British Virgin Islands

Monday, Jan 24, 2022

Our fees pale in comparison to cost of UK takeover - Silk Legal

Our fees pale in comparison to cost of UK takeover - Silk Legal

Attorney Richard Rowe of the locally-based Silk Legal said his firm’s fees pale in comparison to the potential cost of having the United Kingdom take direct control of the BVI’s affairs.

Silk Legal was contracted to represent non-ministerial members of the House of Assembly (HOA) as they face the ongoing Commission of Inquiry (COI).

House Speaker Julian Willock recently announced at a press conference that he instructed Silk Legal to file an injunction against three attorneys that make up the COI’s legal team, to prevent them from continuing their work in the BVI.

Envisioning a UK takeover akin to what took place in the Turks and Caicos Islands back in 2009, Rowe said local trade licenses would be left open to the likes of billionaires and department stores in the UK, work permits would be abolished for them, and land-holding titles would also be abolished.

Rowe said this would ultimately drive up the cost of land for locals, making it too expensive as is the case in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands.

“So, there is a lot at stake. The minimal fees that we are charging are insignificant to the losses that we as a people will suffer as a whole,” the attorney said.

He added: “When there is wholesale takeover, there will be no legislature, the governor will rule from top, they’ll bring in foreign civil servants to helm the various departments.”

The attorney also explained that it was his law firm that made all the discoveries of legal breaches by the COI’s team.

Silk Legal only given $30K deposit so far

Earlier, Rowe said there was no contracted amount by Silk Legal and explained that the billing by his firm was done based on the number of hours that was spent working on the Commission of Inquiry.

“I can assure you that it is significantly less — and we say so with ire — than those who are contracted by the executive,” Rowe said.

The attorney explained that Silk Legal was only given a deposit of $30,000 thus far.

And contrasting a claim made by Premier Andrew Fahie recently that more than $3 million was spent on the government’s defence in the COI, Rowe added: “We, our services are offered at a far lesser rate and for greater consideration of the well being of the territory as a whole. So, you won’t find us anywhere near, $100,000, $3 million as reported or otherwise.”

Speaker prefers not to disclose payment

When asked at one stage to shed further light on the issue of cost, the Speaker said he would prefer that the information not be disclosed at this time.

Willock said the reputation of the territory was at stake and suggested this was of more concern to him than the actual cost of the defence that was being mounted by Silk Legal.

He said House members were labelled as corrupt and therefore he felt it was important to fight alongside the executive branch of government (Cabinet) to protect the BVI’s good name.


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