TORTOLA RESIDENTS BID FAREWELL TO H.E GOV. SAVAGE
Residents of Tortola gathered at The Moorings Restaurant on Thursday September 20th to pay tribute to His Excellency Governor and Mrs. Frank Savage, whose term of duty has come to an end.
The reception was hosted by Chief Minister the Honourable Ralph T. O’Neal and was attended by dozens of persons, including legislators, attorneys, Governor’s Office staff and private sector officials.
Opposition Leader Dr. the Honourable Orlando Smith thanked Governor Savage for all the good work he has done in the BVI over the past four years and wished him bon voyage.
He pointed out that the Governor has done “some good things for the territory”. He said His Excellency has spoken about the importance of good governance since his arrival, he was also concerned about the civil service and helped to establish better dialogue between civil servants and government and Dr. Smith gave him credit for trying to reduce the incidence of crime in the territory.
For his part, Governor Savage said farewells are always emotional. He said it has been a privilege to have been in the BVI over the past four and a half years.
He said he didn’t come here with an agenda, but with tremendous experience working with a fantastic Caribbean community who lost everything they worked for. He was referring to his stint in Montserrat, where he served as Governor before and after the start of volcanic activity there in 1995.
“If I’ve got any criticism of BV Islanders, it is that you don’t always fully appreciate what you’ve got here,” Governor Savage said. He said the history of the BVI shows that the present prosperity hasn’t been there long; you are self-made and you should have great pride in that.”
His Excellency said the BVI is exceptionally well placed economically and he said retaining this position is now the name of the game.
He went on to support government’s decision to open an office in London, calling it an important step forward. He said it would provide an important platform for attacking the European and UK market and fostering a closer relationship with the European Union.
Regarding the work he was able to accomplish here, His Excellency said he did not instigate this work, but perhaps acted as a catalyst. “It was the community wanting public sector reform...and we’re nowhere near there, there’s a lot of work still to be done. It’s up to those in the service to decide whether the programme succeeds.”
The Governor thanked the people of the Virgin Islands for giving them “total respect” over the years. He said the people here have been “unfailingly kind to us”.
He said while back in London, he would continue to watch over the developments in the BVI. He will continue to work as a Consultant to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Chief Minister Hon. R.T. O’Neal said a Governor and a Chief Minister must give the public and visitors the idea that they are working together and “our relationship has been good”. He credited Governor Savage for helping to improve the relationship between the BVI and the FCO, the introduction of Sister Island Coordinators to look after the affairs of the outer islands and for his work with the civil service.
He specifically mentioned the great improvement he has seen in the middle ranks of the service and the Governor’s introduction of Private Secretaries for Ministers.
Chief Minister O’Neal expressed regret that Governor Savage would not be able to live in the new Government House, which won’t be completed until next year. But he said he hoped he would come back and see some of the fruits of his labour one day.
The BVI leader also spoke favourably of Mrs. Savage, whom he said, “knew how to behave as a Governor’s wife”. He said she knew her place, knew how to conduct herself and stood four score with His Excellency in carrying out the job.
During the reception, the Chief Minister’s Private Secretary Ms. Sandra Ward announced the presentation of gifts to His Excellency and his wife.
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