BVI News

AG to say if Speaker’s NDP candidacy is wrong; legislators perturbed

By Davion Smith, BVI News Staff

Attorney General Baba Aziz has been asked to give his opinion on whether it is appropriate and lawful for Ingrid Moses-Scatliffe to remain as Speaker of the House of Assembly if she plans to be a political candidate in the upcoming general elections.

The Speaker personally made the request after receiving pressure from a number of legislators to confirm or deny media reports that she will be contesting the elections under the National Democratic Party (NDP) banner.

Scatliffe-Moses did not answer those calls to publicly verify her reported candidacy.

“It is at least two members in their address mentioned about ‘rumours’ and I thought the House of Assembly was a house of fact. So, you are asking me to confirm a rumour,” she said before asking the Attorney General to ‘address the concerns’ at the next sitting of the House scheduled for October 2.

This makes me ‘uncomfortable’

NDP legislator Dr Kedrick Pickering, as well as Opposition legislators Andrew Fahie and Julian Fraser, were among the members who called for answers during Thursday’s spirited sitting of the House.

Dr Pickering said the notion of a sitting Speaker becoming a political candidate makes him “uncomfortable”.

“Let me make that abundantly clear – I don’t see anything that says it legally wrong. But understanding that parliament is one of the bedrock of the democracy and that ‘debate’ is the fundamental basis of any parliament, it raises the questions. And, it is in that context that I have my discomfort,” Dr Pickering said.

Can Speaker be partial as alleged NDP candidate?

He then questioned whether Moses-Scatliffe’s impartiality as Speaker is compromised by her alleged candidacy.

“To be putting oneself as a candidate in upcoming elections and sitting in the position of such authority allows not only great unfair advantage to somebody but it may question the whole processes within the House and that in itself, to me, is an abuse of privilege.”

“We can’t start fooling around the institutions that build the democracy. It’s like fooling around with the judiciary.”

No response is its own response

Fraser later stood in the House and said he shared Dr Pickering’s concerns.

He said Moses-Scatliffe owed it to members of the House to deny or confirm the ‘rumours’.

“If you declare it to be so Madam Speaker, I have the same concerns about whether or not you can be the person we elect to be our Speaker … that impartial individual that we saw when you [first] came up here to be our Speaker.”

While contributing to the discussion, Fahie said the situation does not warrant the Attorney General to get involved.

“I think it’s a simple ‘yes’ or a simple ‘no’. I don’t think it’s up to anybody to bring anything because not answering is an answer,” Fahie said.

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  1. Look at Jesus says:

    This has nothing to do with the Speaker because they all know that there is nothing that prevents her from running while she is speaker. This is to get at Myron. What I see know very clearly is why Andrew and Fraser never asked Dr. Pickering any questions in the HOA. They were always on the same team.

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    • Same team? says:

      Because they are all speaking up on what doesn’t feel comfortable or right? They did not need to ask and support each other over this? Shouldn’t she herself look at it in its entirety and resign if she knows she is competing? The majority of the people already see so they did not need to ask. I suppose we are on Pickering, Fraser and Andrew team too. Stay in that vacuum.

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      • WHY WORRY??????? says:

        Bring her on, she will not win, not a ——- person and definitely all about s— and — country. She only appeared when NDP bring her on and they crumble with — so out the door they all go.

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      • Voter says:

        @ Same Team, that’s what you call it? Speaking up? Getting up and ranting when it’s politically expedient makes all of them look like hypocritical fools. Who is going to stand up and talk about the millions spent on the airport, brandywine, the mess of agriculture, labour etc.? Nobody talking about the state of healthcare in the Territory? Nobody bashing the health Minister for our kids and other residents inhaling raw smoke for MONTHS If we are going to pretend that we care about the issues facing the Territory let’s talk about ALL OF IT not just the bits that will make the person they don’t like look bad! We hear them talking about who can and cannot run, the schools etc. That’s all we are hearing about as if everything else is fine and dandy. Let them keep up the foolishness thinking the people are asleep. We are wide awake and we are seeing exactly what they are up to!

