BVI News

UPDATE: Vanterpool, Willock hire prominent attorneys for today’s judicial review

Vanterpool was spotted with one of his attorneys Patrick Thompson outside the High Court on Friday, April 12.

Representative-elect Mark Vanterpool and House of Assembly Speaker Julian Willock have each recruited a team of prominent attorneys to champion their respective arguments as it relates to whether Vanterpool should be sworn in as Fourth District Representative.

Vanterpool, who contends that he ought to be sworn in, has hired popular defence attorney Patrick Thompson to represent him. Team Vanterpool also comprises Queen’s Counsel Edward Fitzgerald of the UK.

Willock, in the meantime, has retained the services of Veritas Law, a firm owned by Valston Graham — the Director of Public Prosecutions in St Kitts. Anand Ramlogan and Jared Jagroo are the attorneys of that firm representing Willock. That team’s prerogative is to convince Justice Vicki-Ann Ellis why Vanterpool should not be sworn in.

The matter goes up for judicial review today (April 12) at the building that houses the High Court and House of Assembly in Road Town.

Former Premier Dr D Orlando Smith, as well as Opposition Leader Marlon Penn, were spotted outside of court this morning.

BVI News will continue to provide coverage of the proceedings.

Previously Published Article

The judicial review into whether Mark Vanterpool should be sworn in as Fourth District Representative is slated to kick off in the High Court today, April 12.

The case is scheduled to take place at the very place he is fighting to earn a seat in – the House of Assembly.

The proceedings are expected to begin at 9 am before Justice Viki Ann Ellis.

The matter in question was scheduled for review at the request of Vanterpool after his attorneys filed for an urgent hearing before the court.

The hearing date was set for April 10. However, it was pushed to today.

Reason behind the review

The matter stemmed from Vanterpool’s decision to resign from politics days after being elected as Fourth District Representative.

His letter was submitted on March 5 to the Clerk of the House of Assembly. However, the letter which was supposed to be addressed to the Speaker of the House of Assembly was considered ‘constitutionally invalid’ by the Governor Augustus Jaspert.

Since then, Vanterpool had a change of heart about resigning and now wants to be sworn-in. Speaker of the House Julian Willock, however, contends that he has already accepted the resignation and therefore refuses to swear in the flip-flopping Vanterpool.

BVI News will provide coverage of the proceedings.

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75 Comments

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  1. hog city says:

    Willock will take him, any bets???

    Like 16
    Dislike 61
    • Eagle eye says:

      You and Willfrock dead on arrival.

      Like 36
      Dislike 9
      • No good guys here says:

        Neither Vanterpool or Willock have covered themselves in glory in this matter.
        Vanterpool did intend to resign but messed up the process. Even if the letter to the clerk could be effective, he withdrew it before it was accepted (which he was entitled to do).
        Willock was too late in purporting to accept the letter of resignation, even if he was entitled to accept it if it had not withdrawn (which is doubtful).
        In the circumstances, Vanterpool will win because:
        (i) the letter was sent to the wrong person;
        (ii) even if it was sent to the correct person, it was withdrawn before it was accepted;
        (iii) Willock was not entitled to accept the letter;
        (iv) even if Willock was entitled to accept the letter, he did not do so quickly enough and his purported acceptance was too late.
        Willock should resign if he loses – but I doubt that he will.

        Like 48
        Dislike 15
      • Lol says:

        I am sure that is how NDP felt about VIP for the elections. That VIP was dead on arrival and we all know how that turned out lol…….

        Like 15
        Dislike 24
        • @lol says:

          Keep that cocky attitude up and the VIP will be out next time. Do you think this is a joke?

          Like 32
          Dislike 14
          • For sure says:

            VIP and their biting leader who is always on a plane on the tax payers dîme and his private 24 hour mall security body guard will be out in 4 years for sure.

            Like 11
    • keep your money says:

      willock has no power. He stepping outta he bound.

