BVI News

Disgraceful: Only 4 members are on time whenever HOA sits

A total of 13 legislators usually make up the House of Assembly but, typically, no more than four are present for any of the scheduled start times of parliamentary proceedings, Speaker of the House of Assembly Ingrid Moses-Scatliffe has reported.

These absentee legislators seldom, if ever, include the Opposition which, before this week, only comprised two members — Andrew Fahie and Julian Fraser.

The Speaker of the House has described this as a stark disrespect on the part of the previous 11-member Dr D Orlando Smith-led government.

She said even though notice of House of Assembly meetings is typically given several days in advance, “persons” continue to schedule other events on the day that sittings are slated to happen.

“They continue to invite members to the events on the day and [at] the same start time of the sitting. But, worse, some members go to the events. So, if members go to the events, why should anybody (members of the public) tune in to listen or even come to [parliamentary proceedings]?. The sad thing is I have to sit here, the staff has to sit here, the media people come expecting to report, the public tunes in to their radio, a lot of the elderly stick to ZBVI [radio] waiting. That, for me, is most embarrassing. Words fail me because I have an issue with it — a serious issue,” the noticeably upset Speaker told members of the House on Tuesday.

Premier among the culprits

The very thing she was complaining about happened that same day with government leader Dr Smith being among the culprits. While he agreed with the Speaker and offered what could be considered a plausible explanation for his tardiness this time ’round, Speaker Moses-Scatliffe has still underscored how the situation has become common practice.

“I’ve spoken about it several times before till I stopped talking and its really a disservice to the House, to myself, to yourselves as members, to the public … We have no respect for what we call the highest institution in the territory,” she said. “Albeit you’re all fully aware of the sitting times and the commencement date for the sitting, we still continue to take it secondary or third or even fourth and the lesser things [get] prioritised.”

“I have at every sitting and at every informal meeting had to apologise for the delay in the start of the proceedings due to not having a quorum (the minimum number of legislators that must be present to begin a sitting) to start at the designated time. This is a situation that quite frankly has become untenable as members are fully aware of their duties to the House of Assembly.

According to local policy, the quorum of the House must consist of at least seven members, besides the person presiding over the sitting.

Lengthy delays causing rushed HOA proceedings

Moses-Scatliffe spoke on the issue after it was highlighted in a formal letter of complaint from Opposition Leader Fahie.

“Members have to come and do the people’s work. That is why under the ‘Other Business’ [segment] (when members have the opportunity to make any statements they may have on any unscheduled matters) you hear me get angry when I hear that we have five minutes or ten minutes [to speak] because we are here sitting down for an hour and change, sometimes more, and then when it gets late, then we have to speed up the finish. So, the people’s business has to be sped up,” Fahie said on Tuesday.

“Say what you want about Fraser and I but we are always here.”

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22 Comments

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  1. 50 Cent says:

    No sort of respect and disclipline what so ever but yet these are the people who suppose to be making sure the country is running smoothly, but could never show up in time to do the people’s work. Get the Strap!!!!

    Like 15
    • Full Disclosure says:

      Would the Governor please assist us in having the government disclose their annual compensation? Anyone object to that?

      Show us the money!

      Like 4
      Dislike 1
  2. Norman says:

    It just shows you how serious they are about doing the “people’s work”. I can bet you when money is there to steal they will all be early. The only solution is to fine them $2,000 each time they are late, for no good reason such as a medical emergency or overseas business for the Territory.

    Like 16
    Dislike 2
  3. ndp heckler says:

    We will soon clean the house, most of the culprits will be gone after election

  4. missing in action says:

    Some of these politicians have to make sure their businesses get the daily attention first. Government business comes last it seems

    Like 13
    Dislike 1
  5. good idea says:

    Let’s re-elect these 4 and get rid of all the rest

    Like 6
    Dislike 1
  6. Albion says:

    It’s a disgrace. Their only job is to represent the voting public in the House, but they cannot even be bothered to turn up on time to do that.

    The Speaker should publish the names of all those who show up late, or who are completely absent from House sittings. Show the public how much those politicians REALLY care about the people and addressing the country’s problems.

    Like 15
    Dislike 1
  7. Gandalf says:

    That is because they have absolutely NO RESPECT at all! These are the representatives of our people, our youth sees this, and deems it acceptable behaviors. I am absolutely disgusted by these politicians. Lead by example and your country will follow. Instead you abuse your privileges, and the honour of our very House. I find his stunning. If you can’t police yourselves how can you run this country. Our home is a hurting, do your damn jobs we voted you in for to do! Set of jacka$$.

  8. Reply says:

    I bet none of these no-shows ever fail to pick up their checks. This is beyond disgraceful. It’s willful neglect in conducting the peoples business… the job they were elected to do.

    If they cannot do their jobs, they should just resign. If not, they should be held accountable at the polls.

  9. Political Observer (PO) says:

    Disgraceful, shameful indeed, putting it mildly. Total disrespect of the PEOPLE and the Honorable House. This despicable action is a clearly example of legislators putting self interest over public interest. The habitual offenders owe the PEOPLE an apology for their disrespect. Are they late in collecting their pay? No.

    Leadership matters and a leader has to set the personal example. If the Premier is late, of course, other caucus members see no problem with being habitually and shamefully late. Nonetheless, we the electorate are keeping copious notes on legislators performance and behaviour and on Election Day the poor performers will be kicked to the curb. In the mean time, legislators need to meet/fulfill their responsibilities, respect the PEOPLE, respect the job and show up for work on time, a tiempo.

    Like 12
  10. True says:

    The inability of some members to be punctual is irksome; what perturbs me more is to see some of the members in the house, during sittings, seemingly representing the people who voted them in, but slouching on the couch like Uncle Grandpa.

  11. Eagle eye says:

    Fine them behind and they will be on time all the time

  12. Territory Wide says:

    This lack of respect for people’s time is a problem territory wide. It’s sad that it starts at the top….

    • So true says:

      So true, but then again with their help and under their ‘watchful’ eyes we have built a reputation for ourselves – ‘Anything goes in the BVI.’

  13. who are the faithful 4 says:

    Please tell us who the faithful 4 are, so we can happily get rid of the rest.

  14. Musa bettermusa says:

    Bette late Dan news

  15. Hah says:

    Another reason why the NDP must go at any and all cost. Imagine telling your boss that your will be late because you are attending a party. They have no respect for you, me, their colleagues or themselves.

  16. Voice says:

    No respect for the people, institution or themselves. This shows that they seek political office just to spend the people’s money for their own interest. They must be made accountable for their actions.

  17. Let's be real says:

    It is a cultural thing. Not just people of the government are late. Everybody is always late for everything.

    Perhaps everybody should have a good look in the mirror. Only blame others for being late if you are always on time yourself. I am pretty sure there are not many who can honestly say they are any better than the HOA members.

  18. DLA says:

    I take it that the rest of the members have real work to do (:-)

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