BVI News

Fraser accuses AG of being biased to Speaker, tempers fly in HOA

Fraser, Aziz, Moses-Scatliffe

By Davion Smith, BVI News Staff 

Tempers flew in the House of Assembly on Tuesday when opposition member Julian Fraser suggested that the Attorney General, Baba Aziz, is being influenced by the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Ingrid Moses-Scatliffe, who is allegedly a political candidate on the NDP ticket.

Fraser made that suggestion after Aziz gave his legal opinion, effectively stating that the Speaker can be politically affiliated without being biased.

“A Speaker can be partisan without being partial,” Aziz said. “Afterall, the partisan dimension to the Speakership exists because Speakers are, most often, members of a party,” he added while noting that there is nothing in the Virgin Islands Constitution that forbids a sitting Speaker from becoming a political candidate.

That was when Fraser rose in the House to ask that separate opinion be rendered by an attorney who is not influenced by the NDP, or more specifically, the Speaker.

“Madam Speaker, with all due respect, I do not consider the opinion given by the Attorney General, requested by you, on a matter pertaining to you, to be an independent legal opinion. I believe it’s an opinion rendered on your request and, naturally, what I expected,” Fraser said.

Fraser out of order?

But Speaker Moses-Scatliffe fired back stating that Fraser had ‘crossed the proverbial line’.

“What you are doing is impugning improper motives to the Attorney General who continues to advise the House,” she said while accusing Fraser of “wanting to bring down the credibility of the House”.

She then pointed to her seven-year track record as an impartial Speaker.

She reminded members that the House of Assembly has never moved any motion to have her removed as Speaker on the grounds of impartiality or unethical behaviour.

“As a matter of fact, members from both sides of the aisle have commended me on multiple occasions for how I handled the matters — you in particular as well Honourable member for the Third (Fraser),” an impassioned Moses-Scatliffe said.

She then silenced Fraser and Fahie who were keen to voice their objections in relation to her alleged NDP candidacy while still being permitted to sit as Speaker of the House.

The Speaker declared that she will not entertain any further discussion on the matter and ordered that the legislative business of the House continue.

The House of Assembly has the power to strip a sitting Speaker of his/her title and corresponding constitutional powers.

Copyright 2020 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

45 Comments

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  1. GREAT!! says:

    I love how the Speaker handled herself against those two bullies!

    Like 34
    Dislike 41
    • Haha says:

      It is near impossible to be impartial when her motive for running for election is to ultimately win a seat in the HOA and preferably defeat Fahie and Fraser’s party. It is stupid to even think that she will be contesting the election as a member of NDP and hope that Fraser or Fahie be reelected. If her plan is to defeat both why would anyone expect her to treat them fairly in her capacity as speaker. The AG didn’t say anything unexpected or groundbreaking. What they both are hiding behind is the moral and ethical basis for her to step down. Corporations have a prize giveaway it is normal for them to state that employees or family are excluded. You would never see a referee taking part in a sport where their friend or family is actually performing. The judges for contest are never related to the contestants. The jury cannot sit in a trial for close family or friends. She would never allow this to happen if she was involved in a situation like those mentioned. The circumstances are different if she has already made her intentions clear to run for election. She becomes more than just a speaker of the house. She is now their opponent with a job that directly affects how they are allowed to do their job in the HOA.

      Like 19
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  2. King Kunta says:

    Is this how you are acting with minimal power as speaker?? Imagine if we made the mistake and actually elected you and you got your hands on some real power…God help us all

    Like 52
    Dislike 23
  3. Brad Boynes says:

    Les volle bon Temps rolle.

  4. OK says:

    I wonder if Picko is going to ask Ronnie if according to the media he is recruiting for his new party.

    And how ethical is that for a sitting cabinet member.

    Like 24
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    • @OK says:

      Exactly!!!!!

      Like 8
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    • Truth Sayer says:

      What is unethical about Ronnie or any Legislator forming his or her own party? Please note that any member of the House of Assembly is first and foremost a Legislator elected by the people and some are chosen to be Ministers hence members of the Cabinet. The constitution does not bar any of them from organizing his or her own party.