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        • @Voter says:

          Did you by chance miss what Same Team is saying? “Raises eyebrow” I believe you are on the same team too. Saying same thing; different way.

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    • BS says:

      Miss if you want to run , run!! This is double standard. Look at the other Party’s list they have people in office running also

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      • Retarded system. says:

        That whole system retarded. She is obviously speaker of the NDP and not speaker of the house. Her running with NDP further exposes the fact that she has picked a side, she is biased, she is not fit to sit in that house as an unbiased and fair speaker! No respect for her nor the NDP who feel they are above law and order. Send them all to the jail.

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        • LMAO says:

          Newsflash. Ever speaker is chosen by the ruling party.

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          • Another newsflash says:

            And every one of dem NDP party was chosen by the people but do they speak for we the people? They think they above the law, the people who put them there. The Constitution does NOT say that the ruling party shall select the speaker. It says one shall be elected from amongst the elected members of the house of assembly. It just so happens that obviously the ruling party carried the majority vote so now she feel that her allegiance is to them and now bold face to run with them. Since you so smart, explain this to me. If persons from more than 2 political parties made up the house of assembly so much so that one party could not be said to carry the majority vote (let’s say for argument sake a 5+5±3 House) , who would then be responsible for selecting the speaker? On whose behalf would that speaker then be conducting proceedings and speaking in the house? The NDP so feel they above the law to the point where they change the law and have people like you believing that that is the actual law and trying to give other people newsflash. What a ting to tell the King!

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          • @LMAO says:

            This is why they need to choose a speaker who they know would be impartial. Looking at the history of Speakers in the BVI, we were doing pretty well until this one hit the scene.

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      • More BS says:

        Public servants who wish to run with a political party should not have to resign. HOWEVER someone in the capacity of speaker of the house who suppose to be fair and unbiased, YET has picked a political side to run with SHOULD RESIGN!!! OBVIOUSLY IF THAT PLACE NOT BACKWARD!!! struupes.

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        • High noon victimisation says:

          It makes no sense that people are victimised on the job just because they have exercised their freedom of speech and freedom of association to run with a specific party. There should be good reason and cause before asking them to resign. A good reason and cause would be IF THEY ARE IN A POSITION (WHETHER DEEMED A PUBLIC SERVANT OR NOT) THAT REQUIRES THEM TO BE UNBIASED, FOR EXAMPLE, THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE, AND IT IS OBVIOUS THAT THEIR AFFILIATION WITH A SPECIFIC PARTY WILL CAUSE THEM TO BE BIASED!!! Duhhh

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    • Billfargo says:

      And there is a lot of good reasons why they should be!

  2. Gandalf says:

    Until someone legally declares there is nothing anyone can do, regardless of opinion relating to right or wrong, moral or otherwise. So complain all you want, she won’t run the house any different than she has for the last 8 plus years anyway. More political posturing that we are all getting really bored with! Give us someone with substance to take our country forward positively for our people!

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  3. Richard says:

    Where is the justice in the law and if the law doesn’t address it. Where’s the moral and ethical standing. Set of sick puppies.

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  4. Hah says:

    This is one of the reasons why people don’t trust our politicians. This is like having your father as the referee for your boxing match. How can we trust the process. Legal doesn’t always mean right. Some people have no sh—- or m—-. Time reveals all. NDP was supposed to be the good guys that would make things right in the BVI now they hiding d—- deeds behind the law.

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  5. Wow says:

    The D—- P—– has spent over 10 million dollars on the airport expansion and nothing to date. He has spent over $3 million on Brandywine and nothing to date. That’s over $13 million of our tax dollars and nobody holds him to task, but all of a sudden he has found his voice to jump on the Speaker? We all know the reason for this behavior so I don’t know who he is trying to fool. God save these beautiful Islands from the hands of these egotistical maniacs who are in politics solely to score points. The antics of yesterday from P——, C—— and T——- was absolutely disgraceful.

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  6. Hmmmm says:

    This is all political games! The Speaker is always chosen by the party in power so what is the big deal? Get on with the people’s business and stop this nonsense. The do nothing Minister is making it seem like he cares about this Territory but look at his District, look at his Ministry? These people have any shame?

