BVI News

Governor backs from D4 confusion, won’t get involved unless seat ‘clearly vacant’

Governor Augustus Jaspert

As House of Assembly Speaker Julian Willock and representative-elect for the Fourth District Mark Vanterpool remain at loggerheads on whether Vanterpool should be sworn into office or whether a by-election should be held, Governor Augustus Jaspert is staying out of it — at least for the time being.

As governor, Jaspert is constitutionally the only person with the authority to call a by-election. But, he told members of the media on Friday that he will only issue a writ for a by-election if he is formally notified that the seat is vacant.

“At the moment we haven’t formally gotten to a point where I have received a formal indication for me to move forward with a by-election,” the governor said.

He said such a notification typically comes from the Speaker of the House, Willock, who so happens to be one of the feuding parties in the ongoing matter.

Advice being sought from Attorney General

The confusion began when Vanterpool submitted a letter addressed to the Clerk of the House outlining that he wished to resign. But the constitution says such a letter must be addressed to the Speaker. However, there was none at the time Vanterpool submitted the letter.

By the time the House appointed Willock as Speaker, Vanterpool changed his mind. Willock, however, contends that he has already accepted Vanterpool’s resignation, notwithstanding it being wrongly addressed.

Governor Jaspert said he is now seeking advice from Attorney General Baba Aziz.

“The attorney general is looking at this issue, is looking at the constitution and the laws of the territory, and will advise me accordingly,” the governor said.

For the time being, the governor maintains that “any issues for Honourable Vanterpool are issues for himself to answer but also importantly, any matters for the House are matters for the House to [handle]”.

Below are a few responses the governor gave in relation to the matter in question

Can you say at this point whether there will be a by-election?

Governor Jaspert: It’s up to me to issue a writ for a by-election. There will only be a by-election when I am formally notified of a vacant seat in the House.

Formally notified by whom?

Governor Jaspert: The process is the seat has to become vacant and then I am notified by the Speaker.

Is a seat vacant at this point?

Governor Jaspert: At the moment, I haven’t been formally notified of any vacancy.

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46 Comments

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  1. VOTER says:

    WRONG PEOPLE OR NOT THE MAN SEND IN HIS RESINGNATION LETTER. WHERE IN ANY ELECTION YOU HEAR SOME ONE DID THAT. MR GOVERNOR THIS IS THE SAME PERSON SAID HE WILL NOT BE SEEKING A SEAT IN THE ELECTION. HE SEEK THE SEAT AND WON THEN HE SENT IN HIS RESINGNATION TO THE WRONG PERSON THEN HE CHANGE HIS. THIS FILP FLOP HE IS DOING HAVE MORE TO IT GET THIS MAN OUT IT IS NOT IN THE BEST INTREST OF THIS PLACE. IT IS A D**N SHAME WHAT HE IS DOING.

    Like 38
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    • obvious says:

      From my interpretation of the governor’s response the matter is sorted. Note he said “I haven’t been formally notified of any vacancy.” this means there was no formal notice of resignation. Therefore Mark keeps his seat

      Like 43
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      • Read it again says:

        Go back and read. The governor needs a formal notification from the Speaker. Guess who that is! LOL

        Like 30
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        • HRMPH says:

          The speaker needs to be fired.

          Like 10
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        • Call Me Ismael says:

          All the Speaker has to do is send official letter to the Gov.

          Vaterpool’s change of heart came too late. He provided the proper notice to the clerk in the absence of a speaker. This was the proper course of action to take. Once the speaker was appointed he acknowledged Vanterpool’s resignation.

          If Vaterpool wants to run for relection, he should not be permitted to do so without first reimbursing the cost of the government to hold the by-election and apologizing to us for his flip flopping.

          And if he runs for re-election he must explain why he and Orlando didn’t conduct any due dillence on the $900,000.00 consulting contract he signed last month with the firm from St Lucia.

          Like 5
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    • Go Sid dun says:

      The man found a loophole while been bombarded by people who supported him after sending in his letter and decided to take the opportunity to go back to represent them. I am upset that he left in the first place but if the governor had warn him not to run again he would have call the bielections longtime ago.

    • sam the man says:

      I am wise to Mr Vanterpool’s charade here – it’s “all about me first, party second and country third” Play a tactical game and see if the personal terms improve,when they do, agree to change your mind! pretty obvious there’s plenty we don’t know about going on behind the scenes.Some of the No Direction Party have practised this for years (not suggesting that other parties have been immune to this either) however certain sheep in wolves clothing will sway with the wind and join any party to advance their own aggrandisement….think Mitch for a moment also…nuf said

  2. Simple says:

    This headline wreaks of wanting to stir more confusion. Why not present the facts and leave it there? The facts sensational enough. Governor backs from D4 confusion?! Well he has a right. That’s internal politics and as he said he acts only on the constitution and the law of the land.

