Beautiful Virgin Islands

Monday, Nov 28, 2022

‘Things taken out of context in COI’, says former Speaker

‘Things taken out of context in COI’, says former Speaker

Former Speaker of the House of Assembly Julian Willock has indicated that there may have been some aspects of the BVI’s culture that may have been misinterpreted during the Commission of Inquiry (COI) and reflected in its report.

While not specifying what these aspects were, Willock suggested there could have been some pushback by the government on the COI’s recommendations.

“All those things (recommendations) are not necessarily accurate. Some of them – at least a quarter of those things – could’ve been challenged because it clearly states things were taken out of context. They don’t understand our unique culture, they don’t understand even how our own process works,” Willock said recently on the Speak Out BVI radio show.

And while conceding that the BVI has not gotten everything right, Willock said he gave the government credit for its willingness to make corrections.

“To simply say, here’s some people living in the BVI and they’re all corrupt, and they must do these things now and these are your deadlines, and in the Privy Council there is an order just there just waiting – I just think that puts everyone in an unfair situation,” Willock argued.

Legislature’s independence at stake


Meanwhile, Willock said he was a little concerned the Commission of Inquiry can tell the House of Assembly what to do.

“That ‘you must pass this bill and you must pass that bill’, you know? It speaks now volumes to, [whether] we have an independent House of Assembly, do we have an independent legislature?” Willock asked.

He further argued that if the United Kingdom was truly interested in helping the BVI and talking about a partnership with the territory, then ‘that kind of hostile, bullying approach’ is not the way to go.

“What I hope that has not happened is that we’re simply not transferring power. We’re not transferring our power from those who we elect in a fair and just election to people who are appointed or people who hold a job in the civil service. I hope that it’s not a transfer of power,” the former Speaker expressed.

According to Willock, this type of transfer must be guarded against, particularly since he has received complaints from legislators who have suggested they can’t get anything done because everyone is ‘fraid of this Commission of Inquiry’.

“If we’re going to continue in a democracy, those that we elect must be empowered to help people,” the former Speaker said.

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