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'Changes to Recovery Agency bill should have been shared publicly' - Gerard St C. Farara QC

- said transparency & accountability should not just be buzz words
Prominent attorney, Gerard St C. Farara QC, believes that modern amendments should be made to the rules and procedures of the House of Assembly and to the constitution which must speak to transparency and accountability. Photo: VINO/File
Claude O. Skelton-Cline (left), former Managing Director of BVI Ports Authority (BVIPA) and social commentator and prominent attorney, Gerard St C. Farara QC (right), discussing the future of the territory based on the Virgin Islands Recovery and Development Agency Act 2018 that was recently passed in the House of Assembly (HoA). Photo: Facebook
Claude O. Skelton-Cline (left), former Managing Director of BVI Ports Authority (BVIPA) and social commentator and prominent attorney, Gerard St C. Farara QC (right), discussing the future of the territory based on the Virgin Islands Recovery and Development Agency Act 2018 that was recently passed in the House of Assembly (HoA). Photo: Facebook
Hurricane Irma ravaged the territory on September 6, 2017, which caused persons to lose their homes, businesses and jobs. Photo: VINO
Hurricane Irma ravaged the territory on September 6, 2017, which caused persons to lose their homes, businesses and jobs. Photo: VINO
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – “There is really a need for us in the BVI to be looking at the rules and procedures of the House of Assembly. In many respect, they do not really do enough to speak to the democratic process and we need to focus on that.”

This is according to prominent attorney, Gerard St C. Farara QC, during the popular radio talk show Honestly Speaking with Former Managing Director of the BVI Ports Authority (BVIPA) and Commentator Mr Claude O. Skelton-Cline on ZBVI 780 AM on Tuesday, April 3, 2018, while discussing the Virgin Islands Recovery and Development Agency Act 2018.

Mr Skelton-Cline had asked, “Under the constitution, should the public not have a reasonable time to be afforded the opportunity of viewing whatever bill is being passed in the House and especially a bill such of this nature that really changes the trajectory of the BVI? This is a game changer.”

In response, Mr Farara pointed out that the rules and procedures must be “reformed” rather than looking at what is in existence while adding that he has stated on many occasions that when the government is doing a constitutional review they should also look at the rules and procedures of the House of Assembly.

He explained, “When we did the constitutional review at that time the next step was to be looking at the rules and procedures of the House of Assembly with a view to reforming and modernising those rules and that has not been done. There were some changes made I think a few years ago to those rules and procedures but not in the same way that it had been contemplated...”

The prominent Attorney further explained that many persons have been talking about accountability and good governance for a while now but noted that something must be done to ensure that these principles are being followed.

“We are talking about accountability and good governance. These are the buzz words and they have been for some time...but it is not enough to be just calling those words. We must reform and restructure our constitutional construct, our system of government, and our rules in the House to put in place the things that are going to speak loud and clear to transparency and accountability,” emphasised Mr Farara.

Public still unaware of changes to Bill

Meanwhile, Mr Skelton-Cline noted that the public, who was following the debate attentively, is still unaware of what exactly was passed by the Members of the House and should have been given an explanation to some of the changes that were made.

He stated, “The public became consumers of that for almost two days and within 24 hours they came back to the House and had a 10-2 vote and said that they are now in agreement with the bill that they just came from telling the public that they were not in agreement with. The public did not know fully what the bill was before. They public did not know fully what the bill was during and the public, including myself, certainly now still do not know or have no way of really authenticating what exactly did they pass. What is it that changed in that short period that made you went from this very pronounce no to this very mild yes?”

Sharing the same sentiments, Mr Farara passionately emphasised that the leader of the government business should have summarised what were the changes made in Committee in a form that the general public could understand but pointed out that the Opposition leader [Honourable Andrew A. Fahie (R1)] came out with a statement summarising the changes and Premier [Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL)] to some extent listed the changes while having an issue with some things that Hon Fahie stated.

Mr Farara said, “Come on this is a democracy. This is about transparency and accountability and these are things that must be in the rules. These things are fundamental and when you look in the High-Level Framework document, they too are insisting as part of the, quote/unquote, recovery process that some of these things be put in place.”

He continued, “We as a people of the British Virgin Islands must want these things for ourselves and it comes back to the whole concept that we must police our own democracy. It is ours. It is our country to police our democracy and we must demonstrate the level of maturity politically as leaders and as a country that says yes we can run our own affairs. We are not only here to say we are making strides in financial services and tourism. The economic engine is critical of course but surrounding all of that including security, we must demonstrate a certain level of maturity because believe you me if you don’t have security in your country as was demonstrated in the immediate aftermath of hurricane Irma you have nothing. “

