24 September, 2010

Governor's Press Release

The Governor's press release says that the Chief Minister instructed him to remove the portfolios of Health and Social Development from the Hon Edison Baird and transfer them to the Hon Jerome Roberts. He says that he refused to carry out the Chief Minister's instructions because in his view they amounted to a negation of democracy. He says he considers that would amount to two people, the Governor and Chief Minister, effectively overturning the will of the people as expressed just seven months previously. The Governor's view is that the people had elected four members of the AUM to form a Government, and three other members to form the Opposition.
I have to admit that I have difficulty understanding this. My understanding of the Constitution is that the Chief Minister can tell the Governor which elected member of the House should be a Minister, and which one should not. No other Minister, nor the public, has any say in who is to be appointed a Minister. The people do not elect either a government or an opposition. The people elect only their representatives. Every representative is free either to join the government or to join the opposition. He is also free to change his mind and to cross the floor of the House.
The Governor is normally obliged to appoint as Minister whomsoever the Chief Minister tells him to appoint. The Governor has no say in who is or is not to be appointed a Minister.
Contrary to what the Governor wrote, it is not a negation of democracy for the Chief Minister to tell the Governor to appoint a coalition member of the government to be a Minister. If it were so, then the coalition Conservative Lib/Lab government in Britain must similarly be a negation of democracy, which is not correct.
If the Governor's recollection of what the Chief Minister told him is accurate, then what was improper about it was for the Chief Minister to have instructed the Governor to appoint a fifth minister. The Constitution is clear. The Governor, instructed by the Chief Minister, is only permitted to appoint four Ministers, plus a Parliamentary Secretary. There are already four Ministers and a Parliamentary Secretary appointed. It can be described as illegal under the Constitution for the Chief Minister to have requested him to appoint a fifth minister.
In any event, my understanding is that the Chief Minister did not instruct the Governor to appoint the Hon Jerome Roberts as a Minister. What the Chief Minister did was to instruct the Governor to transfer the portfolios in question to him, the Chief Minister. He seems to have indicated to the Governor that he would be asking the Hon Jerome Roberts to help him to manage those portfolios. This may have been irregular, but it would not have been in breach of the Constitution.
I cannot see anything in the law to fault the Chief Minister.
I don't understand the Governor's reaction.


  1. It sounds like the CM had notified Mr Baird of his plans but it is not clear that Baird had agreed. Now that Mr Roberts has crossed over, would the government still stand if Baird crossed the other way? If Baird and someone else both crossed then elections would be needed. Right? Could the Governor have been implying some trouble of this kind? Would the CM have acted without getting agreement from his other ministers?

  2. Mr Mitchell,

    I totally agree with you and I didn't read this post before I made my comments in your previous post.

    I really need some clarity on this matter though. Does the Constitution actually says that there can not be more than 4 Ministers? I ask because English is a funny language especially for someone like me who have not really mastered it.

    The Constitution states:

    Executive Council
    23. There shall be an Executive Council in and for Anguilla which shall consist of the Chief
    Minister, not more than three other Ministers and two ex-officio members, namely, the Deputy
    Governor and Attorney-General.21

    Appointment of Ministers
    24. (1) The Governor, acting in his discretion, shall appoint as the Chief Minister the elected
    member of the Assembly who, in his judgment, is likely to command the support of a majority of the elected members of the Assembly.

    (2) The other Ministers shall be appointed by the Governor in accordance with the advice of
    the Chief Minister from among the elected members of the Assembly.

    From the above I am interpreting that only 3 Ministers in addition to the Chief Minister can be in Executive Council along with the ex-officio members.

    In section 24 (2) it does not state that the other 3 Ministers... it just states the other Ministers.

    So in essence what is wrong with having as many Ministers as you wish, but only 3 of those chosen Ministers in addition to the CM can form the Executive Council? Am I missing something, is there another section in the Constitution that specifically states there can only be 4 Ministers of Government?

    Just my thoughts


  4. For those of you who really believe the governor wanted to hold fresh elections, think again. The governor was using that to close Anguilla down and turn it into another TCI. The problem lies in the Chief Minister though. He is asking for things that is making powerful people nervous. That is, FORENSIC AUDITING into what transpired with the former administration via the Executive Council. The Chief continues to ask for the UK government to follow the instructions of the Foreign affairs committee and investigate 2000 to 2010 in particular, the Airport expansion, the Transhipment device, the public water deal and the MOAs. The Chief Minister has said that Anguilla has now entered the contingent liability zone and debt should be written off and that DFID should assist with the forensic auditing. That is striking a nerve deep within the FCO and the Chief Minister has them running scared. If Baird wasnt so weak, the Chief MInister might just whip the mighty Great Britain.

  5. Thats a very observant point there anonymous,is really only three minsiters intotal as we have long done or is it only referinf to thethree in the Exco?Hon,Mitchell anything furhter on this?

  6. the british did not take over tci they simply told them that they were not financial stable enough to hold their general elections so they postponed it...please stop filling peoples heads with nonsense and get your facys straight!

  7. Seems like all the crooks should be thrown out, followed by the incompetents and start anew!

  8. Should the Parliamentary Sec be sending out Blackberry Messages for people to meet and protest? Is this responsible behaviour? Shouldn't there be repercussions for him for inciting violence? For some reason, this issue was overlooked during the talk shows. This should not slide through the cracks.
    Should Wallcott be referring to the Governor is such a disrespectful manner? What example are these persons setting for our youth? Who should our youth look up to? This is sad.

  9. If Hubert gets Health, won't he control about half the things? Are there not any rules saying that they should be shared evenly among the 4 ministers?

  10. The suggestion that people meet and protest is "inciting violence" is the same kind of logic that got Hubert and his gang elected.

  11. If the Governor is refusing to carry out the request of the CM,then is it not right for the people to stand up and protest.Ministers and even parlimentaians have the right gom to the people and not incite them to violence but to encourgae them to protest this outrageous behaviour.After al the /government is the choice of the people and the people are their strength.We cannot afford to allow our freedoms to be infringed or taken away from us. we have fought too long and hard to earn self determination to have this pompus British stooge taking it all away like they did in the TCI.

  12. I think the Speaker of the House needs to learn about protocol and conduct herself in a respectable manner. Ignorance and stupidity is not becoming of her. The world is looking at and hearing us. Please!

  13. The People of TCI Should demand their Independence from the Great Satin, Turks and Caicos Islanders built TCI now the British is taking it away from them. UN Please help


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