BVI News

HOA recesses abruptly amidst appeal over bill’s ‘deadline’ thrust

This story has been updated

Earnest pleas by Fourth District Representative Mark Vanterpool, warning against rushing a new bill through the House of Assembly (HOA) seemed to have found fertile ground yesterday when the HOA was abruptly recessed for the next two weeks.

The bill in question is the Register of Interests Act (ROIA) 2022 which serves to replace the existing law. When any new bill is introduced its goes through three stages known as ‘readings’ before it passes. These readings usually take place in more than one sitting to allow legislators to properly digest and debate the bill. But in an atypical fashion yesterday, the government decided to move the bill through the House by doing all three readings in one day.

But while debating the bill, Vanterpool made it clear that in his view the legislation needed public consultation before passing into law. He argued that there were items the bill contained that warranted not only more careful research by members but closer legal attention before it was rushed through the House.

“I am absolutely not in support of this bill being passed today without it having public discourse,” the Fourth District Representative said while offering his support, in principle, for the bill.

The veteran legislator said this rush of the ROIA is because of what he described as a “deadline story“ but noted that any apparent deadline could not be first met without due consideration.

Vanterpool was seemingly referring to a section of the Commission of Inquiry (COI) reform proposal recently agreed upon between the BVI government and the United Kingdom (UK), that the amended ROI Act will be passed by June 30 at the latest.

“A bill like this being passed in one day, in its three stages – first, second and third readings – is not fair to the public, not fair to those in here, not fair to those outside there, not fair to the public in general who need to be able to weigh in on the contents of this bill, even if we do changes in committee stage (the stage at which legislators gather to privately review the full bill and possibly make amendments),“ Vanterpool said.

He continued: “It cannot be passed today because of a deadline issue.”

“This whole issue of deadlines and binding the House of Assembly to conform to these deadlines begs the question to me as to what and where is the authority of the House of Assembly,” Vanterpool said. “Maybe that’s gone out the door, but it begs the question.”

The Register of Interests Act is a record kept of the financial interests of parliamentarians. Its purpose is to give them the mechanism to publicly declare any private interests which may conflict or may be perceived to conflict with their public duties.

The register became a focal point during the COI as it was revealed that House members were in large part not complying with the requirements to file declarations of their interests annually and on a timely basis.

New Register of Interest Act will extend to others in public life


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  1. Fans now covered in it says:

    Breaking promises already

    Like 29
    Dislike 1
  2. WTF says:

    That is the legislative process for all bills. All law affects someone. This process has not been atypical. It’s disgusting. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Good governance includes good legislative practices. Stop rubber stamping these things through the house.

    Like 13
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    • @WTF says:

      Read and comprehend. What is not typical and what the news article said is that Bills are not usually passed on the same day of its first reading. There are 3 readings…doing them in 1 sitting is rushing things. I’m not a Vanterpool supporter at all…but he has a point…do we now have a puppet government??

      Like 14
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      • Nebuchadnezzar says:

        I’m not against such bill BUT ANY law,bill or command executed HASTILY is meant to destroy. Why not give it some thought, prayer and wisdom. If this is how UK wants to start passing bill or law hastily in one day then they will start hastily passing and approving ALL kinds of bill including homobillgoat.

    • Rubber Duck says:

      They had till June 30th so introduced the bill on the last day.

      They are still ducking and diving and have no interest in better governance.

      The Governor is weak or they would be gone for missing the first desdline.

  3. Deadlines says:

    are now real deadlines in the BVI since the CoI and this recycled HOA was formed in May. No more delays, excuses, public meetings, adjournments, etc. Time for UK direct rule.

    Like 27
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  4. Tasty says:

    The office of Governor is a very obvious omission of those in principle life! If those at the top are. It prepared to declare their interests, then why should anybody else.

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    • Lodger says:

      The Governor is not likely to get contracts with conflicts of interest.

    • UK Register says:

      To be a Governor, he may have already declared his interests. Check the UK register and if not there then I fully agree with your point.

  5. step up says:

    or they will step in , the UK is coming and thank you very much Mark vanterpool and you are not hounorable and all your companies that have collected Government contracts ovber the years will be found out…

    Like 22
  6. Trevor says:

    How much public discourse was there when giving themselves a salary for life?
    Or any of the many rewards they give themselves.

    Like 37
  7. Licker and Sticker says:

    The law should pass and the existing ministers be given 2 weeks to comply or resign and let’s get new elections if you are not willing to comply.

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  8. Confused says:

    Why is it not fair to the public when the act only applies to parliamentarians? Sounds like delaying tactics to me!

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    • @Confused says:

      You sure confused…and you ain’t read the Bill…how could you?! Them ain’t give the public time to read the Bill and want to pass it through…this new Bill is not just for parliamentarians…it is also for certain civil servants/public officers. I wonder if the Commissioner of Police will have to declare his interests too? The Governor should be included in that too because his office is not immune from political corruption.

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  9. WEW says:

    Don’t pass this and you’ll all be done and Sir Gary will be in charge

    Like 7
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  10. Confused says:

    The act doesn’t only apply to parliamentarians please read it to clear up your confusion.

  11. 2 week vacation??? says:

    UK? UK? where are you? We need you now. These boys don’t want to play ball.

    Like 8
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  12. The Nation says:

    I am not concerned about the legislators…but when you say that the amendments will affect other public officers who would not have to declare interests…Natalio out of place for trying to rush that through the House of Assembly…the public needs to be consulted…those public officers ain’t in the House to talk for themselves and they should have an opportunity to review the Bill and be able to make representations to their elected officials. Is this a representative democratic government or are we now being government by puppets whose strings are being pulled by the UK OT reps.

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  13. Hon. Mark is Right says:

    This Bill does not affect the legislators or Members of the House of Assembly. It affects civil servants/public officers including their spouse or live in partner. This Bill needs public consultation. And it is a threat to public officers as you maybe liable to face 2 years imprisonment or $10,000 in a fine. Some persons are signed up for assets or interests that that they are not even aware by family. This Bill wants your financial interest/assets overseas and locally of course such as land, homes, investments, bonds, employment, etc. When the Government wants to invade your privacy like this it is time to exit. Public Officers are aware of Conflict of Interest but I guess it is not enough. All I want to know is the Register going to be open for the entire public to know what public officers have or own and possible put us at risk.

    Like 2
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  14. Politics make them Rich. says:

    Our votes make them millionaires. Now we need to know how much millions our votes have earn you, I Ain see nothing wrong with that..Time to come clean. Do what is required or leave.

  15. Jack fish says:

    In the UK ONLY Uk parliamentarians have to declare their financial interests …etc .
    So why should other areas of workers in the public service be held to a different ruling ?
    The Governor and the MNU parliamentarians need to explain that to the public

  16. Common Courtesy for the People says:

    This was very unprofessional to the public . No common courtesy . GIS could have Al least say something that the HOA session was postponed until further notice

    This shows the disregard and poor hospitality training they have for the territory at large and the Secretary or the Soeaker could have alerted the GIS service to do so … All of you need training . Shameful on your part . All this behavior needs to stop

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