Tuesday’s sitting of the House of Assembly was ordered adjourned on account of it being illegally called and convened.
Speaker of the House, Ingrid Moses-Scatliffe, gave the order this afternoon after calls from members of the parliamentary opposition, Andrew Fahie and Julian Fraser.
What made the sitting illegal was the fact that it was called in contravention of one of the regulations that govern the House.
That regulation, which is known as a Standing Order, effectively states that members be given 10 days notice ahead of a sitting. This was not done, which opposition members described as illegal.
Fahie, in his objections, noted that having the sitting would open the risk of any member of the public, at a later date, invalidating and undoing any progress that would have been made if the sitting was to proceed.
Fraser, in his contribution, added: “I don’t possibly see how is it that we can convene this sitting in violation of the standing orders which clearly states that 10 days notice is the requirement of a sitting of this honourable House. And, even if upon adjournment [of an older sitting] a date was established, it must be in excess of seven days — neither of which we have been able to achieve.”
He further argued: “We are in violation of the standing orders to have this sitting today … I personally feel that to sit here through this illegal sitting is also lending credence to the [other negative] behaviours of this House. It’s been going on for too long and it needs to stop.”
After hearing the arguments and having subsequent in-camera (private) deliberations, the Speaker of the House agreed with the opposition members and called the House to an adjournment.
The decision rejects Premier Dr D Orlando Smith’s motion to have the House proceed despite the illegality.
Legislators appeared to have mixed feelings about the decision.
Copyright 2020 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.