      Like 47
      Dislike 14
      • @keep your money says:

        The biting Premier is allowing him to get away with the nonsense. I am one of the newer generation that is going to change everything in the next 4 years. Sick and tired of the set in their ways old fashion hardheaded back woods leadership that is bringing the Country down. All of you is going to be shocked next elections. There is already 4 strong fresh new bloods that is already forming a Political Party in secret to escort VIP to the curb come next election. We are watching, taking notes and studying the craft of Politics to change things and put the people and the Country first.

        Like 13
        Dislike 1
        • Oh wow says:

          That would be cool. Time for for New blood to take over.

        • Been waiting for this says:

          They think the younger generation in the BVI is useless and they have no say so. Well,we are about to step up and take control and show that we are capable. I know who the four young bloods are. They are very serious about taking VIP out. In due time they will reveal themselves. Right now they are in planning mode. Guys, sit back, watch, Keep your mouths shut and make that important move when the timing is just right.

          Like 1
          Dislike 1
      • Olie says:

        And mark is jumping all over the place like a big old i***t

    • Backward< says:

      What a waste of time and tax payers money. More divisions in this country. If they throw out Mark I hope they do not vote in another VIP to teach them a lesson. She lost the election why don’t she wait for the next one? They have the government already lets move forward and stop looking backwards.

      Like 37
      Dislike 10
      • @Backward says:

        There is no next election for her. Heard there is some fresh new blood that is planning to take control and unseat VIP next election.

        Like 10
        Dislike 2
      • Been waiting for this says:

        They think the younger generation in the BVI is useless and they have no say so. Well,we are about to step up and take control and show that we are capable. I know who the four young bloods are. They are very serious about taking VIP out. In due time they will reveal themselves. Right now they are in planning mode. Guys, sit back, watch, Keep your mouths shut and make that important move when the timing is just right.

    • @Hog City says:

      Ok Hog City, if you are really serious about betting, I am willing to toss in $250k.Now,if Mark wins in Court which he will, you know I am going to be knocking at your door to collect $250k.

  2. Juan Ping says:

    Mark dead on arrival.

    No grounds to be sworn in after the official swearing in date. He was a no show under the grounds of retirement. Any change of heart must be ask to the people. Not the court.

    Bi- election lets get it on Mr Governor. No Excellency here from me on this one cause you should have adhere to the speaker request.

    Like 18
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    • Come on... says:

      What law you reading buddy???

      Like 26
      Dislike 3
    • dont comment says:

      please don’t comment anymore. Your comments have no legal basis. You need not waste space or time.

      Like 11
      Dislike 3
    • Mr facts says:

      You obviously don’t know the law and speaking out of ignorance. By law if a letter is intended for you but was addressed wrong it is invalid and even if it was placed in your hands once you open it and realize it was addressed wrong you job is to send it back to be addressed properly and by the time it reaches back to the person they have the rights to change his/her mind it’s a free world.

      Like 5
      Dislike 1
      • BuzzBvi says:

        So if I wrote to the Chief or Garbage (Should have been Chief or Police) and say I kiiled someone. It would be invalid because it should have been addressed to the Chief of Police. They should then write to me and tell me that it was addressed wrong. I won’t have killed someone until it is addressed to the right person.
        So if I write to say I have resigned and address it wrongly. It is like writing to say I killed someone. It won’t have happened until I send it to the correct address. Isn’t the person that was killed still dead? And hasn’t the person that resigned still resigned?
        Seems to me that dead is dead and resigned is resigned. Not sure it matters who the letter was sent to. Truth is truth until it isn’t. Is the truth that he resigned or that he did not resign? Truth that the person was killed or not. Really it does not matter who the letter went to does it?

        Like 1
        Dislike 1
  3. Confucius says:

    I will be very surprised if a court finds in favour of Willock in this matter. I’m not saying it “can’t” happen, but I think it is very unlikely.

    I think Willock has made a very big mistake by pursuing this.

    Like 59
    Dislike 20
  4. District four says:

    Mark is a total disgrace.

    Like 28
    Dislike 42
  5. My take says:

    Mark is at fault here and he does not deserve to be a representative of the people in the 4th nor in the Virgin Islands. He is always in something shady.

