BVI News

Should governors be allowed full law-making powers in the VI?

Office of the Governor

The governor’s law-making powers in the Virgin Islands are primarily restricted to assent, veto, and ordinance-making powers under certain conditions.

In certain emergencies, for instance, the governor may have the power to make laws, known as ordinances, without the immediate approval of the House of Assembly. However, these powers are generally exercised only under specific circumstances, such as natural disasters (like hurricanes Irma and Maria) or other emergencies, where quick legislative action is necessary for the public good.

The recent constitutional review conducted by the Constitutional Reform Commission (CRC) and led by Lisa Penn-Lettsome showed that the Virgin Islands has the least restrictive provisions for UK-appointed governors among overseas territories.

“The Governor has the power to declare law… he can only exercise this authority where it concerns international obligations (which the UK would argue beneficial ownership does) and also as well, where the local legislature actually introduces a bill but fails to pass that bill,” Penn-Lettsome explained on the Talking Points show yesterday.

Penn-Lettsome pointed out that other OTs have even more liberal provisions on the governor’s side. “In other constitutions in OT jurisdictions, for example, the governor has the power to actually introduce a bill, and assent to a bill just as if he is the legislature,” she said.

According to Penn-Lettsome, one constitution even states that the governor on his own has the power to make laws for the peace, order, and good government of that jurisdiction.

She highlighted that the distinction marks the VI’s constitution as one of the more advanced among OT constitutions.

Even though the practice is currently in place, one recommendation arising from the review is that there must be a written provision in the constitution where the governor is compelled to consult with the premier before making a bill become law.

In recent months, former Governor John Rankin threatened to seek greater powers from the UK to ensure governance reforms were implemented by the May 31 deadline, but there has been no word on whether that request has been approved. Rankin made that request after he determined that there was insufficient drive and determination across the various ministries and departments to deliver on the agreed-upon Commission of Inquiry (COI) recommendation deadlines.

However, Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley dismissed the suggestion that there was a need for threats or coercion by the UK, noting that he was quite impressed with what his government has been able to achieve thus far. Premier Wheatley said his government was putting all the necessary resources into meeting the agreed deadline and noted that he remained optimistic about hitting targets that have been set in the government’s action plan.


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  1. Yes says:

    Sure. The current lawmakers are just writing laws to enrich themselves at our expense. Can’t be any worse than right now.

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  2. PT09 says:

    A governor is appointed by the UK not the BVI government the BVI doesn’t have a say about the governor duties when will you all get that.

    Like 17
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    • Future says:

      If we give the UK that power, then let’s just forget about our emancipation. We will fall right back to being a full colony. What would then be the point of voting? We don’t vote for the governor. This would no longer be a democratic country.



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  4. Resident says:

    u.k takeover please

    Like 27
    Dislike 8
  5. KH11 says:

    Hell no! Thepeople needless colonial and imperiallism not more.

    Like 3
    Dislike 15
    • Anonymous says:

      People act like the UK is oppressing them when the only oppression I see is from the BVI government which seems only willing to increase taxes while not increasing the minimum wage.

      Like 10
  6. Definitely says:

    Yes yes and yes AND enforcement.
    In these VI passing laws is a joke on its people .

    Zero Oversight
    Zero Accountability
    Zero Responsibility
    Zero Enforcement

    Pure comedy on the surface these VI but reality is in fact…these VI are another in a long line of predictable Black Caribbean tragedy with no hope for Grace on the horizon.

    Like 3
    Dislike 3
  7. Order in Council time says:

    CoI deadline less than 2 months away and BVI politicians still keeping their collective heads in the sand. By 1 June the UK government will be running the BVI and the 13 elected politicians will be unemployed along with most of the BVI’s civil servants.

    Like 9
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  8. maria louisa varlack says:

    in 1988 the government of the british virgin islands, ministry of education and culture and the bvi education department and development bank of the virgin islands in the british virgin islands awarded me a 12000 student loan to attend valencia community college in orlando, florida and i earned a total of 48 credits but i never did graduaed. in 2002 unesco awarded me 15000 to attend seminole state college in sanford florida and i earned a total of 24 credits but i never did graduated. somewhere along the line life is hopeless.

  9. Lenny says:


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  10. Karnage says:

    More power for what? He was not elected by any VIslander.

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  11. 1st law says:

    redo the damn roads

  12. I would say yes says:

    To Governors being allowed full law making powers in the VI. I would welcome that. The Territory is in shambles and the citizens is tired of being tired of the BS that is going on.

    Like 2
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  13. Misleading Headline says:

    Article and headline do not match. Click-bait. The Commission thinks that the Governor should not make laws without consulting the Premier. At the moment the Governor does not have to consult the Premier. There you go!

    Hope this comment helps the people who did’nt read the article but are reading the comments.

  14. my2cents says:


  15. Wisen Up says:

    The governor represents the monarch. Stop putting your foot in your mouth, and stay in your lane. Fix what you ought to and don’t waste time spewing garbage.

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  16. Samuel says:

    Absolutely not. That’s a dictatorship and colonialism. Only traitors want colonialism to continue

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  17. hmm says:

    If the governor is allowed to make and pass his own laws in the bvi might as well we get rid of HOA and kiss our democracy goodbye. The governor does not work for or report to the people of the bvi. We have no say in who holds that position or their agenda. Yes our local politicians are utter garbage but to me the answer is not to give all the power to somebody who don’t even need no vote from you cause they don’t report to you.

    Like 1
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  18. Yesterday was to late. says:

    No to colonialis.No to imperialism. Yes to Black Virgin Islands freedom to live, thrive on their own without UK or any other interference, psuedo ownership or other.

    The silent majority wants their freedom day before as even yesterday was to late.

    Of course the helpless racist and haters of the Black Race and who is pregnant with hopeless greeds wanting everything for themselves as in the colonial and imperialists eras will be feasting on the thumbs down satisfying their egotistical sense of entitlement.

    We do notgive a rats behind.

  19. I Wonder says:

    Is it 10 year olds who are blogging on this site? Because certainly if you have been in the world long enough for at least 15 years or more you should understand that you give no outsider the right to make laws in your country. You should not even discuss giving them your country to run either.

    I have said it before and I will say it again, when we were on our knees after Irma/Maria, the UK brought nothing but some officers to maybe stop petty crime as lots lost almost everything and were desolate and hopeless. What did Prince Charles now King walk when he stopped by? A loan guarantee or an offer to back a loan of an astronomical sum.

    Now, I didn’t agree with much that Hon. Fahie did, but I too would have said hell no if I could find the money here to slowly but surely get back on our feet. That $40 million from SSB could have carried us far with our roads, infrastucture, etc.
    It was just given away and stolen, but I always tell persons you know who your friends are when you are down on the ground. If they leave you there, well, you know what they are. The loan guarantee wasn’t all bad, but not even a hundred thousand dollars in grant aid, not $50,000? Then we were hit with the COI. Was needed, but the timing was not the best at all. THen COVID and we got some medication, a few boxes full.

    Seems to me our parent said, when we were down, you are on your own. Do what you got to do. You have hundreds of million spending yearly. Do waht you got to do. So why are we asking UK to take over now? If politicians are in the HOA and not doing their work, treat them as any other employee not doing their work, fire them.

    UK, friends, parents? Not a leaf left on the trees, most of the houses roofs blown off and you said I can sign a loan for you. Now they should get power to make laws for us? Humph. We must be crazy. Common sense ain’t common no more.

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