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Tuesday, Dec 05, 2023

HOA should be responsible for Constitutional Review Commission

HOA should be responsible for Constitutional Review Commission

Opposition Leader, Julian Fraser said he believes there is nothing more paramount than the territory moving towards self-determination and argued that the House of Assembly (HOA) should play a greater role in that task.
The Third District Representative was at the time debating a resolution in the HOA to adopt expanded terms of reference for the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC), which were recently approved by Cabinet.

A suggestion that the BVI should move towards a Constitutional Review Commission came as part of the recommendations from the Commission of Inquiry (COI) report issued earlier this year.

Fraser, in the meantime, said he wanted to point out that there should be a determination of who should be responsible for the selection of the CRC.

He also said it was important for there to be legislation to properly establish who should be responsible for this.

“In my view, that legislation should be done by us and we should make sure that that responsibility falls in this House of Assembly,” Fraser argued. “It comes back to where it was in the House of Assembly. I don’t see it as the biggest thing in the world to do. We can do it.”

Fraser said he found insulting that the BVI was being asked to re-evaluate its vision as expressed in the preamble of a previous Virgin Islands constitution order in 2007.

“I think the vision was clear. If we fail to execute that, it’s not the people of the Virgin Islands we have to blame for that, it’s us,” the Opposition Leader said. “And if we had executed that vision, because the vision speaks directly to self determination, if we had executed that vision, we wouldn’t be here talking about this today.”

He continued: “So, it is clear in my mind, and it should be clear in everyone else’s mind, that this reevaluation that they’re talking about is not a reevaluation. They’re talking about a reversal.”

Fraser said he felt that the task was too ambitious and said a subliminal message was being sent in asking that the vision be reevaluated.

“We have already told you what our vision is,” he added. “The vision speaks directly to self-determination.”

According to Fraser, it was clear from the COI’s recommendations that they were speaking in terms of a reversal, since they spoke of suspending the BVI’s constitution and imposing direct UK rule.

Fraser said none of those recommendations by the COI will lead the BVI towards the vision that was made explicit in the constitution previously.

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