    Like 29
    Dislike 35
  6. Need to Know says:

    We the people of the British Virgin Islands would like to know who is picking up the tab for Speaker Willock and the cost involved.

    Like 72
    Dislike 9
    • For Real says:

      Serious question that needs to be answered. I think since it was Willock’s decision to take the matter to court, then Willock should be held responsible for all legal fees incurred.

      Like 61
      Dislike 9
    • UM says:

      You are! you think its his personal funds using?

      Like 14
      Dislike 2
    • $$$??? says:

      Great question! I look at the territory’s schools and ask, “Where could this money be better spent?”
      Who is picking up the tab for the esteemed one’s preening? The taxpayers? What will it cost us?

      Like 31
      Dislike 3
  7. Well Sa says:

    Look who he retain is that the TT lawyer who in the Courts on serious charges? Birds of a feather lol

    Like 7
    Dislike 2
  8. Paul M says:

    Neither legal will get paid

  9. Keepout!! says:

    How could Mr. Valston Graham be representing the HOA in this matter and is he on leave from the Office of DPP in the Virgin Islands? You ever hear moo with these Vincy lawyers?

    Like 4
    Dislike 8
    • Indeed says:

      That is what I would like to know. How can the DPP of St Kitts be representing the HOA in this matter? What a cross! Seriously???

      Like 8
      Dislike 8
    • L says:

      He is the DPP for St Kitts. He is also a lawyer and can practice law in the Virgin Islands.

      • Indeed says:

        But the point is he is the DPP for St Kitts. Whether he is also a lawyer goes without saying but that is besides the point!!! Ignorance is really bliss in this place.

  10. Tears says:

    Poor we the taxpayers. More of our hard earned funds going up in smoke. ?

    Like 21
    Dislike 3
    • @Tears says:

      Better get use to it and learn to deal with it for the next four years. A lot more of the tax payers money is going to go up in smoke before the four years is up.Crying is not going to do a d**m but stress you out.

  11. Rest Haven for HOES says:

    Patrick can get you off a coke case. this above him. Novice in this arena.

    Like 5
    Dislike 8
    • Smh says:

      Youre an idiot. This casw is much simpler than any coke case. Smh! The Constitution is very clear on the matter and so is common law. VIP has to fight this fight because they want 9-4 rather than 8-5 in HOA.

      Like 7
      Dislike 7
  12. The Judge says:

    I don’t think the Judge who is hearing the case is Judge Ellis, I think its Judge Ann Marie Smith. But what is the SKB DPP doing on a Civil BVI matter?

    Like 2
    Dislike 2
  13. Disinterested says:

    Former MCW Mark Vanterpool started this “Pappi Show” of the electoral process; he should end it. He intended to resign and his behaviour demonstrated that he resigned. He didn’t show up to be sworn in on March 12.

    Having gained the most votes in D-4 in the Feb 25 general election, the Speaker position being vacant, he penned a resignation letter to the Clerk of HOA on March 05. Julian Willock, having been sworn as Speaker, the Clerk forwarded the letter to the Speaker who in turn notified the former MCW that his resignation was accepted.

    Then supposedly on the misguided opinion by the AG Baba Aziz that his resignation letter was invalid, he (Mark) recanted his resignation and requested to be sworn in. The decision that the former MCW letter was invalid is pure nonsense. He intended to and had the right to resign; his resignation was letter accepted. Should the Speaker’s position being vacant restrict a member/winner of a seat from resigning? No.

    The excuse of sending the letter to the Clerk made the resignation invalid is just a red herring. IMO Baba Aziz provided poor advice. Now the learned jurists on the Supreme Court will have to settle the issue. The voters of D-4 was dragged through a wild emotional ride the past few months and they should be ones deciding the outcome. The most probable option is to let the people vote; if they want Mark to be seated, they will vote overwhelmingly for him or they may vote for someone else. Let the people vote.

    The silver lining is that the checks and balances is working between Legislative/Executive and Judicial branches. I may eat cake but I think the learned jurists will settle the issue by letting D-4 voters vote. May 05 would have been the drop dead date for holding the by-election. When will the election be held now, if the Court action requires a by-election?

