NDP Cohesiveness Shows More Cracks

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“I cannot support him with this,” Premier and Minister for Finance Dr. the Hon. D. Orlando Smith announced in a statement on ZBVI on 19 October in response to the release of the Auditor General Report on the Elmore Stoutt High School Wall by Minister for Education and Culture, Hon. Myron Walwyn.

The report referenced by the Premier was furnished to members of the media by Minister Walwyn during a press conference that was held on 9 October. In releasing that report the Minister stated that he felt compelled to do so after he noted that the submissions that were made by his Ministry in response to the draft document were omitted from the final report that among other things criticized the way the project was managed.

The report was commissioned by the former Governor John Duncan, and it was stated that the current Governor Augustus Jaspert complained to the Premier about the fact that the Minister chose to release the Report before it went through the stipulated distribution channels.

As a result of the Governor’s complaint, the Premier made a statement which can be interpreted as a public rebuke of the actions of the Education Minister.  In making his statement the Premier said: “Upon returning to the Territory I received an email from the Governor regarding the actions of Minister for Education Hon. Myron Walwyn in making public the Auditor General Report regarding the construction of the wall surrounding the Elmore Stoutt High School.” “The prescribed procedure providing [for]such a document to be made public is for that document to go to Cabinet and be laid in the House of Assembly within three months. Minister Walwyn’s actions breaches long established guidelines and I cannot support him with this,” Hon. Smith further stated.

Additionally, the Premier said that the Minister should not have been the one to make the document public and that Hon. Walwyn’s actions were disrespectful to the Office of the Governor. Furthermore, the Premier urged the Education Minister to apologize: “I hereby call on Minister Walwyn to make a public apology for his actions and assure that his actions will not be repeated in the future. I urge him to make this apology swiftly.”

In a ZBVI interview following the Premier’s call for an apology Hon. Walwyn said: “The Premier is someone I have worked with and have worked for, for the last seven years. I have the utmost respect and admiration for the Premier and I know the Premier would not have called upon me to apologise on a matter unless he knew I was wrong.”

“If the Premier says that I must apologize for something that I did wrong I trust him enough to make an apology and I hereby make apology,” the Minister added.

He also announced that he had his reasons why he made the Report public.

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