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D4 conundrum must be adjudicated in Court—Skelton Cline

-says it was clearly Vanterpool’s intention to resign
D4 conundrum must be adjudicated in Court—Skelton Cline (right); says it was clearly Mark H. Vanterpool’s intention to resign. Photo: VINO/File
Governor Augustus J.U. Augustus (in picture) in weighing in on the impasse recently said in a public statement on March 26, 2019, “I have received legal advice that has been copied to the Honourable Speaker (Julian Willock), advising that the resignation of the Member-Elect was invalid on the basis that the Member-Elect has no constitutional right to resign prior to being sworn in.” Photo: VINO/File
Governor Augustus J.U. Augustus (in picture) in weighing in on the impasse recently said in a public statement on March 26, 2019, “I have received legal advice that has been copied to the Honourable Speaker (Julian Willock), advising that the resignation of the Member-Elect was invalid on the basis that the Member-Elect has no constitutional right to resign prior to being sworn in.” Photo: VINO/File
House of Assembly Speaker, Honourable Julian Willock has refused to swear in, Mark H. Vanterpool in light of his resignation letter. Photo: VINO/File
House of Assembly Speaker, Honourable Julian Willock has refused to swear in, Mark H. Vanterpool in light of his resignation letter. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – Popular social commentator and host of radio programme, ‘Honestly Speaking,’ Mr Claude O. Skelton Cline, believes the current conundrum facing the House of Assembly (HoA) over the swearing in of a Fourth District Representative, has to be adjudicated by the Judiciary.

Mr Skelton Cline gave his views during a commentary on his most recent radio programme, on March 26, 2019, where he observed the difference in interpretations of legal advice between the Governor, His Excellency, Augustus, J.U. Jaspert and HoA Speaker, Honourable Julian Willock.

No Right

The Governor in weighing in on the impasse recently said in a public statement on March 26, 2019, “I have received legal advice that has been copied to the Honourable Speaker, advising that the resignation of the Member-Elect was invalid on the basis that the Member-Elect has no constitutional right to resign prior to being sworn in.”

As such, he indicated that “at this point, I do not intend to issue a writ for a by-election.”

Honestly Speaking’s Skelton-Cline, used the occasion to observe that the situation as presented a legal conundrum, since the officials are wading in uncharted waters, more so, the “grey areas” of the Constitution of the Virgin Islands (VI).

He told listeners the VI Constitution seems to be silent on what happens between polling day and the next sitting, where the occasion is had, for the swearing in of the newly elected members, “…there is a grey area.”

Not a Member

He was adamant, the member elected during February 25, 2019, elections—Mark H. Vanterpool—is not a member of the HoA since he has not been formally sworn in.

“You cannot resign from something you are not a member of,” he said.

Addressing what he believes to be advice proffered by the Attorney General, to the Speaker and Governor, Mr Skelton Cline used the occasion to point out that based ‘presumably’ on the same advice, the two Constitutional office holders have come up with different interpretations.

He said, in such a situation, where the Executive (Governor) and Legislature (Speaker) are at loggerheads, then it is up to the third arm of government—the Judiciary—to make a determination, if needs be, at the level of the Privy Council.

He was adamant the VI is governed by a Constitution and that the Governor is not the final arbiter.

The Governor, he said, has a role, “he has now responded and played his role constitutionally, so what the Governor must do, according to the Constitution is stay in the bullpen until it’s his turn to bat again…it’s now up to the Speaker to respond.”

Privy Council

The Honestly Speaking host did use the occasion to reaffirm his belief, that Mr Vanterpool has no right to resign from the HoA, since he was never sworn in.

According to Mr Skelton Cline, “you can’t resign from something you are not a member of;  you are not a member until you are sworn in…..this is exactly the conundrum that needs to be adjudicated in the court of law.”

He was adamant however, that it was clearly the member’s (Vanterpool) intention was to resign, and pointed to the public address in a video, in addition to the resignation the letters—since made public—demonstrating an intention to resign from his elected post.

He opined, too that there is legal precedent where a judgment is given in the courts, based on an individual’s intent at the time.

“In the case of law where there is a grey area and there is no immediate agreement that is why we have the judiciary, this is exactly the kind of matter that should go straight to privy council to settle matter constitutionally.”

28 Responses to “D4 conundrum must be adjudicated in Court—Skelton Cline”

  • Eagle Eye (27/03/2019, 07:45) Like (73) Dislike (57) Reply
    Why america never hold this man instead of letting him go to be a frig to we.
  • Time 2 quit (27/03/2019, 08:42) Like (48) Dislike (32) Reply
    There is wrong , right , hate and love . .This clyne man as much as I admire him. He is allowing his hatred to drive him down the wrong street . His dislike for Mark is driving him to throw Oil on an outed fire ...Let it be...Whatever adjudication you chose Mark will win ..Quit the hate and get real ...U R much smarter than the nonsense UR promoting ..
  • Real Stupid (27/03/2019, 08:47) Like (54) Dislike (45) Reply
    Mr. Cline you need to hush. You have no legal experience. You are biased. You think we people you met in these virgin islands are stupid. We are very much smarter than you.