    Like 14
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    • not about the addressee says:

      remember — the advice per the Governor was that there is no provision for a member-elect to resign, only for a member to resign. the issue is not about who it was addressed to – based on the AG’s guidance – it is about whether the constitution allows someone to resign from a post he/she hasn’t inhabited.

      I agree that voters ought to decide, personally. But since the law doesn’t explicitly provide for the right to resign for a member-elect, the courts indeed have to settle a way forward.

      Like 8
      Dislike 3
    • @disinterested aka the Esteemed says:

      The Esteemed posted exactly the same comment on his news blog (after reporting in the main story that he was unavailable for comment).

    • Mr facts says:

      The man have the rights to change his mind all of you on here needs to stop been hypocritical and done with politics it’s time for the country to come together the man change his mind he should be sworn it Willock needs to be thrown out of HOA on his head because he done show that he’s bias.

  14. Outside looking in says:

    A whole lot of people on this comment thread talking about who picking upon attorney fee for Willock, why don’t you all ask who picking up His opponent’s tab? As if he ain’t done pocket enough of you all tax dollars already. All you all NDP people so bitter. You all won’t open yours eyes and commonsense and see the issue for what it is. I would think that you all would be grateful to Willock for making sure that the loop hole in the constitution is fixed and the BVI people won’t have such incident to hinder the process if such should happen again. It’s sickening reading some of the nonsense you people come up with. At the end of the day I would never say tax dollars were wasted. Especially seeing that there are so many opinions about the outcome of this procedure.

    Like 12
    Dislike 20
  15. No name says:

    The governor said that there was no vacancy. When the HOA was dissolved, ALL seats became vacant.

  16. Will Crafts says:

    VIP got 8 seats, NDP got 3, PVIM got 1, Fraser got 1.

    Even if what Mark did was unbalanced, swearing him in won’t alter the balance of power that much.

    What is one extra seat to the VIP’s 8? Not a very big difference and just another back bench MP.

    Maybe Willock is being spiteful. But he must weigh the greater cost and ask if it worth the time and expense. In court rulings the loser has to pay the winner’s costs, so this might be another expensive one for the VI taxpayer.

    Like 17
    Dislike 3
  17. HMmmm says:

    This speaks to the samething we all have been asking. There was no Speaker, Vanterpool was not sworn in, HE chose to resign and made a video about it to us the People on his Facebook Page of his intent and He went to the Governor also which the Governor also publicly accept. So it still does not address that void if the elected chose not to move forward as elected then who he/she shall submit his/her resignation to? Ultimately that would have been us the voters, which he did in a video and the Governor which he did and was accepted.

    Like 1
    Dislike 4
  18. Lol says:

    I wonder if it’s Bevis or Andrew paying for Willock’s lawyers.

    Like 14
    Dislike 5
  19. Liz says:

    I think this is a case of ego and we the tax payers seem content with money being spent in this way.

    Like 16
  20. ? says:

    People its simple stop making it complicated. Yes, Mark attempted to resign, however, for whatever reason he has changed his mind on following through (and while we may not appreciate his seemingly indecisiveness, it is within his rights to do so). Now, I’m more upset as to the extent the government -who already proclaimed that there’s no money- would go to address a non-issue in the grand scheme of things.
    How much is it costing the country to pursue this charade?
    How much is a by-election going to cost the country?
    Let us please consider the amount of challenges requiring immediate attention and funding and see if this particular matter adds up to the trouble.
    Let the man take his seat and if we must do something…I suggest we use this issue as precedence to amend the law to speak to any such matters in future. STOP wasting precious time and money.

  21. Informed says:

    If willock is set on the rule of law. He should take a look in the mirror. I would suggest looking at your wig as it’s the wrong one for speaker of the house.

    Like 13
  22. Hmmmm says:

    The constitution is not only for both of them but the people too. Mark just didn’t wrigte a letter of resignation but went public. Think dat have some sort of credit to be accounted for.

