British Virgin Islands

Wednesday, May 05, 2021

UK holding up bills to cause strain between Gov't & people- Premier Fahie posits

UK holding up bills to cause strain between Gov't & people- Premier Fahie posits

Premier and Minister of Finance Honourable Andrew A. Fahie (R1) has vowed to take on the matter of the Governor holding up Bills sent to him for assent.

The Premier was at the time addressing the issue, which has become topical since His Excellency, Governor Augustus J. U. Jaspert stalled three Bills, namely, the Advance Passenger Information Act, 2020, the VI Cannabis Licensing Act 2020, and the Drugs (Prevention of Misuse) (Amendment) Act, 2020.

The Bills were before the Governor for months, and in particular, the Cannabis Licensing Bill which would pave the way for the territory to tap into the medicinal marijuana industry has now reached the United Kingdom for review in what has been viewed as an unprecedented move.


Ironically, while the United Kingdom is stalling the Virgin Islands' medical marijuana industry from getting off the ground, changes to UK legislation saw cannabis being legalised for medical use in November 2018.

UK benefitting from Medical Marijuana industry


Ironically, while the United Kingdom is stalling the Virgin Islands' medical marijuana industry from getting off the ground, changes to UK legislation saw cannabis being legalised for medical use in November 2018. This is based on case studies showing that cannabinoids such as cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are extremely effective at treating many physical, emotional and mental conditions, without the side effects of pharmaceuticals.

Additionally, the demand for cannabis as a medical treatment in the UK is growing rapidly, and the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis (CMC) predicts that by 2024, the UK medical cannabis market alone will be worth close to £1bn ($1.3bn) and servicing nearly 340,000 active patients.

The UK Cannabis Report estimates that about 7.3 million people in the UK use CBD products each year, often imported and bought online or in speciality or high-street retail stores.

In 2019, CBD product sales figures were higher than those of vitamins C and D combined. And CBD retailers say that those numbers have shot up further during lockdown, with so many people looking for relief from anxiety and stress.

And while the UK is benefitting from the medical marijuana industry, it is preventing its Overseas Territory, the Virgin Islands, from doing so.


His Excellency, Governor Augustus J. U. Jaspert stalled three Bills, namely, the Advance Passenger Information Act, 2020, the VI Cannabis Licensing Act 2020, and the Drugs (Prevention of Misuse) (Amendment) Act, 2020.

Ulterior motives by UK


Premier Fahie did not hold back on his suspected reasons for the holdup of certain bills by the Governor, including VI Cannabis Licensing Act 2020.

“Many things are long overdue and even tackling this assenting to Bills that have not violated any legal aspect or any convention, but because they don’t want us in that area but don’t want to say that, those must be tackled too,” he said during the House of Assembly sitting on January 5, 2021.

He explained: “Because the longer you stop an economy from moving forward, you are hoping that the people turn on the local government saying that the economy is not moving when everything we pass to get the economy going is either immensely delayed or not assented to.”

The Premier also added that not granting assent to specific Bills at the Governor’s whim was “tantamount to moving towards trying to unseat a sitting government, and that has to be looked into.”

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