    You think you talking to kids. Stick to what you expertise is, If you have one.

    You need to stick to religion. You cant get in, if you are not all in. Shoot. You and willock sickening the man.

    You and him about to wreck VIP. I hope wheatley, rhymer, decastro, smith, flax, Malone, and sowande realize this before its too late and get rid of you guys. This party needs to get going without the confusion that these two guys bring.
    • concern (27/03/2019, 15:38) Like (15) Dislike (7) Reply
      You responding by calling him names with your grammar; obviously you choose the correct title for your comment.

      I am not a fan of Mr. Skelton and agree with some of your points, but please show your intellectual side when trying to degrade someone.

  • talk (27/03/2019, 08:56) Like (66) Dislike (56) Reply
    Power has gone to the VIP head you are the government why waste tax payers money for battle in court ane all up to tge privy councel. What is the big fear of Mark swearing in the house.

    The Speaker and claude are taking this personal and I know that you Claude has personal issues with Mark and Myron.

    Get over yourselves and let us move the country forward.

    NDP is not the government. NDP lost and every day you all cannot keep their name out of you all mouth.

    It shows that you all not ready to lead and it shows that your egos are to big
  • FeelN Sad (27/03/2019, 09:08) Like (55) Dislike (39) Reply
    Hope Premier Fahie and VIP don't take this Stupid advice and waste Tax Prayers money on a court fight that they are going to lose . The Governor decision is proper , Legally correct and simple common sense ...
  • Where is Sowande N shareen (27/03/2019, 09:26) Like (28) Dislike (24) Reply
    these are are two politicians i supported 100%for two reasons. 1/ They Will will not be be led blindly and be loyalty deaf ..2/ they they will be voice the alance of common. Sense Fairness fareless courage and reason . Please . Step up and end this nonsense .Let the sleeping Dog lie
  • really?? (27/03/2019, 09:45) Like (30) Dislike (27) Reply
    You stopped being an impartial journalist years ago. In fact I wonder if that was ever the case. Why should the country waste resources on this? Get over the egos and power plays, complete the swearing in and move on with the business of running the nation.
  • Me (27/03/2019, 10:16) Like (37) Dislike (30) Reply
    It's really not about getting over this. We must be careful when decisions such as two senior persons representing the Legislature and Executive make that contradict each other. We have to be careful we do not set the wrong precedent. Let the Courts decide once and for all. That is what they are there for. I think Cline is right. The judiciary must be called in to play. The world is watching this outcome.
  • But Really (27/03/2019, 10:25) Like (26) Dislike (27) Reply
    The comment from the Governor makes no sense "The member elect has no constitutional right to resign". It's a Stupid Statement! Even a baby can see through this. The Governor is pushing is own agenda.
  • Reconciliator (27/03/2019, 11:25) Like (37) Dislike (32) Reply
    I agree with Skelton-Clyne and the Governor's position. I do have some concerns with the issue raised regarding settlement of the matter at the Courts/Privy Council level which seems imminent but a waste of time and taxpayers funds, and quite frankly, an abuse of the judiciary and the powers conferred on the Speaker. If that route is taken, the end result will be financial compensation in full to the elected member for all entitled benefits and other damages (and possible a forced swearing in if the matter is timely adjudicated, thus a further embarrassment to the Speaker and by extension the VIP Government).

    The D4 representative's intentions was premature, thus subsequently reneged, a right entitled to since his initial resignation was flawed (null/void) and could not have been accepted under any circumstances as clearly outline by the constitution. The representative's true intention would have been substantiated had a letter be redone wherein same was addressed to the Speaker (and after being sworn in). Forwarding a letter to the speaker even if he was not sworn in may have not created such turmoil and would have paved the way for a by-election similarly to if the member dies or for various reasons become disqualified or incapable of performing the duties of a member of the house).

    However, given the fact that same was not done, I am of the view that his intention to resign can easily be questioned. Can same be attributed to the member's possible emotional state (not ruling out a temporary onset of dementia or related psychological breakdown) brought about by the humiliating defeat at the polls?

    We must be mindful that an individual is at liberty to change his/her mind. Our intentions, 'Action A' at a particular moment which we may disclose to others, can be subsequently changed to 'Action B'. In the representative's case he was at liberty to do so since his initial action was null/void. In the best interest of BVI politics and maintaining an impartial and independent eye, the Speaker must offer the 'olive branch' to the D4 representative and have him immediately sworn in.
    • Me (27/03/2019, 11:45) Like (12) Dislike (1) Reply
      1. I wonder if Mark only changed his mind AFTER the Clerk of the House wrote to him telling him that the letter was invalid and should be properly addressed?
      2. Was he even intending to represent D4 again?
      3. Is it a genuine change of heart?

      Imo the timing seems off as he may not have even wanted to be back in politics but pressure and being given a second chance gave him the opportunity........
  • My Take (27/03/2019, 12:01) Like (20) Dislike (6) Reply
    “No More Status Quo!”- The status quo has failed us. Today we have an “Unconventional Government” with “BUSINESS UNUSUAL.”

