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EXCLUSIVE: ‘Governor has made his decision!' – Hon Ralph T. O’Neal

- said he cannot interfere in Governor’s decision; Hon J. Alvin Christopher (R2) said Governor has not heeded the will of the people; talk show host Edmund G. Maduro said Governor usurped authority of the PAC and must leave
Leader of the Opposition and Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the House of Assembly Honourable Ralph T. O’Neal OBE (R9) said that while the PAC made a recommendation for a Commission of Inquiry into the ports project, the Governor has made his decision which he considers final. Photo: VINO/File
PEP's Chairman and Representative for the Second District Honourable J. Alvin Christopher said that the Governor has not taken the will of the people into consideration when making his decision. Photo: VINO/File
PEP's Chairman and Representative for the Second District Honourable J. Alvin Christopher said that the Governor has not taken the will of the people into consideration when making his decision. Photo: VINO/File
Talk show host Edmund G. Maduro said Governor Duncan has usurped the powers of the Public Accounts Committee. Photo: VINO/File
Talk show host Edmund G. Maduro said Governor Duncan has usurped the powers of the Public Accounts Committee. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – Leader of the Opposition and Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the House of Assembly Honourable Ralph T. O’Neal OBE (R9) said that while the PAC made a recommendation for a Commission of Inquiry into the ports project, the Governor has made his decision which he considers final.

The Governor of the Virgin Islands, His Excellency John S. Duncan, said last evening March 17, 2015 during a pre-recorded broadcast on radio and television, “Having considered in detail the Public Account Committee’s report, the report of the Auditor General, the comments of my predecessor Governor [William Boyd] McCleary and having taken account of the studies of the Caribbean Development Bank and the independent consultant, I see no useful purpose to commission a further inquiry into ports project or any of the other projects.”

The Governor’s announcement came months after he said during an interview that he would have been making the announcement by the end of December 2014, while saying that it may go over into January 2015.

Governor sought advice/reports

Governor Duncan gave the reason his decision came at the time it did, citing the need to speak with persons for advice and to get a hold of key reports to inform his decision on the matter.

“I have also taken advice from experts, both in the region and from the United Kingdom. This advice has taken much longer than I would have liked. While the delay may have been frustrating to the ladies and gentlemen of the media and to online bloggers, I believe that most Virgin Islanders would prefer that the work was done thoroughly,” said Governor Duncan.

“The initial report from a study into our tendering and procurement procedures by the Caribbean Development Bank commissioned by the Premier with the agreement of Governor McCleary was not available to me until the end of December [2014]. A second report by an independent consultant, commissioned by my Office to ensure that the CDB’s recommendations fully addressed the detailed concerns and issues raised by the Public Accounts Committee and the Auditor General was completed last week. Both reports will be made publicly available,” he said.

'That’s the Governor’s decision' – Hon Ralph T. O’Neal OBE

Speaking with this news site today March 18, 2015, Honourable O’Neal said he missed the broadcast of the speech by the Governor since he was at the time in the House of Assembly.

“I got home from the meeting [in the House of Assembly] last night around midnight. I didn’t hear the speech,” he said.

When told that the Governor said that he has not found it necessary to call a Commission of Inquiry into the cruise pier project, Honourable O’Neal said, “Well that is the Governor’s decision. What I must do?”

“We (the PAC) recommended the Commission of Inquiry but if the Governor doesn’t want to do that then that’s the Governor’s business. I cannot interfere into that,” said the veteran legislator.

Chairman of the Virgin Islands Party (VIP) Honourable Julian Fraser RA (R3) is to officially respond to the Governor's speech in due course.

Governor Duncan failed to heed the will of the people

Chairman of the People's Empowerment Party (PEP) and Representative for the Second District Honourable J. Alvin Christopher (R2) said that the Governor has not taken the will of the people into consideration when making his decision.

Speaking with this news site today, Hon Christopher said, “[The Governor] made a decision based on what his opinion was but I don’t think he took the views of the people of the territory into consideration. Because if he did he would have heard clearly that the people of this territory have concerns about how the project actually was conducted and I think they are the ones who have the right to know…and the Governor didn’t give them the opportunity. He [made his decision] on his views and what he personally thinks and I don’t think that in itself has brought any relief to the people of the territory.”

“He will realise in the days to come what the people’s reaction is to this whole thing,” said Honourable Christopher.

