BVI News

Willock tries to get Vanterpool case dismissed, says judicial review premature

Vanterpool (left) and Willock

The attorneys representing House of Assembly Speaker, Julian Willock, attempted to have the matter between their client and Mark Vanterpool dismissed in the High Court on Friday.

Vanterpool, who filed the case, is hoping the High Court will rule for him to be sworn in as Fourth District Representative. Willock is hoping for the opposite.

During Friday’s court hearing, the Speaker’s attorneys attempted to have the case thrown out on the premise that Vanterpool did not exhaust all alternative options before seeking judicial review.

According to Anand Ramlogan, one of Willock’s attorneys, a number of alternative options were available such as a by-election or even, perhaps, a motion of no-confidence against the Speaker for refusing to swear in Vanterpool.

The attorney effectively argued that a judicial review was grossly premature and, as such, should not be allowed to continue.


However, Queen’s Counsel Edward Fitzgerald — one of the attorneys representing Vanterpool — counterargued that his client had indeed used all known and reasonable alternatives.

He said a judicial review was the only logical option, especially considering that Attorney General Baba Aziz and Governor Augustus Jaspert have both accepted that the court may decide.

He also said Team Willock’s reason for wanting the case dismissed contradicts the Speaker, who was the one who invited Vanterpool to take the matter to court in the first place.

Vanterpool had no constitutional right to resign when he did

And while stating why his client should be sworn in, Fitzgerald argued that Vanterpool is entitled to take his seat in the House of Assembly because his resignation was constitutionally invalid — an argument to which the attorney general and the governor also agree.

He said his client had no constitutional right to resign before he was sworn-in.

Fitzgerald then quoted Section 67 of the territory’s constitution which in summary states that a resignation must be addressed to the Speaker of the House.

“No letter was ever sent to the Speaker,” said Fitzgerald, who noted that the letter was instead addressed to the Clerk of the House.

Willock’s case

Fitzgerald, however, pointed out that Vanterpool did not ‘immediately’ indicate that he wished to retract his resignation after being told by the Clerk of the House that the resignation was invalid. Ramlogan said Vanterpool also did not respond to a letter from the Speaker that said he (Willock) accepted the resignation.

The attorney argued that ‘certain inferences’ could be made in relation to Vanterpool’s so-called protracted ‘silence’ to the Clerk and to the Speaker.

“He could have faxed or attached it (a response) to a pigeon’s foot, but no such thing happened,” argued Ramlogan, who further said, “this is not a case of the Speaker trying to suppress the will of the people”.

Ramlogan added that the will of the people can and should be made clear through a by-election.

It’s his right to resign

The attorney then pointed to Vanterpool’s social media video announcing the resignation. He described that as a ‘personal voluntary and act’., adding that it is Vanterpool’s right to resign anytime he so desires.

The case is set to resume on Saturday at 10:30 am at which time the court will deliver a verdict.

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  1. Haramaph says:

    Willock running scared – tells Vanterpool to issue legal proceedings and then comes up with all sorts of foolishness and stupidness as to why he should not have done so. Says he received legal advice but can’t produce any legal advice. His attorney was clutching at straws.

    Like 43
    Dislike 10
  2. Yolo says:

    I want to know how much of the public money is been wasted on this court matter. Mr Premier show us the money and when the speaker of the house lose because he was told by the governor that Mark letter was invalid and he must leave it alone . You the speaker should be held accountable for these actions and pay back the funds. This court matter is a waste of money

    Like 61
    Dislike 7
    • black heartman says:

      serious thing,speaker have to pay back,no game.
      right is right ,you loose the case pay back.
      I am for no wrong side ,included me.

      Like 6
      Dislike 4
  3. Reply says:

    This matter has no business in court. The speaker has acted on his own without the backing of the governor nor the attorney general.

    I believe after considering both sides, Justice Viki Ann Ellis, will render the right judgement here that will allow Mr. Vanterpool to be sworn it.

    There is absolutely no valid reason to draw this matter out any further with a bi-election at tax payers expense when the person who was elected attempted to resign but did so in a manner deemed invalid. He subsequently reconsidered his resignation, and wish to serve his term.

    IMO, Mr. Vanterpool should be sworn in asap, and be done with it. Let us get on with the people’s work. Stop wasting time.

