BVI News

Court declines AG’s delay request in same-sex marriage case

Attorney General Dawn Smith

Justice Adrian Jack has refused an adjournment requested by Attorney General (AG) Dawn Smith over a matter involving a same-sex couple before the High Court. 

According to a recent court document, the AG requested the adjournment for a hearing currently listed for September 29 and 30 and said her application was supported by the interested party, the BVI Christian Council (BVICC), but opposed by the couple.

The matter concerns the validity of the marriage between Kinisha Forbes and Kirsten Lettsome and whether any prohibition against same-sex marriage in the BVI is contrary to the constitution of the Virgin Islands.

The couple entered a civil partnership in 2011 in the United Kingdom (UK), and was later issued a marriage certificate once the UK’s same-sex couples law came into effect. 

Justice Jack noted that when a previous adjournment was sought by the BVICC, the AG took a neutral position and did not appear before the court at that time. 

The court document further noted that the AG made no application for an extension of time in which to file evidence or for an adjournment of the final hearing. 

AG’s Chambers busy after COI and Fahie’s arrest

Justice Jack noted in his ruling that the AG in her current application argued that her chambers have been very busy with the aftermath of the arrest of the former Premier, Andrew Fahie, in Miami and the publication of the report of the Commission of Inquiry. 

“The implementation of the framework agreement made between the BVI and the British governments subsequent to the report of the Commission of Inquiry has been resource-intensive,” the AG claimed in her argument. 

Further, it was noted that Smith has had difficulty obtaining instructions from the BVI government. 

In the affidavit made in support of her application, it was stated: “This matter was formally brought to the attention of Cabinet on or about 22 August 2022 after which preparations began in earnest on the respondent’s case.” 

Among other things, Justice Jack ruled that the dilatoriness (slowness to act) on the AG’s part, in his judgment, affords no grounds for an adjournment.

“The claim to difficulty in obtaining instructions is belied by the fact that as long ago as 10th March 2021 the respondent [AG] was able to indicate that the government intended to oppose the claimants’ claim,” the Judge ruled.

In the meantime, Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley recently alluded to the court matter, suggesting that no judge or external government should be allowed to make a decision on the BVI’s laws on same-sex marriages.

According to the Premier: “We have the opportunity to make those changes [about same sex marriage] through our constitutional review or through our own local legislature. Any change — or whether the law remains the same — is a matter, in my view, for the people of the Virgin Islands; not for a judge and not for any other government to impose on us.”

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30 Comments

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  1. lol says:

    That judge got to be lefthanded

    Like 9
    Dislike 17
  2. he is a judge says:

    He is not god

    Like 3
    Dislike 12
  3. Priorities says:

    So, you want to tell me with all that is happening on these small islands, this is what the AG and crhristian council have energy for??? Where is that energy and persistence for gun violence,sexual abuse and poverty(and don’t mind sheep saying there’s no poverty in the BVI. His head is up his backside)
    They choose to sit their a$$ down when innocent people are suffering or killed,but can jump like a freaking kangaroo over what someone else does in there personal life. How come they don’t jump up when cases of incest come up?? Where are they when people are going hungry?? When last have we heard of this council out there in the community giving out a free Bottle of water or a piece of bread?? Let them sit and hush their behinds and leave the people alone.

    Like 80
    Dislike 9
  4. Good says:

    Well done Justice Jack. These ladies are Citizens of the BVI and deserve to have their loving union recognized.

    Like 54
    Dislike 22
  5. Gee says:

    We want our government to stand up for family values, not batty boys.

    Like 16
    Dislike 32
  6. lol says:

    What’s next Sharia law? How is this even an issue for Government?

    Like 17
    Dislike 4
  7. Father Time says:

    Does this not seem like a colossal waste of time and money to anyone else?

    Like 33
    Dislike 4
  8. ?? says:

    @good.

    Thou shall suffer the wrath of the Creator for your sentiment in this matter. He was very clear about how the created should conduct their lives and was very specific as to this particular conduct. This is no joke “Mr. or Ms. or Mrs. Good”!

    Like 8
    Dislike 20
  9. Mastic says:

    Judge Jack is one of the commercial judges and does not normally deal with civil high court matters.
    It is interesting and a bit worrying how this case, which is not a commercial case, has landed on his plate.
    He was also given the Willock v COI case even though that was not a commercial matter either.
    Does he deal with all the cases in which the UK Government has a vested political interest in the outcome? If so, why? Has he applied for a job in the UK?

    Like 10
    Dislike 14
  10. BVI Future says:

    So, the AG knew this from 2011, 10 years ago.

    Like 7
    Dislike 1
  11. Just saying says:

    What difference does that make? He’s a judge isn’t he? Doesn’t that mean he knows and understands the law? At least he makes a decision in a timely manner. I’m sure you are not aware of how long it takes other Judges to make decisions in cases that are years old. Why? The courts are overburdened, like every other critical department here. So when a Judge has to do research on a case it can take over a year for them to get it done, write the decision, while trying to keep up with their daily docket. That’s not an excuse, its a reason. Long live Judge Jack.

    Like 13
    Dislike 3
  12. Christian council says:

    Are a bunch of hypocrites. Every single thing that GOD has forbidden happens in the BVI on a daily basis but they prefer to focus on their personal hate..

