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Constitutional Review Commission to hold public meeting for Belongers living in USVI

Constitutional Review Commission to hold public meeting for Belongers living in USVI

Although the period for persons in the [British] Virgin Islands to make their contribution to the constitutional review process is officially closed, the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC), in an effort to be as inclusive as possible, will be holding a consultative public meeting for Belongers residing in the US Virgin Islands (USVI).

The public meeting will be held at Windward Passage Hotel in St Thomas from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM on Saturday, May 27, 2023.

Who is invited?

According to a promo for the event, “everyone is invited, especially BVI Belongers and others with interest in the BVI.”

Chairman of the CRC, Lisa E. Penn-Lettsome said because Belongers residing in the USVI are specifically recognised in the VI Constitution as being eligible to vote in the [B]VI, it has been a practice to include them in constitutional consultative processes.

Penn-Lettsome further told our news centre, the Constitutional Review Commission has been trying to arrange the session since the beginning of the year but there has always been a bit of difficulty in finding a mutually convenient time.

“So, we have resolved to bite the bullet and have this particular engagement at this time. We are hoping that it is well-attended and that persons come out and ask questions as well as share any observations that they may have - in exactly the same way that we made ourselves available for meetings in the BVI.”
Chairman of the CRC, Lisa E. Penn-Lettsome said because Belongers residing in the USVI are specifically recognised in the VI Constitution as being eligible to vote in the [B]VI, it has been a practice to include them in constitutional consultative processes.



Over 40 engagements

Penn-Lettsome also informed that the Commission has had over 40 engagements since October 2022 and officially closed the period of time for submitting comments as at January 31, 2023.

“There has been just a trickle of comments submitted after that and we have accepted them, albeit subject to a delay in processing them, because we want the process to be a fair as possible.

“Because the time for submissions is closed, we are not expecting persons in the BVI to be still submitting feedback but if someone emails us at yourconstitution@gov.vg we will not refuse to accept any comments,” Penn-Lettsome stated.

Governor John J. Rankin, CMG, in his Quarterly Report on Implementation of the Commission of Inquiry Recommendations in February 2023, said the Commission had received written submissions from 82 people and over 250 oral submissions.
The 16-member Commission led by Mrs Lisa E. Penn-Lettsome met its deadline of July 31, 2022, in the Framework for Implementation of the Recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry Report for the draft Terms of Reference to be presented. The draft Terms of Reference were handed over on July 18, 2022, to be signed off by the Governor and the Premier.



CRC requested extension to submit Final Report

Following a late start to the review process, as well as delays in establishing a physical facility for its secretariat and accessing funds budgeted, the CRC made a request to the Governor for a 6-month extension to its June 2023 deadline and also extended the time for public consultations.

“The Commission is continuing its work on the basis of a revised timetable and aims to have its report ready before the end of 2023," Penn-Lettsome stated.

The Commission had also met its deadline of July 31, 2022, in the Framework for Implementation of the Recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry Report for the draft Terms of Reference to be presented.

The draft Terms of Reference were handed over on July 18, 2022, to be signed off by the Governor and the Premier.
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