    Like 13
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  3. Let us take to the Streets says:

    Mark has disrespected the people of the 4th District and the Territory at Large. I say let us take to the streets to show him he is not welcomed in our House. He cares not for our country but only about self gain.

    WE SHOULD ALL BOYCOTT HIS STORES!!!

    Are we strong enough to send him a message that we are “Tired and Fed UP”?

    I am calling on those that organized the Beneficial Ownership March, the likes of John Cline, Ayana Hull and others to come forward and lead this charge.

    Like 34
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    • Hush says:

      Take to the streets and march for what!!!!! BVI people memory short, I am not condoning how he went about the whole thing but give Jack his jacket, Mark has given and done much for the people of the 4th district.

      Mark that’s the way you will keep your profits in your business now. Always with their hands outstretched and so ungrateful.

      Like 30
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      • Anonymous says:

        Done what??? Push a few dollars in your hands?? With all the s**t spewing in town’s sewerage. Aluminum poles bent out of shape since Irma. No beautification in town since Irma until now that VIP got in. The schools dtill not repaired and the list goes on. Sorry, putting it in your p@c?ets don’t count.

        Like 11
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    • March-later says:

      Save your strength for “flagging” out people with march. Save the March for the day the UK said their citizens must have belongership, the same as I and my forefathers who took whips in this land.

      We shall not march, but we shall “kick-up.”

      Like 17
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    • Online Now says:

      Grow up!

      Like 10
  4. Higher Power says:

    He is a subject/subordinate of the general manager so he has to carry out the strict instructions given.

    Like 5
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  5. So tell me says:

    We need to get legal advise on what is the consequence for someone that deliberately misses the swearing of the Members of the House of Assembly. I was present and Mark Vanterpool was not there. Did the Clerk or Speaker receive a notice of absence from Mr. Vanterpool?

    We need to exhaust all viable options to have this man thrown out of our House!

    We demand RESPECT!

    Like 22
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    • @So tell me says:

      Did you vote for him? If not, you have to do like I am doing and be quiet. He is a l******c, but the people of the Fourth District put him there. Unless you can find each one of them to take him out, he probably stays. The democratic process of privately voting for an individual is sacred and cannot be undone easily without major consequences. Obviously Hon. Vanterpool is not really interested in being the Representative for the Fourth, but the process of a general election has to remain unsullied.

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    • EYES OPEN says:

      Look back at the tape…HIS SEAT WAS ACTUALLY THERE!!!! Therefore, the clerk was expecting him to show up….TOO BAD Speaker is Too Full of himself!

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    • Silent Constitution says:

      When there is a constitutional review, please put in all those eventualities you are now foreseeing.
      When the AG who is a lawyer and black gave the advise on this matter, Willock and many in sundry refused his advise.

      Now, the Governor who is a non-lawyer and white gave you an answer, you are quick to accept it.

      A set ah ole “Uncle-Toms” still in this place.

      The Governor knows to turn to the law for the answer, but many of us refusing to accept the same law.

      Take that in all you “big-thick”. Mark is the representative for District Four. Willock, please swear the man and smile when you do so.

      Like 22
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    • Go S says:

      @ so tell me, try go sit down. We have bigger fish to fry in the British virgin Islands.

      Why did our agents who went to the UK on our behalf to present our Constitution pen it in such a way as to allow people whose navel string was not buried here to run for our HOA in the first place?

      As the old proverb say “We take stick to cut our own backsides with.” “What you buy you wear.”

      Like 5
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    • @So tell me says:

      RESPECT at taxpayers expense? If this matter was to spiral out of control it could cripple the treasury. Governor you are doing the right thing!!!

      Like 4
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    • Reader says:

      @ So Tell Me…if you listened to Mr. Vanterpool’s resignation speech, if I’m not wrong,I recall him asking to be excused from the recent Swearing In.

  6. Move on says:

    This should be a fairly case if this goes to court.

    The constitution says the resignation communication must be addressed to the speaker, but there was no speaker at the time. This appears to favor Mark but the key idea against him was his “intent to resign”. Now that there is a speaker who now accepts this intent, Mark will lose this case.