Governor has usurped the authority of the PAC

Talk show host Edmund G. Maduro was livid following the conclusion of the Governor’s speech. “The Governor has usurped the powers of the Public Accounts Committee…he has deliberately and wrongfully from an administrative and constitutional point of view embarrassed the Public Accounts Committee. Does he have the power to throw the Public Accounts Committee aside and do whatever he wants to do? He did his own inquiry. Is he supposed to do that? As far as I am concerned the Governor should get his a** out of here,” said Maduro.

“How could he act contrary to the House’s rules and regulations. That Public Accounts Committee was set up there as a check and balance for the Government. When they ask for something he can’t just do what he [feels like],” said Maduro.

“Those behaviours of the Governor are antiquated and we need to get him out of here,” said Maduro.

26 Responses to “EXCLUSIVE: ‘Governor has made his decision!' – Hon Ralph T. O’Neal”

  • qc (18/03/2015, 10:01) Like (1) Dislike (21) Reply
    the Governor has break his reputation with this announcement
  • Schups (18/03/2015, 10:08) Like (42) Dislike (3) Reply
    The Governor clearly stated where he got all his advice from. CDB and other consultants in conjunction with information received and expert advice. But yet Alvin can say the Governor made a decision based on his own opinion. Alvin could lead this country? He couldn't lead a thirsty cow to Sea Cows Bay well.
    • @ schups (18/03/2015, 10:40) Like (4) Dislike (43) Reply
      i will pick alvin over joe jack, myron , pope and the lady with the bad words
    • @Schups (18/03/2015, 11:33) Like (36) Dislike (2) Reply
      You aint see Alvin obsess with the port project. Why I cant understand...Oh it just hit me...jealousy.
  • Look here! (18/03/2015, 10:11) Like (28) Dislike (1) Reply

    I told you guys to keep Edmund under watch. You see the same thing? Edmund needs to do more reading and understanding and less pandering and flipping off. The Governor clearly stated that the PAC did a half-@$$3d job and it was pure politics. How can he rely on the PAC alone when the PAC didn't even follow their own rules? PAC didn't even interview Claude as Director of Ports or Mark as Minister of Ports. How do you investigate an issue and call for a COI without even interviewing the parties involved? Instead, they interviewed the parties that were involved in the OLD CRUISE PIER DEVELOPMENT under VIP. How does that make sense? Edmund you are a disgrace to the BVI and perhaps you should go! There are some Maduros in Venezuela that might welcome you down there. You too damn ignorant! Go march now with your foolishness see if Fraser and anybody else studying you anymore.

