BVI News

Speaker’s security company awarded gov’t contract | HOA approves exemption

The House of Assembly has approved a private security firm — for which Speaker Julian Willock serves as a company director — to provide its services to the government to monitor returning residents who are under mandatory quarantine.

The company, Leonard & Associates, was permitted to become a government contractor after Premier Andrew Fahie moved a motion that the Speaker be exempted from vacating seat when his firm offers the service.

The Premier said government needed as much private security providers as possible to cover the large number of residents who have or will be returning into a supervised quarantine facility.

“The fact is every single security services that can be hired in this territory has been hired to help, including now, the one where the Speaker is a director in the company. It is not a contract that we are giving to the Speaker because he is the Speaker,” the Premier told the House.

“It is very important that this is explained because when it leaves from this honourable House these things take a life of their own and persons would want to say that the House just give the Speaker a contract without looking at the facts surrounding it. And, I must tell persons once you’re in public life, you have to take public scrutiny. But at the same time, you are entitled to your own opinions but not to your own facts,” he added.

Premier said the Deputy Governor’s Office, who is in charge of hiring security firms for this particular purpose, requested that the House move with supporting the motion “because we need all the security companies including this one for the manpower”.

Above standard

The motion received support from both sides of the political aisle.

In the meantime, Attorney General Baba Aziz gave an assurance that the application is above par.

“When the speaker’s issue came, I had to take time to look at it carefully — because he is the Speaker of the House — to ensure that when this application comes before the House, it is above standard because he is the Speaker of the House,” he said.

“So if you look through the document, it is more exhaustive than previously, to ensure that the application meets above standard and now that the Speaker’s application has been above standard. I would hope that members in the future can follow this good standard,” Aziz stated.

What the constitution says

Section 67(3)(e) of the Virgin Islands Constitution says an elected member of the House of Assembly shall vacate his or her seat if any firm in which the member is a director becomes a party to a contract with the Government of the Virgin Islands.

However, Section 67(7) says the House may exempt any elected member from vacating his or her seat if the circumstances appear just to do so.

Copyright 2020 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

34 Comments

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  1. Forward ever Backward never says:

    Our beloved Virgin Islands is going to H**l. Nepotism, Cronyism, Egregiously flawed Government handling of the people’s business is pitting residents against each other. Regenerate Government with Fairness and Best Practices that include us all. Some being blessed abundantly while others starve. Do the Right Thing.

    Like 29
    • hmmm says:

      This was expected. When I heard of the exorbitant cost associated with quarantine I knew it was the ultimate avenue for co——-n.

      Our government pride themselves to be unconventional. In my opinion, they are worst than the NDP, as they are playing a phycological game with us. Why not use technology to minimize the cost to facilitate the returning nationals. Jamaica for instance have used an app to monitor all arriving passengers. The app is download at the point of entry, it is the contract between the government and the passenger, it allows for communication and it monitors the passenger’s whereabouts. Most of all it cap the cost associated with arriving passengers.

      I am so disappointed with our government with the poor handling of this area and using this as an opportunity to give hand out to their supporters.

      Like 22
      Dislike 1
  2. East man says:

    What’s the big deal he is born here

    Like 6
    Dislike 31
    • @East Man says:

      It is called a conflict of interest.

      Like 22
      Dislike 1
      • BVI says:

        The Hon. Speaker did nothing wrong since the House of Assembly voted in favour of the exemption. It would have been totally different if the House of Assembly voted against granting the exemption. His interest 8n the security company was declared. It he had an interests which was willfully not disclosed and was later discovered then he could have been removed from his post as Speaker.

        Like 6
        Dislike 10
      • Reader says:

        @ @East Man. Please read the article where it quotes the policy that a member can receive a contract from Govt. once they receive exemption. Also make special note that the Speaker’s co. is also not the only security co. hired.

  3. Bullfrog getting his paws greased says:

    LOL only in the BVI….wow wow wow

    Like 22
    Dislike 1
  4. CONFLICT OF INTEREST says:

    Witlock is Speaker.
    Witlock is Media-owner.
    Witlock is Contractor of the government.

    Do we really see no issue with this?

    This is a huge conflict of interest.

