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HOA Speaker told to enforce House rules ‘despite friendship’

Speaker of the House of Assembly, Ingrid Moses-Scatliffe

By Davion Smith, BVI News Staff

Speaker of the House of Assembly Ingrid Moses-Scatliffe is being urged to ensure the policies governing parliament are upheld ‘despite the friendship’ she may share with parliamentarians.

Dr Natalio ‘Sowande’ Wheatley made that appeal on public radio Wednesday evening in light of Education Minister Myron Walwyn’s recent refusal to publicly read aloud the name of a government contractor who was hired to do repair works on the H Lavity Stoutt Community College after the hurricanes.

Questions were tabled in parliament that required Walwyn to name the contractor in question.

Section 18 of the BVI’s Legislative Council of Standing Orders – the rules that govern parliament – says when a member is asked questions from parliament’s order paper, “a written reply to each question shall be read by the minister to whom the question is put.”

Disrespectful

Dr Wheatley, therefore, described Walwyn’s refusal to publicly answer the question he was asked as a “flagrant disregard for the Standing Orders in the House of Assembly”.

“I think it was a disrespect to the Speaker and I would have expected that the Speaker would ensure that the Standing Orders would have been adhered to,” Dr Wheatley argued.

He continued: “I would like to urge the Speaker ­– despite friendship or anything like that – to ensure that the House of Assembly is treated with the respect that it deserves and the people of the Virgin Islands are treated with the respect that we deserve by ensuring that the provisions of the Standing Orders are adhered to at all times.”

Gov’t behaving like public funds belong to them

Opposition Leader Andrew Fahie was the legislator who had requested the names of the aforementioned government contractor. Walwyn never spoke the name aloud but he handed Fahie a document with the name of the contractor in question.

Walwyn claims he refused from naming the contractor publicly because it would subject the contractor to public attacks. He later called for parliament policies to be changed so legislators don’t have to publicly name contractors in the House.

Notably, the government-owned HLSCC had issued the contract in question without the legally required bidding process being undertaken. HLSCC said it did not have a bidding process ‘as a matter of urgency’.

Commenting further on Walwyn’s refusal to name the hired contractor aloud, Dr Wheatley said: “Sometimes government officials behave as though the money belongs to them and that whatever they are doing in government is their private business. But, you can’t be private with the public’s business.”

“You can’t represent people and keep secrets from people. You can’t hide their affairs from them and figure they don’t have to know.”

Copyright 2018 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

32 Comments

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  1. citizen says:

    Does the speaker need to go?

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  2. Sorry says:

    VIP radio sounded like the United Party of the 70s. Im sorry but you guys need to get some fresh ideas and a new approach. You have spent almost a week on Walwyn and his statement ok, we get it! Now tell us what you plan to do when elected and stop the good governance, transparency game. Those are buzzwords not real answers. Tell the people in detail why we should vote for the VIP team and stop thinking you will win because you appear to be scoring points bashing the NDP because you will not. We know who the college contractor is and the cost so the only concerns should be whether they are qualified and if we are getting value but nobody mentions that just fear mongering. That show last night was horrible, please do better.

    Signed: Fedup Voter

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    • To sorry says:

      When ayo few haters in the VI hate someone you all can talk piddle. The VIP show was excellent. It was on point.

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    • @Sorry says:

      You obviously didn’t listen to the same VIP talk show as most of us did. The show was filled with information and solutions. Not once did they bash anyone. Sometimes I wonder why persons like you can’t just speak the truth even when you don’t like someone.

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      • Sorry says:

        Where did I say I don’t like someone? Give examples of a few solutions mentioned last night. I am not an NDP supporter or VIP hater by the way, I love my country and will speak up no matter who it is. So since I didn’t listen to the same show, please enlighten me and provide examples of the solutions mentioned.

