BVI News

Online petition: Hundreds sign for Willock to foot injunction legal fees

No sooner than news broke that government wants to pass the burden of House Speaker Julian Willock’s legal fees for a failed court injunction on to taxpayers, an online petition was launched to stop the action.

In less than 24 hours, the petition received signed support from more than 800 persons.

The petition, which is addressed to the Government of the Virgin Islands, has on record that local vlogger Lawrence ‘Bunchie’ Wheatley initiated it.

The government is seeking to have Willock exempted from paying up to $121,000 in legal fees through a motion not yet moved in the House of Assembly (HOA).

An excerpt from the motion seen on the order paper of the HOA’s current sitting reads: “Whereas the Honourable Speaker commenced an action to prevent those persons (certain Commission of Inquiry attorneys) from acting as legal practitioners in contravention of the [Legal Profession Act of the Virgin Islands];

Whereas, as a result of a procedural technicality, the action commenced by the Honourable Speaker had to be discontinued;

Whereas, as a result of the discontinuance, costs were awarded against the Honourable Speaker in his personal capacity although the said action was brought by the Honourable Speaker on behalf of this Honourable House … Now, therefore, be it resolved that this Honourable House considers it just and proper that the Honourable Speaker should not personally be responsible for payment of the costs of an action that he instituted on behalf of this Honourable House.”

The motion is seeking to charge the fees to the territory’s Consolidated Fund.

Online outrage

Ahead of the motion being officially moved, there have been online outrage from concerned persons.

One supporter of the petition against the government’s motion, whose signed name is Toni Francis, wrote: “The Speaker needs to pay out of his pocket. If he is man enough to take that action, he should be man enough to do the honourable thing and pay for his action”.

Another signatory, Aldrin Rabsatt, wrote: “This action was taken without any public consultation or discussion. When the cause was deemed to be an unwinnable matter, it was dropped but the costs were already incurred. Now “we” are being asked (once again) to cover for the unsanctioned, reckless and irrational moves made by an unelected member of the House (backed fully by the elected members)”.

“Anybody remembers when he sued to prevent Honourable Mark Vanterpool from sitting? Guess who is also paying for that? Nah man … enough is enough. Either our leaders listen to the voice of the people, or feel our wrath. This cannot wait. Our children’s inheritance is being destroyed and squandered,” the signatory added.

History of the Willock’s court dealings

Willock had tried to get an injunction in the High Court to stop the COI lawyers from continuing as participants until they were properly called to the BVI bar according to the laws of the territory.

Willock eventually withdrew the matter but Justice Adrian Jack had ruled the injunction was unreasonable and therefore, no other parties should foot the enormous legal fees. Willock was ordered to pay all fees out of pocket.

This is the second known case of Willock aborting a legal challenge which has left the government paying his legal bills.

He had previously filed a motion to prevent Fourth District Representative Mark Vanterpool from taking his seat in parliament. He was subsequently advised to withdraw an appeal after the injunction failed in the lower court.

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33 Comments

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  1. heckler says:

    He should be made to pay his own doggone bill because of his arrogance

    Like 82
    Dislike 2
    • Humm says:

      But Willock was right- the Commission of Inquiry attorneys were breaking the law – they have apparently still not ben admitted and asked the Judge to delay their applications.

      Like 4
      Dislike 38
      • yet and still says:

        he was “right” and still couldn’t prove his case and now we must pay for this? with the cost of living in the vi so high, where this money coming from??
        we cannot afford this, and he went ahead with this motion without consulting NO ONE from the public. HE should pay for this out of picket because as far as we’re concerned, we never asked for this.

  2. Resident says:

    This really highlights the problem where the majority of the tax payers in the BVI (especially those who actually pay tax, as recently demonstrated with the certificate of good standing debacle) don’t have a vote. It means there is no effective scrutiny absent a CoI. It’s too easy for the 6 or 8 families in government to manipulate the small electorate with civil service posts and split contracts, so nothing ever gets better. That’s why we have nothing to show for the hundreds of millions of Govt revenue which there has been since 1985. Look at the schools and the sewerage system as two topical examples.

