Opposition Member and former Minister of Government, Hon. Mark Vanterpool has called for the BVI to have a term limit for leaders. He said this is one way to gain the trust of the people as the Territory fights for economic empowerment and political advancement under a new Constitution.
“We need to have some term limits so the people can believe and trust us a little more and not think we are there forever, especially the premiership or leadership of the country,” he said in the House of Assembly this afternoon, July 28.
Citing Russia and other Caribbean countries, Hon. Vanterpool said under the term limit, a leader can serve during the specified time frame but return to serve in later years.
“After his first term limit was over, Mr (Vladimir) Putin decided to put up a man to be the leader for five or something years, and after that he said my term limit is over, you got your turn , it’s my turn again. Nothing is wrong with that. I think the same thing is being tried in Guyana,” the Fourth District Representative stated.
He added, “and it might happen one day in the United States, but that’s the constitution. But at least it gives a chance after two terms, or whatever terms you give for a premier to lead the country, he takes a break and if he is young enough and wants to come back again, he comes back again later."
Hon. Vanterpool said while nothing is wrong with this, it is for the people to decide.
He said in the new constitution certain institutions must be strengthened including the legislative and judiciary branches of government.
He mentioned the pending Code of Conduct for Ministers, “which gives the people the confidence that we have to abide by certain laws and rules to govern ourselves. And we must build institutions to govern ourselves,” he pointed out.
The opposition member also spoke at length on the need for the BVI to have self determination and manage its own affairs and for more respect for its leaders, bemoaning the amount of power entrusted in the office of the Governor. He also believes that the people need to have more confidence in its politicians to lead.
The government is seeking for the House to approve the establishment of and the composition of the Constitutional Review Commission for the purpose of conducting a full review of the Virgin Islands
Constitution Order, 2007 (U.K.S.I. No. 1678 of 2007). The motion is still being debated.