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        • What Time Is It? says:

          @Sorry, Considing the terrible state of affairs we find ourselves, not exactly because of the flood and hurricanes, but exactly bcause of either bad and visionless leadership, square pegs in round holes, (so to speak; and there’s some of that); but blatant disrespect for the “protocals for good governance NDP signed, disregard for standard “Accountancy principles; (you gotta Audit the books), lack of transparency, lack of governance in the sunshine etc. How else would you describe the 7-million given away to a 1-airline carrier, the millions spent for TBLettsome Airport expansion, without having a sourse of funds in place, willingness to sign a multi-million contract/agreement with the Chinese government, (with unknown conditions), the 30-+ millions over-run on the pier Park without pausing to make it known to the Tax-payers, Funding Agents; the 8-million taken and reallocated from the sewage project funding in the East End/Long Look districts. Aren’t those the real culprits and things we need to be talking about and how we are going to correct them? Aren’t those some of the main things VIP talked about last evening?. We need to prepare the foundation b4 we can blindly move forward.
          To me and I’m sure lots others, those are the dominant thoughts responsible for where our beloved BVI finds itself.
          The BVI is still the beautiful “Nature’s Little Secrets” it always was. Folks from as far as China wants to trod on our shores. Billionaires still want to hide away their wealth here.What is so wrong with us wanting a clean run, accountable, government-in-the-sunshine” we want and deserve and want to talk about? We don’t have oil in the ground, minerals, crops, exports.
          Better management and promotion of what we do have is what we do need and should be pursuing. What new ideas, invention or out-of-the box thinking ST. Kitts/Nevis is doing; or the Dominican Republic which is said to be the fastest growing economy in the Caribbean? . Source – IMF?World Bank

  3. yes sah says:

    I think she’s very bias in letting the NDP ministers avoid answering questions the people need to know

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  4. hum says:

    Those VIP’s are worst than sharks

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  5. power hungry says:

    The VIP is hungry for power

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    • What Time Is It? says:

      So the NDP and Myron isnt Power Hungry? How would you describe the fact that high ranking NDP-ers such as Mrs. Parson observed and suggested that Dr. Smith was Mis-managing our finances and needed t step aside but wouldn’t, when Bishop Cline suggested the same thing but Dr. Smith dismissed them and kept on squandering? When Dr. Smith finally decides to step aside; but in the same breadth decides to run, (and perhaps become a Back-bencher) if they were to win? When Myron comes out swinging with a video asking for voters support, even b4 Dr. Smith even mentioned a word about resigning from the NDP’s leadership?.
      How bias can we be? Our ship is just about resting on the ocean’s bottom at the hands of the NDP and some of you are still there screaming “God Bless the NDP?”.
      I guess Buttered Bread is Buttered Bread no matter the costs to those without Buttered Bread. I rest my case.

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  6. OK says:

    Was the dessimination by the Leader of the Opposition the correct mode of communication to members of his party? Is the snapping of documents via your phone now the official way to inform some portions of the public? and then we wonder why individuals dont want anything to do government. He was wrong for taking that picture. Lets discuss that now because that was wrong also.

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    • To ok says:

      First of all you need to find out who took the picture and who send it out. You may be surprised! Next of ALL it matters not because the information once it reaches the House of Assembly is public information. Your point is pointless. Stop condoning wrong.

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      • @To Ok says:

        So what does it mean by the caption on the whatsapp “this is the kind of money we have to compete against”? Does that mean the VIP plans to out-do the NDP if they get in? Do tell?

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      • OK says:

        No, im not condoning wrong at all. Just want to know if the actions taken by the Leader of Opposition to provide that information via whatsapp is now the official mode of communication.. Yes, once it gets to the House, it is public hence no reason for the Member’s action which shows a severe lack of integrity.

        The other wrongs were
        1) the Minister did not read the answer in its entirety,
        2) the Speaker failed to compel the Minister to follow the Standing Orders
        3) the Leader of the opposition did not request for the rules to be followed and
        4) the Leader of Opposition sent the information via whatsapp and alluded to corruption.

        Lets face it, the WHOLE HOUSE has wronged this Territory!

