BVI News

Speaker not budged by governor’s stance, seeks legal advice

Despite Governor Augustus Jaspert’s declaration that there will not be a by-election for the Fourth District, House of Assembly Speaker Julian Willock still maintains that the district seat is vacant.

The Speaker reiterated his position in a statement on Thursday, March 28.

He said: “I have read His Excellency, the Governor Mr Augustus Jaspert’s statement dated March 26 … [But] my position, as outlined in my letter sent to Mr Mark H Vanterpool dated 13th March 2019 remains the same.”

Vanterpool was elected to represent the constituency but 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.

READ: I don’t intend to call a by-election, says governor

The Speaker said in his latest statement on Thursday that he has now sought legal advice from “prominent jurists locally, regionally and from the United Kingdom and Canada”.

“Because this constitutional matter is weighty, it would be prudent at this juncture to seek the opinion of the courts in the interest of fairness, transparency, and best practice as the Honourable Attorney General, of whom I have the highest respect, has advised myself, the Governor and Mr Vanterpool of his position,” Willock said.

“Let me hasten to say, that whatever the ultimate outcome, I will comply, knowing that the House of Assembly is the place where the rule of law is promoted and practiced. It is the wish of the House of Assembly that this matter be resolved forthwith, taking into high consideration the will and interest of the residents of the Fourth District,” he added.

Speaker Willock is an avid supporter of the governing Virgin Islands Party while Vanterpool is a member of the opposing National Democratic Party.

Below is the Speaker’s full statement on March 28

I have read His Excellency, the Governor Mr Augustus Jaspert’s statement dated 26th March 2019 in which he stated his position after he was advised of the current vacancy for a Fourth District Representative within the House of Assembly.

I am also pleased that, His Excellency, the Governor agrees with me about valuing our democracy and the role it plays in good governance and improving the lives of our people. My position, as outlined in my letter sent to Mr Mark H Vanterpool dated 13th March 2019 remains the same. I have sought and received legal advice from prominent jurists locally, regionally and from the United Kingdom and Canada.

However, because this constitutional matter is weighty, it would be prudent at this juncture to seek the opinion of the courts in the interest of fairness, transparency, and best practice as the Honourable Attorney General, of whom I have the highest respect, has advised myself, the Governor and Mr Vanterpool of his position.

Let me hasten to say, that whatever the ultimate outcome, I will comply, knowing that the House of Assembly is the place where the rule of law is promoted and practice. It is the wish of the House of Assembly that this matter be resolved forthwith, taking into high consideration the will and interest of the residents of the Fourth District.

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66 Comments

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  1. Okay ... says:

    And there will be no appeals including to privy council once decision reached, right?

    Like 3
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    • Yes Appeal all the way says:

      It should be appealed all the way to the Privy Council. Mark should be made to pay for this.

      Like 15
      Dislike 39
      • Newsflash says:

        This would likely be paid for by taxpayers either way the case goes, as Mark would be challenging in his capacity as a Member of the House of Assembly. Also, the court does not have time to deal with matters like this because Willock want to have his way.

        Like 29
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    • WOW says:

      These power hungry people

      Like 34
      Dislike 3
  2. Smh says:

    Why they don’t remove VI– from being speaker of the the house ? I see why the last administration f— him. He think government is his blog site where he can edit articles to his liken? Boy go sit yourself down somewhere.

    Like 70
    Dislike 24
    • You ain't see nothing yet says:

      Trust me y’all haven’t seen “bullocks” true colors yet. The bvi had the world to say about bald head being a fun ,¥man but they ignore this one and h!$ h–o life $t¥!£

      Like 9
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    • Not2Sure says:

      I think we were supposed to be trying to move forward from the politics of division.

      Andrew needs to get his ‘impartial’ speaker of the house on a tighter leash.

      Like 22
  3. Wait says:

    This must be a l*****c. Well look a joke lol lol

    Like 21
    Dislike 5
  4. Zoe says:

    Yes Willock we with you

    Like 21
    Dislike 91
  5. PERSAUD says:

    Do I detect a Charrandas episode in the making? Check out Guyana Stabroeks News. Wow…..Wow…Wow..
    I thought salvation had come and our territory and people were facing glory days. I didn’t imagine it would come to this. Then again who were they fooling? Mr. Speak Her swear in the man. YOU are the one holding District four hostage.The VIP already has the Government majority. What can Mark or any member in the opposition do to change that? Misson stay in your lane and walk the high road and leave the low for who deserve to be there. Now those people that didn’t know you, are getting to know you. Give it a rest and move on for Christ sake.

