UK benefiting. The best the UK can hope for is that the BVI is well managed, successful and needs precious little assistance at all.
      The irony of the above poster is that it is the manipulated fools who still speak of skin colour and colonial rule in the BVI. Who do not hold the governments of the BVI accountable for the paucity of our infrastructure compared to our budgets and wonder where the money went. Who do not wonder so they can get some scraps from the table. They have no facts at all to back up their race-baiting rhetoric (much like the Trumpians so ridiculed and despised).

      Like 10
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  10. Lost says:

    @ voteless.what crap are you really talking?? You want to come in the people them country for five ys and you should be allowed to vote??.well i have never heard anything so silly in years. Dont comment just for comment sake ok. All the islands in the eastern Caribbean that fool there people and get independence look at them today.most of us here in the bvi our home country got independence and look at where we are begging for jobs to put food on the table. What was the real purpose of independence??. Is it so a few power hungry black men and women can have their pockets full with a handful of their followers??. I would like anyone to tell me which Caribbean island that get independence that there people are doing good in wealth and health??.tell me..be careful what you asked for. Britain haven’t done us a thing.if larger islands that got independence are doing so poorly that china and yes China is taking over .when we need money china is going to give it to us but not for free.when we cant pay they taking our port our cruise ship piers and our airport. The bvi is to small to even think about independence. A little more control of certain things but politicians would never get enough.

    Like 10
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    • @Lost says:

      You truly as you your blog name suggest, mentally ad historically lost.

      There are reasons why independent Caribbean and African countries suffer many ills.

      Most are due to poor to ineffecient leadership, poor political management, greed, corruption, insuffucient job and infrastructure investmment and ddevelopment and other mis-management issues.

      Indeed, there are many lessons to be learned from the independent countries that are struggling.Those mistakes can and will be used as teaching tools going forward. But to suggest that England “didn’t do us nothing” indicates a empty historical head and one who would bow down to another man insteadof his own. That breed of mentality is totally stagnant and non-progresive.

      Like 6
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      • So says:

        So for 200 hundred years we cannot get our act together to manage our small islands?? You mentioned all that has been going wrong but you didn’t mention anything that is going right. When our islands only had a few hundred some a few thousand people we couldn’t get anything done right for our people. Now we have thousands and some millions of people on these islands do you think the people we put to run our economy would get it right now?? Over 200 yrs we trying but because of greed we cant get our people uplifted.

      • @ @lost says:

        British and Dutch and other people did atrocious things here and throughout the Caribbean hundreds of years ago. They were abhorrent by any reasonable person’s estimation.

        That was changed. By English people. Most English people were working as indentured farm workers and other workers with abysmal standards of living and autonomy at that time. Of course since then, another rogue chancer in the form of Ken Bates came here with apparently nefarious plans which were foiled by a small group who stood up for the BVI.

        Since then, the BVI has had two pillars of trade launched by expats, working with BVIslanders, to create jobs and prosperity. The BVI Govt has taken in billions. We have very little to show for it. This bit is far more relevant to where we are now as a territory. See Singapore. See Cayman even. Even Jamaica, so troubled with issues, is now coming up with a range of long-term initiatives to build a future for their people and to attract and retain the best talent as part of their mix.

    • @ lost says:

      U SO lost. When people have committed a significant time to the benefit of a country where they live, that deserve and in most countries get some form of tenure. In many it is residence fist and then full citizenship before 15 years. This is of course only beneficial to the host country. Imagine if the US shipped all the BVI folks back and treated them as BVI treats expats.

      OK STOP. All the silliness about small island capacity etc. The US does not need more Caribbean immigrants. The VI does actually need more population to boost the economy and indeed more people who are willing to stay and build an industry, employ people and pay taxes here. Simple maths. If we want acceptable schools, infrastructure and amenities, people have to be here to build those industries.

      Like 4
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    • @@lost says:

      I’m not sure that’s the most coherent post I’ve ever seen. In many countries, including the UK, a person who entered lawfully can get the vote; and indeed become a citizen after about 5 years. It’s not an extraordinary concept.

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  11. USA says:

    The people of Tortola want Independent be careful what you wish for. Here come China to takeover.

    Like 5
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  12. Imagine tis truth says:

    Many will dress in the colors of oppression, red, white and blue, representing extermination, degrdation, robbing of lands, their people and resources, march in parades to honor an autocrat birthday, putting it mildly and sing aloud with great glee and joy, god save our gracious quuen, etc…

    Sadly, this brainwashing goes on 24 hours a day everyday. People are so brainwashed that the things they do appear to them as quite normal, when in fact and all reality they are not.

