Word reaching our news centre is that Attorney-at-Law and indigenous Virgin Islander Janice A. Stoutt has tendered her resignation as a Member of the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC). She had held the position of Deputy Chair.
Ms Stoutt, when reached by our newsroom, confirmed her resignation but said she had no further comment.
At a community meeting last night, Tuesday, November 22, 2022, at the Valerie O. Thomas Community Centre in Sea Cows Bay, Chairwoman of the Constitutional Review Commission Mrs Lisa E. Penn-Lettsome confirmed that a member had resigned, bringing the total of Commissioners to 15.
Mrs Penn-Lettsome did not name the Member who had resigned.
Many Progressive Virgin Islanders see Ms Stoutt’s resignation as a blow to the work of the body, as she was seen as progressive and wanted freedom for the Virgin Islands (VI).
Ms Stoutt is also a local playwriter and a former Senior Crown Counsel at the Attorney General’s Chambers.
She is the daughter of the late legislator Prince M. Stoutt.
A resident gives her input at a community
meeting called by the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) last
night, Tuesday, November 22, 2022, at the Valerie O. Thomas Community
Centre in Sea Cows Bay.
Currently, the Territory is under colonial rule and, since the legislature was restored in 1950, is on the verge of being suspended by the colonial power, the United Kingdom, following a biased Commission of Inquiry
The United Nations, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) have all condemned this pending action by the UK.
Critics of the Constitutional Review process have noted that it was the Governor and the one-man Commission of Inquiry
, Sir Gary R. Hickinbottom
, who had already dictated the terms and conditions of the process.
They have argued that the Review, therefore, will not be a document from and by the people and which represents their aspirations and wishes.
Fearful of independence?
Turnouts to the public meetings have been small and a decision was made not to live-stream the events. It is not known who made that decision in the age of transparency and open government.
A VINO survey has shown the Territory is divided over the question of self-determination, with some 55% of residents believing we should stay as a colony and 45% of the residents of the VI saying we should fight for self-determination and for the freedom of the islands.