To prorogue a legislative body is to discontinue the meetings without dissolving the House. While the House is prorogued, the legislature is still constituted.
Section 84 (1) of the Virgin Islands Constitution Order, 2007 states that the Governor may, acting in accordance with the advice of the Premier, prorogue the House of Assembly at any time, but he shall prorogue the House at least once every calendar year, except in any year when the House is dissolved.
Section 83 of the Constitution states that sessions of the House of Assembly shall be held at such times and places as the Governor, acting in accordance with the advice of the Premier, may appoint by proclamation published in the Gazette.
The proclamation was published in the Official Gazette on Thursday, October 1, 2020.
Section 82 of the constitution states that there shall be a session of the House from time to time, so that a period of three months does not intervene between the last sitting in one session and the first sitting of the next session.
This year’s HoA sittings have been some of the most eventful and productive in years, with June 2020 alone seeing a record-breaking 15 pieces of legislation.
Those include legislation that previous governments and legislators have shunned for years, such as the Consumer Protection Act 2020; Gaming and Betting Control Act 2020; and the Cannabis Licencing Act 2020, the latter of which is yet to be assented to by the Governor.
Other legislation in June included the Stamp Duty Amendment Act 2020 and Asset Seizure and Forfeiture Act 2020.
The last HoA year climaxed with the swearing-in of the first local Attorney General in 21 years, Ms Dawn J. Smith, on October 1, 2020.