BVI News

Law needed to override the ‘unelected’ governor — Speaker


Speaker of the House of Assembly Jullian Willock has said the BVI should implement laws that give the House of Assembly powers to override a governor when he or she refuses to assent to a bill.

Willock was speaking during a special sitting of the House of Assembly that convened on December 4 to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the restoration of the Legislature in the Virgin Islands.  

He said: “As members and the public probe new constitutional arrangements with the United Kingdom, one consideration, in my humble view, should be the legislature having the power, to override an unelected governor when he refuses to assent to a bill,” Willock expressed.

Legislatures have expressed they are not pleased with the Governor Augustus Jaspert’s delayed assent to the Cannabis Licensing Act which was sent to his office more than four months ago.

Willock said it is an “insult” to lawmakers to “refuse to ascent to a bill without a proper explanation”.

“That can never be good governance, transparency, or democratic practice, notwithstanding Section 79, 2 of the Constitution,” he stated.

“Many of my fellow Speakers in the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association who I often converse with have labelled this behaviour as an abuse of power, dictatorship, and injustice to the people,” Willock argued.

Assent a modern practice

The Speaker said he did his own research and has found that it is a ‘modern practice’ for governors to assent to bills passed by the legislature.

“I went back to look at British history seeking information on the last time a King or Queen refused the royal assent. What I discovered is that in modern times, the monarch, governor-generals, or governors always assent to a bill passed by the People’s House, on the advice of the government of the day, as the royal assent is considered a formality,” Willock explained.

He continued: “The last time a bill was refused to be assented to in the United Kingdom was in 1708 when Queen Anne vetoed a bill on the Scottish Militia on the advice of ministers.”

“I trust that by the time we are ready to celebrate our 75th or 80th anniversary of the restoration of the Legislature, we as free people will not have to face such issues,” Willock said.

The governor did not explicitly indicate that he “refuses” to assent the bill but rather claims he is giving it heavy consideration. However, Governor Jaspert has not given any direct response to questions on what is causing such a protracted delay. Premier Andrew Fahie has described this ongoing delay as “unprecedented”.



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  1. BVI says:

    Absolutely. Our elected people needs to have this power.

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    • Really says:

      If you have the ability to override the governor then a governor become pointless. So if they are so opposed to a governors powers they should just attempt to remove all governors. Else just stfu and work together to do your jobs.

      Like 46
      Dislike 6
      • Hmmm says:

        The Guv won’t sign, and it will be left for the new Guv. The outgoing (recalled) Guv is worried that signing the bill will hinder his career prospects in the national security service back in the UK. He is putting his self interest above the territory.

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    • Do so don't love so says:

      Who elected you Mr when you wasted all our monies and waste all the people’s time refusing to pass a bill same was not voted for remember that.

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  2. Ha says:

    It’s called independence.
    Put your money where your fat mouth is and vote for independence.
    Become yet another tiny insignificant country in the ocean – you can line up with your begging bowl to the Chinese along with all the other failed states in the world.

    Like 46
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  3. No way. says:

    This c*****t government needs an independent party to approve matters.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Absolutely. Agreed 100%. It goes against the principles of democracy, the same principles they claim to uphold while practicing the opposite.

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  5. mvw says:

    Why he don’t go siddung in that chair and cover his baldhead with that silly wig?

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  6. vip heckler says:

    Andrew, willock and claude are all on the same page

    Like 30
    Dislike 2
  7. set ah crooks says:

    When the member for the 3rd brought a motion against the governor all those vip cro0k$ voted against it.

    Like 6
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  8. Citizen says:

    Question. Who will assent to agreeing with overiding the Queen’s representative. Hmm. We still not supporting independence. Also, according to my research, time for the Speaker to be elected like in some places.

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  9. Reply says:

    In general imo the legislature should have the power to override any governors decision is they have a majority vote.

    The problem I see here with the Speakers argument is that the governor has not made a decision on the bill itself. He just has not assent the bill perhaps not at the speed some would like.

    That being the case it appears to me that the notion of overriding the decision of the governor appears premature simply because he has not assented the proposed law.

    Cant put the cart before the horse.

    Now if the legislator is looking at solutions of delayed assent of bills, they might want to address in the law how long a governor can take to assent a bill, and what the legislator can do if that time frame expires.

    Like 14
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  10. Unelected says:

    Come next election, all of you jokers will be ‘UNELECTED’.

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  11. ONIOS says:


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  12. vip heckler says:

    Was wilcock elected?

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  13. Dman says:

    Yes, it’s time to leave the Commonwealth. The B.V.I should be self-governed and self-funding. Sink or swim during a crisis. Borrow money from Haiti when needed.

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    Dislike 7
  14. BuzzBvi says:

    When did the Governor refuse to assent to the Bill? Willock needs to get C O. S-C to complain about it in vino.

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    Dislike 1
  15. Vote NO says:

    How do we the people vote NO to the Esteemed One?
    The Speaker is supposed to be impartial. Seen, but not heard…
    The Esteemed One is anything but impartial.

    Like 7
    Dislike 1
  16. Joke says:

    All this independence talk and talk of giving the government power to override the governor and nobody cares what the people of the BVI think about it… Not one mention of a referendum where we ALL get to decide if this is the way… If yall so sure that the majority of us are ok with OUR government being able to do what they want out of us without restriction then put it to a vote. Call a referendum. No talk of that because yall know most of us don’t even feel like we can trust our own elected officials.

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  17. Wet says:

    I agree with the esteemed speaker

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  18. Voter says:

    Vip going right back in take that to the bank

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  19. we strong says:

    A law also needed to override the unelected speaker, you was appointed by the premier, the governor was appointed by the QUEEN, the mother of the bvi, all you could do is bla bla bla bla.

    Like 15
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  20. Clown says:

    Thats all he good for… Go independent then… Go be Nature’s Secret the continent on your own.

  21. Patriotic bvi says:

    I am still not supporting independence.

  22. ccc says:

    Say one say two the speaker was elected from among the 13 and that is the hardest election where as the governor was appointed

  23. What a ting says:

    Independence…… Can the BVI feed itself in a crisis ? Where are the farms ? Can it sustains it health in a crisis ? How many ventilators does the hospital have in case of an outbreak ? What can the country offer to compete on the world economic market ? Is it only white sandy beaches ? We need than that to go independent . Power and authority is not the only commodity in going independent… Can we look at the well being of our people in a more productive manner . If it is a yes … then

  24. Answer provided says:

    Now that the Governor has made a formal statement to the public on the matter, maybe the Speaker will siddun and STFU.

  25. ok now says:

    … i believe you forgot this place belongs to the UK and what ever their representative says is final, you cannot be under the UK and have the final saying, it does not work so you i***t. i think is time for a new speaker cause your days are done, you are s*****, you and fahie is are just the same, b******ds

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