BVI News

Who’s paying for your Speaker’s legal fees in D4 case, Penn to ask Premier

Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, Marlon Penn.

Residents will soon find out whether the legal battle in relation to electoral representation for the Fourth District is being funded with taxpayer dollars.

This is among questions that Opposition Leader Marlon Penn intends to put to the Premier and Minister for Finance Andrew Fahie at Friday’s sitting of the House of Assembly.

According to the order paper of the proceedings, Penn will ask: “If the answer is yes, what is the estimated cost of said legal fees [and] the amount billed and paid thus far for a said legal case?”

On the other hand, if the legal fees are not being paid by the territory, Penn is seeking answers about how legal services for the Speaker of the House were retained and how the legal fees will be paid.

Meanwhile, Penn is also seeking to further inquire whether the government is assisting the said Speaker, Julian Willock, to cover the cost of the case which is now before the Court of Appeal. His third question is on whether the Premier has had any discussions with the Speaker about his decision not to swear in Mark Vanterpool in light of the initial High Court ruling.

“If so, could the Honourable Premier tell this Honourable House what is his position on the matter and whether it was shared with the Honourable Speaker?”

History of the case

The controversy surrounding Vanterpool began on March 5 after he submitted a resignation letter following his victory in retaining the Fourth District seat.

After submitting the letter, he was advised that the letter should have been addressed to the Speaker of the House and not the Clerk.

Vanterpool then had a change of heart and requested in a second letter to be sworn-in. However, Willock acknowledged the letter and refused to have Vanterpool sworn-in. Willock said he already accepted the resignation, even after the territory’s Attorney General, as well as the governor, concluded that Vanterpool’s resignation was ‘constitutionally invalid’.

The matter went to court, and the court ruled Vanterpool should be sworn in. However, the Speaker has decided to toss Justice Ann-Marie Smith’s ruling aside and appeal the matter.

Both Willock and Vanterpool retained prominent legal representatives to represent their sides in court. Willock retained the services of Veritas Law, a firm owned by Valston Graham — the Director of Public Prosecutions in St Kitts.

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  1. Say One says:

    Good! I will bet its some inflated amount as the arrested attorney seems to be familiar! This whole debacle rests with the Premier and his judgment is questionable in my eyes.

    Like 21
    Dislike 4
    • To Say One says:

      It is amazing how some of you want us to be feeling so sorry for Mark and angry at the Speaker when this whole matter only came about when Mark refused to go to the House of Assembly and swear in when he was supposed to. Had he done that then we wouldn’t be here asking foolishness. Let us stop giving Mark a pass for his disrespectful act to the people of the 4th District.

      Like 8
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      • True but says:

        Because Mark made that silly mistake, the BVI should pay out of its wazoo to attempt to prevent him from getting sworn in when the courts ruled that he should. When does it stop????? Mark has admitted to making a mistake.

        Like 9
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  2. Wow! says:

    I wish we had heard him questioning spending by the previous government or asking about the use of his sewage money.

    I need you to also ask the following questions and maybe help with the answers:

    Will we get any benefit from the $7.2 million given for the plane?

    How much money in total was spent by the Social Security Board to purchase lands for that housing project? What is the status of that project?

    How much has Government paid to date to the private BVI law firm to conduct the case against the UK Government and why couldn’t the AG Chambers handle that case and be the firm to instruct the senior UK lawyer? Why did a private BVI law firm have to be hired?

    Where was the unbudgeted $5 million taken from to conduct the election road works?

    More questions to come Sir.

    Like 16
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    • Voter says:

      Elections are over.. Get a life!!!

      Like 15
      Dislike 3
      • The truth says:

        The blogger right. What those questions have to do with elections. Because elections over we can’t ask about spendings of the last Government? Nonsense. Bet if the money was coming out of your account you wouldn’t sleep?

        Like 5
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    • Move on says:

      stop being bias. He did ask about his sewerage money on several occasions.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    Sensible people know that the government is funding the legal battle. If Willock successfully appeal then there maybe a chance that Mark will have to settle the legal fees.

    Like 5
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  4. To Marlon & NDP says:

    Marlon and NDP please let me know when the Speaker legal bill get to be more than the $7.2 Million plus the $40 Million over spend on the Cruise Pier Project plus the $8 million for my east end sewage project money.

    Like 14
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    • Interesting says:

      I though we changed the previous government because of the crazy spending and unaccountability. Are we saying that it is ok for the new government to spend willy nilly until they wast the same amount as the previous government? I am baffled at how wrong becomes right depending on the culprit.

      Like 9
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  5. Anonymous says:

    Tis ting teh talk, and yuh ehagh don talkk yet eh.

    Eber see mirror talk back?

    Yo go see, bet.

    Like 2
    Dislike 1
  6. vip heckler says:

    Action man had contractual issues with karwind, fraud, wilcock and big ben in the past so what you all expect? It’s personal!

    Like 6
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  7. My take says:

    Mark should not be in politics

    Like 9
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  8. Anonymous says:

    If i may suggest,the bill should be paid by the confusionist who threw the country to this imbroglio with his indecision. It is not compulsory that he should be in the House .He and his group have had enough time in the House and should go and rest and allow other to bring in a bring in better ideas unless he was to explain what happened to 7.2 Million plain that never flew and other pressing issues.

    Like 4
    Dislike 10
  9. Haha says:

    Marlon finally has to WORK , party days are lessened ..

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