REMARKS BY HIS EXCELLENCY THE GOVERNOR
DURING THE PRAISE, THANKSGIVING AND UNITY SERVICE
FOR THE GOVERNMENT AND PEOPLE OF THE VIRGIN ISLANDS
6th March, 2019
Premier Fahie, Deputy Premier, other Ministers of Government, members-elect to the House of Assembly, ministers of the Gospel, ladies and gentlemen, Good afternoon.
We are here at this praise and thanksgiving service to petition God to guide the newly elected members of Government and unify all the people at this critical time in the history of the British Virgin Islands.
I should start by first offering my congratulations to Premier Fahie and Ministers who will serve the Virgin Islands.
Those whom you have elected into Ministerial Office have already taken their oaths and affirmations which reflect the serious duties and obligations they will undertake.
They have all taken oaths of office that they will well and truly serve Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second and the people of the Virgin Islands.
Other elected members will take their oaths and affirmations during the House of Assembly Sitting on Tuesday, 12th of March.
I want to record my thanks in particular to our Supervisor of Elections, Ms. Juliette Penn, her team and all those who worked at polling stations for their commitment to a successful and efficiently run General Election.
I would also like to thank the Deputy Governor Mr. David Archer and Permanent Secretary Mrs. Igwe and the team at the Deputy Governor’s Office for all of their support in taking forward the recently amended Elections Act and for making sure that the Supervisor of Elections had all the necessary support she needed to be successful.
My thanks also to the Commissioner and officers of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force who supported the peaceful and smooth running of our election process.
I would also like to thank the Election Observer Mission organised by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, and led by the Honourable Pam Webster MNA of Anguilla for their work on the preliminary report into our election processes. I look forward to receiving the closing report, and working with the elected Government to implement the report’s recommendations.
Most importantly, though, I want to thank all the voters of this Territory who turned out to cast their ballots.
This has been a hard fought election, with a number of representatives elected to serve for the first time.
I wish to thank the outgoing Premier Smith and all who served with him over their years in office.
I also congratulate the Leader of the Opposition Honourable Marlon Penn and other opposition members, plus all of the candidates who have put themselves forward to represent the Virgin Islands. Free speech and healthy debate are crucial ingredients to ensuring that the interests of the people will be represented in the House as we move forward. I look forward to working collaboratively with both the incoming Government and Opposition over the coming months and years.
Premier Fahie and I have had good conversations and we have both pledged our commitment to partner in strengthening this Territory.
The Premier and his team are taking up the helm of leadership at a challenging time for the Virgin Islands. We must continue to find ways to strengthen our economy through bolstering our twin economic pillars of tourism and financial services as we recover from the events of 2017, and through growing other sectors.
But with challenge, comes opportunity. I look forward therefore to working with the Government in partnership.
The Government will find support from an incredibly dedicated public service. A public service that is transforming to become stronger, more resilient, and more effective in delivering service with excellence to the public we serve.
Ministries are already working hard on transformation programmes, including in the areas of public private partnerships, greening the public service, and measures to improve efficiency for the customer’s benefit. Another key element in the transformation process is the implementation of further good governance measures.
I know that the new administration is keen on preserving and promoting openness and transparency as outlined in their manifesto. I look forward to working with them on this, including on the introduction of a new Ministerial Code.
I also look forward to working with the new Government on other priority areas outlined in their manifesto. Such as recovery, economic diversification, disaster preparedness and supporting the financial services industry.
Finally, I look forward to a strong sense of partnership to deliver for the people of the British Virgin Islands. A partnership where every partner in Government is respected, valued and plays their role to the full – the elected Government, the Governor, the public service, and the United Kingdom.
With all four of these working effectively together, the BVI can approach the future with confidence.
With partnership and unity we can best serve the people of the Virgin Islands.
I will conclude here by offering my sincere congratulations to Premier Fahie and re-iterating my commitment to work in partnership with your new Government to make the Virgin Islands an even better place.
Thank you and God bless this Territory.
At this time, I am pleased to publicly present to you the Premier and Ministers of Cabinet and Junior Ministers.
Premier and Minister of Finance
Honourable Andrew A. Fahie
Deputy Premier and Minister for Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Fisheries and Agriculture
Dr. the Honourable Natalio Wheatley.
Minister for Transportation, Works and Utilities
Honourable Kye Rymer
Minister for Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration
Honourable Vincent Wheatley
Minister for Health and Social Development
Honourable Carvin Malone
Junior Minister for Trade and Economic Development
onourable Sharie De Castro
Junior Minister for Tourism
Honourable Sherene Flax-Charles