British Virgin Islands

Tuesday, Aug 03, 2021

Too many press conferences from unelected Governor- Skelton-Cline

Calls for Governor's Office to be relegated to ceremonial one

Saying it is concerning the number of press conferences the current Governor H.E. Augustus J.U. Jaspert is having, commentator Mr Claude O. Skelton-Cline has pointed out that previous Governors serving in the Virgin Islands have never injected themselves into public life and politics to the extent of Mr Jaspert.

"Go back and count how many times Governor Duncan had press conferences for the time that he was here... and I promise you that you can count the time that he had press conferences on your four fingers," Skelton-Cline said on the Tuesday, July 5, 2020, edition of his radio show, Honestly Speaking, on ZBVI 780 AM.

"Go back a step further and count how many times the then Governor McCleary, how many press conferences he had. I agree with Hon Vanterpool because I think that is the spirit of the constitution, that the office of the Governor is by in law, should be a ceremonial one," he said.

Opposition Member Hon Mark H. Vanterpool (R4) at the June 23, 2020, sitting of the House of Assembly had said the Governor suddenly has more powers than before and accused him of trying to intimidate Premier Andrew A. Fahie (R1) in his governance of the Territory.

Governor should be a figurehead - Hon Vanterpool

"This whole concept where the Governor of this country got certain more powers than before, I don't know where it came from, I grew up hearing the Governor was a figurehead... he was just there to be the Queen's representative," Hon Vanterpool said.

Skelton-Cline said the Governor's office, therefore, needs to be relegated to a ceremonial one. "There's no way a Governor should have this much access to our public."

Governor Jaspert hosts an unprecedented monthly series of press conferences called 'Catch-up with the Governor,' where he updates the public on a number of issues, including a question and answer session with the press.

According to Skelton-Cline, "There's no way a Governor should be injecting himself or herself in the local politics of this day. They are not elected, we elected 13 people to our House of Assembly, we have a Cabinet... that's the way it needs to be."


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