    Like 42
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  6. Not2Sure says:

    We can sort this out very quickly. Mr Willock can just publish the advice he received from these ‘prominent jurists’. Presumably he sought that advice in relation to how he should properly discharge his public office and serve the public trust, so he should publish the advice he is relying upon. We can then compare that to the concise advice rendered on this point by the Attorney General.

    My guess is that the advice Mr Willock has received doesn’t measure up very well, which may be which he has sought so many different opinions.

    I hope this is not a sign of how he intends to act throughout his time as Speaker.

    Like 52
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  7. Anonymous says:

    I’d love to see what other legal experts think about this as I have little faith in the AG.

    Like 23
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    • BVI lawyer says:

      I don’t pretend to have examined the issue closely, but the two basic principles that the AG reportedly has applied seem sound:

      1. You cannot resign from an office that you do not yet hold. Until a person is sworn in, they cannot ‘resign’, they can only decline to take the Oath of office.

      2. If you do wish to resign, you need to do so in accordance with the procedure set out in the constitution.

      Those seem to me to be fairly common sense points rather than technical legal arguments. If there is a rebuttal to those two points, then it would need to be based on something fairly compelling.

      Like 19
      Dislike 1
    • High Esteemation says:

      Perhaps the Speaker would be so kind as to show us the receipts for the legal advice he sought?
      It can’t have been free. The “prominent jurists locally, regionally and from the United Kingdom and Canada” make heir livings by giving counsel, not freebies.

      Like 12
  8. Eagle eye says:

    This Willock guy needs firing rite away.waste of time.

    Like 29
  9. Strupes says:

    This is pure stupidness. What a clueless m*dm*n.

    Like 16
  10. Observer says:

    Will Willock resign as Speaker if the court rules in Vanterpool’s favour?

    Like 49
    Dislike 6
  11. Clabos says:

    Homorable Speaker of the House of Assembly we with you all the way.
    This type of disrespect for the citizens of this country may have been accepted in the past but not any more.
    As a matter of fact deportation is also possible. Belonger status can be revoked.

    Like 5
    Dislike 72
  12. Venold Coombs says:

    Stubborn, foolish and recalcitrant S——r.

    Who is exacting Political bloodletting,of which, the World can see.

    Typical black person in position, such thing will not happen in England.

  13. Good says:

    Let Mr Vanterpool understand the seriousness of his erratic behavior. We have to be careful what precedence is being set. Let the courts make the decision. This is just nasty politics being played to get at the speaker.

    Like 14
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  14. Hmmm says:

    We would have thought he was advised legally when he responded Mark and before he wrote to the Governor. His behavior appears to be very immature and bias. I voted for the VIP but not for this. Team VIP, please talk to your Speaker so that we can move forward with the Country’s business.

    Like 10
  15. Hmmm says:

    He so u—- he need go sit his u*** @$$ down and move on with the business of the people. The worse mistake the premier make was making you s——— of the h——. Geez man move pass this let’s move ahead

    Like 24
    Dislike 2
  16. lawyer ron says:

    f***d klyne the chief of staff have this guy confused to the max

    Like 22
    • Question... says:

      CSC has a legal court case against the Govt of the Virgin Islands. How then can the Govt of the Virgin Islands hire CSC either as an employee or contract in light of this case?

      Like 1
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  17. Anonymous says:

    Internet lawyers think that this is a straight forward case but guess again.

    Like 7
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    • Newsflash says:

      One thing you’re right about…JW going get kick straight forward out of HOA on his behind.

      YET A ANOTHER REASON FOR THE UK TO STRONGARM US

      Like 28
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  18. I agree says:

    I agree with you Willock. Good move.

    Like 11
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  19. RESPECT says:

    Mark wanted to resign . he wrote the letter , announced it ALL over . He should do as he said .. RESIGN .

