Deputy Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley believes that Speaker of the House of Assembly, Julian Willock, has done nothing that warrants being removed from the post.
Dr Wheatley’s statement comes on the heels of an online petition calling for Willock’s appointment to be revoked.
“I don’t think … in my humble opinion, he has done anything really out of the way. I don’t see him acting in any way that is controversial [and] I think [the petition] is premature to come to that conclusion,” Dr Wheatley told BVI News on Friday.
“I think they are probably prejudging him based on what they perceived to be his character. But, as Speaker, I don’t see anything to support those types of conclusions,” he added.
However, the Deputy Premier said, if presented with the petition, he is willing to submit it to his government for consideration.
Give Willock a chance
Meanwhile, Dr Wheatley has called on residents to give the new Speaker a fair chance to perform in his role.
“Only then should they judge him — when they have enough evidence to support those very strong conclusions,” he argued.
Dr Wheatley also maintained that the Andrew Fahie-led administration made an excellent choice in selecting Willock for the post.
“I think Willock is capable of doing the job and, I think persons should allow him the chance to do the job and then determine whether it was a good choice or not,” he said.
The Vanterpool saga: I agree with Willock
As it relates to whether the Speaker should swear in Mark Vanterpool as representative for the Fourth Electoral District, the Acting Premier reasoned: “Many persons believe that Mr Vanterpool should not be sworn-in and there are persons who believe he should be sworn-in. So I wouldn’t necessarily think that the Speaker not swearing him in is controversial.”
He continued: “I think Mr Vanterpool has some responsibility in the controversy for saying that he wanted to resign and the Speaker took a position based on what he thought was correct. So I cannot say that the Speaker is wrong. I agree with the Speaker — it should be interpreted by the court because our constitution does not address this specific situation.”
Vanterpool had submitted what he and the governor believe to be a ‘constitutionally invalid’ letter or resignation. Vanterpool — who has since changed his mind about resigning — now wants to be sworn in but Willock, the Speaker, refuses. Willock’s refusal comes despite the governor’s position on the matter.
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