    For those claiming VIP is less corrupt than the previous governments…. I am afraid that is coming to an end quickly now!

    Like 24
    Dislike 2
  5. Facts says:

    I give the esteemed speaker credit for at least bringing the matter to the house of assembly it shows integrity a step up from the last 8 years of ndp with so much conflict of interest we just learning about

    Like 4
    Dislike 16
  6. wrong! says:

    What they are doing is an abuse of the system. They are going to HOA and passing these allowances for them to do these things but they are wrong. Hon. Malone for example has nearly 10 different contracts with government and you see exemptions coming all the time. This is wrong.

    Like 37
  7. vip heckler says:

    CONFLICT OF INTEREST DISGUISED AS EXEMPTION

    Like 33
  8. Observer 1 says:

    Cronyism!!!!

    Like 21
    Dislike 1
  9. baldheaded says:

    That character already cost us over a hundred thousand dollars fighting a dead case against the action man

    Like 25
    Dislike 1
  10. Well says:

    I just tired now.
    tyadddddddd!!!

    This is psychological abuse of an entire people.

    Like 20
  11. Diaspora says:

    Conflict of interest. Birds on both sides on the aisle flapping their wings together. There is a cost to accepting certain public positions and before one accepts a public position one should accept and live with the cost of serving. Appreciate and honor the service of those responding to the call of duty. However, if one cannot live with and by the cost of serving, one should decline.

    It was a conflict of interest for Lorna Smith and she was raked over grape wood coal. Though she had the qualifications and experience to serve, it was a conflict of interest and stinks to high heaven. Serving is a family decision.

    Like 6
    Dislike 1
  12. AB says:

    Everything is just for a matter of time. All dogs have them days.

    Like 14
  13. LOL says:

    Leonard? Interesting because he said the site is controlled by a ‘Leonard’? Coincidence? ……

  14. Interested says:

    When is the corruption going to end ?

  15. FACTS says:

    I watched HOA when this was done and how this story is headlined & written is malicious. It was said that all the security companies in the B.V.I. was hired and more man power was needed so the company where the speaker is a director was needed for more security man power for the self quarentine. This is only reasonable.

    Like 3
    Dislike 9
  16. Wacher says:

    Thanks esteem you are good man

    Like 1
    Dislike 11
  17. Thinking Twice says:

    I voted majority VIP and now would think twice about who I select to represent our BVI.

    The BVI has been spared time and time again but the way the good Lord’s name is being used in vain to spearhead personal gains that are questionable it is blasphemy.

    Like 12
  18. Ok says:

    They just jealous it’s the law and mr Willock complied

    Like 2
    Dislike 7
  19. Right Sed Fred says:

    Nice Andrew. You jus like Trump

    Like 2
    Dislike 1
    • Haha says:

      Trump does NOT accept a salary and I’m sure he has more money than Andrew can ever dream of, so HUSH!

      Like 2
      Dislike 1
    • Reply says:

      For 8 years we had conflict of interest under ndp and no one said a word now mr speaker declared in keeping with good governance and transparency these devils have an issue

      Look man stop hating on our new bvi prince he doing a dam good job as speaker

      Like 3
      Dislike 4
  20. ReX FeRaL says:

    CALL IT WHAT IT IS….ABUSE OF PROCESS.

  21. Concerned1 says:

    If more man power was needed, then just employ more officers and create employment for the so called 1000’s of people unemployed under the existing security firms. There was no need to give another security company a contract. DUH

    Like 3
    Dislike 1
  22. I from Here says:

    Much to do about nothing. Mr. Willock has integrity to follow the law. Matter closed NEXT

    Like 3
    Dislike 6
  23. Tongue Fu says:

    These are the same people asking for more financial autonomy. The key issue is TRUST. You cannot buy that in a store it is something that is earned through your deeds and years of mismanagement of our finances by administration after administration has led to that mistrust.

    How can you gain back that trust?

    How about making the funding and resourcing of the auditor general’s department a priority.

    Passing the Freedom of information and whistle blower protection laws. Demanding the accounting for of all district allocations? i am sure there are other mechanisms that can be put in place to ensure good governance and foster trust for our elected officials.

    Let us start there.

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