BVI News

Matter going too long | Premier asks Speaker to swear in Vanterpool

Premier Fahie (left), Speaker Willock (top, right), and Fourth District member-elect Vanterpool.

After months of stepping aside to allow the political disagreement between Mark Vanterpool and Speaker of the House Julian Willock to run its course, Premier Andrew Fahie has now decided to intervene.

In a public statement via social media on Sunday June 16, Fahie said: “I have decided to ask the Honourable Speaker of the House of Assembly to reconsider his position and to swear-in Mr Mark H. Vanterpool as the representative for the Fourth District at the next Sitting of the House of Assembly.”

Fahie said he made decision “after much consultation, meditation and prayer”.

The Premier — who made it clear that he believes the Speaker is right to pursue the matter to the fullest extent — further said he now believes the matter has been ongoing for an excessive amount of time.

He also described the matter as something that “has become a source of discord and bitterness that is undermining the harmony and family spirit which is the soul of our society”.

“No political or legal victory – whether you are right or you are wrong – is worth the loss of our soul. My request is without prejudice to the strong legal and moral stance that has been adopted by the Honourable Speaker. I am firmly of the view, based on advice that I have received, that the Fourth District seat was indeed vacated by the resignation of Mr Vanterpool on March 5, 2019 — a mere eight days after the February 25th General Election and seventh days before the Fourth House of Assembly was convened to commence business,” he reasoned.

Fahie, who also accused Vanterpool of making “a mockery” of the democracy and being the ultimate cause of the contention, said the decision to swear in Vanterpool is still ultimately left up to the Speaker.

It is not yet clear whether Willock will honour Premier Fahie’s request.

Below is the Premier’s Full statement.

Fellow Virgin Islanders, After much consultation, meditation and prayer, I have decided to ask the Honourable Speaker of the House of Assembly to reconsider his position and to swear-in Mr Mark H. Vanterpool as the representative for the 4th District at the next Sitting of the House of Assembly.

I am of the view that this matter, which is pending before the Court of Appeal, has been hanging over the Territory for an inordinate amount of time and has become a source of discord and bitterness that is undermining the harmony and family spirit which is the soul of our society. No political or legal victory – whether you are right or you are wrong – is worth the loss of our soul. My request is without prejudice to the strong legal and moral stance that has been adopted by the Honourable Speaker.

I am firmly of the view, based on advice that I have received, that the 4th District seat was indeed vacated by the resignation of Mr Vanterpool on March 5, 2019 – a mere 8 days after the February 25th General Election and 7 days before the 4th House of Assembly was convened to commence business. One of the reasons I felt the Speaker was right to pursue this matter to the fullest extent in the courts is because the fiasco created by Mr Vanterpool exposed an apparent lacuna in the Constitution; one that should be adjudicated upon for future reference.

Regardless of Mr. Vanterpool’s erroneous addressing of his resignation letter, he was pellucidly clear in his video address of his intention to abandon his responsibility to the constituents who elected him, albeit by a very small margin. His conduct was a slap in the face of our democracy, an insult to the constituents of the 4th District – in particular those electors who voted for Mr. Vanterpool, and a betrayal of the sacred trust that forms when a constituent gives their vote to a nominee for office. Mr Vanterpool made a mockery of representative politics.

Notwithstanding all that is wrong with Mr Vanterpool’s conduct, the welfare of the Territory comes first. And in this regard, I have humbly intimated to the Honourable Speaker that it is my view that the time has come for the Territory to move past this dark episode so that the House of Assembly and the people of the Territory can focus on some of the very pressing issues that require our urgent attention.

While the four Territorial At Large representatives, who belong to the government, have been providing excellent representational support to the constituents of the 4th District, I believe that this still hamstrings the constituents compared to the citizens of the other 8 electoral districts, which have an individual District Representative as well as the support of the four Territorial At Large representatives.

As I have strived to emphasize since the start of this fiasco on March 5, under the Westminster Parliamentary system, the Speaker has authority over the management of the affairs of the House – not the Executive. Therefore, it is ultimately left to the judgement and authority of the Speaker to do as he believes best in line with the responsibilities and duties of his office.

I hope these words help to bring some resolution to this unfortunate and messy situation. I welcome the presence of Mr. Vanterpool in the House of Assembly as I believe there are a number of distressing issues with which he is ideally equipped to assist the Territory as a Minister of the immediate past Administration.