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  7. Reply says:

    Interesting on so many levels. I find it curious that the Deputy Premier posed that question to the Speaker, and is suddenly uncomfortable about reports of the Speakers’ UNDECLARED interest in running for office while remaining as Speaker, and is asserting the Speaker is abusing her power. What abuse?

    I can understand Mr. Fahie’s motive here so given that he is in the Opposition, and it serves his narrative her politically to claim bias, but what is the real motive behind the Deputy Premiers sudden discomfort? He is not known to be this outspoken.

    One would think that if indeed the Speaker was going to abuse her power, his government and party would stand to benefit, right? After all, the NDP chose her.

    But no, the normally quiet Deputy Premier has suddenly awaken and found his political moral compass to attack the Speaker. Why? What’s going on here?

    First, there is this assumption that the Speaker will be bias if indeed she is running for office. Well, that’s just an assumption, and not a fact.

    She has not done anything that one can say she is bias. Furthermore, she has not declared if she is running for political office or not, and no one has cited any ruling/decision she has made than one can say for sure was a conflict of interest, or an abuse of power.

    Contrarily, the NDP government has been accused of all sorts of wrongdoings both real and imagined, and Mr. Fahie has even publicly stated that the NDP government is corrupt. Now they are on the same page?

    As the saying goes, politics makes strange bed fellas.

    Anyway, since the Deputy Premier and the Opposition Leader are both uncomfortable with the Speaker based on hear say, let me express my discomfort with both these men flexing their testosterone and ganging up on a woman who might be interested in running for political office.

    The bottom line is this: The Speaker has not declared her candidacy nor made any decisions that one can point to and say that she is bias, so this conversation is premature at best in my view.

    The Speaker rightly referred the matter to the Attorney General for further guidance. I would not be surprised if Attorney General Baba Aziz does not share in their discomfort.

    For all the alleged corruption of the NDP, I never heard the Deputy Premier express discomfort.

    Give it a rest guys. You are jumping the wagon. Clearly there is trouble within the NDP camp.

    Like 15
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    • Craziness says:

      @ Reply

      She is seeking Attorney General comment. That means she knows she had intended to, or is still intending to run with one of the current parties in the house (likely NDP).Legal or not she has shown dis———–.

      She’s very ca———, but has overplayed her hand. She’s finished in politics whether she runs or not.

      • Reply says:

        I draw a distinction between a sitting Speaker of the House DECLARING their intent to run for political office vs a sitting Speaker of the House who is RUMORED to have the intention of contesting for political office, and is thereby UNDECLARED.

        Where does the law/constitution stand on this question?

        IMO, this is the question Attorney General Baba Aziz needs to clarify.

        Can a sitting UNDECLARED Speaker remain in their position or do they have to resign even if UNDECLARED?

        Lastly, I do not believe any Speaker including the current should be “finished” just because she/he may or may have an interest in politics, but is undeclaired.

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  8. Convern says:

    If she can do this now. What about when she is in office. Show some respect for the people of the bvi and do the right thing.

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  9. wow says:

    double standards at it’s best…only in the bvi

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  10. She knows better says:

    This alone should tell you that you should not vote for this ——…— refused to answer a straight question…it was yes it was a rumour or no it was not a rumour…but to tell the public to wait until the AG give legal advice…she needs to wait until election…the voting public will let their voice be heard. #no_trust

    Like 21
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  11. Scar in lion king says:

    Dr. Pickering should be ashamed of himself to stoop this low. He will never get over not becoming the leader of the NDP after he felt entitled for all these years. When he thought Ronnie was his threat he started up on him doing all manner of underhanded things. When he realized Myron could be the real threat he take set on him. All the while not representing his people and not getting anything done in his ministry except to ban killing shark to please his rich, white friends.
    Dr. Pickering, you need to resign. You have nothing useful to offer our country.

    Like 24
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  12. jokers says:

    just how she have secrets now is same she gona have in gov when she wins

  13. Questions says:

    Who pays the Speaker? Is the Speaker deemed to be a public servant? This scenario raises some important questions that will have consequences for government employees as a whole.