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    • What Time Is It? says:

      @Ok, I thought we were discussing “Power Hungriness; not wrong doing. High level NDPers know that the country is bankrupt; tat the UK don’t trust your party; that we can’t borrow any money to pay Civil Servants or or run the country; that people are still homeless after almost a year and u r there still with you head buried in the sand? Your party is still there trying to reshuffle and regroup to come back to bury us? B4 tha happens I’d rather Jarecki, Branson or Johnson, (your deputies), come and Rescue us. After all, your Deputy said during last campaign, that he thanks God for his rich white friends.
      As far as I am concerned, and I have a LOT of company, the NDP should do like Mark, EX out; rather than win and be sitting in office with the Jailers waiting outside ADMIN up with their Hand Cuffs and chains to make a loop and head towards Balsom Gut with the group. Lol. Laud
      I pray for that not to happen; but it is so likely. Let Us Pray (~/\~)

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      • News says:

        Yup. The UK doesnt trust NDP. Last time VIP was in power with the current leader as part of Cabinet the UK would not allow them access to an already approved 15mil loan. UK has granted this Government a guarantee of up to $700mil USD. Yep, the UK definitely doesnt trust the NDP.

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  7. Sam says:

    And you all want that same minister to lead the country nonsense he should be glad to say who the contractors are he shouldn’t have anything to hide if it was done correctly. Were the contractors publicly working where they can be seen in the eyes of the public? Oh shocks wait Sorry they only comes out to work in the night very much disguise. Let the minister what he did in the house of assembly is disrespectful. The money that they spending are public funds and not theirs they all needs to give accounts of the people’s monies. We need a change but again who do you trust, too much dishonesty.

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    • Voter says:

      And he will lead it. When the dust clears he is far better to lead than Fahie and the voters will see through all the foolishness.

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  8. My2Cents says:

    She has never been able to stand her ground. Nothing new here.

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  9. The public says:

    We need answers! We fed up of the secrecy!

  10. Listener says:

    The VIP show was AWESOME! Anyone who is alive knows that the Speaker is b—.

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    • Vince says:

      What was awesome about the show? I didn’t get to listen to it so tell me some points mentioned that made it awesome.

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  11. But wait! says:

    Now I do not condone corruption or nepotism in Government regardless of who the party in power is. But I find it strange that many people say VIP is the party of the people because if you support them, they make sure the ‘take care’ of you. It is said the NDP does not take care of their people that’s why many people don’t like them. So now VIP bashing NDP for taking care of one of their own while campaigning telling people that if they vote for them they will be taken care of? I’m very confused. Wrong is wrong but it just seems as though when one party does it then it’s considered taking care of our people, giving locals opportunities etc. and when others do it then it’s called corruption.

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  12. Political Observer (PO) says:

    The Speaker of the HOA must be apolitical and non-partisan in presiding over the HOA. The Speaker behaves like a political hack and tarnished her professional image. A new process is needed for selecting the Speaker; it should it be left up to the sitting government. Justice is blind supposedly and so too should the Speaker just enforced the rules of the House, using sound judgement, fairness and equity.

    On another topic, Walwyn made a major political blunder advocating that contractors names should not be read in the people’s HOA. If one is bidding to provide public goods and services, one’s name should be read publicly. What is the down side? If one is ashamed to have his/her name revealed in public, one shouldn’t bid on public projects.

    Walwyn stepped off on the wrong foot (left) on his ambition of becoming Premier. Just follow the procurement rules. Fellow Virgin Islanders it is our responsibility to provide effective oversight of government performance. Voting for politicians does not give them absolute power; they are accountable to us. By staying silent, we yield our true power to politicians, emboldening them towards authoritarian behavior.

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    • RealPol says:

      “The S—– behaves like a political hack and tarnished her professional image.” Her image and professionalism is already tarnished. Political a—– out the window with poor demonstrated performance.

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  13. Brad Boynes says:

    She cannot control what she is not willing to confront.

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