      It is amazing how we see some things as unethical and turn a blind eye to others. Ho about persons confirming how they were paid to vote a certain way; how about picking our friends to give out contracts without following standard procedures; and the list could go on and on. He that is without sin cast the first stone!

      Like 6
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    • well says:

      Ronnie would give him an honest answer and scold him privately. When you know you wont get it privately ask the question publicly.

  5. resident says:

    she is biased

    Like 38
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  6. dude says:

    Her fate has been sealed.

    Like 24
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  7. Reply says:

    Not at all surprised by Attorney General, Baba Baba Aziz opinion. Predicted he would come to a similar conclusion on this matter last week.

    IMO, these members were and are grasping at straws. They got their drawers all twisted in knots based on a rumor. Even if it turns out to be true, the fact is the Speaker did not declare her intention.

    Even if she did, the Attorney General went even further than I expected in opining that the Speaker can be politically affiliated without being biased.

    The irony here is that the Deputy Premier who raised this issue never complained about her performance before despite she was selected by his government.

    As the Speaker pointed out, no one to date has brought cause of impartiality against her before. Rather, both sides has commended her on the performance of her duties previously.

    They threw a hissy fit based on a rumor and their own ulterior motives. She had a right to shut them down.

    If she does decide to run for office, and some people don’t wish to vote for her, they have that right, but it’s presumptive to think that because she may be interested in contesting future election, that she will be automatically bias in her rulings.

    Gentlemen, have a seat…all three of you who raised this issue. Have manners cat behavior. Find something else to get up in arms about.

    Next!

    Like 26
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    • Ok says:

      Now that a news site has announced that the Minister of Health may be forming his own party, does the Deputy Premier not think that this is unethical? Sitting Cabinet member and still a member of NDP and ‘reported’ to be forming his own party? I mean, he got upset because the speaker was ‘reported’ to be an NDP candidate?

      Like 19
      Dislike 10
      • Reply says:

        Good question. I doubt we would hear him express his discomfort with that news. Bunch of hypocrites.

        Whats good for the goose should be good for the gander. Their motives is as plain as glass to me. Good the Speaker stood her ground.

        Make no mistake, there is more to their sudden objection to the Speaker than meets the eye. Time will reveal their true motive. Count on it.

        Like 20
        Dislike 4
    • Kinte says:

      Everyone of us is biased. Being biased is not a problem. Acting on those biases is when it becomes a problem.
      It’s hard never to never be biased. BUT an honest and good person would not if placed in a position of determining a winner help one side over another but instead let them win on there own merits.

      The speaker ofthe house should enforce the rules equally for everyone. Whether they themselves will run for an office..IF THEY are an ethical person they can still do there job fairly.

      • Reasoning says:

        @ Kinte, and may I ask, where does one obtain a degree in Ethics? By becoming a Monk? a Pope? a Bishop?. Jesus Christ would have degreed Ethician. If you provide an infallible source, I’ll find you the $7.2 milion Doc gave away to the 1=plane airline…and the $40-million overrun on Tortola Pier Park. I’ll even throw in completion of the expense to complete said pier park for Free

  8. the public says:

    If it turns out that she is NOT a candidate, then I will tip my hat to her as one of the best local diplomats ever seen. I will also not like to take her on in a poker game.

    Like 14
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  9. Skylar says:

    If she wasn’t biased she would of simply answer the question long time. But being an NDP she want to prolong her actions. I will not vote for that kind of attitude, matter of fact am not voting. To many lies

    Like 22
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    • OH says:

      Why aren’t they asking Ronnie, a sitting Minister in cabinet if it’s true what he is doin?

      Like 11
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      • O says:

        They have enough votes to remove Ronnie from where he is. His simple simple…the speaker if she’s running needs to do the right ethical thing and step down. Ronnie does not have authority over both sides of the House of Assembly.