    Like 21
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  20. Just saying! says:

    100% agree with the Speaker. People have to understand; that if Mark were let back in easily and without a challenge it surely would have motivated others to attempt more willful and deliberate gimmicks. An example has to made out of this, let them think twice before they come with anymore of these immature and fatuous schemes. This is honestly shameful, and as many others have said the BVI has become a laughing stock. Mark’s intentions were crystal clear therefore If he really wants to return, run fair and square in the by-elections.

    Side Note~ I think we ACTUALLY know who the TRUE orchestrator of this situation REALLY is. Let us not be fools my people of the V.I.

    Like 12
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  21. Just my 2 cents says:

    As a BVIslander, I am sadden by the nonsense taking place with the Speaker and the D4 representative. It was nonsensical of the D4 rep to make his pronouncement after he campaigned for our votes, won his seat, then changed his mind. He should really resign from politics for good.

    However, the constitution must be respected and in this case, if the specific procedures were not followed then his so-called resignation is invalid. The Governor has done his part (and I believe he must have consulted with experts from the UK in addition to the Attorney General who in my opinion had provided excellent legal advise).

    Any competent jurist or lawyer will advise that the law is not about feelings and the constitution reigns supreme. Those who are advising the speaker against the swearing in may just want a big pay-day from the government by playing on his personal feelings and ignorance to advance their agenda. Is there more to it than what meets the eye? Is his stubbornness a reason for some big-boys to get an early pay-day and some kick-backs?

    Despite that I would like a by-election in D4, since the resignation was invalid and not resubmitted, the D4 rep has the right to be sworn in as a member of the House. If the speaker continues on his foolish path, the end result will be that thousands will have to be paid out to these ‘hired’ lawyers and then even more to the D4 rep in compensation when the final court rule in his favour.

    I hope in the end, the s*****r be called upon to repay the government for his foolishness and if the ruling is timely, he should be called upon to resign or his appointment should be revoked.

    Like 40
    Dislike 3
    • Fluffy says:

      The speaker need to go have a seat and wait for the case of vanilla slim fast and weight watchers weekly meals VIA Fed EX. Don’t get impatient BOBO, your package is in route. Heard the Cobb Salad, Fava beans and Salmon is great.

      Like 13
  22. Look says:

    Many egoes at play here. Premier Sir please stop this thing now now. The constitution is law and clear. People know what and what is not now legal. Leave this thing alone and move forward. If you want something to go recoup the money from Mark for the swearing in bit and any other cost associated with getting him sworn in. This is not looking good.

    Like 15
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  23. D4 says:

    Hold your ground Willock the court will back you up

    Like 6
    Dislike 35
  24. PROBLEMS says:

    What Vanterpool did was disrespectful to his district and next election hopefully he dosen’t run again and if he does hopefully he loses.
    The governor dosent side with either party in this and is just following the law so as the governor said I think its what should be followed rather than wasting resources fighting something that changes nothing.

    Like 24
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  25. No says:

    JW is the one that is going to bring VIP down. JW want to act the fool. U***st speaker I have ever seen.

    Like 11
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  26. Oh says:

    So the grunt F**h is going to defy what the Governor said. Instead of moving forward to help the Country move forward JW is holding the Country hostage. I guess he is dipping into the Government b—- to go to court.Money that can be spent on other important things.

    Like 11
    Dislike 1
  27. Gag me with a peach cobbler says:

    I didn’t know Shrek was living in the BVI.

    Like 16
  28. Think to talk says:

    I knew it so we the tax payers paying for this. I thought the country broke

    Like 16
  29. Haha says:

    The same attorney general ruled that the former speaker could hold her seat even if she intended to run for elections as part of NDP. Do you see a trend here. This and the other ruling is just his opinion. There will be many other legal opinions on this matter and not all will be the same.

    Like 8
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  30. Contract Law 101 says:

    For a contract to be valid there must be a valid offer and a valid acceptance. In this scenario, when does the offer take place? Is it when Mark is to be sworn in? If no offer had yet taken place and the offeror (speaker) had already learned of mark’s intention not to accept the offer and the speaker had accepted that, then nothing can compel the speaker to make any offer to Mark by swearing him in.

    If an offer was deemed to be made already, Mark’s actions amounted to a rejection of any offer. He resigned in writing and did a Facebook video where he clearly communicated his actual intention to resign. The speaker then took steps to accept Mark’s rejection of the offer. There is no agreement and the speaker again cannot be compelled to swear Mark in.

