Address by Mr. David D. Archer, Jr. Deputy Governor of the Virgin Islands Thursday, 1st March, 2018
Thank you, Madam Chair and Former Deputy Governor, Mrs. Rosalie Adams.
First, I recognize God, the Grand Architect of the Universe.
Secondly, let me thank Her Majesty the Queen for bestowing her confidence in me through her instructions to appointment me as Deputy Governor of the Virgin Islands. I recognize Her Majesty’s representative in the Virgin Islands, His Excellency the Governor, Augustus Jaspert and his wife Mrs.Millie Jaspert and their two sons Tobias and Oscar.
I thank you, Governor, for the facilitation of my appointment to the post and Office of Deputy Governor, which supports your constitutional responsibilities.
I recognize the Premier of the Virgin Islands, Dr. the Honourable D. Orlando Smith and Mrs. Smith; Leader of the Opposition and Representative for the 1st Electoral District, Hon. Andrew Fahie; Her Ladyship Hon. Madam Justice Vicki Ann Ellis; the Hon. Attorney General, Baba Aziz, and Hon. Melvin “Mitch Turnbull, Representative for the Second Electoral District. I also recognize the Chairman of the Public Service Commission, Mrs. Magdaline Rymer, the team of Competent Senior Managers of the Public Service; my family, with special mention of my 92-year old grandmother, Mrs. Esmie Stoutt.
Please allow me to also recognize my mother, Janice Stoutt; my wife, Dr. Allison Archer and our son, Prince-David Archer.
I also recognize my parents in-law, Former Speaker of the House of Assembly and Former Member of the House of Assembly, Mr. Keith Flax and Mrs. Rosemarie Flax.
I also recognize Former Member of the House of Assembly, Mrs. Eileen Parsons; Members of the Governor’s and Deputy Governor’s Office; friends, well-wishers and especially those who traveled from abroad to support me on this occasion: Mr. William Archer, Talley Caldwell, Chrispin Hacthett, Flemon Lewis, Edwin and Persia Warner, Davicka Thompson.
I now crave your indulgence as I say a few words on my swearing-in as Deputy Governor.
This appointment is not about me, but rather about the authors of Public Society in the Virgin Islands, the legacy bearers; former Deputy Governors, hard-working Public Officers and the all-inclusive community of the Virgin Islands who have worked tirelessly to build the Public Service and the Territory over the years.
To stress the importance of this day and the role of Deputy Governor, I will be compelled to speak about myself, my motivation, my desires and my passion. I will do so however, only to speak to the importance of the role and why I take it seriously. You should therefore forgive references to myself in this regard. I simply view myself and this appointment as a vessel to continue the spiritual, educational and “country-motivated leadership” that happened before me. I am simply a baton passer.
There is no secret that the BVI has just faced, in the form of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, life changing, and history-making devastation. With this devastation brought the loss of life, property and belongings. However, with this devastation also came hope. With this devastation also came love. With this devastation also came an opportunity, an opportunity for the BVI to be more amazing, and according to the Premier of the Virgin Islands, “The beginning of our journey to building a stronger BVI”. I too am onboard to do so with an institution called the Public Service, which I love, respect, and I know can and will do its part in shaping the new BVI. These are indeed exciting and history-making times for the Virgin Islands.
While the role of Deputy Governor has many constitutional responsibilities, the main role is that of leading the Public Service. I want to therefore be absolutely clear of one thing: the BVI Public Service has the human resources, intelligence, and capacity to be world-class and one of the top five public services in the world at all times.
I know the makeup of our Senior Management Team; I know the makeup of our employees, and I know the makeup of a community willing to do its part in helping us to achieve world-class status. I will not rest until the BVI Public Service is recognized internationally as one of the best in the world.