29 Responses to “'Changes to Recovery Agency bill should have been shared publicly' - Gerard St C. Farara QC”

  • voter (04/04/2018, 12:49) Like (10) Dislike (28) Reply
    I don't want to here a thing from this man unless he announce he is running, boss the country needs you Mr. QC enough of the talk talk talk
    • Albion (04/04/2018, 13:23) Like (5) Dislike (15) Reply
      He is running for sure. Count on it.
    • wize up (04/04/2018, 13:33) Like (3) Dislike (11) Reply
      @ voter: I assume that you will undertake the daily operations of his private companies should he seek public office:(you running!!!): listen I agree with you because we need another viable party(you know!!; a group that will honestly and sincerely see about the development of the people)....keep the faith
    • @voter (04/04/2018, 13:58) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
      He needs to relax himself now. Not much to get out he only educated talk. Make sense but he don’t got time for action.
    • @voter. thats all they do (04/04/2018, 17:38) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      Talk. Talk. Talk.. No courage to fight. To sacrifice..
    • @voter (05/04/2018, 07:11) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
      Any time Mr. QC runs, Ayo petty contract contractors will have to shape up...No more poor shotty work...no more not paying the proper taxes, social security and NHI, no more poor administration in your back offices. You petty contract contractors want new party who you think you could manipulate to give you contracts willy nilly? Some of you do not deserve those petty contracts because of poor administration and shotty work? I am sorry for all those contractors who have been cutting corners for years and had been warned repeatedly by the wives, girlfriends, family and others who work in the back offices and the contractors did not take heed and now expect help out of the mess? The Recovery and Development Agency cannot be manipulated by you contractors...Get your house in order if you want to compete for those construction dollars. Hon. Fahie, will talk on your behalf but your administration in the back office HAVE TO IMPROVE...PAY YOUR TAXES...
  • wise up (04/04/2018, 13:18) Like (3) Dislike (17) Reply
    I keep saying and will continue saying/persons seeking to be re-elected or enter the political arena(only have value for our people just before an election)...once election over the 13 of them sits together at house of assembly and pass all manner of regulations without our concent or knowledge....and frankly speaking,this been on going for years and years NOT just now!!!
  • Gitangh (04/04/2018, 13:54) Like (3) Dislike (7) Reply
    4 real.
  • Not2Sure (04/04/2018, 14:08) Like (22) Dislike (1) Reply
    Everybody want to come from high and talk but no one wants to do the hard work and run
  • sign (04/04/2018, 14:11) Like (2) Dislike (8) Reply
    Mr. Farrara, are you running for elections or not?
  • blah (04/04/2018, 14:40) Like (22) Dislike (12) Reply
    Please. He wake up now? Every four years a bunch of them come out of the wood works.
    • Strupes (04/04/2018, 15:20) Like (15) Dislike (4) Reply
      @ blah Please, every time some one tries to become involved you all knock them down even before they get out the gate. He is British Virgin Islander and he has his rights to come out of "the wood works"
    • Jaigon Jumbie (04/04/2018, 20:20) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
      Blah you are so right, to include Conrad and his dormant United Party
  • cay (04/04/2018, 15:07) Like (1) Dislike (2) Reply
    The people calling for Jerry answer the call Mr
  • True (04/04/2018, 15:22) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
    Why? Because you said so, they should of never been released in the first place
  • Mitch (04/04/2018, 16:07) Like (5) Dislike (10) Reply
    SEE why Mitch said NO .. More to come ....
  • please (04/04/2018, 16:50) Like (15) Dislike (9) Reply
    This man is a waste of time. All he wants is the power without the people.
  • Lord o (04/04/2018, 17:40) Like (1) Dislike (9) Reply
    Could have---Should have--Would have. All of that is too late.. Where were you before the plane took off?
  • voter (04/04/2018, 18:57) Like (6) Dislike (10) Reply
    This man is overrated. Being a good lawyer doesn't gaureentee being a good leader for the country.
  • enough (04/04/2018, 18:59) Like (3) Dislike (8) Reply
    We are tired of persons who want to come in to politics for position rather than for the people.
  • simple (04/04/2018, 19:32) Like (14) Dislike (1) Reply
    Many of you are quick to criticize but non bold and educated enough to take a stand like he and others are doing. You damn if you do and you damn if you don't so I supporting him for the greater good of this country not for those who blog and the fear you have to hide behind blogs plus some of you who blog are apart of the current failing government blogging machine so that don't scare me nor my family. See ayo ras at the polls and yes if he runs he got my damn VOTE!

    VG Massive!
  • Run for Office Farara (05/04/2018, 07:40) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    It is about time we get someone in there that will respect the administrative systems that are now irretrievably broken. The interference with tax collections process. Inland Revenue was government's second largest revenue collector and now it is surpassed by HM Customs because the commissioner does his job. It is not that IRD staff do not do their work...that agency had been interfered with for decades....no timely software updates, no allowance of personnel with BA in accounting or finance...those persons were slowly forced out by which ministry...you guessed it...their own supervisor...hhhmmm...ting to talk...sounds like the same thing happening to another department close by and under the same ministerial supervision...Now it is all coming to a head for all of the creative removal of good people who were pushing for change in these departments but got no support from the supervising ministry..Had to bring back a top supervisor to bring back sanity to those 2 departments...what a shame! ! !
  • ausar (05/04/2018, 10:53) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Can he run,win a position and MAINTAIN the respect while in office

    This is the real crux of the problem!
  • wize up (05/04/2018, 13:20) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
    simply based on the conversation/what can my good friend do by himself: the last time I check the HOA have 13 positions therefore 1 will another 6 to form the administration for our territory(7-6)....
  • justice (05/04/2018, 21:28) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Houston we got a problem.
  • visitor (08/04/2018, 15:53) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Isn't this the same man who tweeked the Constitution's definition of a VIslander so that he could be included as one?


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