BVI News

Cap it: All legislators should be made to serve a limited time in office — Christian


Retiring Territorial At-Large politician Archibald Christian is advocating that local legislators be mandated to serve a limited term in representational politics.

He made his position known while giving his farewell address in the House of Assembly which dissolved on Wednesday, January 24. Elections are now scheduled for February 25.

Christian is retiring after only serving eight consecutive years as a legislator.

“One of the reasons why I have taken the position to retire is because I am one of those proponents who believe that the time is coming in this territory when we need to start looking at term limits for honourable members. I know that some members will perhaps not initially want to support that proposal but I believe that … sometimes we have to save ourselves from ourselves.”

“I think that once you continue indefinitely, things can, unfortunately, go wrong. I’m not casting any aspersions on anyone but it’s my own personal observations,” the two-term legislator said.

He continued: “We know that sometime in the near future we will be having talks about reviewing our constitution and I’m hoping that is one of the points that the general public would want to elaborate a little bit more on to see if its a direction that we need to go in as a young country.”

Christian then argued that the neighbouring US Virgin Islands already has term restrictions for select offices, such as persons who are elected as governor.

Premier Dr D Orlando Smith who is retiring from representational politics after 20 years has suggested that he does not necessarily share Christian’s view.

In fact, the premier said he was disappointed to see Christian retire, even though he (Christian) is no longer a serves under the Smith administration.

Dr Smith described Christian as a good legislator and said he hopes the two-term legislator is only taking a political hiatus.

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  1. Horse Man says:

    Them don’t need pension either!

    Like 36
    • Reasoning says:

      This is definitely a good call. This way,the voters would have a better chance of representation. How? knowing the agenda they put forward for accomplishment they would get busy trying to accomplished their agenda knowing their time is limited. I respect Hon Christian. His father, (RIP) would have endorsed his position. When politicians are returned to office term after term, there is the tendency to get cocky, and slow at getting things done; yet still expecting to be returned to office; hence the very example before us with government last minute campaign stunts of naming and renaming piers, parks and buildings, while legislation that should have been passed eons ago are left pending; audit reports pending; whistle blower legislation pending, police investigation pending, so many darn things pending.
      Couple other things that is disturbing is the habit of politicians saving up the allowances they get for district spending. Instead of spending the moneys on things of benefit, they save and spend on ham, turkeys and white envelopes; at the disadvantage of the opposing side of politicians who will have to spend their own. First it is unfair for the government side to be spending the taxpayers moneys which some mistaken as the politicians own moneys; thus the perception of good guys. My calculation for the moneys government side politicians allowances amounts to some $2+-million annually; serious money indeed. The moneys also need to be accounted for. Government should give matching moneys to all campaigners; thus equalizing the playing field and getting influence moneys out of our politics; which we know can have devastating consequences.

  2. duck1951 says:

    One of the best suggestions in a long time. This will not only prevent authoritarianism and one sided government but also generate fresh brains with new ideas . The entire Caribbean should do this . Left to legislators themselves,this will not happen and should be done by referendum .Look at what happens in the Senate in the USA where members become so entrenched that they die in office or forced to retire because of poor health .

    Like 34
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  3. Nigel says:

    Anyway that is not a good idea mainly because of our small population size and limited pool of talent. If we find a few good people, they should be able to stay as long as the voters want them to stay.

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  4. LOL says:


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  5. bvi says:


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  6. E. Leonard says:

    Take a different view to the Hon Archibald Christian (AL). IMO there is already term limits in place: the ELECTORATE.. It is a representative democracy and the people determines who it wants to serve in elected office/HOA. Why take away that right? It elects representatives, re-elect top performers and kick others to the curb. That is democracy at work.

    Nonetheles, democracy though the dominant form of government is not perfect; it has its problems. For example, in a parliamentary democracy, the executive and legislative branches are essentially merged. Separation of power? Nevertheless, term limits may be an issue that should be debated and resolved by a plurality of the people/electorate.

    However, at this juncture, the BVI has more urgent and critical issues: infrastructure, economy, health, education, public safety, environment, quality of services, economic and political independence/self determination, transparency-responsibility-accountability, effective governance, civil service reform, civil servants pension unfunded liability, public policies review, rising cost of living, fiscal policy(s), arresting violent and property crimes, land ownership and land use, sports and recreation…….etc.

