Beautiful Virgin Islands

Friday, Dec 09, 2022

Five Acts left without assent across gov’ts! Four under Fahie’s watch

Five Acts left without assent across gov’ts! Four under Fahie’s watch

Spanning various governments, at least five pieces of legislation passed in the House of Assembly but have not received assent from the territory’s governors.
Four of those legislations have been passed within the last three years during the tenure of now-disgraced former Premier, Andrew Fahie.

Opposition Leader Julian Fraser previously called for an investigation into the number of bills that were not granted assent by BVI governors after they were passed in the HOA.

Yesterday, Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley explained in the HOA that one of the bills – the Infectious Diseases Notification Act, 2011 – was not given assent initially, but a new bill bearing the same name in 2013 was subsequently passed and assented to that same year.

According to the Premier, the other bills that were not given assent by various governors were the Correctional Facilities Act 2018; Cannabis Licensing Act 2020; The Drugs (Prevention of Misuse) Amendment Act 2020; The Disaster Management Act 2021; and The Virgin Islands Air and Sea Ports Act 2021.

A governor must ratify any bill passed in the HOA before they can become law and be brought into effect thereafter.

Fahie previously related that the Disaster Management Act was denied assent because amendments to the bill infringed on the governor’s constitutional responsibility.

Two of the bills – the Cannabis Licensing Act 2020 and the Drugs (Prevention of Misuse) Amendment Act 2020 – were sent to the UK’s Foreign Secretary after they were flagged for various concerns; a first in the territory’s history.

According to Fahie, all the necessary legwork – legal and otherwise – was done before the bills were sent to the HOA. He also insisted that the bills were thoroughly vetted before they came up for debate.

It is unclear why the Air and Sea Ports Act, passed in September last year, was not granted assent thus far.

The Act will see a merger of the BVI Ports Authority (BVIPA) and the BVI Airports Authority (BVIAA).

Fahie at the time disputed that his government intended to privatise those entities.
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