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When is election day?

A section of the main island of Tortola. (Photo by Davion Smith/BVI News)

We all know that the 2019 General Elections must happen by April 16. But, when is election day?

According to Myron Walwyn, not even he knows the answer to that question, though he sits as Chairman of the governing National Democratic Party (NDP).

“I can’t say,” Walwyn said when asked whether a date has been decided. “Even though I’m the leader of the party, I am not the leader of the government.”

“Certainly, the prerogative belongs to the premier, [Dr D Orlando Smith]. I would hope that he would consult with me on the date when he is ready and I believe that he will do that. But, that has not been finalised,” Walwyn told BVI News on Tuesday.

The House of Assembly must be dissolved before the territory can have a general election. And according to Section 86 of the Virgin Islands Constitution, a general election must be held within two months, but not earlier than 21 days after the House is dissolved.

Extract lifted from the Virgin Islands Constitution.

Bearing that in mind, and acting under the assumption that the Premier will decide to have elections at the very last available date (April 16), the House of Assembly cannot continue beyond March 26 or thereabout. That March 26 date marks exactly 21 days before the April 16 election deadline.

The premier, however, might consider withholding the election date for long, in order for the NDP to maintain some semblance of strategic advantage over the other four reported parties that will contest the elections.

If that is the case, and if the premier is seeking to keep his options open without being too restricted by the limitations of the Constitution, he might have the House dissolved no later than February 16 — exactly two months before the April 16 deadline.

The next sitting of the House is scheduled for Tuesday, January 15.

Copyright 2019 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

7 Comments

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  1. strupes says:

    Why cant we have a fixed date (every 4 years) like other countries???? Why must we have to wait until 1 man or a party feel that they have the momentum to call it???? I am fed up with these people….DRAIN THE POND!

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  2. ndp heckler says:

    Why should Doc be the one to call the election date and he is not running again? Is he trying to run out the clock on us?

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  3. hmmm says:

    February 18

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  4. Political Observer (PO) says:

    The BVI needs fix-term election to level the playing field. Right now the encumbent government has the advantage of springing an election date to its benefit and at the expense of opposition. Clearly, at this point, it is not advantageous for the encumbent government to spring a snap election on the territory as it did in 2015. Many countries have fix-term election, including the UK, the supposed Mother country. Its election is scheduled for the first Thursday in May every five years. Both the UK and VI are parliamentary and representative democracies so why can’t they both have fix-term elections?

    Further, as noted in the article, with 16 April 2109 being the target (by date) date, there are two critical days to watch for the HOA being dissolved; i.e., 16 Feb and 26 March. For a 2 month maximum campaign period as dictated by the constitution and with a 16 April election date, the HOA has to be dissolved by 16 Feb. Similarly, to meet the minimum 21 day campaign period and the earliest an election can be held after the HOA is dissolved is March 26. Nevertheless, IMO, all parties and independent candidates should anticipate Election Day being 21 days from today, 21 days from tomorrow, 21 days from the day after tomorrow and so on. Does anyone believe that the Hon Walwyn does not know when Election Day is? If he truly does not know when, interesting.

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  5. BVI man says:

    In most if not all former british colonies in this part of the world Election date are called by the incumbent primier/prime minister. that is part of the constitution handed down to us from england. A constitution reform is what is needed to change to a fixed date. Another thing that could be changed is to allow youth representation in the house of assembly, some how cater for Workers rights (labour movement), have a farmers representative and also a business representative in the house of assembly. that will some how crate more balance and help maintain accountability, good governance.

    I was following the constitution reform in Grenada a few years ago and noticed that the governing party had all 15 seats. the table various changes one was for fixed date election and another was for compulsory opposition members. The opposition at the time advised their supporters to vote no for these changes.

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  6. Love for myCountry says:

    I believe Walwyn and his group would love to have the election as far down as April. However, there are many reasons why that is not a smart thing to do. The country is already in a mess, the RDA put in place to manage the affairs of the country such as pertinent projects and spending as mandated by the British; the mess with the financial services which could result in loss of jobs in the private and public sectors as well as loss of revenue for the Government. Constitutionally, in my opinion, election should be held before April 16 and therefore the HOA should be dissolved by the end of January or early February. THE NDP SHOULD NOT PUT THIS COUNTRY IN ANY MORE CRISIS! THIS COUNTRY NOW NEEDS PERSONS WITH THE ABILITY TO TAKE US OUT OF THE MESS WE ARE IN AND WILL BE IN FOR A WHILE TO COME! WE NEED THE EXPERIENCE FOR IT WILL NOT BE EASY! WALWYN SHOWED THAT HE DOES NOT HAVE THE EXPERIENCE TO MOVE US OUT OF WHERE WE ARE FOR HE IS RESPONSIBLE FOR CREATING PART OF THE MESS! LOOK AT THE FIASCO WITH THAT WALL AT THE ELMORE STOUTT HIGH SCHOOL! REMEMBER WHO CALLED FOR THE AUDIT AND WHO SENT THE AUDIT TO THE POLICE AND MINISTRY OF FINANCE! I NEED NOT SAY MORE!

  7. SMH says:

    Take note that NDP is out and about Campaigning! That should give you and idea that Council will be dissolved soon and Election will be in March!

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