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:
He may by proclamation declare a state of emergency suspending some of our constitutional rights: Section 17.
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).
He exercises the executive authority of Her Majesty in Anguilla save only where some law vests those functions in another person: Section 22.
He appoints the Chief Minister: Section 24.
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).
He appoints, transfers, suspends, terminates, dismisses, or retires, public servants without being obliged to consult the Executive Council: Section 28(2)(b).
He is not obliged to consult the Executive Council on any instructions given to him by Her Majesty: Section 28(2)(c).
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).
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).
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).
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.
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.
He may summon any public officer to attend a meeting of ExCo when, in his opinion, the business renders that presence desirable: Section 31.
He presides at, ie, chairs, meeting of ExCo: Section 32.
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.
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.
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.
He signs all dispositions of public land in Anguilla: Section 75.
He may grant a pardon to, or reduce the sentence of, any convicted person without consulting anyone: Section 76.
He may create any new office in the public service and fill the appointment to it: Section 77.
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.