  10. Sam the man says:

    Since when did the house recently have any credibity – under the No Direction Party the House is to be honest an embarrassment of procrastination and ineptitude but we all know that!

    Like 10
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  11. I don't understand says:

    I don’t understand what the issue is. Everyone knows the speaker is selected based on the recommendation of the winning party. What’s the difference now. The NDP selected her. She’s always been NDP. Now if she wants to run on their party ticket what’s the issue. She wasn’t selected by the VIP, she was selected by Pickering and the NDP gang and they now have a problem with her on their ticket, allegedly. Gimme a break!

    Like 23
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    • BV says:

      Run Ingrid and don’t mind the noise .

      Like 9
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    • Me neither says:

      EXACTLY!

      Like 6
      Dislike 3
    • What Time Is It? says:

      @ I don’t understand, the speaker being selected by the NDP, only means that the opposition side is only 2 members strong; (or weak); which by itself is a recipe for lack of proper representation. Consider the fact that the opposition is there to lookout for the country and people’s best interest as much as the government side. By the sheer numbers of government and the opposition’s meager numbers, true representation isn’t possible. Adding a speaker that is on the same side as the government further empowers the government side and weakens the opposition. Is it any wonder that we we are faced with unlikely situation we find ourselves? What benefit is there for a speaker who might also have political ambition, and in this case, running under the ruling party’s banne impartiality?. It benefits her of course to run the house in a manner that benefits her party. The benefits to the government can include members not having to answer questions if they don’t care to, or give obscure answers without her insistence for clarity; motions might not reach the house. What is there to prevent a speaker from being bias or impartial; especially in a situation with a weak opposition and a grossly outnumbered government side? Because he/she she goes to church on Sundays and sings in the choir ?

      Like 5
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      • You Missing the Point says:

        The Speaker has always been NDP but you can be party affiliated and still be impartial and fair in your job. Her possible intention to run doesn’t affect that. Plus an opposition of one is still an opposition. If you have an objection, state it no matter your party size

  12. BVI Blogger says:

    The speaker should not have been the speaker for this sitting of the house and another acting speaker should have been appointed. therein lies the conflict. in any case…if the AG said the other minister’s contract wasn’t a contract when in fact it was a contract (albeit oral or by a course of dealing and not written) then did you expect him to find that it was improper for what is going on now??!! Please do the maths…

    Like 9
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    • Lodger says:

      Whenever the speaker is not present a deputy speaker is appointed and presides. That deputy speaker will be a member of the house and therefore a member of one party or the other. Whoever it is must have the understood integrity that they have to act in an unbiased way in order to carry out the duty of speaker. Hence as the AG found out, it is impossible for anyone to be unbiased and everyone is free to support whom they choose. The only exception would be the sacking of a member of a party, by their party, or their own resignation from their party, and/or with or without also resigning their seat. It seems like Hon Fraser may be in this position and maybe others who are thinking of forming their own parties.
      Interesting times!

  13. HoA says:

    the House should move to get another speaker…there might be enough votes for that.

    Like 4
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  14. Wendy says:

    Well sah,she impress me good today.She is no shrinking daffodill,she hot fire ,confident and mek Fraser and the other bullwhip look like mud. NDP for me all the way but would vote for her no matter what category of P. We need women like her to represent we,yessirree.

    Like 13
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    • @Wendy says:

      Amen to that.

      Like 8
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    • For realz says:

      Wellll, LOL, sipping my red wine, Fraser and his crew decide to test the water to see if it was hot,warm or cold. Bet they found what temperature it was today.

      Like 9
      Dislike 5
      • What Time Is It? says:

        The Speaker could portray her apparent confidence only because she and also the b—-d AG are on the same team.
        Imagine had she suggested her cased be ruled on by a neutral legal mind; let’s say Dancia or Fararah. And imagine that in addition to the question of whether or not her running and (sitting at the same time) is constitutional, other concerns such as Perception, the perception of the voting public was taken into account.
        She knew the outcome even b4 suggesting that the AG give an opinion n the situation. Therefore she had time to think and prepare her response.

