Ahead of the February 2020 end of contract for current Attorney General (AG), Mr Baba F. Aziz, Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) has signalled that the contract may not be renewed and for his replacement, the government is looking to have the position filled by a Virgin Islander.
The Premier was at the time speaking at the continuation of the Second Sitting of the Second Session of The Fourth House of Assembly (HoA), today December 13, 2019, when he thanked the AG for his work over the years on behalf of the People of the Virgin Islands.
“I know most likely this will be the AG’s last budget with us, cause I know that his contract ends in February. But I want to thank him from the NDP [National Democratic Party] Government to our Government, for the service that he has rendered to the people of the Virgin Islands,” Hon Fahie said.
BVIslander can hold Post – Premier Fahie
The Premier continued, “and we want to make sure that… once it’s the end, that he has held the fort for us, because we know the constitution allows for a BVIslander to hold the post… and he has served the post tremendously well."
Effective February 10, 2015, Mr Aziz, a native of Ghana, was appointed to the post of Attorney General in the Attorney General's Chambers under the then NDP government, according to the Government Information Service (GIS). Amongst his various roles, he served as the Chief Legal Advisor to the Government as established by the Virgin Islands Constitution Order, 2007.
He also served in an advisory role as a member of Cabinet, the National Security Council, the House of Assembly and the prerogative of Mercy Committee as well as being responsible for managing the administration and activities of the Attorney General’s Chambers.
“So once that is the case Mr Speaker, we want to thank him in his office and whoever comes also for what they have done… In the spirit of all of this, we have done a lot of work but yet a lot more work to do,” Hon Fahie told the House.
However, even as the Premier moved to thank the AG, his role during the latter parts of the past Premier Dr. D. Orlando Smith led NDP administration did not come without criticisms.
AG came under fire for role in NDP
Political commentators and pundits have long accused Mr Aziz of overseeing the NDP’s lack of transparency, accountability and good governance in relation to the management of the territory and its resources during his tenure.
‘Hard Talk’ radio commentator, Julio S. Henry, remarked in an edition of his show, “I firmly believe at all cost, whatever it takes, the current government now, VIP should figure out how to get rid of this Attorney General that we have,” relating to the role he played under the NDP.
Mr Aziz had responded in a previous HoA sitting that his role was only to advice the Government on legal matters and was not involved in certain decision making of government or government spending.
Mr Aziz succeeded Dr Christopher P. Malcolm who was appointed Attorney General from January 2012 to December 2014.
Mr Aziz holds a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from The American University in Washington, D.C., a professional certificate of law from the Ghana School of Law and a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree from the University of Ghana.