  14. Political Observer (PO) says:

    Tribalism is common place in BVI politics. Now, political cannabilism has also inflicted BVI politics. The Speaker knows if she is running or not running for elected office so it should be an easy answer. If the answer is yes, she does not need the AG’s opinion; she just needs to do the right thing and resign.

    Furthermore, even if the law permits the Speaker to serve as Speaker while running for political office, the Speaker should also do the right thing and resign. Sometimes even if the law permits one to do something, does not mean one should do it. This is one of those situations. The Speaker is attempting to do things right, not do the right thing. If the Speaker is intending to run for political office, this is not an impressive nor an exemplary start. What a sad state the NDP is in.

    Like 25
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  15. Resident says:

    Sometimes when I hear these politicians I am at a loss! Aren’t Dr. Pickering and Mrs. Scatliffe on the same team? Why is he bringing this in the public. If he has a grievance couldn’t he go to her personally? If I have a problem in my workplace I would not go in the public with it I will work it out internally. These politicians always trashing their own colleagues in public. Leave that for the opposition to do.
    I don’t want to start on DP. This useless MP!

    Like 6
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  16. Simon says:

    If The Speaker has in fact decided to seek political office by way of the next general election she should tender her resignation as Speaker. There should be no questions in this regard. While there may be no written rule prohibiting this it goes against Constitutional conventions.

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  17. She did not answer? says:

    The fact that the speaker did not have the decency to confirm or deny her candidacy is enough to confirm to the people of the BVI that she not the kind of person we need to put to run our country. I am really thankful to her for showing us who she is, as we can now safely avoid wasting our cherished votes on another dishonest political dud.
    Civil servants must resign so that we can be sure that the duties of the civil service are carried out in an impartial manner, I don’t understand wny this wouldn’t apply to the speaker of the house.
    NDP has really gone to the dogs.

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  18. Bull! says:

    Just because someone has intentions of running for elections mean they should leave their job right away. Until that person FORMALLY declares that they are contesting election all of this hoopla is irrelevant.

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  19. Mr. Picko: says:

    It is so sad when people blog without facts. Is the Speaker considered a Civil Servant? Answer, No. Then this is why she stated one must go from facts. Read the Constitution Section 69(1) and (6) and tell me if the Speaker belonging to a political party or wishes to contest a seat on an election is one of the grounds on which she can be removed. People of the Virgin Islands, stop this back-stabbing of each other. The eyes of others are upon us and waiting for us to self-destruct as a Territory. Let us thread carefully when we come to publicly criticize a member of Government based on hearsay. Deputy Premier, I wonder if you can sleep good at night, knowing what mischief you created when you have prohibited our local fishermen from fishing on the same thurf their forefathers fished for decades. Our ancestors eyes are forever roaming the seas, viewing in disbelief, that you are aiding and abetting foreigners against your own people. Or are they your people? We are no longer dotish, Sir.

    Like 8
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  20. Wes says:

    This is not a matter of law for the AG to determine but a matter of ethics, morals and doing the right thing for the Speaker. She has not confirmed or denied but the moral thing to do is to step down if confirming or come out plain and simple and say that she is not running.

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  21. legal eye says:

    I do applaud the members of both side of the House of assembly who have correctly questioned the integrity of the speaker of that House.The questions are….Why has she refered the matter to the Attorney General if it’s a rumour?Lawyers give advice or opinions on facts and not rumours.when the speaker gets the advice on her rumour, will it now become facts.All this semantics are not necessary….the people of the BVI are much smarter than some office holders…let’s us see how a rumour becomes facts…my say

    Like 13
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  22. @ says:

    I for one didn’t realize it was a rumor. And the Speaker feels its a rumor why didn’t she issue a press release or even at least threaten to sue the media for running false stories about her.

    And as an unbias and fair speaker why doesn’t she just say what it is — Yes or No or Maybe so .. geez.

    This is why BVI laws need to be more accessible. I swear these people make this crap up as they go along and as it suits them.