    Like 10
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    • duck1951 says:

      totally disagree. Let us not count ourselves short The way I see it the electorate on many ocassions becomes too enamored with a politicians because of likability rather than how they perform in office The electorate sometimes is very naive and gullible ! Perhaps an alternative would be sitting out for a term then rerun but carte blanche is not good !

      Like 5
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      • @Duck 1951 says:

        @Duck 1951, sounds like a 1951 attitude; in case you didn’t remember this is 2019. The electorate has matured. As voter, I feel offended that some believe that I cannot think for myself and need help on whom I should vote for or not vote for. I cannot challenge your voting choices but I will not for that your right and choice. Wish you extend that same courtesy to other voters. By the way, why do some people of the opinion that only their choices matter?

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        • duck1951 says:

          I am quite aware that this is 2019 and no I do not have an attitude . These are opinions . That is why we discuss them and do not take them personally . We are looking for the betterment of the situation . Do you think that it is by accident that many developed countries around the world have term limits for certain posts ? There must be checks and balances . We must think out of the box . That is how we improve things .

    • Eagle and Buffalo says:

      “Take a different view to the Hon Archibald Christian (AL). IMO there is already term limits in place: the ELECTORATE.” @E. Leonard, fully endorsed the message. Term limits is a form of voter suppression, ie, the electorate is deprived of choice(s) and opportunity to vote for whom it may want to represent it. Further, if term limits were in place, political stalwarts such as the iconic Hamilton Lavity Stoutt (D-1 and 1st Chief Minister), Terrance B. Lettsome (D-7), Ivan Dawson (D-2), Ralph Tilford O’Neal ( D-9 and 1st Premier), Oliver Cills (D-4), Ethlyn Smith (D-5)……etc would have had to stand down in the prime of their service. Why would we want a top performer(s) that a majority of voters may want? Let the people vote for whom they want?

      By the way, what does the Hon Christian thing about the generous retirement plan for legislators? Does he think it is too generous? Does he think it should be changed from 2 to 3 consecutive terms or 60 years of age and 2 consecutive terms?

      Let’s us lead like eagles, not careen off the cliff as buffaloes.

    • NPolitico says:

      Interesting take on term limits. It is democracy so agree to letting the people vote. Archie is advocating for term limits on his way out the door.

  7. 80/20 says:

    Great idea, but it does come at a price. The BVIs has a limited number of belongers who vote, and a more limited number of people who are likely to want to enter politics. I’d suggest considering a back door to extend term limits in case we get someone exceptional running the place. In most organizations, 20%of its membership does 80% of the work load.

    Like 1
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    • @80/20 says:

      This means 80% does 20% or very little. Should not this 80% be told “don’t care where you go but you can stay here”, producing only 20%. The 80/20 rule do offer some value in business, government…….etc. For example, if 20% of customers provide 80% of the profit, where will operators place their effort.

  8. Albion says:

    What *really* needs to be reformed in the absurd pension rules for sitting HoA members. You just need to do two terms and then you get a pension for life – no matter how old you are – and after you die your spouse gets it for the remainder of their life.

    That is just insane. And yet, amazingly, not one of our politicians have ever suggested scrapping this rule.

    Like 19
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    • RealPol says:

      @Albion, it is in the politicians interest to keep the very generous pension plan in place. You will quicker see a green mule flying than any politician wanting to touch this as you so tightly say insane pension plan. They will stay away from it with a100 meter poll. It needs to change but if it going to change, the people will have to advocate strongly for the change. This is one benefit that there is no daylight between both government opposition on.

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  9. Hah says:

    It’s not a bad idea but it works for other places due to their size and population. We can’t afford to limit members who are doing a good job just because of a term limit stipulation knowing that the candidate pool isn’t that deep. Not only is our population too small for that not everybody aspire to be a politician due to the stigma and low wages. Potential good candidates might choose to keep their salary in the private sector instead of taking a risk running for office.

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  10. Eagle eye says:

    His time was limited so that’s why he came to that conclusion. Get lost lame duck,QUACK QUACK.

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  11. @Archie says:

    Talk is cheap. Everyday someone new is popping up spazzing something. Sick of hearing the nonsense. No matter who wins, the Country is not going to see any changes. Everyone is out for SELF.

    Like 5
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  12. Bigga Ford says:

    He retiring cause he is a waste and know he can’t win gains so he want other to follow he but go play in dirty loser

    Like 2
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  13. pvim heckler says:

    Its unfair for archie to collect pension for doing nothing for 8 years

  14. limit says:

    wen u going on da other side of da fence u will speak up 4 sure

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