    Many to most of do not revere or honor our mother to the degree they honor and revere their queen. Many mothers do not even receive as much as a birthday wish, but let the queen birthday come or she lands on island, yo want to seea spectaxle os subservient, foolishand blinded slavish people?

    Like 2
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  13. BuzzBvi says:

    Who cares. Can’t vote. Not your country go home. I born here(and America at the same time) you need to go home. Where you born? Really? Go home anyway? Who cares. Can’t vote.

  14. The governor should more involved says:

    The governor should more involved

    Like 5
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  15. Independence?! says:

    I am led to believe that we BVIslanders who are asking for independence have no idea what it involves…the independent “down islands” are doing great for themselves, compared to locals in the BVI. They work diligently and the hard work shows when they arrive here. They are familiar with internationally recognized medical schools and the production of local products that are exported internationally…and here you are bashing them for being “down islanders”…be careful BVI…be careful…

    Like 2
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    • The independent down islands says:

      doing very great for themselves but their cnatives still have to come to the little less BVI to make a living and give their family a better life. The opportunity you get here you will never get it in your country but yet you call BVIanders prejudice. I love my brothers and sisters of all race and nationality but I disagree with the way some behave and call down this blessed place and its people. Everyone was born and have family roots someplace, some of us have family roots many places. However, some of us are becoming very territorial after living in a country for a few years. When BVIslanders live in the US they donot act like they want to run things. They quietly wwork and improve their situation untill they feel like returning to their beloved country. Everybody have a beloved country to return to no matter where on earth they travel.

  16. Patrotic bvi. says:

    V.i.p.must go next election. They are forcing independence down our throat just to get away with corruption.

  17. Patrotic bvi. says:

    We need to get them out next election please. Fahie you need to go.

  18. Dave Henry says:

    Greater autonomy to get away with more corruption.

  19. soso says:

    people, dont be fooled, these people re diplomats, that debate will be of no vail, uk will give the bvi what is best for the uk, not what is best for the bvi, after all the uk own you guys, come on.

    Like 2
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  20. Patrotic bvi. says:

    Mr.primere please don’t be a fool and force independent down our throat please.

    Like 2
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  21. Patrotic bvi. says:

    We are not ready for that.

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  22. Ausar says:

    Let’s hope that we can get the Kingdom to agree, also, that “BLACK GOVERNORS’ RULERSHIP OF THE BVI, MATTERS”!!

    Let’s hope that the Kingdom truly supports that motto, and allow the Premier to change the Constitution, to reflect just that!

  23. Patrotic bvi. says:

    Let’s say no to independence. We are not ready for that.

    Like 2
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  24. Anonymous says:

    It is heart breaking to see in the 2st, so many Black peopl still feel that they cannot live and prosper without a or their msster. What a continuing sad mentality still so prevalent.

  25. Patrotic bvi. says:

    Oh please mr.keep your comments to yourself please.

  26. Patrotic bvi. says:

    This government is slowly pushing for independence. That’s the reason they are pushing for gambling and marijuana to become legal. I mean they slip this in so quietly without even consulting the citizens first.that’s frightening. It thought that the bvi was a democratic society.what are they gonna try?.so we go independent then,our leaders would then become dictators. We would have no free will.that’s why they want more autonomy. To getaway with wrong doings.

  27. Patrotic bvi. says:

    Think about it.in a democratic society the government is making decisions without consulting the people first that’s so frightening. Is that the reason why the are aggressively perusing independence in disguise. That’s why they pushing for greater autonomy. That’s the first step ti independence.dont trust this government.

  28. Dave Henry says:

    We as black people always make everything a racial issue.in the Caribbean we all grow up as Christians.but along the way people change. But remember,we still believe in God.when jesus was crucified,before he die he ask his father to forgive his killers for they know not what they done.and remember the lord’s prayer. Forgive us our trespasses and we forgive those who tresspass against us.and just told his disciples,if you don’t first forgive your enemies then your heavenly father will not forgive you.guys if we wanba see God face then let’s stat learning to forgive your enemies. I know slavery and colonialism was an evil act.because it came exploitation,genocide,and many evil things. I understand that.even today racism is still rampant more than ever.but guys,we need to put that in God hands. Theeir is good and bad in every race doesn’t matter your race or nationality lhave personally met some nice loving and white people. Just as there are evil black s of course you’ll fine whites to.no difference. That white people are causing destruction to the world.don’t you think if black were to attain the same amount of money,rescouses and power,would they done anything different?.stop and think about it.give at the end of the day,race and color doesn’t matter to God. Or where you from. But your heart is what matter to God. God is in control.love you all God bless you guys.

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