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Fraser proposes for BVI to have two parliamentary Houses as part of constitutional review

Senior Opposition legislator Julian Fraser has said he believes the British Virgin Islands should adopt a bicameral system of government which would consist of a House of Assembly (the Lower House) as well as a seven-member Senate (the Upper House).

While House of Assembly members are elected by the general public, Senate members are nominated, as is the case with the Speaker of the House. 

Fraser, however, said he would want all members of the Senate to be elected as he does not believe in legislators being appointed by an individual.

The senior legislator gave the proposal of having a Senate while debating the long-awaited Constitutional Review in the House of Assembly on Monday, July 27.

He said as the territory advances towards self-determination, it should have a bicameral system which would bring a higher level of transparency in the legislative process in the BVI.

“Our legislation should be in a position to reflect what it will be upon self-determination. You have to start preparing yourself for these things, and as it seems the preferred method for moving into self-determination with our legislator is with a bicameral legislature,” Fraser stated.

“One of the guide principals and shining lights of any law-making body which is the legislature is transparency and variety. What a second House would do is give a second look, a different legislation, and opinions because it varies and coming from a second source it makes stronger legislation.”

Proposed make up of system

Fraser, who seconded the motion for the debate into a Constitutional Review, gave a proposal for how he believes the bicameral system would work in the BVI.

“This is very easy to achieve, all we need to do is, we need to break the BVI up into three sections – eastern, central and western. There are nine districts. Districts Seven, Eight and Nine — east; Six, Five, Four — central; Three, Two, and One — west,” he stated.

“Each of those districts – eastern, central and western – will return two to the senate for six members of the Senate, and the seventh senator will be elected between Jost Van Dyke and Anegada. You’ll have a seven-member Senate and the mechanics of how the senate and the House of Assembly works can be worked out,” he explained.

Fraser further outlined how the system would work during the process of passing legislation.

He said: “A Bill passed through the House of Assembly goes to the Senate and the Senate rejects it, ok. The House either works on the amendments to settle with the Senate, or they sit on it for a year and bring it back and it passes.”

Don’t be discouraged

Fraser also urged the members of government not to be discouraged in pursuing such an unprecedented move as the BVI is not too small for such an undertaking.

“Right now we have a unicameral system, we wouldn’t be the first OT (Overseas Territory) to have a bicameral system. It exists in Bermuda, and don’t let anyone convince you that we are too small.”

“The very United Kingdom with 60 million people has a parliament that’s 630 members strong. The United States got 330 million people and they have a House of Representatives of 420 people and they have a Senate of 100. So don’t let anyone tell you that we are too small,” he stated.

The BVI last underwent a Constitutional Review in 2007, which is now more than three years overdue as the Constitution legally requires for a review every 10 years.

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19 Comments

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  1. Well sah says:

    Small bvi want to do everything

    Like 13
    Dislike 1
    • Really says:

      These people sit in the air conditioned offices all day long trying to scheme their way into anything that puts them and their cronies into high paying jobs where the only thing they do is try and figure out how to get their hands on the money in the government coffers. Instead how about all these people including Foy show the people what they are doing for the high salaries they collect. Here’s a new scheme. How about all government elected politicians provide a financial statement so the public can see the millions they hide. Now that would be something to see.

      Like 11
  2. Full Works says:

    Frazer failed to mention establishing a nuclear submarine base at East End as part of the B V I strategic defence force to protect the political classes

    Like 27
    Dislike 1
  3. BS! says:

    A whole new set of salaries and not a lick of work done between them. No sah, we can not afford this at all, at all at all.

    Like 35
    • Caribbean Girl says:

      Nonsense. BVI is a small territory and there is no need for that. It will cost Taxpayers, too much more money to sustain it. The ones there do little already. Don’t need another set.

      Like 17
  4. BVI says:

    Nonsense, is all I have to say to this

    Like 20
  5. Meh Son says:

    Thats not necessary. Thats another class of politicians catering to their own interest (read spending more money to get elected) and they would add nothing to the process of governance. There are many uni-caramel legislative systems worldwide that works just fine. This has served the BVI for years. If its not broke then dont’ fix it.

    Like 21
  6. free advice says:

    WE NEED TO GET RID OF THE 4 USELESS AT LARGES…LET US MAKE THE PREMIER ALONE AT LARGE AND LET THE DISTRICT REPRESENTATIVES TO REMAIN

    Like 23
    Dislike 1
  7. hog city says:

    A new idea is always great depends on who it is coming from but they will shoot it down just because it came from fraser

    Like 4
    Dislike 12
  8. Concerned says:

    Would be helpful if he provided his views on the benefits of a bicarmeral system vs. unicameral. SMH

  9. increment says:

    pay public servants their increment.. we back to square 1 . 4 years behind…damn it.

    Like 8
    Dislike 3
  10. well says:

    Waste of time and money

    Like 14
  11. BuzzBvi says:

    Fraser looking how he can keep getting paid when out of this position. Jobs for life for the old boys!!

    Like 10
  12. the watcher says:

    absolute and total nonsense…anyone who actually listened to this speech on the radio would think he was making it up as he went along….”we are not too small”…so let me mention two huge countries as support for my argument!!

  13. E. Leonard says:

    Not averse to the VI moving from a unicameral to a bicameral system. However, the change must enhance the VI political status, enhance governing and yield fruit for the public good.

    Bermuda, a sister 21 square mile OT, has a bicameral legislature. No need to reinvent the wheel. Review and benchmark Bermuda. In any event for such a major change, the people should get the opportunity to vote on the change through a referendum.

  14. Reds. says:

    The roads from Belle vue going East End needs fixing. Money spending for palm trees to look pretty when the roads are dangerous. Fix the roads and stop wasting our tax money. We work hard for this money for you to be wasting it do nonsense.

  15. Islandgirl says:

    Wait, why stop at 2 houses. Why not go one better than the UK or US and go tricameral? We could have the biggliest house of representatives per capital in the world.

  16. Concerned says:

    While I respect Honourable Fraser’s opinion, his proposal is a Waste of time. The BVI is a small territory and independence is no where in sight.

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