Moves motion for Gov's reprimand; says Governor's 'cavalier attitude' towards HoA needs to stop
Accusing the Governor of the Virgin Islands, His Excellency, Augustus J. U. Jaspert of having a 'cavalier attitude' towards the Virgin Islands (VI) House of Assembly (HoA), Senior Member of the Opposition, Hon Julian Fraser RA (R3) has moved a motion to reprimand Mr Jaspert over the late tabling of the BVI Airways (BVIA) report from the Auditor General.
The motion was moved today, May 28, 2020, when the HoA met for the Eighth Sitting of the Second Session of the Fourth House of Assembly at the Save the Seed Energy Centre in Duff's Bottom, Tortola.
Section 20, sub-section (1) of of the Virgin Islands Audit Act 2003 provides "the Auditor General may at any time prepare and 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."
Motion moved & seconded
"And whereas in the case of the December 7, 2015, agreement between Castleton Holdings LLC, Colchester Aviation LLC, BVI Airways and the Government of the Virgin Islands, the Auditor General has become satisfied that there was a matter to be brought to the Governor's attention."
Hon Fraser continued, "And whereas the Auditor General has prepared such special report, and has at or around January 27, 2020, submitted it to the Governor, and whereas section 20, sub-section (2) of the Audit Act 2003, provides that the Governor shall, within three months of the receipt of the special report, cause the report to be laid on the table of the House of Assembly."
He said given the report is only being tabled today, May 28, 2020, "A full month and one day past the statutory deadline, and whereas there is substantial documented evidence that the House of Assembly has attached tremendous significance to this report in its constitutional responsibility to hold the Executive accountable and transparent in its dealing with this agreement which evidently has gone bad."
Governor acted with no regards - Hon Fraser
Hon Fraser said the Governor appeared to have acted with neither regards for the law nor the desires of the HoA, "Now, therefore, be it resolved, that this Honourable House reprimands the Governor for violating Section 20, (2) of the Audit Act 2003, and obstructing the duties of the House of Assembly under Section 47, (3) of Virgin Islands Constitution Order 2007," he said.
The Motion was then seconded by Hon Melvin M. Turnbull (R2) and, according to Hon Fraser, the Governor has exhibited a 'cavalier attitude' towards the House which needs to stop.
He said House members have been stonewalled for years over getting information about the Airways and its missing $7.2M funds, "I guess the hope is we are supposed to get tired of it and forget it."
Pattern with Gov Jasper - Hon Fraser
He said the Auditor-General must have found something to warrant the preparation of the report, only to have the Governor withhold it from the house and not cause it to be laid in a timely matter.
"I am cognisant of a pattern that seems to have been developing with this particular Governor [Augsutus J. U. Jaspert] regarding matters in this Honourable House."
Hon Fraser further said, "There is no question, there is no excuse for us to be here four months and one day after the report was received... for something that should have been done within three months after being received by the Governor."
The Motion is currently being debated in the HoA.