    Like 10
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  23. Legal Eye says:

    Quoted from:

    Office and Role of Speaker

    The Speaker of the House of Commons chairs debates in the Commons chamber. The holder of this office is an MP who has been elected to be Speaker by other Members of Parliament. During debates they keep order and call MPs to speak.

    The Speaker is the chief officer and highest authority of the House of Commons and must remain politically impartial at all times.

    The Speaker also represents the Commons to the monarch, the Lords and other authorities and chairs the House of Commons Commission. The current Speaker is John Bercow, MP for Buckingham.

    Chairing debates in the House of Commons

    The Speaker is perhaps best known as the person who keeps order and calls MPs to speak during Commons debates. The Speaker calls MPs in turn to give their opinion on an issue. MPs signal that they want to speak by standing up from their seat (a custom known as ‘catching the Speaker’s eye’) or they can notify the Speaker in advance by writing.

    The Speaker has full authority to make sure MPs follow the rules of the House during debates. This can include:

    directing an MP to withdraw remarks if, for example, they use abusive language

    suspending the sitting of the House due to serious disorder

    suspending MPs who are deliberately disobedient – known as naming

    asking MPs to be quiet so Members can be heard

    Election of the Speaker

    John Bercow was first elected House of Commons Speaker on 22 June 2009.

    The Speaker was elected using an exhaustive secret ballot system, the first time this procedure had been used for the election of a Speaker.

    Election processMPs are given a list of candidates and place an x next to the candidate of their choiceif a candidate receives more than 50 per cent of the votes, the question is put to the House that he or she takes the chair as Speakerif no candidate does so, the candidate with the fewest votes, and those with less than five per cent of the vote, are eliminatedin addition, any candidate may withdraw within 10 minutes of the announcement of the result of a ballotMPs then vote again on the reduced slate of candidates and continue doing so until one candidate receives more than half the votesPolitically impartial

    Speakers must be politically impartial. Therefore, on election the new Speaker must resign from their political party and remain separate from political issues even in retirement. However, the Speaker will deal with their constituents’ problems like a normal MP.

    Speakers and general elections

    Speakers still stand in general elections. They are generally unopposed by the major political parties, who will not field a candidate in the Speaker’s constituency – this includes the original party they were a member of. During a general election, Speakers do not campaign on any political issues but simply stand as ‘the Speaker seeking re-election’.

  24. Mr. VI says:

    A moderator should be or at least pretend to be impartial. While all speakers are appointed by the ruling party it doesn’t necessarily imply that they will be impartial. The huge difference in this case is when the actual Speaker is a candidate for that party. How can you actually pretend to be impartial when you are vying for a spot in the very house that you are moderating. How can you pretend to be impartial when you intend to get a seat held by one of the opposition members that you should give a fair chance according to the rules of the house. Like someone said how can you be the referee of a boxing match when your son is actually boxing. It doesn’t take a genius to see that there is an obvious conflict of interest. A good and honest person would not wait for someone to bring up the issue because it is quite clear. All this ducking and dodging to avoid questions would be a slap in the face to all residents if she continues to tell her truth then announces her candidacy in the next few months.

    Like 10
  25. Brad Boynes says:

    None of them have integrity like a man (guy hill) i met a few years ago in the immigration department. They (Law makers)are quickly becoming a laughing stock and embarrassment.

    Like 4
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    • Paul says:

      What happen to Mr Kye Rhymer….He is running for the VIP and still holds his job at the DMV.
      Why you all dont look it to him.
      He should be resigning

  26. SMH says:

    Speaker must be impartial! Hmm!
    Omar Hodge – VIP – Speaker
    Reial Georges -VIP – Speaker
    Keith Flax -VIP-Speaker

    Just curious…

    Like 2
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    • Hah says:

      Fake news lol, Keith Flax was the only one of them who was the speaker of the house and that was years before he was a candidate. The others were just deputy speaker which is accepted as the norm just like Delores is the deputy speaker for the last few years.

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  27. 8th District Gyal says:

    A Speaker of the House role directly correlates with a position of influence. Notably of the polity of a body and country.This controversy does not lie with the AG, as it is one of ethics and morality.

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