    Some people need to check their egos at the courthouse steps.

    Like 50
    Dislike 13
    • Just lookin says:

      Thats like saying u gon commit suicide…write de note then change u mind afterwards.

      Like 2
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      • Reply says:

        The question is: Is Mr. Vanterpool’s attempted resignation valid or not?

        If it is invalid as per the court and stated by the governor, then no bi-election, and Mr.Vanterpool should be sworn in short of appeals.

        If deemed valid, then its the governor’s move to reverse his prior decision or stand by his original decision.

        If the later occurs, then we are at an impasse/standoff between the speaker and the governor. How that plays out is beyond my pay grade.

        I hope for the good of the country that the court will render clear guidance and put an end to this mess.

        By the way, people contemplating suicide often reconsider not that I think Mr. Vanterpool was attempting suicide when he attempted to resign.

        Like 3
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  4. Thos Jefferson says:

    If a candidate decides to quit before being sworn in he or she is not an elected official.

    The candidate that is elected is “in limbo” before being sworn in. He/She can’t resign before He/She ain’t been sworn in.

    Is Vanterpool a he or a she ? He can’t resign then say he didn’t.

    Like 8
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  5. 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 15
    Dislike 10
  6. The point says:

    The point is that the constitution does not provide for this type of scenario. An example has to be set to prevent floodgates of similar scenarios in future, or else we will see this stupidness happening again. One who is elected can feel free to resign then say it wasn’t valid because they were not yet sworn in??? Nonsense. The letter was intended to be addressed to whoever it was addressed to, on behalf of the speaker, who had not yet been sworn in either. The social media video was intended to address the entire territory. The failure to show up to the House for swearing in showed clear intention. The will of a number of the people has changed as a result of this insult and indecisiveness. Please proceed with a by-election. I have full confidence in the Speaker.

    Like 20
    Dislike 19
  7. 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. You cannot take away candidate/member right to resign. Arguing that Mark had no right to resign is a bridge to far. Simply, it comes down to intent, ie, he intended to resign and he resigned. But today we will see what the learned jurists decide. They will stay out of local politics and make a Solomonic decision, ie, let the people decide——-by election.

    Like 14
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  8. Conspiracy theory says:

    VIP needs that seat. To pass legislations in the house you need 2/3 votes. He need 9 or a corrupt opposition member to help him pass those legislations free and clear.

    Stay woke BVI

    Like 2
    Dislike 24
    • Haha says:

      LOLOMG, There are 13 elected members of the HOA. 9 district reps and 4 At large. You need at least 7 members (A majority of the elected members of HOA)of the same team to form the Government. Once the government has been formed (VIP in this case) you just need a majority of the votes which is at least 7 to pass legislations in the House. VIP has more than enough if they all vote the same way to pass any legislations that they want.

      Like 19
  9. dude says:

    It’s about setting a precedent for future elections.

    School children will learn of the Willock vs Vanterpool case

    Like 14
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  10. Chupidy says:

    Me thinks Vanterpool should be sworn in then urged to resign as earlier intended. Should he wish to continue as elected member he should only be allowed so only if he tells us what reasons made him want to resign in the first place.

    Like 7
    Dislike 14
  11. Reader says:

    The Speaker must pay, this is nonsense, we place the VIP to halt the ridiculous speeding of the previous government and the speaker of the house with his p*****s self as he always is went and take this matter to court … Hon. Fahie please ensure that tax payers money is not paying a cent for this case…we will organize and march for this… our people will stand up for their rights …JULIAN WILLOCK must be held responsible for his s****d actions… let him pay

    Like 14
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  12. Blah says:

    Mark did not resign, he quit. The constitution cannot force Mark to hold a position, make a decision, continue seeking a seat longer than he choose to do. This is where Willock has a chance to win. Mark’s choice to quit has to be honored even if not done properly or favorably especially if he is not breaking any laws punishable by the Court.

    Mark has the freedom to quit at any point without following any procedures. Even when contractually obligated persons are allowed to quit. Yes a lawsuit is sure to follow in most cases but being under contract does not bind one into slavery in the modern civilised world.

    The Labor code has the provision that states that you should give your employer 2 weeks notice when terminating your employment but it does not have the power to prevent anyone from leaving the job immediately (quitting)

    There has never been a case where someone breaching a contract or quitting a job without following the labor code was forced to continue working until the terms are completed in modern times. That would be slavery.

