British Virgin Islands

Sunday, Sep 26, 2021

Silk Legal's cost 'insignificant' to VI’s potential losses from CoI- Richard G. Rowe

Silk Legal's cost 'insignificant' to VI’s potential losses from CoI- Richard G. Rowe

Silk Legal Attorney Mr Richard G. Rowe, whose law firm is representing Members in the House of Assembly (HoA)- who are not ministers- in the BVI Commission of Inquiry, said the minimum cost of his firm to Virgin Islands' taxpayers is incomparable to potential losses the territory faces if not defended.

Mr Rowe made the comments in response to questions on the cost of his legal representation while sitting alongside HoA Speaker Hon Julian Willock in a press conference yesterday, August 18, 2021.

“Let’s understand the stakes as demonstrated with the takeover of the Turks and Caicos, what it means… the three pillars of the Virgin Islands which have kept this territory and these melanated people strong, will be kicked out from under our feet.”

The Virgin Islands stands to lose significantly if not properly defended in the Commission of Inquiry, Silk Legal attorney Richard G. Rowe has posited.


What's at stake?


Mr Rowe suggested that should the UK suspend the VI’s constitution as a result of the COI, local trade licenses will be "open to the competition for billionaires and from the large department stores from England.”

He said other adverse impacts could include work permits and landholding titles being abolished, “so, therefore, anyone with millions and with land permits can come in and purchase all the land and make it so expensive for the local that we will become like Bermuda or Cayman,” he said.

Mr Rowe said with regards to the possible outcome of the CoI, there remains a lot at stake for the territory.

“The minimal fees that we are charging are insignificant to the losses that we as a people will suffer as a whole, when there is this wholesale takeover. There will be no legislature, the Governor will rule from top, [and] they will bring in foreign civil servants to head the various departments,” he said.

Attorney Mr Richard G. Rowe has said his firm, Silk Legal, has been battling the practices of the CoI and discovering the weaknesses and breaches of the law by the Commission.


Services reflect COVID-19 reality- Rowe


Mr Rowe, who also said his firm has only been paid a $30,000 deposit, defended his firm’s performance, stating that compared to the team representing the Executive arm of Government, Silk Legal has been battling the practices of the CoI and discovering the weaknesses and breaches of the law by the Commission.

“It is us and we are nowhere near 3 million billing,” he said in reference to announcements from Premier Andrew A. Fahie (R1) that Whiters law firm has billed the VI Government ‘just over $3M’ for its CoI defence.

“Our services are offered at a far lesser rate and for greater consideration of the wellbeing of the territory as of COVID. So you wouldn’t find us anywhere near the $100,000, $3 million or otherwise. It will be significantly less,” he said.

Attorney Rowe said at times, they remain in their office, watching the CoI’s proceedings on YouTube rather than attending the hearing “when it is not necessary” in an effort to reduce legal costs.

“So we are quite aware of the expense, we are quite aware of what we are going through with COVID, I had it, and our duty is to protect the reputation of this territory, and that we will do,” he said.

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