BVI News

High Court to get power to enforce debt payments by imposing on a debtor’s assets

Attorney General Baba Aziz (centre) and Premier Andrew Fahie

Once amendments to the Charging Order Act of 2019 is passed, courts in the British Virgin Islands will have the power to enforce debt payments by leveraging a debtor’s assets.

This is according to Attorney General Baba Aziz.

Addressing the House of Assembly last Thursday, February 27, Aziz said the Charging Orders Bill seeks to grant the High Court the power to make orders that impose “a charge for securing the payment of monies due”.

The Attorney General explained this will be done as a judgement or a court order.

“Under a judgement, or order of the court, a debtor is required to pay a sum of money to a creditor. For the purpose of enforcing that judgment or order, the court may make an order — in accordance with the provisions of this Act — [by] imposing on any property as specified in the order charged for securing the payment of money due or to become due under the judgement or order,” Aziz explained.

He said these properties or assets may be directly or indirectly owned by the debtor. For example, the court can impose on shares held in layered businesses that are ultimately beneficially owned by a debtor.

READ: Who is a beneficial owner?

“The enactment of this bill will demonstrate that the territory is not a haven for those who will seek to evade justice by means of — in part — the use of asset protection structures,” the Attorney General said. 

We support the amendments 

Meanwhile, several legislators supported the amended legislation when it was debated on Thursday. 

“It is important that we go after every penny available to us and this bill here allows us to do just that,” Minister for Natural Resources & Labour Vincent Wheatley said.

He continued: “We know we are faced with the loan guarantee challenge, we are faced with the drop-off in financial services, and now the coronavirus and our tourism might be challenged. This bill here will allow us to bring in additional funds that we would otherwise not have access to.”

Meanwhile, Minister of Transportation, Works & Utilities Kye Rymer described the bill as a vital piece of legislation. 

“We understand the shortfall in our revenue, and this [bill] is timely, and it will be important for us as a territory,” he said.

Deputy Speaker Neville Smith and Health and Social Development Minister Carvin Malone also rose in support to the proposed amendment to the legislation.

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14 Comments

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  1. Transfer says:

    I welcome this bill also however these people are transferring their properties into other peoples name. another means of evading payments. The courts need to send them jail.

  2. Say 1 Say 2 says:

    “It is important that we go after every penny available to us and this bill here allows us to do just that,” Minister for Natural Resources & Labour Vincent Wheatley said.”

    And, it is important that members of the public go after every penny BVI Government owes to them.

    Like 14
  3. Ausar says:

    Let’s hope, Premier, that this bill has reciprocal AND retroactivical measures!

    We all know that the government finds itself owing quite alot of people for all sorts of services!

    Can we take the government properties through court auctions AND actions, Premier?

    See,these are the types of jokey legislations that y’all tend to come up with, to appease the people, but are in reality,is just there to add additional sufferings and burdens, while the very cause of the madness, escapes!!

    Like 14
  4. Ok says:

    And what happens when someone ends up owing another, as a result of government owing them? Then what?

    Like 11
    • Then What? says:

      Put Gov’t in court for 1. the amount outstanding, 2. distress costs and 3. court & legal costs

    • Key says:

      Enforcement is key with this (and for that matter, with all the other pieces of legislation passed and existing in our law books). It is sadly lacking in and around our islands.

      This matter needs to be addressed with due urgency.

  5. Anonymous says:

    “We all know that the government finds itself owing quite alot of people for all sorts of services!” including incremets for services already rendered, and of which the government is quite capable of paying, but refuses to while filling its and others pockets to running over, while takeing the people for granted, docile fools and not in need of monies earned.

    Like 1
    Dislike 1
  6. Waste of Time says:

    Hon Wheatley, l am looking at you sideways because since you gotten elected you haven’t done nothing of relevance for poor people. You talk about helping with Funeral cost but everytime you in the news its something pertaining to nothing of substance. Drafting legislation to hurt the poor people

    Like 10
    Dislike 1
  7. Youp says:

    Why cant you draft a bill that’s is in the interest of the less wealthy? I found it dumfounding that you are not fight as hard fir that 7.5m and the imprisonment of every and anyone found to benefited or squandered the money. There are soooo much more issues to be resolved but yet your fixated on anything that hurts your own.

    Like 1
    Dislike 1
  8. Cotter Stick says:

    This government continues to take “stick and dig in our sore foot.” . Old people say “If I hadda know is always behind the door.”

    Mark my words, this will have dire consequences for the struggling man. Obviously they who sit in high places don’t know what hard times are.

    Like 6
    Dislike 1
  9. vip heckler says:

    is this helping or killing the small man?

  10. Flip side says:

    Wouldn’t this bill give justice to the landlords who have tenants owing them for months and years or for employers who don’t pay employees social security? Perhaps there was too much focus on what would benefit government and not the benefits to the people. In the former case the tenants may not have assets to charge.???

  11. WOW says:

    When I read some of these blogs I realize that most of you have not read the Bill. If you did then you would know that this is a positive for all especially the little man. I congratulate the Premier and his team for finally having the guts to pass this legislation. Good going.

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