    The speaker recognizing that Mark quit can deem a need for a By election to fill the seat.

    Like 22
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  13. Get the name of the Judge right says:

    Bvi news the name of the judge is Justice AnnMarie Smith. Not Judge Ellis.

    Like 10
  14. Anonymous says:

    J.W. is a jack @%%. People say give J.W. a second chance, that his mind right now!
    If you use this thinking than allow the same for the 4th district rep. What good for d goose should b good for the gander!
    I saddened by the CMs choice of reps.
    Shame on alloyou! 4 playing games with the BVIs real business after such plights.

    Like 13
    Dislike 7
  15. SMH says:

    Why MV don’t swallow his pride, if he hits any and just allow the bi-election. He is the one that created this whole pathetic drama. We cannot let individuals continue to think we are no moomoos. MV, I beg you to just concede and stop bullshitting the People of the 4th District. You had no intention of Running, them you Ran. You got elected,then you refused it. Now you fail to show up and be sworn in during the appointed time, you wants to be sworn in on your time. Come MV, I have lost all respect for you as a Man for the People. Life is to Short…lets get focus on Greater Things in building up Our Territory. STOP THE MADNESS…NO MAN STANDS ALONE!

    Like 8
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  16. Hmm says:

    You are a very e**l person Willock. Hon. Vanterpool God is with you. Good shall prevail.

    Like 10
    Dislike 5
  17. Anonymous says:

    Breaking News! Mark lost round one. One more round left to go in the battle to be sworn in.

    Like 11
    Dislike 3
    • me says:

      it was only a procedural point that he lodt on.

      Like 2
      Dislike 7
      • BVI lawyer says:

        A lot of people voted dislike, but “me” is clearly correct. The judge ruled that judicial review was not the appropriate procedural remedy, but the case will still be determined on the basis of the application for a declaration.

        Lots of legal jargon, but the short point is: the judge still hasn’t decided who is right and who is wrong here.

        Like 4
        Dislike 1
    • Reply says:

      Mischarization of what has occurred. The judge reportedly essentially ruled that on the question of judicial review, she had no jurisdiction.

      Relative to the matter of the validity of Mr. Vanterpool’s resignation, that is still to be decided unless it has already occured and not known.

      That’s the essential question here that needs to be answered. The governor after consultation with the attorney general thinks not, and as such has decided not to call a bi-election.

      The judges ruling on this core issue will determine how this matter will ultimately be resolved.

      Hold tight. Too early to celebrate or despair.

      Like 11
      Dislike 10
      • Anonymous says:

        Its not a “Mischarization” Mark applied to the court seeking a judicial review of the speaker’s decision. He failed in his attempt. No matter the reason why he failed it is still a loss. Losing round 1 is an accurate statement.

        Like 12
        Dislike 13
  18. Kingfish says:

    I recall reading may years ago the Willock was banned from holding any government position, isn’t the Speaker of the House a government position ?

  19. Reply says:

    You are making this ruling out to be more important than it is. You are chucking up like some major loss. It isn’t. The judge stated that ruling on that matter is not in her lane. She did not rule on the merit of his case. There is significant difference between the two.

    The most important and central question that will lend clarity to this mess is still to be answered and ruled upon. Until such time, there are no winners or losers.

    I recognize some of you partisans are anxious to get a win and have an bi-election, but until that day comes, or Mr. Vanterpool’s voluntarily relinquishes his seat, there is no win here for the other side.

    That’s the bottom line.

    Like 7
    Dislike 2
  20. Take note says:

    The whole VIP gang is going down in four years. JW is the one that is going to be VIP downfall. Enjoy your four years guys. No matter how the judge rules,VIP is going down in four years. Tired of the bushman politics.No one is going to take a chance and invest in the BVI to risky and has nothing to offer back because of the bushman mentality. Stop wasting the tax payer dollars on unnessary trips to sell out the BVI. IE.. Government land to the highest bidder.

    Like 7
    Dislike 4
    • Anonymous says:

      The speaker doesn’t affect the stuff that people really care about from a government. Nobody votes for a party because of who the potential speaker will be. If VIP solves some our current issues they will be re-elected.

      Like 2
      Dislike 1

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