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OTs to discuss scaling back powers of Governors- Premier Smith

- said OTs are to continue dialogs locally & with the UK as they push for constitutional reforms
Premier and Minister of Finance Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith has said the matter of reducing the power of the Governor is being discussed among OTs’ governments. Photo: VINO/File
Governor of the Virgin Islands, John S. Duncan OBE. There have been calls for the powers of the Governor to be scaled back. Photo: VINO/File
Governor of the Virgin Islands, John S. Duncan OBE. There have been calls for the powers of the Governor to be scaled back. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – The powers vested in the Governor here in the Virgin Islands (British) and other Overseas Territories (OTs) continue to be a sore issue and Premier and Minister of Finance Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith has said the matter is being discussed among OTs’ governments.

Premier Smith, on Friday October 14, 2016, led a delegation to the Asian Pacific Region, and will then head to London from Hong Kong.

Responding to questions from reporters/media practitioners on October 12, 2016 Premier Smith said that as OTs move apace with discussions relating to constitutional reform with the United Kingdom, one of the areas of focus would be the scaling down of the responsibilities of the Governor.

“When we speak of constitution reform in countries such as independent territories we are looking at how we can have the Governors have less responsibilities for managing the territory,” said Premier Smith as he noted that this would give room for elected officials to assume more responsibilities in their given territory.

Premier said that next year OTs in their constitutional talks would be looking forward to a continuation in their discussion as it relates to ‘self-determination’, which according to him, entails pulling back some of the powers given to the Governor.

“We have had one meeting so far to organise how we would be taking forward with the discussions. We are about to appoint a group of persons who would be responsible for taking the discussions to the territory. So what we will be looking at really is what the people of the country would like to see as far as constitution reform is concerned,” he told reporters.

Modifications to constitution necessary

In his address at the press conference, Premier Smith said that in the margins of the JMC he will have a bilateral meeting with the UK Government in which he will discuss his NDP Government’s plans for a constitutional review in 2017.

“As our Constitution turns 10 years old it is only appropriate that we consider modifications to our current constitutional arrangements to better enable us to meet new and emerging challenges in the 21st century,” said Premier Smith.

He said he will also raise this in the UK Parliament at the House of Commons where OT Leaders will meet members of the Foreign Affairs Committee. The committee’s support will be critical in building momentum for constitutional changes.

Also at the parliament he will be meeting with members of the BVI All Party Parliamentary Group which is chaired by former UK OT Minister Sir Henry Bellingham.

“I will provide an update on the progress we are making in the territory and hear views on how we can strengthen our relationship with the UK Government going forward,” said Premier Smith.

He added, “I will highlight my Government’s positive international engagement on tax and transparency, the imminent opening of our International Arbitration Centre and the measures we are taking to strengthen tourism.”

 

17 Responses to “OTs to discuss scaling back powers of Governors- Premier Smith”

  • wize up (16/10/2016, 12:19) Like (14) Dislike (1) Reply
    as an affiliate of the UK our elected officials can put anything on paper BUT Buckingham can over rule if they so desire: the people we vote into public office should be more accountable and we need a constitution that mandates this
  • tooth&claw (16/10/2016, 13:51) Like (7) Dislike (4) Reply
    Great idea. We want financial aid from the UK and EU but we don't want them here, just the money. And why not? Its owed to us.
    • Tooth & Claw. Think. (16/10/2016, 17:16) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      Tooth & claw....Financial aid for them to in rich themselves... They already want increase when their is no Money. Hmmm.
  • THINK! (16/10/2016, 13:52) Like (15) Dislike (0) Reply
    we afraid of the NDP with any more power bottom line!
  • See (16/10/2016, 14:02) Like (18) Dislike (0) Reply
    Yea ... you wouldnt want to get in the way of more corruption
  • LOL (16/10/2016, 14:11) Like (19) Dislike (1) Reply
    What we need is to curtail the the Parasitic Political Oligarchy which we call the government.
    • wize up (16/10/2016, 16:40) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
      @ LOL: you need to break down your level of conversation when you posting blogs on VINO because VINO is the media for the small man(WTF is "Parasitic Political Oligarchy Government"...) some of us dropped out at the kindergarden stage BUT I love it(all some of us in BVI have is hope!!!!)
  • donkey (16/10/2016, 17:12) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    This governor is the worst thus far. Useless. NDP and Civil servants doing what they want in any case. When you act like a Donkey. Smart, heartless and dishonest people will ride you. Better believe it.
  • Laughing Seagul (16/10/2016, 17:56) Like (15) Dislike (0) Reply
    Perhaps Doc should talk more about the freedom of information act.....people moan about the governor but he's the only one keeping check on the BVI people's interest.
  • AintFromHay (16/10/2016, 22:33) Like (0) Dislike (11) Reply
    Well, Independence is on the way whether ayo like it or not, Her Majesty would rather not have the BIOTCs to have to deal with any longer - trust me on that one!
  • power (17/10/2016, 03:55) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    The people of these islands need to be empowered by knowing what their elected representatives are doing. The freedom of information act is needed now so that they can be held accountable for some of the nonsense and wild spending. The governor is no trouble to this group. He seems to protect them. They are trying to finish destroying this place. What the Primier should be looking at is transparency and accountability for this country from the government the people elect.
  • wow (17/10/2016, 11:55) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    Is this what the people of the BVI want? Did the people ask for this during election? I do not think so. So why is NDP pushing something that the people ( who they are representing) do not want?
  • Only NDP (17/10/2016, 11:58) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    The way they talking about it you could swear we ask for this. Lmbo! NDP for ya. They does do whatever they feel like doing without thinking about the repercussions.
  • dog (18/10/2016, 23:45) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    no way is this territory ready for self rule. Based on no independent audit on the cruise ship park, I found the governor basically lacking in his decisions. The NDP is not transparent. Government in general, doesn't respect its own rules, or inform residents or have any mechanism where complaints can be heard. They don't respect the current complaints dept seriously. And with some of the decisions being made, we need the UK as a watchdog for such foolishness.


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