    Like 8
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    • However says:

      Can that intent be retracted before or even if it gets to the correct addressee? There was an intent to rehire CSC too which wasn’t approval until the correct body which was the Cabinet of Government received that request and approve it. The authorizing body must receive and approve. Fact is Law says that it should have been addressed to the Speaker and even if there was no speaker it place it still the Speaker. When the speaker gets on board then the Clerk turns the request over to the intended legal addressee which is the incoming Speaker who is legal authorized body. It’s complicated. I don’t like the drama either but Just give the man his seat so the territory can move on. It does not change the government.

      Like 7
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    • Common Sense says:

      Common sense prevails. 1) There wasn’t a speaker to whom he could address his desciion to quit. 2) He issued a public announcement stating his resignation 3) When the speaker was appointed he accepted Vanterpool’s resignation. 4) only then did Vanterpool change his mind.

      He can’t deny that he resigned. This resulted in 1) confusion amongst the entire country. 2) Huge costs for the remaining candidates who are planning to participate in by-election.

      If he now wants to run in the by-election he needs to reimburse the other candidates and the government for the cost in holding this special election and perhaps pay a reasonable fine for disrupting our recovery!

    • Beg to Differ says:

      @ Move on, I beg to differ with your views. We are forgetting in my humble opinion a major piece of the argument here.
      At the time Mark sent in his resignation there was no House of Assembly and there was no Speaker. The swearing in of the House on 12th gave all members the power and authority and privileges. While I am no lawyer, since there was no legal House until 12th Mark’s letter was invalid from the onset.Compounding matters is that it was wrongly addressed to the Clerk. What I think should have happened is that Mark should have waited until the House became a legal House, get sworn in and then send in his resignation. You cant send a resignation when you are not even legal. So far, all he is is the winner of the election in the 4t district.
      The Constitution says’a member of the House of Assembly but you are not a member until sworn in you can be a member ‘elect’ I suppose.

  7. Go S says:

    @ so tell me, try go sit down. We have bigger fish to fry in the British virgin Islands.

    Why did our agents who went to the UK on our behalf to present our Constitution pen it in such a way as to allow people whose navel string was not buried here to run for our HOA in the first place?

    As the old proverb say “We take stick to cut our own backsides with.” “What you buy you wear.”

    Like 2
    Dislike 4
  8. Weir D. Playne says:

    Mark initially had 4 years to decide whether he would seek re-election as he was elected in 2015. Internal NDP election was held on June 23, 2018. Myron then gave all elected party members a deadline of August 12, 2018 to confirm whether they will be running under his leadership. Leaked memo publicized on August 27, 2018 showed that the deadline for district candidates to declare their intentions to run was extended to September 14, 2018. On September 13, 2018 leaked messages were circulating about Henry Creque being the possible 4th district candidate for NDP. On November 29, 2018 after months of speculation and uncertainty Mark announced that he would be seeking re-election via local newssite. He stated “I believe that my contributions to the country’s growth and development would still be very useful. I have had many calls from my constituents and throughout the territory to continue to serve, and I have made a decision for another term and do my best to continue to serve the Virgin Islands,” (Remember that quote for later, that gives him 3 months to decide whether he was serious or not. The house was dissolved on January 24, 2019. Election was announced as February 25, 2019. At that point Mark had another month to decide whether he would seek re-election and as a core member of NDP he may have known before the date was announced. Mark retained his seat on February 25, 2019 resigned 8 days later on March 5, 2019. The first sitting of the HOA was March 12, 2019 that gives Mark a week to change his mind before the members are officially sworn in as members of the HOA. On March 14, 2019 with a smile on his face he tries to revoke his resignation. So many chances Mark had to make a serious decision that affects not only his life but the entire territory as well now we are left with a debacle that continues to waste time because of one man’s indecision. This does not bode well for anybody as good decision making should be a skill of every member of government.

    Like 29
    Dislike 5
    • Biggie says:

      He gotta pay to play now.
      If he want to continue to treat us with such disrespect he gotta pay us for all his disruption. He gotta pay us for our inconvenience in trying to move our country forward.
      He is a roadblock to our recovery and he be playing us. Good governance isn’t a game.

  9. VILander says:

    I understand that the UK doesn’t want it to be said thatthey intervened in the election process but 2 blunders by the Governor concerning the House of Assembly.

