Speech By Governor Pruce On The Occasion Of His Swearing In

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(PLTM) - Office of the Governor - Speech By Daniel Pruce On The Occasion Of His Swearing In As Governor Of The British Virgin Islands 29 January 2024

Good afternoon Honourable Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen.

I acknowledge the Protocol which has already been established.

Firstly, thank you Honourable Premier and Honourable Leader of the Opposition for your warm words of welcome.

I also thank Madam Justice, Angelica Teelucksingh, for accommodating us here today.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank in particular Deputy Governor David Archer for assuming the role of Acting Governor over the past week.

I also wanted to pay tribute to the recently departed former legislator Carvin Malone. My sincerest thoughts are with his family and friends as he is laid to rest later this week.

And at a personal level I am grateful for the very warm welcome that has been extended to myself and to my wife Rachael, here with me this afternoon, by all of those we have so far met here in Tortola. We look forward to meeting many more people, including across the Sister Islands.

It is an honour and a privilege to have been appointed by His Majesty The King as his representative, and to be sworn in today as Governor of the Virgin Islands.

I should like to recognise those Governors who have gone before me, including my most recent predecessor former Governor John Rankin.

My priority as Governor will be to deliver positive change for all the people of the Virgin Islands.

So I look forward to working in close cooperation and partnership with all branches of the Government of the Virgin Islands –the executive, the legislature and the judiciary.

I look forward to building close relations with all communities in the Territory and drawing from their insights as I set about my work.

I will be a Governor who is accessible to everyone, including all branches of civil society, public servants and the private sector.

And of course I will engage with the Government of the United Kingdom, representing the interests of these islands to the best of my ability.

As Governor I look forward to collaborating with all those who have the best interests of the people of this Territory at heart, in positive and productive partnership.

My appointment as Governor was made following an open competition, and was approved by the United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary, the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister and His Majesty The King, Charles the Third. Rachael and I were granted an Audience with His Majesty before we left the UK.

I have been a public servant, as a Member of His Majesty’s Diplomatic Service, for over three decades. For me it has been a privilege to build my career in service to citizens and to wider society. And I should like to celebrate all those who work in the public sector – dedicating their professional lives to serving their communities.

An important part of my career has been to listen to, and to seek to understand, diverse views. Inevitably perspectives and opinions differ. But that is a precious quality of a vibrant democracy – the ability to disagree in a respectful way.

I look forward to discussing and understanding the many issues that matter to the people on the Islands: the cost of living, tackling crime, the chance to build a better, safer future for your children. These are all challenges that families across the world face at the moment.

The modern partnership with the United Kingdom should help address these challenges – as the recent Joint Declaration on the Overseas Territories, agreed in November last year, set out.

My top priority will be delivery: working in partnership with all concerned to make positive and lasting change to the benefit of everyone.

And with that in mind I make today three pledges to the people of this Territory:

First, I will do my best to keep everyone safe: by fulfilling my responsibilities for security working with everyone in the community;

Second, I will champion excellence in governance: by working to ensure the system serves the people, and does so efficiently and transparently;

And third, I will support the efforts of partners across government and beyond to build a better future, including opportunities for the young and protection of this precious and stunningly beautiful natural environment.

And in fulfilling these pledges I will of course work closely with colleagues in the Virgin Islands Government to fulfil the commitments made in response to the findings of the 2022 Commission of Inquiry: commitments made by a number of parties, include the office of Governor.

Delivering the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry will help us achieve the positive changes we all want to see, including better access to services, a fairer society with opportunities for all, and a more accountable and transparent government.

So all of us involved in this critically important work bear a shared responsibility – and an individual accountability – to approach it in the spirit of determination and collaboration.

I ask you to judge me on the basis of what I achieve during my time here. Judge me on results.

I will serve everyone, all communities, all islands, without fear or favour.

I will be as open and transparent in my work as possible. I believe passionately that openness and democracy go hand in hand. So I will set myself a high standard of transparency. And I hope those I work with will help me achieve that.

Of course, I am new to this role. I will rely on wise counsel around me as I listen and learn throughout my tenure as Governor.

And I should like to take this opportunity to say directly to the people of the Virgin Islands themselves:

I will welcome your advice and guidance. I will work hard to earn your trust. And I will rely on your support.

In concluding I should stress that it is the honour of my life to hold this position.

Thank you for your attention and may God bless the Virgin Islands and all who live here.

Thank you.

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