Premier and Minister for Finance Dr. the Hon. D. Orlando Smith explained that after failing the efforts to seek a local candidate for the Auditor General post the position had to be filled by a candidate from outside the Territory.
The Premier’s explanation was given during the Private Members business segment of the 29 May House of Assembly sitting in response to concerns that were raised by Opposition Member and Third District Representative, Hon. Julian Fraser.
In explaining the attempts to get a Virgin Islander/Belonger for the post Hon. Smith said: “The case with the position of the Auditor General when the position was advertised there was somebody selected by the Selection Committee etc, but we were not content that that was the person we wanted at that time, and so we asked that the position be held. And that was held for about nine months while we did a search, and encouraged other young people who were qualified in the BVI to get in that position.”
During that sitting Hon. Fraser mentioned his concerns about the fact that certain key public service posts were currently being held by United Kingdom nationals and he particularly noted the Auditor General post.
Hon. Fraser insisted that more should have been done to find a Virgin Islander for the job: “Just like you went out and find someone in the United Kingdom or wherever to fill those posts you could go somewhere in this world and find a Virgin Islander to fill those posts. Like I said in the face of Brexit, it is all about nationalism.”
“Millions that have been spent educating our people; for someone to come and tell me today that we can’t find among all the British Virgin Islanders that we have educated, someone who is qualified to be the Auditor General in this Territory: I can’t accept it, I refuse to accept it. That should be for every one of us,” Hon. Fraser told the House.
Last month following the announcement of Phil Sharman as the next Auditor General of the British Virgin Islands the Third District Representative first questioned why a suitably qualified Virgin Islander was not chosen for the post. The Opposition member noted that the choice for the position is a bad reflection on Governor John Duncan, Premier Dr. the Hon. D. Orlando Smith and the Public Service Commission: “…Shame on you Governor…The public service commission couldn’t find a Virgin Islander qualified to be Auditor General? — Shame on you Public Service Commission. The Premier couldn’t find a Virgin Islander qualified to be Auditor General? — Shame on you Premier.”
In a press release issued on 18 May it was announced that Mr. Sharman’s appointment which will take effect from August 2017 was made by His Excellency the Governor, Mr. John S. Duncan, OBE, under section 92(1) and 92(4) of the Virgin Islands Constitution, in accordance with the advice of the Public Service Commission; and after consultation with the Premier.
In further highlighting his uneasiness about the appointment, Hon. Fraser said: “For what reason will the Governor be having a U.K. National as Superintendent of Prisons: a U.K. National as Commissioner of Police: a U.K. National as Director of Public Prosecution: and a U.K. National as Auditor General?”
“All the vital arms of law enforcement and investigation are in the hands and direct control of U.K. Nationals, Answerable only to the Governor, who himself is a U.K. National. SOMETHING DOESEN’T SMELL RIGHT…. Remember the Governor now has his own personal preference for Leader of the Opposition who is also Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee. If our Premier is asleep, someone close to him had better wake him up because I see a Governor who is up to something….” the Opposition member added.