    1. Allowing Ronnie Skelton to derail the democratic process by becoming the Leader of Opposition for 2 months with no locus standi

    2. Not resolving this matter quickly as the speaker is correct ad with in his jurisdiction to accept the resignation letter of the elected official who doesn’t want to serve or has shown they are too mentally unstable to serve at this time. He cannot be forced to do the work nor will he since he has twice in 4months said he didn’t want to be in politics anymore

    Like 7
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  10. TO: Let us take to the streets says:

    Take to the streets all you want.Boycott his stores when most of you go there to beg anyways. Ya’ll so power hungry you would say anything. If they didn’t appoint a criminal to do a civilian job things might have been different. Only time will tell. Ya’ll need to seek peace instead of confusion.

    Like 22
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  11. Hmmm says:

    Another blunder by the arms of Government throwing the people under the bus again.

    Why didn’t the Governor at that time seek advise and then address the people that mark cant resign until there is a Speaker of the House. We the people are been played for fools.

    Big fools nothing is been address and taken seriously in regards to the rights for the people of this country.

    The wall, the pier park no answers are been giving to the people as to why or why not.

    Not only is dignity out of the House of Assembly it seems that all arms of Government from the top, all respect for the people gone.

    Like 4
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  12. Well says:

    Concerned that the AG is coming across as a Yes man.

  13. island man says:

    where was Mr. Vanterpool when all the Opposition was being sworn in?? Did he send in an excuse for his absence on the 12th March??

    Like 6
    Dislike 5
  14. P Stevens says:

    Da man wanted to stay on graveyard train , then after election realised with VIP in power not going to happen so gave in but wait the VIP is going to investigate him so may be best to stay close to power with ear to the ground and able to block and confuse to save his self from prison time

  15. Eagle eye says:

    The only noise should be making now is a date to swear in Mr Elmarko.get over it.

    Like 7
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  16. Messy says:

    Why do certain persons love mess and confusion? Just leave the man with his sit. Not going to affect the VIP. They should be concentrating on bringing the country together instead of this foolishness. That Speaker need to take the higher ground but that is impossible. So Mark leave them let them have the bi elections. We thank you for your service over the years and pray that the Lord God continue to bless your bless and may your business continue to be a blessing to the territory.

    Like 5
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  17. Question says:

    Is Mark Vanterpool considered an elected member of the house of assembly if he has not been sworn in. He is elected
    Yes, but was not officially a member of the house. So does the
    Section of the constitution that is being cited apply.

    Can it be seen that he abandoned his post since he did not
    Show up to be sworn in and does not have a legitimate reason. This is uncharted territory.

    Like 7
    Dislike 2
  18. hmm says:

    Just more evidence that the government is just corrupt. Mark knows why he did what he did. I hope he got what he wanted but then again more than likely why he is now back in his seat.

    Governor disappoint me with his weakness. NDP just making a mockery of the entire system in their fight for power.

    Like 1
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  19. Meme says:

    Mark is the man.
    Please leave him.
    Mark we need him.
    Not Lucy.

    Like 49
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  20. Let's go says:

    Mark, go and take your seat in HOA. Let the F***ing haters and moochers, you know what I mean keep spitting S**t all day long.

    Like 2
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  21. Give him h**l says:

    Willock- the man another wotless NDP- give him h**l! A simple l**r – fight this one to the end and if he end up returning make the seat very uncomfortable for him- he think people stupid

  22. Quiet Warrior says:

    The HOA was dissolved on January 23, 2019 and an election held on Feb 25. Was the legislative body still functioning during this period? It there were an emergency that needed the HOA to convene, would Ingrid Moses-Scatliffe have performed the duties of the Speaker? Did ministers continue to rollout initiatives and take action after the HOA was dissolved? Yes.

    Mark Vanterpool forwarding his resignation letter to the Clerk instead of Speaker is probably a moot point. What is critical though is his intent. Mark publicly announced that he resigned and acted and behaved that he resigned. He didn’t show up to be sworn on March 12 and he was physically able to show up to be sworn in. The bottom line is that he resigned as D-4 rep. He is a pappy show that disappointed the people of D-4, pushing and pulling on their emotions. Furthermore, he is making a mockery of the process. If I were he, I would just call it in and call it a day. D-4 deserves a rep that cares about seriously representing it. This sordid episode exposed some weaknesses in the constitution.

    The constitution needs to be amended soonest to address elected members resignation process. It also needs to address the period between the HOA being dissolved and a new government being sworn in. Specifically, government action(s) during this period should be limited to routine public operations and emergencies. Additionally, a fix date for election needs to be set. A fix date set, outside of genuine emergencies, actions 90-120 days before the election should require at least 80% approval by HOA.

    Like 4
    Dislike 1

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