Governor John Duncan and Premier and Finance Minister, Hon. Dr Orlando Smith
Photo Credit: Melissa Edwards/BVI Platinum News
Premier Hon. Dr. D. Orlando Smith believes that the recent public comments made by Governor John Duncan, slamming his administration, were inappropriate.
Premier Smith told reporters today, February 16, that he was taken aback when the Governor was making the comments because they usually have frank discussions privately in Cabinet.
"Let me put it this way, I was taken aback by the Governor's statements, which I thought was not appropriate for the occasion. I also want to add that we all work well together, all the Ministers of government and the Governor, we have frank discussions in Cabinet," Premier Smith said during a press conference.
Earlier this week, Governor Duncan criticized the National Democratic Party (NDP) government at a public event at Her Majesty's Prison, over its apparent struggle with properly prioritizing when it comes to spending. He also blasted government for moving slow on pertinent legislation to allow for good governance, including the Freedom of Information Act (FOI).
The Premier, who is also the Minister of Finance, was asked if he feels discouraged by the Governor's comments, coupled with the suggestion by NDP stalwart Eileene Parsons, that he should shift the Ministry of Finance over to Health Minister, Hon. Ronnie Skelton.
"I will say that we work together as a team...We all contribute to all the discussions that go on, whether it's in financial services, whether it's in health, tourism; and we make decisions collectively...So as long as I am aware, I know that whatever decision we are making is in the best of the Territory, as far as we can do. I am fine with that," he said.
When further pressed on whether these criticisms are affecting him, Premier Smith said, "No, because what I am doing here is putting in the time...meeting with my colleagues to have discussions and discussions with the public so we can continue to build an economy for the people."
Premier Smith said that Governor Duncan has been helpful to government on many issues, including financial services.
"...(For) example, how we can work closely together, for example in my negotiations with the EU and UK in financial services, the Governor has been very helpful. For example, the matter of the police, as a government we support the police inside and outside the budget."
He mentioned that last year, outside of the budget allocations, government provided funding for the hiring of 30 additional police officers and the purchasing of new vehicles.
Premier Smith said that moving the Territory forward calls for cooperation.
"As you know, a budget is a budget and during the budget, you have to make a decision as to what programmes (have to) be in that budget. Decisions (are) made by Cabinet, (then) taken to the House (of Assembly) and a final decision is made."