Photo Credit: BVI Platinum News
The Public Service Management Bill, which was announced by Governor Augustus Jaspert in his last Speech from the Throne, will establish stricter guidelines on the treatment of public officers who opt to run for elected office.
The Governor had stated that the Bill is aiming to strengthen the Public Service and provide the legal framework, “for the overall management, organisational structure and administration of the Public Service.”
Deputy Governor, David Archer, during an appearance on radio talk show ‘Honestly Speaking’ on Tuesday, October 9, divulged that this Bill is necessary, as “we have to be current with our policies, that’s the reason why we have to move from the General Orders being a public service policy to being tied to legislation.” The General Orders provide the guidelines for the conduct of individuals in public offices.
This disclosure comes after controversy has arisen over reports of a number of public officers running for office in the 2019 General Elections.
“We’re looking at something which is legally sound, legally supported, so that the need to seek further legal advice will be reduced because it will be pegged to an actual legislation,” the Deputy Governor explained.
However, he emphasised that, “Our approach will be to deal with public officers and public officers only.”
“Notwithstanding the rights of persons for assembly, when you work in public life, especially when you hold certain positions in public life, there’s an obligation that you have when you hold that position,” he stressed.
He reminded that public officers have access to certain information, as well as certain privileges and certain rights.
While the General Orders indicates that every public officer “has a right to exercise due care in how they express their political affiliations,” the Deputy Governor noted that “the higher you get within the organisation, the more access you have to information, the more you are able to influence certain decisions.”
As such, Mr. Archer pressed on the need “to ensure that at all times, the work that is being done is done in a way that protects and preserves the Government of the day and there is no indication or implication for yourself that you might have other interests otherwise.”