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Speaker notified governor of D4 ‘vacancy’ twice

Willock

Speaker of the House of Assembly Julian Willock has said he has advised Governor Augustus Jaspert that the Fourth District seat is vacant.

Willock — who was appointed Speaker on March 12 — made the statement on Monday while making it clear that his “ruling” to accept Mark Vanterpool’s March 5 resignation “still stands”.

“I have advised His Excellency the Governor Mr Augustus Jaspert in writing on two occasions that there is a vacancy for representation in the Fourth Electoral District in the House of Assembly, as Mr Vanterpool followed through on his expressed intent and did not show up on 12th March 2019 to be sworn in as an elected member,” Willock said.

“I trust that Governor Jaspert will not allow the people of District 4 to go without a district representative for much longer. It was unfortunate that the people of District 5, following the passing of Honourable Delores Christopher, had to wait five months for a new district representative.”

“I know that the Governor values our democracy and the role it plays in good governance and improving the lives of our people, so we await a by-election date, which under the constitution, can only be called by him,” the Speaker added.

There has been no clear indication of whether a by-election should be held since representative-elect of District 4, Mark Vanterpool, submitted a letter outlining that he wished to resign but later changed his mind.

According to the Virgin Islands Constitution, a letter of resignation must be addressed to the Speaker. However, there was none at the time Vanterpool submitted the letter. Vanterpool’s letter was addressed to the ‘Clerk’ of the House of Assembly and not the Speaker. As such, he maintains that his resignation was invalid and could not be reasonably accepted by the Speaker.

Governor Jaspert, in the meantime, said he would seek advice from Attorney General Baba Aziz. He further said he will only issue a writ for a by-election if he is formally notified that the seat is vacant.

The Speaker is responsible for notifying the governor of a vacancy.

Copyright 2019 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

45 Comments

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  1. Okay says:

    I find Willock to be bias! Let us follow the constitution strictly. The letter was not addressed to the speaker therefore it is invalid. Big mistake elected you ss Speaker because you will never change.

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  2. Looking On says:

    You can’t resign and then change your mind. If you resign and you intended to resign backed up by the act of not swearing yourself in as the district rep., it’s a done deal – you resigned and therefore you must go through the hiring (voting) process to get rehired (voted back in). No?

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    • Case Closed says:

      The AG should note that Vantypu is not a member as such because he hasn’t been sworn in. So there are likely election rules that need to be applied. Those should simply allow the candidate that came in second to be elected.

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    • HRMPH says:

      The sp——–, the most deviscive and controversial decisive person in BVI politics, is wrong and needs to resign in disgrace.

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  3. Hah says:

    This situation should be a lesson to everyone that actions have consequences. Think before you act. This is no different than apologizing after the damage is already done. Mark knew exactly what he was doing but now the territory is caught in the crossfire.

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  4. Hmmmm says:

    Here we go again. Fahie you can’t see the Speaker getting more airtime than him.

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  5. Facts says:

    We with Willock on this one

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  6. Anonymous says:

    Bad blood politics just out the gate. Not good for the progress or unity of the BVI.

    Chickens do come home to roost.

    That horse may have a difficult journey to the finish line.

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  7. Mr. Juan Ping says:

    So what the h**l is the governor waiting on then???

    Gov. I like you but don’t try to play politics with this matter.

    You have been advised 2 time so that mean it is your obligation to call a bi election immediately.

    No more BS.

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    • Um says:

      His obligation to call a by-election or to say whether it’s or not it’s acceptable to call one. It’s law you’re dealing here with you know. This isn’t a game either. Let the AG and Governor do their jobs. Anyone can say what they want all up on the radio but unless what they said is contrary to law or was not in compliance with law what say ye should happen?

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    • CGB says:

      I don’t care which party Mark is from. I only care about the law. The Speaker doesn’t decide if there is a vacancy. He only tells the Governor that he thinks there is one. If the Governor agrees, there is a vacancy. If not, there is not a vacancy. The Governor has asked for legal advice and will state what will happen once that is done. Everything else is just talk.

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      • BVIlander says:

        @ CGB, Thank you very much this is the first sensible comment that I have seen on this story. It is up to the AG and the governor to say if the letter shows intent or if the constitution has to be applied to as written. I find the speaker’s and governments bias on this very dangerous even if I think MV acted in a way that is not Honorable. It is very dangerous for a country when it’s leaders seek to ignore the constitution and law for their own benefit. BVIlanders need to be more concerned that we have leaders that are seemingly willing to sidestep the law than who the rep is for D4. This is a slippery and dangerous road that we are on and it has nothing to do with who will represent District 4.

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        • Well Sah says:

          I couldn’t agree with both of you more. The governor has already asked for the opinion of the attorney general, why then the speaker is in such a rush and refuse to wait for the opinion of the AG as requested…SMH!

  8. Conflicted says:

    This guy is so conflicted here, it’s laugable and as plain as glass. No wonder the governor has ignored his reported letters thus far.