One such issue is the accounting for tens of millions of dollars sunk into the Pier Park project for which the paperwork has conveniently vanished. God bless our British Virgin Islands.

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32 Comments

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  1. Velocity says:

    “Fellow Virgin Islanders, After much consultation, meditation and prayer, ….”

    “One of the reasons I felt the Speaker was right to pursue this matter to the fullest extent in the courts is because the fiasco created by Mr Vanterpool exposed an apparent lacuna in the Constitution; one that should be adjudicated upon for future reference.”

    I hope these words help to bring some resolution to this unfortunate and messy situation. I welcome the presence of Mr. Vanterpool in the House of Assembly as I believe there are a number of distressing issues with which he is ideally equipped to assist the Territory as a Minister of the immediate past Administration.

    One such issue is the accounting for tens of millions of dollars sunk into the Pier Park pro”

    Premier, you really should stop letting the devil deter you from truly listening to God. You always start off with a warm fuzzy speech and end with an underhanded comment.

    Seems like you’re leading a goat to butchering and God is being used as a scapegoat to do so.

    Speaker, is there no fear of God in your heart for the vengeance you’re displaying?

    Premier and Speaker, an example ought not to be made of Vanterpool since the Constitution clearly states he did not vacate his post. It is not a matter of your feeling.

    From hereon, the Constitution should be amended to address any ambiguities.

    Like 45
    Dislike 14
  2. Not2Sure says:

    I guess we’ll find out how ‘independent’ the Speaker is now. My guess is that he jumps as soon as his boss tells him so.

    Like 27
    Dislike 2
  3. Eyesontheprize says:

    This puts the speaker in an untenable position. It was proper for the Premier to stay neutral publicly. The Premier is well aware that the Speaker is chosen by the majority of the members of the House of which his Party (VIP) controls and as such the speaker serves at his pleasure. In fact this is disrespectful to the separation of powers doctrine within our democratic system . This separation of powers doctrine allows each branch to act as co-equals and should be allowed to function without political interference.

    The situation that has developed was not caused by the speaker and he is correct to allow it to be resolved by the courts. It will give the Territory some guidance for future similar circumstances.

    Like 9
    Dislike 36
  4. Weir D. Playne says:

    What Mark did was stupid and disrespectful to his constituents and the people of the BVI but pursuing this matter for this long is not the way to proceed. Fighting this through to the court is only costing time and money and will have no positive benefits in the end. I saw no problem with the initial court case to provide clarity but the back and forth is problematic. We have already learnt the lesson from this and have the power to close the loophole and make any other amendments to the constitution that pertain to how someone should or should not resign. I think the public humiliation, time and money is punishment enough for Mark hopefully he has learnt a lesson.

    Like 32
    Dislike 3
    • BVI says:

      The stupidest thing this government could have done was appointing W as Speaker. He man is to p*****s for his own good.

      Like 23
      Dislike 4
  5. Meh son says:

    You can’t please some people….

    Like 6
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  6. GREAT says:

    Great move Premier. You are a true leader.

    Like 11
    Dislike 32
  7. Hmmm says:

    One thing we are learning about this new premier is that he is not afraid when it comes to making huge decisions. I respect him more and more.

    Like 15
    Dislike 35
  8. Ausar says:

    I knew you had it in you, Premier Fahie, to bring about some semblance of order in this debacle.

    The courts ORDERED, that Honourable Vanterpool, be sworn in.

    Why the Speaker of the House never gave credence to the ORDER,is a bit baffling!

    Now, that this is all behind us, we can now get about the business of the people.

    Congratulations, Honourable Vanterpool on what can only be surmised as a momentous feat!

    Truly, your voice is missed and we’re honoured to now have it back.

    Like 14
    Dislike 5
    • Well Sah says:

      The Premier had it in him form day one! I am not letting him off the hook this easy, as we all know he was behind the speaker’s decisions all along. Now that a petition has gone to the governor and this ridiculous action by the premier/speaker is driving up their unavailability, he is coming pretending to be a savior. The Hon. Premier is playing games with the people and he needs to stop. In fact, the people around him should take note…because the way he through the speaker under the bus and tried to soften it with glossy praises is quite alarming to me. Then to make me more suspicious was the speaking out of both sides of the mouth approach “I am of the view that this matter, which is pending before the Court of Appeal, has been hanging over the Territory for an inordinate amount of time and has become a source of discord and bitterness that is undermining the harmony and family spirit which is the soul of our society.” yet, at the same time, in the same statement he went on to team down Mr. Vanterpool. I know politicians are known to mislead and all that but this kind of holey and evil mixed approach is making me worry.