    Even if there was an agreement, there was also anticipatory repudiation of that agreement. The speaker learned of mark’s intention to terminate the contract, had relied on that information and indeed had accepted the repudiation. Anticipatory repudiation does not have to be communicated directly to the offeror but can be communicated via observation or via a third party. The letter of anticipatory repudiation, and in fact actual repudiation, was addressed to a third party. The offeror probably also observed the actual repudiation via the social media video. The offeror then ACCEPTED mark’s repudiation. That is it. The contract has already been terminated and it is TOO LATE now for mark to decide he change his mind.

    Now it makes me wonder if the AG did contract law in school.

    Now governor you goinhg have to stop messing with due process and call a bi-election.

    Now speaker, I wid you. Get other opinions.

    Now Mark, yuh learn a lesson. NDP like to make and break laws at their will and this is a prime example. Wasting people time.

    Let’s call this bi election so we can get it right this time. I voting for someone who ain’t going run off on me!!!

    Like 4
    Dislike 17
  31. Reply says:

    This will be a fools errand and a waste of tax payers money when all is said and done. The speaker has picked a fight with the governor, Mr. Vanterpool, and the attorney general. I predict he will not win that fight.

    Like 21
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  32. REALIST says:

    It amazes me that the Hon. Speaker sought advice from so many Lawyers. Could it be that all of them gave him the same advice, therefore he kept going and going until one would tell him exactly what he is waiting to hear? This fiasco is going to take up the whole four years of this Government’s tenure and then there are those who would want to blame Mark for it. Can’t the Hon. Premier discern what is happening here? But then again he said that he is in support of His Hon. Speaker so that figures. Hon. Premier, open your heart and mind and discern what the Devil is trying to do and beat him at his game. What the Devil means for bad, God means for good. Where now is God in all this?????

    Like 20
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  33. #@@ says:

    Sometimes when you doing the right thing in life, you will have to stand alone.

    For years some of us wanted the Governor to step in and call election because of the wrong things the NDP GOVERNMENT was doing. Nothing happened. Our message to that government was that, whatever you do good or bad is okay with us.

    We vote for change. The Speaker is also bring change to the HOA. Disrespectful and reckless behavior is a thing of the past.

    Young people are being told to be careful with what you do in life, because there will be consequences for your actions. The young people are looking for the right leaders for them to follow. Everyone is seeking advice on this problem that Mark created. Even Mark himself. So the Speaker is still doing what he said he would do in the HOA.

    In all fairness, Mark actions must have consequences. This is not a play house. This is serious business. The 4th-D still have 4 persons to represent them at this point in time until this matter is rectified.

    I am with the Speaker on this.

    Like 3
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  34. Go figure says:

    C***e whipping boy. Yes MASA, I shall do your bidding. We are having ham hocks corn bread and black eyed peas for dinner danight/tonight.

  35. sam the man says:

    Looks like that big piece of humble pie he’s got to eat is getting stuck! I just knew his ego would prevent the decision from the governor being complied with – time to stop procrastinating and wasting tax payers money – just get Mark sworn in, he’s the one that has to explain and justify his daft actions….

    Like 11
  36. Venold Coombs says:

    Mr Speaker you being political, and, too political.

    You sought the Governor’s advise,and when his direction did not satisfy you,as you already had one, you now want to go all around the World to get one.

    Clearly, you should be aware of the constitutional authority of the Governor.

    Do not create a crisis,of which you will be embarrassed.

    Like 21
    Dislike 3
  37. From D4 says:

    The only one I want to rep me in the 4th is MARK. Luce is cool but I am not feeling her. Don’t take it personal Luce, it is just business. Maybe this is a sign that you are not suppose to be caught up in the drama that is brewing and will blow up in HOA. Girllll, for real, think about it. Mark is a seasoned Rep, he knows how to handle that house of cards that is about to topple thanks to JW stubborn hard headed A**.

    Like 23
    Dislike 5
    • So correct says:

      Oh yeah,for sure, that JW is going to be the downfall of the House of Cards.Premier, you seem to be a decent guy but, I think you made a mistake when you select JW to be speaker.

      Like 6
      Dislike 1
  38. Confucius says:

    I wish the speaker would pick his battles and that Premier Fahie would guide him in this regard.

