While noting that he predicted the win, Mark Vanterpool said he believe the court ruled in his favour partly because House of Assembly Speaker Julian Willock’s bias was evident.
Vanterpool said he is now ready to be sworn in and to serve residents of the Fourth District.
“I am glad that we are vindicated. It all started in the wrong way, some of it my fault, but I am glad that the court vindicated me and the people of the Fourth District and Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition will be well represented by me,” he said to members of the media moments after the ruling.
He continued: “Obviously the Speaker took a partisan position, and he is not supposed to. He is the Speaker of the House, and he is supposed to be bipartisan, and he did take a partisan approach in calling for a by-election. That was not his role, and it is not what he is supposed to be doing, he is supposed to represent the House on both sides.
“So, obviously he was representing the House against me, and the judge realized that and ruled against him. So I hope that he will take a different position now and we can all get into the House and do the people’s work.”
In the meantime, the member-elect said he was not surprised by the court’s ruling because of the provisions set out in the Virgin Islands Constitution.
“I look forward to doing that (being sworn-in) right away,” he said, adding that he hopes that the “Speaker will move very quickly” to swear him in.
He again apologized to the members of his district for the controversy.
In the meantime, Speaker of the House of Assembly Julian Willock and his legal team refused to speak to BVI News following the ruling.
Notably, the Speaker previously said he would honour any decision made by the court.
The court is set to rule on which party will cover the cost on July 12.
The High Court has ruled in favour of Mark Vanterpool being sworn in as the Fourth District Representative.
Justice Ann-Marie Smith made the ruling inside the building that houses the High Court and the House of Assembly on Thursday, May 2.
She was made to decide on the matter when Vanterpool filed for judicial review after Speaker of the House Julian Willock declined to swear him into the seat.
The controversy started on March 5 after Vanterpool, who won the Fourth District seat, submitted his resignation. After submitting the letter, he was advised that the letter should have been addressed to the Speaker of the House and not the Clerk.
Vanterpool then had a change of heart and requested in a second letter to be sworn-in. However, Willock acknowledged the letter and refused to have Vanterpool sworn-in. Willock said he already accepted the resignation, even after the territory’s Attorney General, as well as the governor, concluded that Vanterpool’s resignation was ‘constitutionally invalid’.
“The purported acceptance of that letter by the Speaker … does not, in the court’s view, create a vacant seat for the Fourth District, especially so in light of the letter from the Clerk of the House of Assembly dated March 13, 2019, and that of Mr Vanterpool’s dated March 14,” the court reasoned said.
However, the Speaker previously said he would honour any decision made by the court.
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