BVI News

House votes ‘not’ to reprimand Governor Jaspert! Only two supported Fraser-led motion

The motion to reprimand Governor Augustus Jaspert for his reported violation of the Audit Act failed when it came to a vote in the House of Assembly Friday evening, June 5.

The motion in question sought to reprimand the governor who is said to have violated Section 20(2) of Act when he neglected to deliver the Auditor General’s special report about the BVI Airways within the legally-prescribed three-month timeframe.

Of the total 13 elected members of the House, only two voted in favour of the reprimand — government minister Dr Natalio Wheatley, and the mover of the motion, Julian Fraser.

Besides Dr Wheatley who voted ‘yes’ and Territorial At-Large Representative Shereen Flax-Charles who was absent at the time of the vote, all other legislators on the Premier Andrew Fahie-led government voted ‘no’.

No support from Opposition

Over on the four-member Opposition where Fraser sits, both Eighth District Representative Marlon Penn and Second District Representative Melvin ‘Mitch’ Turnbull voted ‘no’. The Fourth District Representative, Mark Vanterpool, was also absent at the time of the vote.   

The majority votes against the reprimand follow hours of debate and after Attorney General Baba Aziz argued that the motion may result in a number of constitutional and jurisdictional difficulties.

Speaking in the House on Friday, Aziz said: “If you look at the Audit Act, it imposes a duty on the Governor by Section 22 to cause a special report to be laid before the House of Assembly, it does not address Cabinet’s responsibility under Section 47, 3 of the Constitution.” 

“Additionally, it does not even address the manner by which the Governor is to cause the special report to be laid before the House,” Aziz added.

Further speaking on how the motion would have affected the governor if it had been successful, the Attorney General stated: “An official must only fear the authority that can remove him and that in the performance of his functions, he must obey that authority. The Governor is an appointee and representative of Her Majesty’s government of the United Kingdom.”

Outside legal opinions

Speaker of the House Julian Willock had also presented legal opinions from two outside parties.

Willock did not disclose the names of the two legal counsels, but said one was a local veteran counsel and the other an overseas constitutional expert, who both drew the same conclusion.

According to the Speaker, both parties concluded that the House of Assembly has the legal and constitutional right to question the actions of the Governor, and can debate a motion to reprimand the Governor for his reported violations of the Audit Act.

The two outside legal parties, however, noted that the House has no authority to penalise Governor Jaspert.

“It is important to note, according to the two legal independent opinions, although the Governor is the Queen’s representative, there are stark differences between the two institutions. One such difference is that unlike the Queen’s, the decision of the Governor can be challenged in court,” Willock added while outlining the opinions of the legal counsels.

Copyright 2020 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

19 Comments

Disclaimer: BVI News and its affiliated companies are not responsible for the content of comments posted or for anything arising out of use of the comments below or other interaction among the users.

  1. Donkey cart says:

    So Mitch and Fraser what was all the blaw Say, blaw say was about?

    • Hot one says:

      I am not sure that the motion was a good idea, but once it had been made it was really important that it was passed by the House. Unfortunately, the Governor will now feel even less accountable to the local people – he is getting ever more self important (Eg boasting in his video’s that the curfew orders only come into effect when he signs them – that’s true but why does he have to keep saying it – clearly trying to big himself up). He is a middle ranking administrator promoted beyond his ability. Time for a Governor with some gravitas – one that does not to big himself up but shows natural natural skills.
      It was a sad day for democracy and good governance.

      Like 3
      Dislike 16
  2. Jeeze says:

    You guys need the Female Mayor from Washington, DC. to show you guys how leaders should conduct themselves and get things done.

    Like 9
    Dislike 6
  3. Devon says:

    What a pathetic waste of time and resources !

    Like 19
  4. GTFOH says:

    So wait, we spent thousands of dollars,wasted hours of our time, countless debates and commentary and a 20 something people protest to get Mark back in the HOA and he still isn’t doing his duties as an elected representative.

