14 April, 2008

The Governor

What Exactly Are the Powers of the Governor in Anguilla. I have had two requests to list the special powers of the Governor as set out in our Constitution. I take another pause in my review of the various Commissions and Commissioners that we can hope to see in our new Constitution to deal shortly with this issue. It is important that it be clear to everyone in Anguilla.

In a BOT such as Anguilla is, the Governor has extensive powers and functions. He exercises these without being obliged to act on the advice of any local person or authority in Anguilla. In many cases, he is not even required to consult with anyone in Anguilla in the exercise of his powers. These powers are greatly in excess of those vested in the Governor-General of an independent country. Some of his powers under the Constitution are:

  1. He may by proclamation declare a state of emergency suspending some of our constitutional rights: Section 17.

  2. His powers are not limited to those set out in the Constitution. Her Majesty, meaning the Secretary of State, may assign to him any additional powers: Section 19(2).

  3. He exercises the executive authority of Her Majesty in Anguilla save only where some law vests those functions in another person: Section 22.

  4. He appoints the Chief Minister: Section 24.

  5. He formulates policy and exercises power over matters of defence, external affairs, international financial services, and internal security including the police without being obliged to consult with the Executive Council: Section 28(2)(a).

  6. He appoints, transfers, suspends, terminates, dismisses, or retires, public servants without being obliged to consult the Executive Council: Section 28(2)(b).

  7. He is not obliged to consult the Executive Council on any instructions given to him by Her Majesty: Section 28(2)(c).

  8. He is not obliged to consult the Executive Council on any power that a law either expressly or by necessary implication empowers him to exercise without consultation: Section 28(2)(d).

  9. He is not obliged to consult the Executive Council on any matter that he considers the service of Her Majesty would sustain material prejudice thereby: Section 28(2)(e).

  10. He is not obliged to consult the Executive Council on any matter that he considers is too unimportant to require the advice of Council: Section 28(2)(f).

  11. He is not obliged to consult the Executive Council when he considers that the matter is too urgent to wait for consultation: Section 28(2)(g). Note that section 28(2) sets out the “reserved powers” of the Governor. He is required by the proviso to the section to to keep Council informed of any matter that he considers may involve the economic or financial interests of Anguilla in relation to paragraph (5) above. In matters of urgency referred to at paragrpah (11) above, he must as soon as practicable inform ExCo of the measures he took and his reasons.

  12. Wherever in the constitution the Governor is required to consult with ExCo, he may act other than in accordance with the advice given to him if in his opinion it is inexpedient in the interests of public order, or public faith to do so. He must first obtain the approval of a Secretary of State. He must share with the Secretary of State the minutes of the meeting which sets out the opinion of ExCo: Section 29.

  13. He may summon any public officer to attend a meeting of ExCo when, in his opinion, the business renders that presence desirable: Section 31.

  14. He presides at, ie, chairs, meeting of ExCo: Section 32.

  15. He appoints all five members of the Public Service Commission, two of them after consulting, but not being obliged to follow their advice, the public service staff association: Section 65.

  16. He appoints public servants after consulting the PSC, but he in not obliged to act on their advice. He consults the Chief Minister in the case of permanent secretaries or heads of department. He is not required to consult anyone when appointing the Deputy Governor, the Attorney-General or the Chief Auditor: Section 66.

  17. He appoints the Magistrate, Registrar of the High Court, Crown Counsel, and any other officer required to have a legal qualification, after consulting the Judicial Service Commission, but he is not required to act on their advice: Section 68.

  18. He signs all dispositions of public land in Anguilla: Section 75.

  19. He may grant a pardon to, or reduce the sentence of, any convicted person without consulting anyone: Section 76.

  20. He may create any new office in the public service and fill the appointment to it: Section 77.

  21. He may, in exercise of his power of discipline over the public service, subject to any law in force, for cause shown to his satisfaction, suspend, retire, or dismiss any public servant: Section 78.

It will be interesting to see how many of these powers we shall be able to have transferred to local institutions in the new Constitution. Several of them will have to go if we are to show that we have earned the right to make advances in our constitutional arrangements with the British government.


  1. Don, this is not in relation to the just posted topic, but I would like to have your opinion on this matter, Rodny Rey is retiring, and the Ps job is available, now there were several candidates, do you think because a person works within that department should be one of the reasons for getting the position? Some persons work in a department for many years and they can not move the department forward, they are only dead weight.While in some cases, there are people who are put into positions and all they do is piggy back, they can not offer anything. What I notice, that a lot of people only want the job because it is paying a little more, but they have no other interest, I am a teacher and I always tell my students, my place in this world is in the class room, that is my calling, there I feel very good.I do not know why there is so much contention when ever positions are to be filled. the pulling down of persons, there are several departments which just took over persons from different departments and the stories that you hear, because when this happens remember they push aside persons who have made that department what it is for so many years, and have no respect for them, Look at the agriculture , Immigration, labour are these departments any better are they living up to the expectations, no they are not, Rather disappointing, and lacking. I wish all the candidates the best, and may the best one wins and prove that they really are qualified in every area.

  2. The above poster wishes all the candidates the best? Even the lazy and incompetent ones? What hypocritical stupidness.

  3. Don what I do not understand with some Anguillians, they complain about everything, because persons work within a department makes them more qualified at all times. I do not think so, Ms Petty's application is causing so much stir, what is wrong she can apply for any job she likes it is her business. Stanley Reid would be th best ever to Anguilla, when he gives you his word, that is what he means, not tricking people. A lot of departments have persons who have not made a difference areas in which they studied how can they make a difference in another it works both ways, please go out to the park for the discussions that the government is having. Look at the welfare department and Agriculture, Leslie was there and I know that he tried hard, but was critiicise by some of the same employees, is it better now? likewise welfare, people were denied positions in favor of some other people, and what is the end result, who is running that department, where are some of the senior persons today in another department and they can not add anything to that department, it is the worst managed department in the whole civil service, if that officer could not make a difference where she say she studied, how can she make a difference in the immigration department. The senior people have been pushed aside, back to the ports as if to say go let us the qualified people take over, and I know that thje job had to be taught to that person by the same officers, and that is why so many stupid mistakes are being made, they should be ashame, lets us be vary of cases such as these. The department is a reflection of the bosses. The Immigration is in a very sad state of affair. I would close by saying that some people fuss when someone was working in Public admin for a long time, but that officer has such poor work ethics and it is sowing up where she is right now, so because you are there does not mean that you should get it, but rather if you can make a difference. Learn by other departments mistakes. And if Ms Petty applied then it is her right to she is an Anguillian. Make noise about all the other positions where foreigners are in place doing what ever they pleases.


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