BVI News

Fahie administration accused of flouting VI Constitution with treatment of curfew orders

Senior Opposition legislator in the House of Assembly, Julian Fraser, is accusing the Andrew Fahie administration of flouting the constitution in relation to how it went about imposing curfew orders.

Fraser criticised the government for imposing the curfew orders without bringing it before the House of Assembly sooner. It’s been three weeks since the first order was imposed.

The senior legislator said while he was not objecting to the curfew, he must impress on the government that rules of law must be followed.

“No one is telling the executive that what they are doing is unnecessary. No one is telling them that they shouldn’t do it but there are protocols … You have to come to the House of Assembly with these things in order to get the blessings of this government,” Fraser argued.

He said four curfew orders were made leading up to Thursday’s sitting of the House and each one has the same stipulations attached to it – bring it before the legislature.

“Maybe I wouldn’t feel the way I feel right now if it was only one. So that’s why I am holding the government’s feet to the fire on this particular issue,” said the Opposition legislator, who represents the Third Electoral District.

What the constitution says on the matter

Citing Section 27(8) of the Virgin Islands Constitution (which speaks to provisions for periods of public emergency), Fraser argued that when the governor makes a proclamation, a copy of the proclamation shall “as soon as practicable be laid before and debated in the House of Assembly”.

And if the House is not due to meet within five days of the making of such proclamation, “it shall meet as soon as practicable possible or as soon thereafter”.

Section 27(8) of the Virgin Islands Constitution speaks to provisions for periods of public emergency

“’Practicable’ has to be reasonable as well,” Fraser argued. “Can we accept for that proclamation that was made on March 27 – that was the first one that came out – how many weeks have passed since that date? And, here we are today, several weeks after, where the Minister (the Premier) read the proclamation in the House of Assembly and we are trying to walk away from here without debating it. It cannot work. It doesn’t work that way.”

Fraser said the legislature needs to function and the executive (government) needs to be reminded of it.

“Having a curfew is no simple matter. It’s huge because what you are doing under this emergency; you are restricting what is constitutionally right under normal circumstances which are civil liberties. So these orders are not the executives alone,” he argued.

Fraser gets support

Opposition legislator Melvin Mitch Turnbull, who also spoke on the issue, said Fraser’s “points are all valid”.

Fraser’s statements came immediately after Premier Fahie laid five old and new statutory instruments (legislation) for the Imposition of Curfew Orders during Thursday’s sitting of the House.

Government’s latest curfew order

For government’s latest order, Premier Fahie announced that a new 14-day curfew would be put in place for from 6:01 am on Thursday, April 16, to 6 am on Thursday, April 30.

For April 16 and 17, the order will operate similarly to the 24-ongoing hour lockdown. However, from April 19 to June 1, a night-time curfew commencing from 7 pm to 6 am would be imposed.

The territory initially went through a six-day curfew, followed by three days where residents were allowed a limited time to stock up on supplies before entering a full lockdown for 14 days.

This ongoing lockdown comes to an end on Sunday.

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  1. Longshanks says:

    I completely agree with Fraser on this (a rare thing).

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  2. Eagle eye says:

    Fraser is the leader of the opposition now since that the suppose to be leader is currently over on the other side for the time being.

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  3. Nick says:

    Relax fraser,have another drink.

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  4. Strupps says:

    Frazer trying to stay relevant. His time is passed. Doesn’t come to the House with Solutions. He comes to nitpick.

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  5. Dunce says:

    Fraser, you a d***e owa?
    There was no declaration of a State of Emergency. The Government is operating under the Public Health Ordinance, the Quarantine Act and the Infectious Diseases (Notification) Act. There was no proclamation of emergency.
    You need to close your mouth and open your ears.

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    • No says:

      The government is operating under the Curfew Act 2017 which sets out the same thing as the constitution. Neither the Quarantine Act or the Infectious Diseases Act make provision for a curfew, particularly the Quarantine Act only relates to persons travelling to the Territory, whether in transit, visitor, or otherwise.

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  6. Muff says:

    Hon Fraser never came forward with suggestions for how to deal with this whole situation, is it that his suggestions are not welcome? Hon Fraser need to stop opposing for opposing sake or he probably doesn’t understand the scope of this pandemic. I honestly thank premier Fahie and his team for doing the best thing to protect the lives of the people of the BVI. No disrespect Hon Fraser but sometimes you just need to listen if you don’t have anything constructive to say…

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  7. smh says:

    And that is what he has to contribute to the entire crisis, really.

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  8. MeeeR. says:

    I very rarely agree with Fraser on anything,but in this instance I see the point. Regardless of the situation, certain protocols must be adhered to. When we let small things fall through the cracks no sooner or later we may be unable to prevent larger ones down the road. In the US what do you thinkTrump was allowed certain latitudes and now look at the situation.. He is practically unstoppable in anything he does

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  9. Foxy says:

    Fraser outdated the law gives permission for curfew and it had no other time to make the house

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  10. Quiet Rebel says:

    Though the Hon Julian Fraser (D3), former leader of VIP, may have an axe to grind, on this issue he is on point. Clearly, by his own words, he is not averse to emergency curfews being put place but just rightly asking that the constitution be followed. IMO there is nothing wrong with this. The imposed curfews impacted some civil liberties so the agenda items should have brought to HOA sooner. The HOA plays a vital role in effective governing; it is more than a potted plant.

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  11. People Rights says:

    If there weren’t any pass legislation how can some be charged for breaking a law that was never passed?

    That’s violating some one’s constitutional rights and it’s wrong. The police tase 2 people unconstitutionally and should be sued for such. In the BVl anything goes and it’s wrong. It had no legislation to support the curfew that was imposed and the entire community were imprisoned in they home wrongfully because they weren’t no legislation to support such and the said time.

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  12. :) says:

    Fraser has a valid point but when it comes to something like this the rules have to be bent a bit to save a life. Think of it like when somebody is dying you’re not going to drive within the speed limit or follow every protocol. You will go as fast as you can to try to save a life. If the 3 infected were allowed to mingle and the curfew and restrictions were not in place with small size of the island and limited resources this could have been a disaster. Italy and NY got a lot of options to do everything and the virus still spread wide and quickly like wrong news. We got only 3 main supermarkets that all 30,000 of us shop at that’s a lot of interactions. I would prefer it be done outside protocol than not at all.

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  13. BuzzBvi says:

    I with others. Never a fan of Fraser but he I think is thinking right on this one. He is also helping the Government. If it is not done properly even though it is the right thing to do it opens up a future for others to not follow protocol when they are doing something wrong and get away with it. Good job I think. And fantastic job done by the Gov and all in the house of assembly at this time. Don’t agree with it all and a lot is not quite right but not sure any would get this right. But we do need integrity. Thanks. Gov and Gov. Great job!

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  14. Just saying says:

    Fahie is quick to save lives Fraser is slow to save laws

  15. ReX FeRaL says:

    Everyone need to stay to h**l home. Let’s be civil and disciplined now.

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