BVI News

‘Vexing common practice’! Gov’t shuffles, defers scheduled Q&As


Opposition Leader Julian Fraser has voiced complaints about the frequency at which successive governments have shuffled the House of Assembly’s (HOA) order paper at their own leisure.

The order paper lists the agenda for each sitting of the House, and that agenda usually includes a question-and-answer (Q&A) segment in which Opposition members field pre-prepared questions to government ministers.

Fraser said the government, both past and present, regularly and unduly defer that Q&A exercise.

“Over the years and indeed for a few sessions of this House of Assembly — not [just] this House but previous Houses as well — I would say the last three Houses of Assembly; it has become a vexing common practice by governments to shuffle the order paper at their convenience,” the Opposition Leader said.

“Sometimes, you almost felt that it was personal the way it was done. This Premier must understand that one of the principal purposes of the House of the Assembly or any parliament is for the Opposition to get to query the government’s actions and those queries comes in the form of questions and answers,” Fraser added while speaking in the House on Tuesday.

He raised the concern just moments after Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley moved a motion to effectively push questions from Opposition members to the back of the order paper.

Dr Wheatley explained to the House that his ministers were not prepared to answer questions because they weren’t given adequate notice. According to the rules that govern the HOA, ministers must be given at least five days’ notice.

“Through no fault of anyone except for myself, ministers were not given sufficient time to be able to answer the questions due to the late approval of the order paper and I give apologies for that. Generally, we have made a commitment to our colleagues in the Opposition that we will not unduly move questions and answers. We understand that it’s an important part of the parliamentary process and only in exceptional circumstances we would do so,” Dr Wheatley said.

In the meantime, Fraser said he accepts the Premier’s explanation but will be ‘hold him to his word’.

“I hold the Premier to his word when he said that, in the future, the order paper will not be willy-nilly be manicured in order to shuffle the questions and answers to the end of the assembly line. I hold him to that and I believe him.”


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  1. Man STFU says:

    When the people up East voiced their concerns about the numerous potholes, this [email protected]@$$ had the nerve to ask them if they really worried about a couple potholes.

    Like 11
    Dislike 2
  2. SMH says:

    This Practice is very unbecoming! Utter nonsense!

  3. 3rd district says:


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    Dislike 8
  4. J. Smith says:

    When they were on the sidelines they had all the talk about how things should be done, now they are in the big chairs and what do we have? NOTHING! The leader of the Territory calls a fucking press conference and for every question he says he is not sure, he has to check and come back to you. Words cannot describe the level of incompetence this poor Territory is dealing with right now. I though the VIP under Fahie was bad but this Unity nonsense is beyond shameful but they will blame the COI pressure for it. Many warned us that these guys who had the loudest mouths when other Ministers were in power, were just that, mouth and now we see it for ourselves. No way I would vote for any of the sitting Unity members.

    Like 16
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  5. Why? says:

    The member of the opposition knows exactly how the house works, why then is he scoffing at a practice in which he’s participated over the years? Seemingly its his attempt at relevance. Please come wid something more meaningful.

    Like 6
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  6. VI Citizen says:

    I agree that anyone who has an investigation looming over them should NOT contest the next general Elections UNLESS their case has concluded and the findings have cleared their names. This time around, there should be no party manifesto. We are voting for 13 competent LEADERS not POLITICIANS that will be capable of taking us into independence. Every person who put themself out there for seeking Election MUST present their individual Portfolio outlining their Vision for this territory and its people moving forward. THE PEOPLE will scrutinize ALL PORTFOLIOS and will COLLECTIVELY decide who our next 13 Leaders will be. The POWER MUST lie with the people.

    A word to the wise. If you consider yourself a Leader who is worthy of leading this territory at this time, please embark on the development of your Portfolio to present to the people for perusal. NO PARTY GOVERNMENT THIS TIME AROUND. NO JUSTICE, NO PEACE!!!

  7. VI Citizen says:

    The Voters List should show ALL Voters residing in the British Virgin Islands which should include Students who are away studying.

    Secondly, All Voters should be registered to vote in the Constituency in which they reside. This should be a MUST. ( Some may not agree with this one but think about it).

  8. What??? says:

    Sounds like the premier need to do less travelling and more house keeping at the house of assembly. The photo op nonsense need to go.

  9. lol says:

    I hope this is an old photo. I much like his new haircut!

  10. The Standard. says:

    Anyone who’s being implicated by the COI for using the power of their office to do wrong should not be allow to run again, if you listen the COI, these implications are not just allegations, they are evidential..

  11. Norris Turnbull says:

    The Man Manni alright.

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