    Like 69
    • @resident says:

      The majority of any country with high expat rate will not be able to vote. you work in a country you dont have ties to, you must pay tax, you arent entitled to a vote. that isnt the isssue.

      the issue is we dont make or voices heard. Voter or no Voter, if we boycotted their events, dont shop in their business, stop whispering about the issues we have and protested as one, they would not have the power to do what they doing.

      Like 38
      Dislike 1
      • Resident says:

        In most countries you can easily become eligible to vote after about 5 years; not the 20 plus if you’re lucky in BVI; so you’re wrong about that, certainly for long term expats.

        I accept that if you are in a place for a year or two you don’t usually get to vote.

        Like 33
        Dislike 1
      • Stt says:

        Strupes to that about other ppl country. Amount of bvi scu—- born on usa $ in stt getting usa rights schooling etc etc . Yankees getting short changed in bvi soon gonna shut this crooked card came down. Senators and Usvi brass already in talks. Paybacks a b. And usa loves to use drug trade as excuse to come down hard. Hard meh son.

        Like 1
        Dislike 1
      • 1776 says:

        Ain’t first time blood spilled to make representation follow taxation.

        Like 3
        Dislike 1
      • Rubber Duck says:

        It surprises me that no one has formed a non belonger association to represent non belongers interests to the government. It would be a powerful lobby.

  3. aiR says:

    If he had listen to the Attorney General we would not have been here. Pay your own bill Sir!

    Like 73
    Dislike 1
  4. what says:

    there is no petition if you click the link. . . WTH?

  5. Facts says:

    We stand will Julian Willock just wait

    Like 2
    Dislike 73
  6. Leave our local prince alone says:

    What’s the big fuss?

    Like 1
    Dislike 38
  7. True Fact says:

    Andrew only doing this s**t because the Governor is out of office.

    Like 17
    Dislike 2
  8. Common sense says:

    This will be the straw that broke the camel’s back. A judge ordered the Speaker to pay these fees personally, and, the HOA members, the people that govern this territory are over ruling a legal decision. We could not give the UK greater proof that the people of this territory are unfit to govern themselves.
    This has to be the icing on the cake for the UK, because, from the public uproar we are seeing, the people of this territory will now welcome the UK coming in and taking control, how stupid can this government be.

    Like 47
    Dislike 2
  9. BuzzBvi says:

    COI has all the proof it needs with this.

    Like 16
    Dislike 1
  10. Brian Lara! says:

    Even Brian Lara signed it

    Like 12
  11. fowl foot says:

    Previous goverments frig up more than this amount of money over the years so why don;t uall shout to h**l up and go sit down.

    Dislike 17
    • Huh? says:

      Are you good in your head? Wrong girl wrong no matter how much it is? Wow

    • Huh? says:

      Are you good in your head? High Wrong for low wrong no matter how much it is there’s still the qualifier “wrong” in there. Wow. We in trouble

    • Watch Man says:

      Don’t for get People Willcocks have to pay Mark Bill for close to 150000$ also fornl not swearing him in so Total Death to Tax payers is close to 300000$ Stay Tune..

      • @Watch Man says:

        We probably paid that bill off a long time ago. That’s why we have probably not heard anything about it since. It’s also the reason why they think that it’s ok to run up these exorbitant legal fees over nonsense.

  12. Anonymous says:

    The BVI government is in total shambles. Yes, please allow a greater voting base – No taxation without representation. So much corruption in the upper echelon of government. The Speaker Willock knows how to use the system.

    Like 5
    Dislike 1
  13. 911 says:

    Willock is a boss

  14. SensibleHead says:

    The government is already paying loads of money to withers. How much more of our money is getting wasted just to try and hide all the things the COI has put light on. If the government welcomes the COI how come its spending money trying to stop it
    Maybe ministers should pay their own defence too!

  15. Yolo says:

    Everybody need to sit down when Ndp spend millions on the school wall….what happen nothing….they over spend 100% for tortola pier park from the original price…. what happened ……brandywine Bay millions……nothing the list goes onnnnn airplanes….you get the picture….we going pay the bill.

  16. Really??!! says:

    I have a 7k debt. I wonder if the gov’t will help me so that I can start with a clean financial slate. I bet you they wouldn’t if I asked them for help. SMH! That 100+K could go to this teacher’s debacle they got going on right now!

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