Honourable Andrew A. Fahie
Premier of the Virgin Islands
27th August, 2020
PREMIER SETS THE RECORD STRAIGHT
A pleasant good day and God’s Blessings to all Virgin Islanders and residents. First let me thank our residents of the Virgin Islands for cooperating with the measures put in place due to this current curfew order. Through your cooperation, you are greatly assisting our health team to continue their aggressive contact tracing without hindrance. By this evening, our Minister of Health will address the Territory with the latest COVID-19 update.
However, at this time I wish to address, briefly, a matter that has been circulating in the public domain, and which is being spurred on by the spread of rumours. These rumours have very serious and dangerous implications for our society, and this is why I am disappointed to see that persons who know better are engaging in these activities with the narrow objective of trying to make life difficult for your Government, and by extension you the people especially during this COVID-19 era while we are trying to keep our focus on the needs of the people and keeping us all safe.
I wish to make it abundantly clear that your Premier is not in any fight with the Governor or the United Kingdom or anyone.
As in all matters, people will not always be in complete agreement with each other. This happens occasionally and is routine in the Governance process, whether it is between the Premier and Ministers, the Premier and the Governor, the Government and the Governor or the Government and her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition. These are issues where persons will have different points of views and different interpretation and perspectives on law, constitution and procedure.
Each actor, in such situations, proceeds based on their perceptions of their role and on how the facts are to be interpreted. They can be right or they can be wrong. But either way, it is not necessary for them to descend into personalities or adversarial conduct and stance, and passion must not be misinterpreted as a personal offensive.
As Premier, I continue to be guided by my Oath of Office and the Constitution to make the decisions that are in the best interest of the wellbeing and aspirations of the people of the Virgin Islands.
I bear no animosity to anyone, personally or professionally. That is contrary to my belief as a God-fearing person who believes and lives by the commandment to love your neighbour as you love yourself.
Your Government, and by extension, my focus is on doing what is best for our Territory and for our people, whether it is by putting in the extra hours, making tough decisions or taking a firm stand to put the welfare of our people first.
This COVID-19 era is the time where, more than ever, we need all hands on-deck working to make positive contributions to help our Territory and our people, especially those who are the most vulnerable.
It is unfortunate that in the midst of having to manage the many complex issues and situations relative to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the BVI, that I have to divert attention and focus to correct misinformation, misstatements and mischief.
But I cannot let these untrue statements that are being circulated remain unanswered and to bury their roots in the public domain.
I also must state that I am disappointed that some Members of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition are making deliberate efforts to fan these flames of misinformation, misstatements and mischief, during this time of COVID-19.
It is a fact that from time to time the Government and the Opposition do not agree. But we do not characterise these disagreements as a fight. Why then, are persons going out of their way to paint similar disagreements between the Governor and the Premier as a fight? Why are they trying to create fear, uncertainty and panic in the minds of the public?
For the record, as Premier, I have a good relationship with the Cabinet Members of the Territory which includes the Governor, the Cabinet Secretary, the Attorney General and all my Ministers.
For the record and by extension I also have a very good relationship with all the Members of the House of Assembly. And by extension I have a great relationship with each citizen of the Virgin Islands, whether they support my Government and myself, or not, because that is their democratic right.
I must highlight that the Leader of the Opposition and I discuss many matters and not all of them we see eye to eye. This does not mean that the Leader of the Opposition and the Premier does not get along.
By extension the Governor has certain responsibilities under the Constitution. The Premier is the Leader of Government Business and has certain responsibilities under the Constitution coupled with his mandate from the people with the accountability factor being the Manifesto.
Just like the relationship with the Leader of the Opposition there are areas or issues that the Governor and Premier will not share the same position which may merely be cultural differences. This does not mean that the Premier and the Governor does not get along.
Mutual respect must play a key role in a Modern Partnership.
During these difficult times let us focus on the areas that unite us and avoid trying to play on the vulnerability of the people of the Virgin Islands for political and other gains.
COVID-19 is not a game. COVID-19 is not playing around with us and we must not play around with COVID-19.
As Your Government we will continue to be steadfast in purpose and diligent in actions in the carrying out of our duties on behalf of the people of the Virgin Islands.
This is a time when we must all put people in front of politics, and surely in front of power.
I wish you God’s blessings. And your Government will continue to keep you updated on all efforts of COVID-19 and all other related efforts. Let us remain united that although we may be separate as fingers, let us remain one as a hand.
I thank you.