    Trying to nudge the governor to side with him with his letters about valuing the country’s democracy is just him trying to dress up his clear conflict as something genuine.

    The governor will get back to him surely in due time mostly likely ONLY after the attorney general has rendered his opinion.

    He should let this matter play out on it’s own. If the governor comes back and say, not so fast, the position is not vacant, then Willock opens himself to ridicule and eggs on his face.

    He will also be starting his tenure as speaker with a noted conflict with the governor.

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  9. Facts says:

    As much as I respect the former representative, this ain’t no game. No Takesies Backsies.

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  10. Go willock says:

    Handle the Governor, Hon. Willock. They come down here and wouldn’t do no work only making mischief. His want mischief give him h**l. Willock 1; Gus 0

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  11. Quiet Warrior says:

    Former D-4 rep and MCW Mark Vanterpool resigned as the duly elected D-4 rep on March 05, 2019. Early this month, Mark recanted his resigning his seat in the HOA, claiming that his resignation was invalid, for the letter was addressed to the Clerk of the HOA instead of to the Speaker as stipulated in the constitution. Well, the HOA was dissolved on January 23, 2019 so there was no Speaker to forward resignation letter to.

    IMO, using the fact that the resignation letter was sent to the Clerk vice the Speaker as a reason to invalidate the resignation is a red herring. Simply, it comes down to intent. Mark expressed his intent to resign both in writing and verbally in public. Furthermore, he behave like a resigned member. Namely, having notified the HOA Clerk that he resigned, he didn’t show up to be sworn on March 12, 2019. If it look like a duck, waddle like a duck and quack like a duck, it is a duck. This sequence of events is a making a mockery of the electoral process, D-4, and the honourable HOA. It is a “pappy show.” The residents of D-4 deserves better; they need a represensative who is serious about representing them and need to be given the opportunity again to elect such a rep. A member that was re-elected on Feb 25, resigned on March 05 and recanted resignation a few days later in my view is not serious and seemed to have lost interest in active politics.

    Moreover, per Speaker, he has notified the Governor twice that D-4 is vacant. And supposedly, Baba Aziz, Attorney General, is reviewing the issue. The Governor and AG must act expeditiously; either s…..t or get off the p…..e. Clearly, the constitution needs to amended to address 1) resignation, 2)dissolution of the HOA…..etc.

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    • Have several seats says:

      As bright as you may think you are, please look at the constitution of the Virgin Islands. The ways in which a member can resign or must vacate their seat is written there. Take your ill-informed dissertation somewhere else. It’s people like that is wrong with the BVI. Think you know but don’t know crap.

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      • Quiet Warrior says:

        @have several seats, Mark apparently resigned his seat by Chapter 5 section 67 3(a) of the constitution: An elected member of the House of Assembly shall also vacate his or her seat in the House—
        (a) if he or she resigns it by writing under his or her hand addressed to the Speaker.

        The HOA was dissolve on or about January 23, 2019 so there was no Speaker to submit resignation letter to. He submitted it to Clerk of the HOA. Nonetheless, intent is the key issue here regardless of whom the resignation letter wa sent to. Mark intended to resign, resigned and his action demonstrated that he resigned. Anyway, I’m out.🎤🎤🎤.

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        • @Quiet Warrior says:

          Have you forgotten that the Clerk did not accept his letter and formally advise him, to whom the letter should be addressed. Had she not respond to his letter, i would agree with your position of ‘intent’ but her response did make the letter even more invalid.

          After she responded to Mark’s letter the Speaker of the house had no reason to get involved until he received a formal resignation letter addressed to him.

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      • The light says:

        @have several seats

        “Fools know not, nor do they understand. Because they walk in darkness and not in the way of the light” [Big Youth].

        Every written word in the constitution is subject to different legal interpretations. Out of these interpretations come legal opinions and rulings. That is why we have lower, upper and supreme courts.

        So please seek after the light before you criticize.

    • Fact says:

      It didn’t say that in the absence of the speaker then the clerk. Also the speaker is voted on to serve and the clerk is a government appointed employee. No mixing of roles.

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    • sam the man says:

      Thank goodness we are not going independent anytime soon! We’ve become the laughing stock of the Caribbean over this!

  12. EGOMANIAC says:

    I really don’t know who the Speaker (who wasn’t appointed at the time of the letter) thinks he is to be making demands on the Governor. The arrogance! Cool your heels.

    Imagine, JW writing the Governor tendering his resignation but at the time the Governor was no longer in office and a new Governor was transitioning in but not yet appointed (not likely but still possible)

    JW then has a change of mind and retracts his resignation after the PS informs him his resignation letter is INVALID

    How can a new Governor after being appointed accept the resignation after the retraction letter.

    JW that ego is swollen.

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  13. On the block says:

    Not a fan of jw but this time I with him 100percent

    Mark need to go sit down we no papy show

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  14. Eagle eye says:

    It seems as if wiillock is def or something.didn’t the governor said as far as he knows the seat is not vacant.willock u def mahn.

