British Virgin Islands

Monday, Jan 18, 2021

Speaker Willock scolded Governor Jaspert over 3 unassented Bills!

Moments before the embattled Governor Augustus J. U. Jaspert delivered his final Speech from the Throne at the First Sitting of the Third Session of the Fourth House of Assembly on Thursday, November 5, 2020, Speaker of the House of Assembly (HoA), Hon Julian Willock scolded him over Bills in his possession, that are yet to be assented.

Hon Willock using his HoA privilege under Speakers announcements, told elected members and residents that, “I must also bring to your attention once more that we have three Bills still not assented to by the Governor, and I have still to be given a plausible reason from His Excellency, as to why”.

The Speaker then went on to state the three Bills and dates they were passed, including what dates they were sent to Governor Jaspert, who is scheduled to leave the Territory prematurely in a matter of weeks.

3 bills stuck on governor's desk!


According to the Speaker, the outstanding bills are, “the Advance Passenger Information Act, 2020, which was passed in the House on 16th June 2020. This Act was sent to the Governor's Office on 1st July 2020.”

The other two bills are, “The VI Cannabis Licensing Act, 2020, which was passed on 30th June 2020 and sent to Governor's Office on 27th July 2020; and, the Drugs (Prevention of Misuse) (Amendment) Act, 2020, which was passed on 2nd July 2020 and sent to Governor's Office on 27th July 2020”.

History


The Speaker also quoted excerpts from the Minutes and Order of the Day from the first-ever Speech from the Throne which took place on June 15, 1967, and was delivered by then Administrator John S. Thompson.

The Speaker of the House at that time was H. O. Creque with H. Lavity Stoutt serving as Chief Minister and member for the First District.

We are equals- Hon Willock to Governor


It is unclear why the three Bills were not assented to by Governor Jaspert, as calls to Government House were not returned up to publication time.

This is not the first time Hon Willock and the Governor have clashed, local media reported that in a leaked October letter written by the Speaker to the Governor, Mr Jaspert was allegedly warned to ‘watch his tone in the way he writes to him [Hon Willock]’.

In the same leaked letter, it was also alleged that the Speaker highlighted that both men are equals under the VI constitution, in which the Governor is head of the Executive Branch and the Speaker is the head of the Legislative branch in the Virgin Islands.

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