Hon. Julian Fraser
Photo Credit: Melissa Edwards/BVI Platinum News
Former Leader of Opposition and Third District Representative, Hon. Julian Fraser has called the move by Governor John Duncan as a soft takeover of the National Democratic Party (NDP) government, concluding that the Governor acted desperate and undemocratic.
Governor Duncan, who recently removed Hon. Fraser as Opposition Leader and replaced him with Hon. Andrew Fahie, instructed the government on Thursday, March 16, to provide additional finances to the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force.
"I didn't think the day would come when I would see a Governor exercise a monarchial take over of our Treasury. This is what I call a soft takeover of the democratically elected Smith government. The Governor was wrong and he has to be stopped," Hon. Fraser said in a statement.
He reminded persons of his comments back in January, where he indicated that as long as the police is under the Governor, the elected government will never feel the necessary pressures to properly fund the police because the issue of crime is always the responsibility of those in charge.
"There is no reason the Governor can't give responsibility for the police to the Premier. It happens in Bermuda and it has been working for decades. The mechanism for this exists constitutionally. We need to make our elected government responsible for keeping us safe, and if they don’t, hold them accountable," he said.
Hon. Fraser added that he still believes this because it is the democratic thing to do.
"What the Governor did was an act of desperation and undemocratic. Some might disagree with me, but I think the Governor ought stay out of our local politics. He has the Protocols for Effective Financial Management to hold the government accountable with."
He added, "That is an Administrative arrangement between the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and the Government of the Virgin Islands to keep the Government frugal in its financial affairs."
Hon. Fraser said that what happened on Thursday has set this Territory back at least a decade in its constitutional advancement, and has shaken the core of its democracy.
"Hate the Government all you want, but keep your dignity by respecting your fellow Virgin Islanders. They did it to him, what makes you think you are any different?"