        Like 1
        Dislike 1
        • Rumours says:

          Lawd have mercy on our people, they read not; they reason not, they listen not. If you want to remove the speaker, bring a Motion. There is no legal standing for Picko’s ranting. I thought better of Fraser and Fahie; they are both unaware of the Constitution and all the other Legal Sources that Baba quoted. Well researched opinion. A lot more need to be silenced with their rumors that they are purporting as facts. At the end of the day, don’t fight with a corrected legal position. There is no other opinion needed from Farara and others. The AG is there to advise the house. If you don’t like it, appeal to the High Court for judicial review.

  15. Clearly says:

    I am disappointed with the Speaker. She is abusing her powers.

    Like 12
    Dislike 16
  16. Jaigon says:

    No one expected the AG to come up with any other opinions. What a political puppet. All wrong will one day come to light. Pico had stated that in law, he cannot come up with anything to prevent the speaker from being a candidate but morally and ethically it’s wrong and that is the whole crux of the matter. Talking about impartiality, everyone in the BVI knows and have seen the biasness of the speaker in the HOA over the years.

    Like 13
    Dislike 6
  17. Political Observer (PO) says:

    In previous blogs, I have opined that the AG was not needed to provide an opinion on whether the Speaker could serve as Speaker and run for political office at the same time. The Speaker knows whether she is running or not running. And if she is running, she needs to vacate the speakership. Further, even if policy allows the the Speaker to serve as Speaker while competiting for office, she should do the ethical and right thing and step aside if she is running.

    Anyway it is an open secret that the AG would have provided the opinion that was given. Nonetheless, any AG’s opinion should be based on law. However, the AG’s opinion wandered outside legal boundaries. The AG states, “A Speaker can be partisan without being partial,” Really! This sounds like something from George Orwel’s Classic: Animal Farm. What law was this opinion based on? The opinion creates the perception that there is partisanship.

    Like 15
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    • @PO says:

      Stop the f**kry! The AG also said the Speaker is always chosen by the ruling party and always technically ‘partisan’ but doesn’t necessarily have to be ‘partial’. You all does come on here acting bright because you can string a few words together and reach 5 paragraphs but lately you are just spewing hogwash. The AG said what most sensible people have been saying. NDP appointed her as Speaker and like she said today, if they want her removed they know how to do it. The ruling party always chooses the Speaker and always gets the benefit of it, there’s nothing new there. NDP put her there and perhaps she wants to run for NDP next election. Until she says that the whole thing is a waste of time and space.

      Like 14
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  18. Me says:

    Madam speaker my stand ur ground.I was most respectful,professional,honest to show ur colors to the likes.No love lost just being just .

    Like 1
    Dislike 5
  19. Oh lord! says:

    That place is a hot mess and it ain’t just because of the hurricanes’ destruction, not because of the external bullies but because of the retarded people in that country. A country whose strength was once founded in the wisdom of its people and leaders is now nothing more than a hot mess because of no one else but its jokey leaders. Now Baba, you and I both know that your opinion is wrong. You chose to be safe rather than sorry, something our courageous leaders past would not have done. Speaker of the NDP, I also thought you were bias. How can you rule on a debate that involves you and your conflicting interest. Isn’t that in itself a conflict? Thank you Dr Pickering for being Courageous and questioning that lady’s intentions you being an NDP member yourself. That’s exactly my point, our true bvi leaders are about standing up for what is right, regardless of sides. I have found a new respect for you. The only way bvi will ever be strong again is if we remember the ethics that our past leaders taught us and learn from them. That is the ONLY way.

    Like 5
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    • Point says:

      If she knows she’s running do the honorable thing and step down. It is that simple. You all continue on; full power lies in the hands of the people in a few months.

      Like 6
      Dislike 3
  20. Interested says:

    Ingrid,you go girl,With you all the way.

    Like 6
    Dislike 6
  21. Not interested says:

    You know you lie,Ingrid is a perfect h–.dear god please help this woman to act like h—- b—- to people.thank you god.

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