Premier Smith fires back @ Gov Duncan
Why? Premier Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL) was pressed to address this issue at a press conference held yesterday February 16, 2017 in the Conference Room, Office of the Premier where reporters demanded an explanation for the inaction.
It takes time!
"One of the things that I find interesting is that there are many things that people would like to see, including myself, including my Ministers of Government, including the Governor, including the public, but sometimes things take time. I find it best not to rush into things so quickly because sometimes you make the wrong decision. And making things public after, you realise there are various aspects you want to make public, when to make it public. Those are the things which we are looking at, which we are discussing," Premier Smith responded.
Earlier this week, Governor John S. Duncan OBE publicly blasted the National Democratic Party (NDP) government at a public event held at Her Majesty's Prison, suggesting that they are struggling with setting priorities for passing legislations that have been on the table for an extended time now, including the passing of the Freedom of Information Act and the establishing of the Human Rights Council.
As he sought to defend those matters, Premier Smith said "Even with the bill which the Governor spoke about that is on the table for discussions and some of these bills that you need to present to the House take quite a lot of discussion, take a lot of research, take quite a lot of negotiating before they are properly presented before the House, because you want to make sure that whatever you do is in the best interest of the people of the territory. Sometimes even when you do that and we carry bills to the House, shortly after it needs amendments to change some things which perhaps were not suitable at the time."
Poor timing by Governor, says Premier Smith
However, the Premier believes that the recent public comments made by Governor Duncan were inappropriate.
"Let me put it this way, I was taken aback by the Governor's statements, which I thought was not appropriate for the occasion. I also want to add that we all work well together, all the Ministers of government and the Governor, we have frank discussions in Cabinet," said Premier Smith.
"I will say that we work together as a team...We all contribute to all the discussions that go on, whether it's in financial services, whether it's in health, tourism; and we make decisions collectively...So as long as I am aware, I know that whatever decision we are making is in the best of the Territory, as far as we can do. I am fine with that," he said.
Further asked if he was infuriated by the public outburst of the Governer and if he spoke to him expressing his distaste for the manner in which he made the statement, Premier Smith declined to comment on whether he spoke to the Governor.
The Leader of Government said; however, that he is not fazed by the growing attacks on him and his administration.
"No, because what I am doing here is putting in the time...meeting with my colleagues to have discussions and discussions with the public so we can continue to build an economy for the people.”
We support RVIPF ‘inside & outside budget’- Premier
Governor Duncan had also criticised the NDP Government for cutting the budget of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF) by 46% since 2012. His sentiments supported the earlier call by former Permanent Secretary and Businessman Julian Willock to properly fund the police.
"For example, the matter of the police, as a government we support the police inside and outside the budget," said Premier Smith, while also noting that last year, outside of the budget allocations, government provided funding for the hiring of 30 additional police officers and the purchasing of new vehicles.
"As you know, a budget is a budget and during the budget, you have to make a decision as to what programmes (have to) be in that budget. Decisions are made by Cabinet, taken to the House (of Assembly) and a final decision is made."