British Virgin Islands

Thursday, Aug 13, 2020

Governor Augustus Jaspert welcomes the BVI government’s interest in constitutional review

Governor Augustus Jaspert welcomes the BVI government’s interest in constitutional review

E. Leonard
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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