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Should BVI seek special powers to reject UK laws?

Premier Dr D Orlando Smith and UK minister for Overseas territories, Lord Tariq Ahmad. (BVI News photo)

By Davion Smith, BVI News Staff

The British Virgin Islands is being asked whether local legislators should have the power to reject UK laws that only affect Overseas Territories, even if those laws are in relation to good governance and human rights.

Local attorney Jamal Smith proposed the question this week during a series of community meetings, which are being held to document residents’ comments on what they want the future of the BVI’s relationship with Britain to become.

While citing a 2013 UK report called the McKay Commission, Smith said having foolproof powers to overrule UK laws that would directly affect the BVI is largely attainable.

The aforementioned report examined a power struggle that had existed between England and the wider UK, which comprises nations such as Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales.

During the time of the report, Scottish, Irish, and Welsh legislators could help determine laws that only apply to England but English legislators did not have ‘reciprocal influence’ on laws outside of England.

This was described as ‘highly unfair to the people of England’. So, in 2015, the UK’s House of Commons adopted a policy called EVEL – English Votes For English Laws.

EVEL effectively gives English legislators the power to ‘veto’ or ‘reject’ UK laws that only affect England.

‘BVI votes for BVI laws’

Attorney Smith said the BVI, therefore, can reasonably request its own version of EVEL.

“We have a strong case as a result of the 2013 McKay Commission report. We can use that as a leveraging point [to say]: ‘Look, you did it for yourselves, why don’t you do it for us’,” Smith said.

Smith’s statements about the BVI seeking certain powers to outvote the UK come amid Britain’s controversial policy that is forcing the BVI to implement what are known as public registers of company beneficial ownership.

The BVI has been attempting to resist the policy, which the UK passed in its parliament this year.

Local attorney-at-law, Jamal Smith.

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22 Comments

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Keep placing a wedge between the BVI and the U.K. and the BVI will be dropped like a hot potato. The BVI provides no benefit to the U.K. On the orther hand the U.K. has to be there to wipe the asses of the lazy and corrupt population of the Territory. Without the U.K. your fate will be sealed. Destined to become bankrupt, lawless and crime ridden. Take a look at Haiti. That is what you aspire to be.

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    • Ivan says:

      You obviously must be on medication that you did not take. Please go and take your mood stabilizers.

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    • EastMan says:

      You with your scaremongering. The people of the BVI has gumption and foresight. You will never be able to muzzle or trample on us like you once did. Over and out.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Oh really EastMan. Tell me what the people with gumption and foresight have done to clean up the mess from hurricane Irma? Nothing!! The entire island is in ruins. No roads, no sewer system, no schools, no government buildings and barely an electrical system. A year has gone by and the island is like it was the day after the storm. Any projects the people of gumption and foresight take on runs 10’s of millions of dollars over budget because of the corruption and stealing. This is what your proud of? I think you’ve been sitting under a coconut tree and have been hit on the head too much. The government and the people do not have the ability to do anything!!!

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        • East man. says:

          I see my response to you has not been posted. Let me ask you one question. What has you done for the island thus far? Its a rhetorical question by the way. Step in get muck in and stop whingeing. Over and out

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        • Anonymous says:

          Your pronouncements abouy us as a people has been a refrain for ever so long. Had we belived it,had we trembled and buckled we would still be in slavery.May the Powers of the Umiverse continur to up lift and enable.
          You,may you continue to rot in the hell you continue to carve out in this World.

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          • Anonymous says:

            Enough of the slavery BS. You, your parents, your grandparents and your great grandparents weren’t slaves. You use the slavery crap as an excuse for all of your downfalls. Act like human beings and stop feeling sorry for yourselves. Many different people have been enslaved over history yet it is only the African that uses it as a crutch. Get over yourselves

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        • Capt. Obvious says:

          I agree with you. Both of us should sell all our belongings, pack up our bags and leave this sh!thole place as you described it and never return. Also, we will never look back and blog about this place anymore because it is that terrible. Please, you go first. Forget you ever heard of the VI…………….And folks, that is how we start moving in the right direction, by first getting rid of ‘Anonymous’ and the thinking that came with it.

    • BVIYoungman says:

      AYO GO AHEAD MAN. Olddd No Direction Party and stupid Broken-L—- A———–!!!

    • Stright. says:

      Lol you sound like a nut case lol.
      Lol this thing.

    • Anonymous too says:

      It has been proven that it takes one to know one. Thief always know thief and one lazy a$$ another.

