I declare my interests every year - Premier Smith
It was at a press conference held on March 8, 2017 that a reporter grilled Premier Smith on this matter and got this response. "I personally have declared my interests every year," and further pressed about his colleagues doing likewise, he said he did not question them.
"I have not questioned them before. It is their responsibility to declare their interest to the Register and I am not sure the Registrar has the responsibility to remind them on a regular basis," he said.
Select Com Chair Hon Vanterpool not calling meetings
The tone of Registrar of Interests Mrs Victoreen Romney-Varlack’s printed statement in the most recent public report of the Standing Finance Committee spells nothing but frustration when she complained bitterly of not being able to get Minister for Communications and Works Honourable Mark H. Vanterpool (R4), who chairs the Registrar of Interests Select Committee, to call meetings.
She told the Standing Finance Committee that she had direct communication with Hon Vanterpool and had written him formal letters on this matter but he continues not to honour this responsibility.
Premier Smith said that he is not ignorant about this challenge. "Most Members of the House, in fact, all Members of the House are serious about the matter. We had discussions about it and I know that the matter of having meetings will happen."
Mrs Romney-Varlack told the Standing Finance Committee that she is tempted to summons committee members to a meeting to chart a way forward, considering Minister Vanterpool’s tardiness.
The 2007 Virgin Islands Constitution has a provision in section 112 for a Registrar of Interest whereby elected officials must declare their assets, income and liabilities.
What the 2007 Virgin Islands’ Constitution Registration of interests states
112 (1) There shall be for the Virgin Islands a Register of Interests, which shall be maintained by a Registrar who shall be appointed, and may be removed from office, by the Governor acting in his or her discretion.
(2) It shall be the duty of any person to whom this section applies to declare to the Registrar, for entry in the Register of Interests, such interests, assets, income and liabilities of that person, or of any other person connected with him or her, as may be prescribed by law.
(3) A person shall make a declaration under subsection (2) upon assuming the functions of his or her office and at such intervals thereafter (being no longer than twelve months) as may be prescribed by law.
(4) This section applies to all members of the House of Assembly (including Ministers) and the holders of such other offices (except that of Governor) as may be prescribed by law.
(5) A law made under this Constitution shall make provision for giving effect to this section, including the sanctions which may be imposed for a failure to comply with, or the making of false statements in purported compliance with, subsections (2) and (3) and, notwithstanding anything contained in Chapter 5, the sanctions which may be imposed may include the suspension of a member of the House of Assembly from sitting and voting in the House for such period as may be prescribed in such a law.