Beautiful Virgin Islands

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

VI delegation completes fact-finding mission to UK parliament

VI delegation completes fact-finding mission to UK parliament

A Virgin Islands (VI) delegation headed by Speaker of the House of Assembly (HoA) Hon Julian Willock has completed a fact-finding mission to the United Kingdom Parliament to engage in capacity building from March 21 to 24, 2022.

The delegation also included Hon Sharie B. de Castro, the Junior Minister for Tourism and Territorial At-Large Representative; Hon Neville A. Smith, Deputy Speaker and Territorial At-Large Representative; Hon Marlon A. Penn, Leader of the Opposition and District 8 Representative; Hon Julian Fraser RA, District 3 Representative; Hon Melvin M. Turnbull, District 2 Representative; and Clerk of the HoA, Phyllis Evans.

HoA Members set out to 'broaden the scope' of their work


A release on the initiative noted, “The objective of the mission was to identify and document areas of the UK Parliamentary policies and procedures that would help HoA Members to broaden the scope of their work, enable them to accomplish more, and better serve the people.

It said the delegation was moved by a strong desire and interest to find ways to strengthen the HoA by reviewing the House of Commons operations, its laws and statutes, the roles of the Speaker and Clerk, and the security of Members.

“The delegation also had the opportunity to gain insights into the roles and functions of backbenchers, Leader of the Opposition, and Junior Ministers.”

According to information, in a review of the UK Parliament library operations, the Hansard reports, members’ privileges and immunities also formed part of the exposure of the fact-finding mission.

Open discussions with UK Parliament Speaker


Open discussions were reportedly had with Speaker Hoyle, along with five current Members of the UK Parliament from the two major political parties, clerks, and senior public officers working for the House of Commons, which is an independent organisation.

The HoA delegation also reportedly held a session with the UK Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and the meeting was hosted by Lord George Foulkes of Cumnock, a current Member of the House of Lords.

House Speaker Hon Willock, commenting on the visit, said: “We were able to secure support to re-establish our local House of Assembly Library and we are now working out the details for someone to visit and conduct an immediate assessment in that area, as we regard the library and having timely Hansard reports important to facilitate adequate research prior to Members’ participation in debates.”

The delegation also met with several Members of Parliament and on Wednesday, March 23, 2022, they met with Speaker Hoyle as special invitees to sit in the Chambers Gallery to witness the Prime Minister's questions.

Meet & Greet with VI people residing in UK


On the final day of the visit, the delegation hosted a “Meet and Greet” with VI students and residents living and studying in the UK, along with staff members of both the BVI Tourist Board and the BVI London House.

The HoA delegation was also supported by the BVI Representative in London and the European Union, Acting Director Attorney Tracy Bradshaw who sat in on all the meetings and facilitated courtesy calls.

The delegation also included Hon. Sharie B. de Castro, the Junior Minister for Tourism and Territorial At-Large Representative; Hon. Neville A. Smith, Deputy Speaker and Territorial At-Large Representative; Hon. Marlon A. Penn, Leader of the Opposition and District 8 Representative; Hon. Julian Fraser RA, District 3 Representative; Hon. Melvin M. Turnbull District 2 Representative; and Clerk of the HoA, Phyllis Evans.

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