BVI News

Have a fixed date | No Premier should carry election date in back pocket

Dancia Penn

While promising to champion constitutional reform if elected into office, independent candidate Dancia Penn wants to amend local laws so the British Virgin Islands has a fixed date for all general elections.

At present, it is a sitting Premier who decides when each election day will be. This, to some, puts other candidates and political parties at an unfair disadvantage.

“No premier, whoever he or she may be, should be able to carry around in his or her back pocket the election date and have the country guessing. I really think that is one of the areas that cry out for serious reform,” Penn said.

She said the BVI’s parent nation Britain already has laws that provide for a fixed five-year term for parliament and, ultimately, their election. Penn, a former attorney general, said the BVI ought to follow suit in this regard.

“We don’t have to copy everything that they have but I believe its an important change that we need,” she said.

Penn was speaking at the launch of her campaign recently.

The former legislator is contesting the election as a Territorial At-Large candidate. She will be going up against 15 other At-Large candidates across four political parties. Only four persons can sit in a Territorial At-Large seat at any given time.

Meanwhile, a total of 25 candidates will be vying for a district seat. There are nine electoral districts in the BVI.

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13 Comments

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  1. Reply says:

    I absolutely agree with the Honorable lady. The Premier being the sole decider of when the general election is to be held places him and his party at an unfair advantage at the expense of other political candidates and parties.

    It also short changes the electorate as well. The Premier typically would call for general election when it’s most advantageous to him, giving short notice to the other candidates and parties who then find themselves scrambling to put their platforms and candidates in place.

    That short preparation window limits the exposure candidates have with the electorate, and that’s not good.

    So, yes, there is a need for a fixed date for the general election going forward, and I support Mrs. Penn on this issue.

    Like 38
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  2. ok NOW says:

    and i approve this message

    Like 23
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  3. Call Me Ismael says:

    Good ideas. The constitutional reform should also extend to put measures in place to prevent future fiscal mismanagement and corruption.

    Like 15
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    • RealPol says:

      @Call Me Ishmael, constitutional reform is not needed to deal with fiscal mismanagement and corruption. Finance falls under the local government so what is needed is it putting laws in place, with checks and balances and the courage to enforce them.

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  4. E. Leonard says:

    Fix term for general election would level the playing field between government and opposition in regards as to when a general election is held. It adds certainty and stability to the general election process, enabling it to run smoothly. It will take the guess work out of when a general election will be held. Currently, the sitting Premier can call a snap election when its advantageous to government.

    Moreover, a fix term date for election can be modeled after the UK. Under the the Fix-term Parliament Act of 2011, a general election is due in the UK the first Thursday in May every 5 years. There are two exceptions 1) government loses vote of no confidence, and 2)when 2/3 of the seats in the House of Commons agree to hold an election, ie, 2017.

    Like 17
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  5. HM says:

    If she isn’t one of your ‘x’ you need to reevaluate that 5.

    Like 9
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  6. Longshanks says:

    Is it a good idea though? In the UK, it has propped up a lame duck government.

    The premier doesn’t have that much flexibility. There is a time limit before which he/she must call the election, so all that can be done is bring it forward. In the BVI, with generally c.1,500 -1,900 registered voters in a district, it doesn’t really take that long to campaign and the opposition should sell their message throughout the term of government.

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  7. Election Reform says:

    Picture of candidates on the ballot.
    Disclosure of large donations to Political parties.
    Supervisor of Elections as a voting position.
    City Manager as a voting position.
    Education board as voting positions.

  8. SMH says:

    Districts need rezoning especially since there have been a vast amount of People building homes in areas that were once forestry.

  9. Political Observer (PO) says:

    Calling for a fix term date for general election should be a no brainer. Others have outlined strong points for doing so, so there is no need to repeat them here. Nonetheless, though it is a no brainer, some party leaders may be luke warm in embracing it, for perchance he/she becomes Premier someday, he/she may want to have that one sided tool in the tool box. If it is going to happen, residents will have to demand it.

  10. Square Pegs In Round Holes. says:

    Among the BVIs greatest challenges is the problem of to many “Square Pegs in round holes”; especially in government and there are heavy costs involved. It is an old outdated and expensive way to run a government. It is the exact reasons why our Consultancy Costs are as high as they are. I recall the MCW (communications and works minister) contracted the services of twelve, (12+) consultants two or 3 years ago; costing tax-payers several millions. In the current government there are 3 doctors; one heading up the ministry of Finance; another doctor at NR&L. What are their records? For that we can check in with MRS. P; and While checking in with her, she might just share with us where her party loyalty now lies.

    • Nelson says:

      Mrs. Sallah will rise again, just like the poem written by Maya Angelou.
      “ You may shoot me with your words,
      You may cut me with your eyes,
      You may kill me with your hatefulness,
      But still, like air, I’ll rise”

  11. One More says:

    She needs to be one of the four at large!

    Like 1
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