      Like 13
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  9. Wet says:

    Jw got thrown under the bus

    Like 21
    Dislike 2
    • Truth Sayer says:

      I agree that JW got thrown under the bus. Remember, JW had said that he would abide by the Court’s decisions. However, it seems after the Court’s decision it seems that he was forced to go to Court of Appeal. Remember how the Adviser/Consultant CSC said that it would go all the way to the Privy Council. Just figure out who was calling the shots on this one and it was not JW!

      Like 8
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  10. Patrick says:

    Give me a d*m break. The premier has no right forcing the speaker hand. Court of Appeal now d*m it!

    Like 2
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    • @Patrick says:

      The Premier is Commander in Chief, he have the power to make the decission. He did the right thing. However, Mark will learn how to THINK things over before jumping the broom quickly. Mark, this happens again,no one is going to have your back. A D4 resident.

      Like 13
      Dislike 1
      • @Patrick says:

        This comment is from a D4 resident also, I like Mark but, if he so much as messes up again and leave us stranded with out a Rep, I also will not stand up for him. Mark, I like you but think very carefully when you make certain decissions that is not going to affect the people that you are representing.

    • @Patrick says:

      The Premier is the speaker’s boss. Please let it be. Please let us just move on and do what is right for the Country. I agree with the Premier’s decission. Mark F**k up again without a explanation, he will be on his own this time for sure. Mark, this is not personal,it is business. I like you but as a voter that voted for you, I am putting you on notice.

  11. vip heckler says:

    The premier finally woke up after smelling the coffee

    Like 17
  12. Zoe says:

    This is just wrong the premier is truly a dictator

    Like 6
    Dislike 6
  13. Welcome Back says:

    Why keep out a man who has all the answers. Now we can get down to all those wasted and missing monies. This is one of the men we need also see if you can get Dr Smith back.

    Like 5
    Dislike 11
    • The ignorance says:

      That money missing stunt is nothing but a cheap political move. If there is unaccounted for monies, I would recommend that the premier start looking a CSC, as he was the one overseeing that project. Therefore, as the $15,000 a month consultant, he should begin by telling where the money went. I don’t see how you could hire someone who played in integral role in the “tens of millions” questionable project (according to the premier) and then on the other hand request accountability. It could be that the premier knows the project is accounted for as been proven by the audits done, he believes CSC is innocent and M isn’t or this is just another of his usual divisive political stunt.

      Like 13
      • Yessssss says:

        Yes and yes and yes and yes.

        This comment.
        This is the heart of the thing.

        It going be ting to talk and bacannal in the place in the next house of assembly….because Andrew thinks he going walk or handle Vanterpool. Good luck with that.

        It going be massssssst.

        The good premier was responsible for this debacle continuing this whole time, Willock was a puppet in the game, but in his hubris, he thought he was about something….

        The big boys going play now in the big game.

        I getting some popcorn.

        Like 2
        Dislike 1
  14. NDP says:

    Maybe andrew saw mark’s wife as an asset to VIP’s success so he had a change of heart and decided to swear him in?

  15. @Welcome Back says:

    The man with the answers was always with the Premier.. His loyal consultant.

    Like 10
    Dislike 1
  16. Old says:

    Mark mouth to sharp he said he resing don’t give me a hat and then take it back no good..

    Like 1
    Dislike 1
  17. Confused says:

    I thought the Premier said the matter is before the court so he is not getting involved? Did the Governor share some kind words with the Premier and told him to stop the charade? If the case is before the Court of Appeal, can the Speaker just swear him in? Questions that need answers.

    Like 3
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  18. Politricks says:

    Yes Premier, I see what you are doing there. This is like two speaches in one. Swear him in but if you don’t, I understand. Playing two sides of the fence, appealing to the masses and buying some good will. This is about saving the Premier when the dust settles. Politricks at it’s best. Always look beyond what you see (and hear).

  19. Please says:

    why you dont stop spinnning a story.
    why dont you say is the governor who tell you that you need to swear in Mark and to do it now or their will be consequences.

    always lying! bout you decided!
    your hand is being forced.

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