Governor Augustus Jaspert has expressed disappointment in two recent but separate circumstances in which classified information was prematurely released to the public.
Governor Jaspert told members of the media on Thursday that information was disclosed relating to active discussions within the National Security Council (NSC) on the United Kingdom lending security assistance to the territory.
He said the information that reached the public domain was not an accurate representation of the details regarding the UK’s proposed security assistance to the territory.
“You’ll be aware that the UK has also offered security assistance teams to Caribbean Overseas Territories, including BVI, to bring additional resilience to territories juggling COVID-19 and hurricane preparedness,” Governor Jaspert began.
“I am aware that this has already been reported and misconstrued in the media. This is disappointing given that these were NSC discussions, and like all NSC discussions, I would have expected details to remain private until we had reached a conclusion,” the Governor added.
Premier Fahie on UK security assistance
While the Governor did not single out any person or entity, Premier Andrew Fahie, in a statement addressed to the nation on May 8, had said the BVI did not need any military assistance as the territory’s various law enforcement institutions were effectively conducting their respective duties.
“Their (Customs, Immigration and Police) joint efforts have allowed me as your Premier and the Cabinet from ever having to do like other countries have to do because of their situation which was request military assistance to restore law and order or to plan for potential disorderly conduct of any high level,” the Premier said at the time.
Announcement of new Attorney General broke protocol
Governor Jaspert, in the meantime, also said that protocol was breached when information was disclosed that a Virgin Islander had been selected to become the territory’s next Attorney General (AG) before the process had been completed.
“Unfortunately, information relating to the Attorney General’s appointment appeared in the media whilst it was still subject to consideration of the Judicial and Legal Services Commission. I was disappointed to see the proper protocol for announcing the appointment was not followed,” the Governor stated.
He further confirmed that Dawn Smith will be appointed the new AG later this year and congratulated the current AG Baba Aziz for his service to the territory.
AG news released days prior
But before the Governor’s confirmation that Smith will be the next Attorney General, Premier Fahie - while not disclosing a name - had publicly announced on May 15 that a Virgin Islander was confirmed to be the next AG.
News later followed on at least one local media outlet, stating that they were informed by ‘sources’ that Smith was the Virgin Islander confirmed for the post.