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    • @ Eagle eye says:

      Didn’t the governor give a date for by election before this change of heart? That means he also acknowledged the resignation.

  15. Observer says:

    Didn’t be hear that there is NO VACANCY in District 4 therefore the Governor cannot call a bi-election? Is he trying to threaten the Governor?

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  16. Love for My Country says:

    @Quiet Warrior

    If Mark was not sworn in as a member of the House of Assembly, tell me how his resignation could be legal. The Constitution said that a member must write to the speaker if he wishes to relinquish his position as a member. There are all kind of insinuations in this matter but at the end of the day we must rely on what is legal. The AG needs to advise the Governor soonest about whether a vacancy exists in District 4. Then the Governor once he has taken a decision should inform the public. This matter is being allowed to drag on for too long.

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    • Blah says:

      You cannot legally force someone to swear in against their will. The constitution can not force someone to accept or keep a post that they do not want. There is no such thing as an illegal resignation. Anyone can quit or “resign” at anytime that they choose.

      Mark didn’t just resigned, he quit. He didn’t do it in the proper way so instead of using the word resign we should call it what it was and say that he quit his job. If I dont give my job 2 weeks notice of my intent to leave the job as outlined in the labor code I am still allowed to leave.
      There could be legal implications but I would be free to leave. The labor code does not bound me to stay at the job. Same case here the constitution does not bound Mark or anybody to stay at the job.

      For example, Free speech is protected under the constitution of the USA but people can be and are punished all the time for free speech. You say something that is deemed offensive you can be terminated, you can be fined. There would be a lot more law suits if the constitution was the tell all be all that some people think it is. Some people have sued under the basis that free speech is protected under the constitution and have failed.

      In this case Mark quit as anybody is entitled to do at anytime and it was acknowledged.

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  17. Where there is ignorance people perish says:

    We are still an Independent Territory govern still as a British OT. Who call the shots here. Indigenous BVIslander? Ding! Ding! “THE GOVERNOR. Yes the people have a say but the final decision rest with him. Speaker of the House, although I certainly agree that Mark should have fully made up his mind, YOU REALLY cannot do anything or make the final decision. Stop making yourself look like a power hungry beast. Sit back, and wait. You submit your decision-Let the governor do his job. You begin to look foolish as that is not your place to make that judgement call. You are beginning to come over loke a BULLY. Wait. Hurry bird do not build good nest

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  18. Not valid says:

    If something is invalid, it CANNOT be accepted. The speaker is acting illegally by accepting an invalid resignation.

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  19. Don says:

    Say one say two Willock is right to hold his grounds

    Ndp killed the country and mark wish to continue his crap

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  20. Zone 4 says:

    Governor give us a by election date

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  21. andrew says:

    Can an elected representative resign from being a member before he is actually sworn in the house?

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  22. BVI says:

    My common sense as well as reading the applicable section of the Constitution tell me that Mark went about the process the wrong way. He should have resigned after swearing in not before. The Constitution clearly states that the Speaker is the one to be notified, hence it appears his letter of resignation is invalid, hence he should be sworn in ASAP. I would be surprised if the AG advise the Governor that a bi-election should be called.

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  23. Love for my country? says:

    Dishonest and with zero integrity- the man should go run his supermarket – —- ——–!

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  24. Vip 2019 says:

    We waiting on mark and his relly against the esteemed speaker

    We have a bomb to drop

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  25. Just asking.... says:

    Mr vanterpool have you got no shame and respect for the people of the fourth and the bvi house of assembly?

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  26. Me. Again says:

    My 2 cents on this story ; There is no Principal at the school ; The Deputy Principal is in charge who is responsible for control at the school ?
    The Speaker resigned to run for politics ; next in line ??
    The clerk !!
    Marks’ letter was submitted and recieved .
    Mark made PUBLIC announcements and REFUSED to attend the Swearing in Ceremony .
    WHAT CLEARER MESSAGE ayaa waaan ??

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  27. D4 says:

    D4 rep seat is not vacant. JW DON’t want Mark up in HOA and is doing everything to keep him out. He can’t control Mark and he knows that Mark will stand up to his A**.This thing is not about working together as one for the good of the Country,It is about stupid personal S**t and Alpha position.

  28. Political Observer (PO) says:

    This mockery of the BVI electoral process is reminiscent of Nero fiddling while Rome burn in AD 64. With the myriad of problems the BVI is faced with, we are stucked on top dead center over a confused represensative that clearly does not care about truly representing D-4. If he really cared, he would not be holding D-4 hostage, would he? He needs to set D-4 residents free. Come on Baba Aziz stop twiddling your thumbs and make a decision. This is not a difficult legal decision; let the voters decide. Call a bye-election and let D-4 residents decide who want to represent them and Mark can run to prove that people truly wants him. Bam! Issue resolve.

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