    Like 24
    Dislike 3
  13. Lengua says:

    Dilatoriness,dilatoriness,dilatoriness…

    A new word for my vocabulary…luv it!

  14. The court should be standing up says:

    for every citizens rights. Everyone should be treated equally before the law.

    I respect your right to your Christian faith and for you to marry whom you wish; respect those who may not share that faith, and simple wish to live their lives as they see it.

    That’s why the courts are there, to be the arbiter of divisive issues. Clearly if it was up to the Christian Counsel, gay folks will never be able to live their lives as they see it.

    The court will look at the facts of the case and the laws, and determine what should happen. If all citizens are viewed equally under the law and the constitution, then I see no reason this married couples’ marriage should not be recognized in the BVI.

    As an aside some of you fail to recognize that we remain an oversees territory of the U.K, and that will be for the foreseeable future because many of you do not wish to be independent of the U.K.

    As such, the U.K. will continue to have a say in the affairs of this territory. The COI should have reminded you of that.

    This couples marriage will be recognized, and gay marriage will occur in this territory of the U.K. one day by means of the court. Get use to it.

    Like 20
    • Shakeema says:

      Well said.

      If the politicians have any sense, they would abide by any court decision legalizing gay marriage in the BVI.

      As such, they can simply throw their hands up in the air and avoid any negative backlash from the homophobic community who can then haplessly cast blame at the court.

      Live and Let Live. Love is Love.

      Same sex marriage is legal in the USVI. And frankly nobody there is apoplectic about it.

      Like 4
      Dislike 1
  15. To BVI Future - You need glasses says:

    “The claim to difficulty in obtaining instructions is belied by the fact that as long ago as 10th March 2021 the respondent [AG] was able to indicate that the government intended to oppose the claimants’ claim,” the Judge ruled.

  16. @ To BVI Future-You need glasses says:

    Are you saying that she did not have access to the legal documents that the previous AG had?
    Anyway, same-sex marriage will be legal in the VI in the very near future.

    Like 4
    Dislike 5
  17. Really says:

    “the AG in her current application argued that her chambers have been very busy with the aftermath of the arrest of the former Premier, Andrew Fahie”
    Can someone explain to me what we have to do with that?

  18. Interpretation says:

    God had no talk with you, man or Bible as to what to do in individual’s lives. Get it straight, some man placed that writing so you could run with every principle that man wanted you to follow. Look within you. There you will find your Guide.

  19. Roller Ball says:

    I am concerned that whenever the media posts an article about the Attorney General, it always comes as an impeachment against her character or competency. Indeed these attacks must be personal.

    Like 1
    Dislike 3
  20. BVI, grow up says:

    And lo! thou usest words of the ancients to maketh thy point sound weighty, but I say forsooth, tis naught but the droppings of a vicious bull.
    Note to some church people: using the language that evolved after the King James Bible was translated into English from Latin in the 1600s DOES NOT MAKE YOUR POINT STRONGER.
    Your point is as good or bad as it is, in any language. All this does is show how colonised your mind is, or that you literally think God speaks King James English, which seems unlikely.
    As to your righteous cruelty towards these fellow humans – it tells the rest of us that your high and mighty principles are in fact a tangle of deeply prejudiced, irrational, potentially dangerous hypocrisies.
    The world needs more love. Let these people love in peace!

    Like 11
  21. Only the truth says:

    Is that the same controversial judge that ruled against the esteemed?

    Like 2
    Dislike 5
  22. Justice for children in the BVI born to expatriate says:

    Where is justice for a 12 year old child born of expatriate parents in the BVI … came through the system , pass with honour s to go into ESHS and is currently at home, Denied the right to an education while immigration sought out the fathers extension of time issue ?
    Where is the protection for that child under the provision of the constitution?
    The heartless immigration chief would refused the parent to even write a letter for Education so the child can attend classes while the father status is sorted out .
    How much more heavy handed can this get ?
    Who is protecting the rights of the child to an education?
    Then we talk about historic slavery … Isn’t this present day system ic slavery ? Who is going to be the voice for this child and children in similar situations ?

  23. Rubber Duck says:

    One of the most religious, God spouting , praying on his knees people in these islands was one Andrew Fahie.

    Need more be said?

  24. @Mastic says:

    You have no clue! Please research how a judge is selected and on what basis before you put finger to keyboard.

  25. Young Concerned Citizen says:

    Government are not God either.

  26. Sorry for bvi says:

    Bvi listen to my stupid advise the reason our ancestor reach on this part of the world in the state the came is because the dis obay the most high sonini nanini please bvi dont be like the world u will get what u cant take 400years is here the earth is clensing it self dont be apart of the clensing like the heathen rem acobe trouble think read it not worth ur soul

  27. Anonymous says:

    If communist Caba can legalize gay marriage..why can’t the BVI?

    https://www.vice.com/en/article/g5vwgx/cuba-legalized-same-sex-marriage-adoption

    Like 1
    Dislike 1
  28. EWWWW says:

    FIRE,FIRE, FIRE, HOTTA FIRE, BLOOD FIRE AND MORE FIRE BUN OUT THESE DUTTY GYALS AND ALL DEM SYMPATHIZERS. JUDGEMENT SOON COME TRUST AND BELIEVE.

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