Hon Julian Willock accuse H.E Augustus J. U. Jaspert of interference with legislative branch
Governor of the Virgin Islands, His Excellency, Mr Augustus J. U. Jaspert in efforts to meet the statutory deadline for the laying of the Auditor General prepared BVI Airways report to the House of Assembly (HoA), has been accused of interfering with the legislative branch.
According to House Speaker, Hon Julian Willock in the opening announcements of today's May 28, 2020, Eighth Sitting of the Second Session of the Fourth House of Assembly, the Governor had written Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) to get the House to meet so that the report can be tabled.
"In correspondence to the Premier dated 24th April 2020, the Governor sort to 'strongly urge' the House of Assembly to meet on 7th May 2020, in order for the statutory time period of three months is complied with," the Speaker said.
Hon Willock continued, "That I believe was an overreach as an interference in the legislative branch, and I, therefore, place on record my humble view on this matter."
Governor held report for 10 weeks
According to the Virgin Islands Audit Act 2003, Section 20, "The Auditor General may at any time prepare and submit a special report. submit a special report to the Governor if he is satisfied that there is a matter that should be brought to the attention of the Governor."
Subsection 2 notes, "The Governor shall, within three months of the receipt of the special report, cause the report to be laid before the Legislative Council."
The Governor in a statement said his office received the report on February 7, therefore the Statutory deadline for the report to come before the HOA should have been May 7, 2020.
Governor acted outside of powers?
Speaker Willock's new revelation means that the Governor tried to influence the HoA to meet, so that he can meet the statutory deadline as outlined in the Audit Act after holding on to the report for almost three months.
According to Premier Andrew A. Fahie (R1) in an April 30, 2020, statement, "Assuming that May 7 was a scheduled day for the meeting of the HOA – which it was not, it would mean that the Notice for the Sitting would have to be dispatched by the Clerk of the House no later than April 27," even as Standing Orders of the HOA stipulates that a minimum of 10 days notice.
The Premier also said that he was forced to write to both the UK Minister for Overseas Territories, Baroness Elizabeth G. Sugg and to the Governor over the matter.
Governor Jaspert has long been accused of interfering in the domestic affairs of the local government and not crediting their efforts in office.