    This is NOT a battle worth fighting! Get on with the business of running the country and making advancements. The VIP will pay for justice delayed dragging this mess into the courts.

    The people of the 4th elected Mr. Vanterpool and he NOW wants to represent them. If there is any question as to his suitability as a member of the house, then poll the people of the 4th and ask them if they WANT a new election or not!

    Going to court is a HUGE mistake! DON’T DO IT!!!

    Like 21
    Dislike 1
  39. lawyer says:

    No legal advice the speaker gets could over rule our constitution or our laws! F–head is the most hated speaker we have ever had. I hope it don’t spill over to the VIP party. He just wants to be in the spot light and he is not an at——– man.

    Like 9
    Dislike 2
  40. VIP supporter says:

    I don’t see anything wrong with mark reconsidering and changing his mind. My wife filed for divorce and stopped sleeping in our matrimonial bed for one year. She then reconsidered in the middle of the divorce process and now we are the happiest married couple. Should I have punished her for filing the divorce in the first place? Hell No! It made me look at what was causing our problem and fixed it.
    The territory needs to amend the laws so we have a clarity if this has to happen again.

    Like 23
    Dislike 5
  41. Reality says:

    This is personal to JW, it has nothing to do with the constitution or law.

    Like 16
    Dislike 3
  42. Hmm says:

    I can bet anyone that works for Mark cannot get away with this behavior in is business so how come he feels he can get away with it in our business place(HoA)? If I wrote a letter to resign from OneMart and addressed it to a senior cashier or a HR rep if noone else in authority is available, would my resignation letter not be valid because it wasn’t addressed to Mark directly? Would I then be able to take back my resignation and be reinstated back as an employee in his business especially if I only had the job for a few days? I highly doubt that he would. He needs to stop with the child’s play in our house like he can’t make up his mind whether he wants to be there or not. Mr. Vanterpool you’re moving like a real watchyamacallit. You don’t have any interest in the people of the forth that voted you back in there. Guess because you can’t get back into the kitty so no more action man just a. running man (running is an action word)

    Like 3
    Dislike 11
    • Apples & Oranges says:

      And your point is?

      You can’t compare apples to oranges. Our constitution provides guidance on this matter. What does OneMart resignation policy say?

      Like 10
      Dislike 3
  43. Inside! says:

    Mister want the Court to decide and waste tax$ on his whim. Yet its not a surprise as he himself ——- justice with the Court, with his own non ————- of multiple c—s and censures regarding V$@O at a high cost to tax payers. Maybe if he was as real and concerned about fairness and the law, the real J. L#@%nard could standup and practice what he preach.

  44. If your HEART not in it - says:

    you must have quit.

    Please M, do the territory a favour and publicly, once more, re-resign. For years you’ve been expressing your intention to retire. However, you jumped back into the general elections for whatever reasons, won your bid; within weeks, “Hit us with a SHOCKER!” But you could not leave it there, came back yet again to destabilize us even more, with a second round. Your weak excuse(s) did not and does not hold weight nor water. Your first public intention revealed how you truly feel.

    STOP the yo-yo games and allow others (with a by-election) whose heart maybe well intended to help the district and the territory on a whole- get an opportunity to do so. The DISTRICT NEEDS FULL ATTENTION, not back and forth, up and down, yo-yo interest, to move it forward and make it look like a Capital.

    “Where does the buck stops. If we, the people of the territory, don’t stand for something, we will fall for anything.” STANDARDS must be set in-place and uphold.

    Again M, if your heart is not in it, please do us all a favour and give up the political tricks. Stop the IMPASSE!

    Like 3
    Dislike 7
  45. No More says:

    Mark acted similarly when he was elected under the NDP and switched to the VIP then switched back to the NDP. He needs to know that this is serious business. When people put their trust and confidence in you, that’s not to be taken lightly.

    Like 3
    Dislike 7
  46. tola girl says:

    the governor needs to send willock home cause he is not following instructions from his superiors

    Like 9
    Dislike 2
  47. FFS says:

    What a waste of scarce resources. Pity we dont get to vote for the Speaker!

  48. Oh My says:

    That’s a good point…maybe it should be an electable position to avoid this type of fiasco in the future. A speaker who refuses to adhere to guidance or directives. Not góod.

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