    • Lookras (18/03/2015, 11:55) Like (4) Dislike (10) Reply
      @Look here; why does people like you come on here speaking lies, or is it just your ignorance? The PAC did interview Claude, more than once. And the OLD CRUISE PIER DEVELOPMENT the Governor referred to was not under VIP. Do you people know anything, it was the project that Royal Caribbean tendered on and was cheated out of under the NDP.
      • Look here! (18/03/2015, 13:51) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
        You are the one talking NONSENSE! The PAC did NOT conduct any investigations into the current project and that is a fact. The PAC report and Auditor Reports are both public, GO READ THEM! Was there a tender process when VIP choose Disney to partner and build a welcome center and extend the dock? NO! Was there any outcry? NO! The Government made a decision to partner with an expert company in the field. It wasn't a problem then now all of a sudden you all acting like a vaseline commercial bout tender tender tender. All of a sudden you know what tender is? The cruise pier is moving and that's that. Keep those sour grapes to yourself, the facts are clear.
      • Really? (18/03/2015, 13:53) Like (4) Dislike (11) Reply
        Did they interview Mark as Minister? Did they get witnesses from the old project or the new project? Did they allow the witnesses to review their statements for accuracy? All they did was hand picked foolishness in an attempt to fool the people and it back fired. VIP is the weakest link and we will say goodbye to them in a few months.
  • The Prophet (18/03/2015, 10:41) Like (17) Dislike (9) Reply
    Looking ahead and seeing the fall out of this Governor's decision, I am concerned that we could easily witness a recurrence of embarrassments in the service. We can all recall Tilford's decision to ignore calls to reign in his Financial Secretary and Assistant who acted like " Monarch of all I survey". What happened next is history. The Governor's decision gives POW a free hand to continue to disrespect other Government officials and to use his position to direct the affairs of those Statutory Bodies with which he is associated.
    By now the Governor is aware that a number of the Ministers of Government loose tongues. How will he react when the "Chinese Minister" wakes him up with a few choice words during a meeting. Will he walk out or site there like Mary's little lamb.
    My dear hearts and gentle people, corruption breathes more corruption. If this Governor thinks that blaming the system and overlooking the actors who have corrupted the system will make life a bed of roses, he will soon become the victim of the thorns which lie beneath the rose. It is only a matter of time.
  • x factor (18/03/2015, 10:41) Like (15) Dislike (21) Reply
    ok lets put this to rest its the voters turn to make thier choies NDP must go
  • Voters (18/03/2015, 10:56) Like (5) Dislike (11) Reply
    so happy rto going home...lets go fraser and the VIP
  • i from here (18/03/2015, 11:53) Like (13) Dislike (13) Reply
    To VIP and their Supporters: Put that in you all pipe and SMOKE IT !!
  • Liat 521 (18/03/2015, 14:36) Like (2) Dislike (12) Reply
    I agree with edmund the governor must go
  • Concerned (18/03/2015, 14:41) Like (7) Dislike (1) Reply
    Is. The governor agreeing to corruption? I thought he was to be responsible for good governance. His decision is saying to me that politicians and the ports manager are untouchable. This is sad. From consultant on pier project to manager of ports. Everyone can smell a rat there. Where is the mayor of Michigan? What has happened to natures little secret.The people of the Virgin Islands are disappointed.
    • Bitter Boo (18/03/2015, 15:00) Like (3) Dislike (6) Reply
      Scatter your bitter backside. You cannot expect the Governor to rule on this based on personal opinions. You obviously have an issue with Claude and/or Mark and/or NDP! You are not looking at it from a principled view. What was wrong? The Governor clearly stated that it started off wrong but it is a good project. The project is financed by a reputable financial institution, with the backing of the UK. BVIslanders have invested in the offering to own a piece of the project. Stop living in the past and embrace what is happening. I'm no fan of Claude either but it is what it is. The man was appointed to the position and everybody asked what is his experience, what is his qualification, but look at the project? It is moving, along with Ports on a whole! It says the man is working for his money so be fair man. If you know of corruption then go to RVIPF, in the meantime STFU with the nonsense.
      • ABC (18/03/2015, 17:48) Like (3) Dislike (2) Reply
        It is crystal clear to me that the Governor has made himself both Judge and Jury. Given his late arrival into the Territory, the Governor should have allowed an independent team of qualified inspectors to carry out the investigation which he conducted all by himself and allow the chips to fall where they may. What has been done gives the minister and those who display the same disregard for common human decency to take the BVI to a new level of corruption. What is being displayed here is clear; "any means to an end."
    • alpine (18/03/2015, 16:30) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
      I am certainly in agreement with you I am disappointed, and it makes the Auditor General looks bad as if she don't what she is doing this is a disgrace
      • Audit (18/03/2015, 17:05) Like (1) Dislike (4) Reply
        She should be ashamed, both her and PAC for not doing a thorough job. Why are you guys acting surprised? Both reports are public documents and have been in the news. The Auditor made a report based on 'some' old information and I can give her a half-pass for working with what she had at the time it seems. But the PAC who had a mandate to collect additional information, what did they do? They knew full well that the information was half-baked and made no effort to get the entire story. Why would they? Then that would defeat their true purpose which was to go on a political witch hunt. They didn't care what the commission said, they just wanted one called, the project stopped and a dark cloud over NDP so they could beat that like a dead horse for elections. Now the entire thing explode in their faces and nobody knows how to act. You cannot call people corrupt without putting all the facts together. The Auditor and the PAC should be ashamed of themselves putting people's names out there unfairly when they didn't do their jobs in a proper and thorough manner. It is no different to our Judges, Police and Lawyers here doing botched jobs with cases only for the Court of Appeal to embarrass them and quash their rulings. Justice is not one-sided and the Governor looked at ALL the facts and made his call. Get over it as someone else already said.
  • Edmund (18/03/2015, 15:01) Like (3) Dislike (5) Reply
    Lord anybody have pressure pills? My head hurting me since 7:15 last night and I can't get it to stop. Jezumbred this is painful.
  • Sigh (18/03/2015, 15:07) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
    The governer's decision is final! Get a life and deal with it.
  • good (18/03/2015, 16:45) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    Heavenly father help the BVI,
  • jj (18/03/2015, 16:56) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    God alone will save the bvi
  • Tommy (18/03/2015, 21:16) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
    I think the Governor has lost credibility with this decision, what can he do when stuff like this happen again?who can we count on to look into issues like this in the future?
  • Forbidden Truth (18/03/2015, 23:18) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    We are still on the Plantation, seize the time.
  • 1 (18/03/2015, 23:32) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    I am surprised whith with decuan had to say but the voters will decide

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