    I have listened and observed- I am in agreement with the in-depth perspectives of Mr. Doug Wheatley and Mr. Claude Skelton-Cline.

    Allow the “Proper Democratic Process” to work correctly, the way it was intended to work, without the usual few selected influencers of the past.

    Change for future prosperity is incomplete unless it passes through the crucibles of struggle and experience.

    Better days to come for eventual future generations toward self-determination.

    And for those who think, bloggers with interruptive-perspectives to the status-quo should not contribute.- We love you to, because we know the worst kinds of human beings are those who do not know themselves, their worth, and their innate capabilities to determine their destinies. LOVE OVA EVIL EVERYDAY.
  • the m & m gang (27/03/2019, 12:36) Like (15) Dislike (4) Reply
    Tink we’ah fools; well- not on our watch!
  • A bi-election needed to settle this matter (27/03/2019, 12:56) Like (21) Dislike (10) Reply
    D4 Voting Family- if big mart truly care about we, let’s really see with a bi-bi. The karma of cause and effect. Decisions have results or consequences.

    The quagmire we find ourselves facing today is that-

    big mart put himself on a noose and Luce is on the loose, ready and able to serve we the unerserved people of the 4D.

    • the rock (27/03/2019, 21:31) Like (5) Dislike (5) Reply
      Shut he heck up, Hon Vanterpool controls tne 4tn? Yes yes and yes!
  • Asking for District 4 (27/03/2019, 12:58) Like (17) Dislike (12) Reply
    So, when this goes to court, and allllllll the way up to the Privy Council, (which will take plenty time eh) who is representing the interests of the people of the 4th district?

    Mehson Claude, go siddung!

    Let's move this country forward from chatting piss that not feasible, financially sensible or worth the people of the 4th laying in wait while this is resolved.

    VIP NEEDS to distance themselves from this character deman! He aint talking a lick of sense and only making them look like a poppyshow.

    • wize up (27/03/2019, 18:33) Like (3) Dislike (4) Reply
      @ asking for 4: that is why you have at large representation in the house of assembly: elected at large candidates have a mandate to represent and look out for each district:
      • Asking for District 4 (28/03/2019, 04:56) Like (4) Dislike (1) Reply
        True, but like every other district, we would like to have our own representative (whether good or bad) in addition to the assistance of the at-large representatives. Is this not the treatment of every other district?

        We have so many issues facing the country right now. Taking on a court case, which could take years to decide, just does not seem sensible, especially when its not a deal breaker to form the government. The VIP already is the government, no threat there.

        Spreading the at-large representative's time and efforts thin on this is a waste of everyone's time. Let's just get on with the people's business and try to work through what's best for us as it pertains to both local and international matters.
  • dude (27/03/2019, 13:03) Like (7) Dislike (6) Reply
    If the speaker moves this to court then I would see it as personal. The Governor did what he did and wants to avoid it going to court and being sued by dishonorable vanterpool. So taking this to court would be a waste. At this time let the dishonorable one swear & and show up when he feels like and sleep in the HOA. The D4 residents that voted for him will just have to deal with it for 4 yrs until they can replace him. OR until he decides to resign again which is very likely.
  • Hooray (27/03/2019, 13:27) Like (12) Dislike (12) Reply
    Why this Mongoose (CSC) don't go siddung? I am hearing that even if the man's resignation was correctly addressed, it would not have been valid since he could not resign before swearing in. Let us move on and do what needs to be done. If this Speeeeeeeker does not stop showing it's fangs it will run into serious trouble.
  • D4 (27/03/2019, 13:38) Like (17) Dislike (12) Reply
    Selector rewind...

    We no fo we want. “Forward Ever, Backwards Never.”
  • 4D voter (27/03/2019, 19:06) Like (7) Dislike (8) Reply
    Mr Mark Vanterpool you’re the one who causing all this kious not the speaker
  • BVI STRONG (27/03/2019, 21:08) Like (6) Dislike (4) Reply
    the speaker is one big joke and I unfair person,dont talk about Skelton-Cline acting like he so perfect, always digging holes on other people but never dig one for himself, when u going let all the listening people know why did u run back to tortola.
  • Mr. Hodge (27/03/2019, 22:20) Like (5) Dislike (5) Reply
    Couple of things to consider... How can someone improperly resign? How stupid does that really sound? you didn't quit properly so you get to keep the job you're resigning from? Secondly, the said resignation was broadcast on social media. thirdly, on the day of the swearing in guess who was absent from the ceremony and shortly there after makes a request to be sworn in with immediate effect? It is quite evident that our constitution was written during times when people took their duties seriously as there is no reference to rule on such an assenign occurrence! Now the constitution has to be amended so we can know how to rule if someone quits, then changes their mind but isn't really recognized or functioning because they haven't been sworn in yet... BAZEDEEEE
  • Curious George (28/03/2019, 05:26) Like (5) Dislike (4) Reply
    It is simply facsinating how people will twist their rhetoric into proverbial pretzels to defend the actions of their favorite politicians. So if you you get selected for a job and you write resignation letter to the secretary of the boss, copy the CEO, publicly tell everyone you not taking the damn job and then don't show up the first day, you believe you still have a job?? Interesting.

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