    It was already a spit in the face of voters that stood in line for hours to vote only to watch him resign a few days after being elected but he fought his way in, wasted the Court’ s time and now doesn’t show up or fully dedicate his time to do the people’s job. Either he has no shame or he really doesn’t take the HOA seriously.

    Like 18
    Dislike 1
    • Seer says:

      He has a God given mandate to be there and he is not. To whom much is given much is expected…..someone get the message to him.

      Like 4
      Dislike 1
  5. Clowns says:

    Can’t believe there was a vote for this. Hehehheheh Governor must be having a ball over this. ????

    Like 12
    Dislike 2
  6. YOUTH says:

    They did the right thing but this governor needs to go.

    Like 1
    Dislike 17
  7. Facts says:

    I like Willock as speaker

    Like 4
    Dislike 8
  8. Shaking my head says:

    Mitch showed his immaturity today yet again. He seconded a motion that he turned around and voted against. This man just doesn’t learn.

    Like 19
    • GTFOH says:

      Lol, that’s why nobody should take the opposition seriously. They are so predictable. They say exactly the opposite of what government says and complain about everything government do.

      Like 7
      Dislike 1
  9. Clowns on Parade says:

    Well done. It’s a good job you’ve spent time on this.
    It’s not like there’s much else to worry about! I’m glad those external lawyers have been able to earn a few bucks. Who pays for that? Maybe it doesn’t matter as we are so flush!

    Like 10
    Dislike 1
  10. Struups says:

    Dem don’t have nutten better to do?
    Why Frazer never move a motion to reprimand himself when him take over half million dollars and throw away on a roundabout stoplight that even the man from Trinidad who was contracted to put up the stoplight tell him it won’t work. Sigh.

    Like 18
  11. Anonymous says:

    “Further speaking on how the motion would have affected the governor if it had been successful, the Attorney General stated: “An official must only fear the authority that can remove him and that in the performance of his functions, he must obey that authority. The Governor is an appointee and representative of Her Majesty’s government of the United Kingdom.” WTF!

    “The two outside legal parties, however, noted that the House has no authority to penalise Governor Jaspert.” This opinion was as clear day. Money well spent?

    This was at best a symbolic act that may have had a tinge of a message. True, Governor AJU Jaspert may have been late in forwarding the AG report to HOA and was probably out of place if he attempted to direct the HOA when it should meet. Nonetheless, the Guv probably didn’t lose any sleep over the motion to reprimand him, for he knows it was non-binding and that his UK pals would blow it off. Reprimanding the Guv in this instance was a heavy lift.

    Moreover, if one is going to expend a silver bullet one has to be disciplined, strategic and tactical, One must identify valuable target, have the target in sight and focused aim before moving in for the k…l and launching the attack.

    Well meh boi, is the tri-party opposition in disunity. Even the Hon Turbull who seconded the motion voted against it. In fact Hon Fraser failed to attract any opposition support. The Guv though needs to do the Crown wuk and stay out of local politics and stop trying to be a press hog.

    Like 4
    Dislike 4
  12. Bo says:

    Everyone is bypassing the large elephant sitting in the middle of the room: those who love their dogs and cats to death but barely tolerate the locals and their Caribbean brothers and sisters, but still choose to live among us.

    That is the real pandemic for which a cure is yet to be found after centuries of hurt and pain.

    Yes, I said it, and I thank the elected gentleman for being bold enough to address this burning issue.

    Like 8
    Dislike 8
  13. Cross eye says:

    It wont be long from now before our own local AG will be sworn in ,this one thing I’ll say, this s—– have a bone to pick with AG Aziz. People mark my words , something else going to come to the HOA that needs some clarity and the speaker will not seek out side council . REMEMBER I say that.

  14. Concerned says:

    “Speaker of the House Julian Willock had also presented legal opinions from two outside parties.”
    So who paid for this??

    Like 4
    Dislike 4
    • Haha says:

      Who do you think? It wasn’t a government motion but since it was brought forth and seconded he couldn’t dismiss the motion. Outside counsel is necessary from time to time to give an unbiased opinion.

      Like 7
      Dislike 1

Leave a Comment

Shares