  2. Ivan says:

    I think one key point is that Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland all have representatives in the House of Commons, whereas the BVI does not. From time to time, the main political parties have to rely on those members to form a government as is presently the case with the Tories and the DUP of NI. That alone gives those nations greater bargaining powers than the OTs, including BVI. But hey,it is still worth a try. Nothing is wrong with asking.

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  3. Arthur Trust says:

    He has a good point, at the same time he needs to be careful as well. The reason why bvi financial services is so popular is because it’s based on a trusted UK law system as well as having governance from the UK. Take that away and bvi companies will have about as much credibility as a company based in Venezuela.
    For the most part the companies will stay in the bvi, only the corrupt ones will leave but most of those are in the Caymans anyway.

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    • Ivan says:

      Friend, don’t get carried away and give too much credit to the UK for the success of financial services here. Trust me when I say that if it was up to the UK alone, the BVI might not even have had a financial services registry.

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    • What Time Is It? says:

      @ Arthur Trust you are spot on. BVI have come a long way; and (unlike the label others try to pin on us as Us being Lazy), We held on and didn’t Immigrate to Greener pastures elsewhere. We clinged on and burst our tails fighting for survival and that of our offsprings. Our people went to the Dominican Republic to work in the Cane fields, to Aruba, St. Thomas, USVi and other parts of the Caribbean and world.

      Yes, we have done very well at Survival; but at a very heavy price; having to sell our lands, not because of wanting to get rich, but because of our survival.

      Though our history with our so-called motherland isn’t that pretty, we however benefit from our association with the UK.

  4. Political Observer (PO) says:

    The UK comprise of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It has a number of overseas territories (OT),ie, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands, Anguilla, Montserrat, Virgin Islands, Gibraltar, Falkland Islands, Diego Garcia………etc. All of these OTs do not have the same governing arrangements. The UK also have three crown dependancies (Jersey, Island of Man and Guernsey) that have diffrent governing arrangements than OTs. For example, the registers of beneficial ownership don’t applied to the crown dependancies.

    Anyway, the BVI can go independent, leverage self determination for other type of arrangement or it can work with UK for more autonomy. The VI at this juncture is not ready for independence. So the most probable option at this juncture may be to work with UK for more internal self governance. Though the VI has had a history of colonialism, being under the UK umbrella has some benefits. Currently, the UK is responsible for 1)external affairs, 2)defence, 3) internal security, 5)judiciary, 6)Police, and 7) civil service. Further, financial services generates the lion share of government revenue(60%).

    However, though it may be a tough pill to swallow for some, being under the UK umbrella boosts the success of financial services and tourism, ie, stability and rule of law.

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    • Kinte says:

      Political observer man are you serious what the hell political leverage does the B.V.I. have to leverage against the British Goverment. What gain is there for the British keeping the B.V.I. NONE
      Those at the head who are pushing to fight the British Goverment are the ones who stand to lose financially there is no gain to the B.V.I.as a whole and I agree with the British goverment on this.

      If it was so beneficial to the B.V.I after all these years there should have been money to fix the place after the hurricanes but there was none and never was for its in the pocket of those who are pushings hardest against the British goverment and worse throwing race into it. So who did we have to turn to for money to fix things THE BRITISH

      AND THEN TO GET UPSET WHEN THEY WOULDNT GIVE YOU THE MONEY TO DO WITH AS YOU SAW FIT. THE GALL

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  5. BVI lawyer says:

    Lord Ahmad’s question is misconceived. The issue is not whether the BVI should have ‘special powers’ to disapply UK laws to the BVI.

    The real question is whether the UK should continue to have powers to impose laws on the BVI at all. They don’t have such powers for Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man, so it is not unreasonable to ask that a similar constitutional arrangement apply to BVI.

  6. Real question says:

    Should our government call an election now now. What say thou?

  7. Onething says:

    The bvi needs reprensentation in the u.k as martinique and guadeloupe has in france

  8. Interesting comments says:

    Question for blogger?

    “Many different people have been enslaved over history yet it is only the African that uses it as a crutch. Get over yourselves.”

    Agreed. But were any of these indenture servants labeled as CHATTEL Animals? Meaning?

    Agreed as well- Our history should not be used as a crutch for failure, but understood to become empowered for greatness.

    To become empowered— is to understand our true story. Enough said.

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  9. Sam the man says:

    A year on and the progress to recovery has been appalling…FACT! we need the UK more now than ever before so lets not be so arrogant and proud about how self sufficient we are – are roads are broke,sewage runs through the streets and our schools are still shambolic – the list goes on and we resist help because we too proud, choosing to continue with our corrupt government and ministers who are totally inept – but hey lets go Independent and Haiti here we come….

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