Beautiful Virgin Islands

Thursday, Feb 02, 2023

Term limits not necessary for all leaders — Skelton

Term limits not necessary for all leaders — Skelton

Former legislator Ronnie Skelton is the latest public figure to submit his views on term limits for elected leaders, stating that this measure isn’t necessary for everyone elected to office in the BVI.
Term limits for elected leaders has been debated in the BVI for years as some residents believe it will help to ensure accountability among those who are elected to govern the territory’s affairs.

Speaking on the Real Talk Show hosted by Karia Christopher, Skelton said he only supports term limits for positions like Premier and Speaker of the House of Assembly.

“If you’re going to be the Premier forever, I would say that shouldn’t happen. You can have term limits for the Premier and for the Speaker, you can have term limits for certain people in the system,” Skelton noted. “What we look at is the US system but if you take the US senate, there’s no term limit. Where there are term limits is the President and Governor [roles].”

Skelton said he believes all leaders other than a Premier and Speaker of the House of Assembly, can operate without term limits once the correct systems are put in place to ensure that power doesn’t go unchecked.

During the same interview, Chairperson for the Constitutional Review Commission Lisa Penn Lettsome said the issue of term limits has been raised by persons who’ve attended the public meetings across the territory.

“One of the drawbacks that we’ve heard is that those who are against it say it would lessen the pool of persons who are potentially interested. We have to bear in mind that when politicians give up their day-to-day jobs, it’s very difficult for them to get back into the mainstream if they’re not successful in politics. So the argument is that it may make it more unattractive for persons,” Penn Lettsome explained.

She added that some residents have suggested a staggered term system where leaders take a break from representing and may re-enter politics after that mandatory break ends.

While term limits have been a topical discussion in BVI politics for years, no serious efforts have been made to implement it.

In the meantime, Skelton said he supports recall legislation which would give residents the power to remove elected leaders from office before a general election is called.

“I want to add that you should have a recall system. If a constituency wants to recall the elected person, then there should be a system for that,” said Skelton, who is also one of the commissioners overseeing the constitutional review.

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