    Like 1
    Dislike 5
  23. Balanced View says:

    Cut out the partisan nonsense and take a non-partisan view of the whole thing.

    1. Mark did not resign from the House. He had no seat.

    2. No matter what Mark termed his letter it was not a resignation. It Notice that he was not going to take his seat and he reinforced it by not appearing to be sworn in.

    3. When he did not appear to be sworn in, the Speaker declared the seat vacant. There was nothing left for him to do. He could not force Mark to come and be sworn in.

    4. The authority of the Speaker cannot be questioned in any court. Read section 19 of the Legislative Council ( Immunities and Privileges) Act.

    5. The Court will therefore most likely say that it has no power to hear the case and send it back to the House.

    6. The Speaker seems to have ruled that Mark never appeared before him at the proper time to be sworn and that he can’t present himself whenever he chooses or finds it convenient for himself to do so. In other words the Speaker is insisting on order in the Territory and the House must lead the way. Nothing wrong with that. It seems that Mark should have changed his mind before the inauguration of the House and the Speaker would have had no choice but to swear him in.

    7. If my reasoning is right, District #4 will have to vote again and if Mark stands he might win. Nothing wrong with that either. But a precedent would be set to let persons know that there can be no tom-foolery in politics. You must be serious.

    8. If you are elected and have to go into opposition, then go there and if your party wins the government that is where you will go.

    9. You can’t hold the people to ransom if you don’t get a ministry or you have to go into opposition. You have no right to hold to ransom the people who voted for you till you make up your mind what to do. It will be a scandal if a precedent is set for that kind of behavior. Anyone who says otherwise should be ashamed of himself.

    Mr Speaker, this ball seems to be still in your court but I may be wrong. Let us see how the Court reasons, especially regarding the powers of the Speaker and whether the court has jurisdiction over him.

    Like 1
    Dislike 4
  24. Disinterested says:

    The voters/residents of District 4 have standing( harmed by the political shenanigans) so they should be given the opportunity to be made whole by having the opprtunity to decide who they want to represent them in the House. The argument that Mark had no constitutional right to resign is baseless and nonsense. But today we will see what the learned jurists decide.

    • All out of sp**e says:

      The speaker DONOT want Mark up in HOA because of the h****d he have for Mark. I am from D4 and I will not accept Luce as my REP. If D4 have to be without a REP,then so be it. The speaker can control Luce because she is weak,he canot control Mark.

      Like 12
      Dislike 1
  25. Luvz says:

    The court will rule that while the intent to resign is clear it was invalid and Mr Vanterpool should take his rightful place and sworn in as the 4th electoral representative.

    Like 3
    Dislike 2
  26. For Real says:

    I would take Mark any day over the butter ball stuffed turkey and his biting boss.

  27. Disney says:

    Time for Fiona to step in and control Shrek.

    Like 11
    Dislike 1
  28. Balanced View says:

    The Court ruled in both cases just as I thought it would.

    The Court has no jurisdiction over the Speaker and the Speaker has no jurisdiction over the Court. They are equal independent branches of government. People are looking at this thing through political glasses. They seem unable to realize that the Court does not think politically. It thinks judicially.

    I think Mark will also lose his application now being heard for the declaration. It is not that he was not elected. Everyone knows that he was. The question is whether he exercised his right not to be sworn in. The answer is that he did so. He TRIED to change his mind. Notice that I am not saying that he withdrew his resignation. There was no resignation as he had not taken his seat as a member of the House.

    Mark intention not to take his seat continued after the House met and the Members were sworn and seated. It was after that, that Mark tried to change his mind but by this time it was a matter for the Speaker who was now in place. The Court has no jurisdiction over the Speaker’s rulings.

    While some of us may not like discipline, I tend to admire people who enforce it. I like Mark a lot but I have to tell my friend that he created the chaos and must accept the discipline that is being enforced. The Speaker is not tarnishing him. All of this could have been avoided if you had accepted the will of the electorate. But it was you who first rejected their decision to elect you. Face it.

    Like 2
    Dislike 1

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