So now you know my vision for the Public Service is for it to be stronger, more resilient, more efficient and more specifically, to be ranked with other top public services in the word. This is my dream, but not until I meet with Managers, the nucleus of public officers and the public, would I know if my dream would secure the necessary buy-in. Building a vision can only be done through partnerships and this will always be my approach.
I would now like to advance my brief remarks by letting you know how I intend to approach my work, how I expect each public officer to approach their work and what I expect from each manager of the Public Service.
With your indulgence however, I will do so through a few personal stories. As a young boy, I remembered a few conversations between my grandfather the Late Prince McDonald Stoutt who was a Member of the House of Assembly (Legislative Council) and his brother the Late Hamilton Lavity Stoutt, former Chief Minister of this Territory, speaking about the BVI and their plans for a greater BVI. If you understood the cultural aspects of this, I should have been nowhere to be seen or heard while they were speaking. I would have therefore taken a path through one of the goat pastures and quietly place myself on my stomach between the bushes as they would speak in the yard in front of the house. I remembered one conversation about “cutting”-building the Windy Hill Road. At this time, I saw their conversation as being strange because this road was a foot track that we took to pick ginnep. It appeared impossible to me at that age, but I concluded later when I saw the road being built, by hand, that they were simply dreaming and dreaming big. This experience stuck with me and it thought me the importance of dreaming big no matter how impossible it seems. This is how I intend to approach my work, encouraging each public officer to dream big and do what appears to be impossible.
My next approach to work is rooted in a personal story. My mother was a teenager when she brought me into this world. Challenged by the inability to have a young child and continue school, her decision would be evident. What happened after her early setback serves as my personal life motivation, and indeed another motivation behind how I intend to approach work. From a GED, to a profession as a Court Reporter and then in her current profession as an attorney at law, I learned from a young age that whatever you conceive and believe, you can achieve. It is therefore my wish that every Senior Manager here today and all others within the Public Service, see one of their most critical roles, as providing an environment for each public officer to reach their fullest potential regardless of age, sex, race, economic status or upbringing. Everyone deserves to work in an environment where they are afforded the opportunity to dream, think big, make mistakes, be encouraged and always receive a hand towards a brighter future, just as Mrs. Magadaline Rymer did for me as a young college graduate -- ”Fly, David, Fly!”
I now conclude my remarks by letting you know that the core nucleus of my DNA is present today, led by the Matriarch of the family, Mrs. Esmie Stoutt. Her strength, guidance and religious leadership was so influential in my life that it was not until my senior year of college, I gained the courage to play “benner” (non-religious music) on a Sunday. Thank you, Granny. I want to thank my wife, Allison, for supporting me and for allowing me to express my love and passion for people; and equally never stopping me from ranting about my life’s mantra of helping to build people, businesses, governments and nations.
Governor, without prompting, in my early days in support of your office, you said, “The BVI has the right population size, human resources and opportunity to be the best in the world at whatever it chooses to be”. Thank you for recognizing the amazing potential of the BVI.
Madam Chairman and former Deputy Governor, Mrs. Adams, thank you for chairing today’s proceedings. I also thank you for leading the Public Service during a time when there was total shock in our Territory after Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Your calm hands brought us to this point. Thank you kindly.
Justice Ellis, thank you for administering my Oath of Office. I also want to thank Pastor Simon for his opening prayer and Reverend Manners in advance for his closing prayer.
I am overjoyed by everyone’s presence here today. Your presence is important to me, as I believe that the body of persons present, represents one of many partnerships I intend to form as we collectively take responsibility to make these Virgin Islands better than they are: to make these Virgin Islands stronger than they are; to make these Virgin Islands more beautiful than they are; and to secure these Virgin Islands for generations to come. I sincerely hope you would join the partnership and say, “Me too, Me too.!”
I am pleased to serve you as Deputy Governor; I am pleased to serve the Virgin Islands as Deputy Governor. I am your Deputy Governor. I am here to serve you. I am your Deputy Governor.
God Bless the people and these beautiful Virgin Islands.
I thank you.