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Limit 2nd & 3rd readings of bills the same day- Opposition Leader

- Hon Fahie calls for improved structure in HoA; Premier Smith agrees
Leader of the Opposition and Chairman of the Virgin Islands Party (VIP) Honourable Andrew A. Fahie (R1) has called for a more comprehensive review of the modus operandi on how bills are being passed in the Virgin Islands (UK). Photo: VINO
According to Opposition Leader Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1), when many 2nd and third readings of bills are done on the same day, the question and answer period and other areas are drastically reduced. Photo: VINO/File
According to Opposition Leader Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1), when many 2nd and third readings of bills are done on the same day, the question and answer period and other areas are drastically reduced. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- The man who has taken an oath to put the Government’s feet to the fire, to uphold the democratic process and good governance, has made several calls for improvements to the way things are being done in the House of Assembly (HoA).

Leader of the Opposition and Chairman of the Virgin Islands Party (VIP) Honourable Andrew A. Fahie (R1) has called for a more comprehensive review of the modus operandi on how bills are being passed in the Virgin Islands (UK).

Speaking in the HoA, under “Other Business”, on Thursday April 20, 2017 Hon Fahie said it is of great importance especially when members of the public question them on the bills.

Limit 2nd & 3rd readings of bills the same day

While dismissing that it is his inability to keep up with the pace, Fahie said when so many readings of the various bills are done, the question and answer period and other areas are drastically reduced.

“Madam Speaker, I am not saying I cannot keep up with the pace, when we leave here the people are going to pick us out one by one and ask us on each and every single bill that we pass here and some of us cannot answer. And I want to do justice to the people of this territory by going through each of these bills page by page, to make sure you understand each section so we can give some meaningful input.”

According to Hon Fahie, to pass seven bills in three days is not doing justice to the people. “All I am asking is we limit the number of second and third readings so we can do these bills justice for the people of the territory. We spend so long on these bills and rightfully so …but after we spend so long on this the question and answer at the end, there are certain rules that prevent you from getting things done in the question and answer and the follow up….and then we come to public business, you have five minutes. So, Madam Speaker, it needs a better balance with what we are doing in this House in terms of the structure and everything.”

Bills not given 100%

Hon Fahie even went as far as saying that the bills were “not given 100 percent” when they were passed.

“…and if you ask me if the bills passed, and I know people will disagree with me, if we gave all those bills a hundred percent before they were passed I personally don’t feel so.”

He added, “I just want to put these on the table to plead with the Premier, let’s be more mindful on how we [put] the order of the day, to make sure, not only for me but so that we do justice for the people of the territory, that when we pass it we are an 110 percent confident that we can speak with full knowledge and authority that each page was fully scrutinised by this House of Assembly and we didn’t just exist here but we performed well to the highest extent.”

In his remarks, Premier Dr The Hon D. Orlando Smith (AL) said he will “review” the way things are done and even suggested that informal meetings be held prior to the HoA sittings so that everyone will have a better understanding of the bills to be passed.

“I do understand his concerns,” he said in response.

15 Responses to “Limit 2nd & 3rd readings of bills the same day- Opposition Leader”

  • cay (23/04/2017, 10:58) Like (12) Dislike (0) Reply
    Dr smith will not change a thing he fast asleep
    • The Realist (23/04/2017, 21:23) Like (3) Dislike (4) Reply
      He is not fast asleep. He is like Capt. Jack Sparrow, you think he is sleep, but he is one of the sharpest Captians around.
  • street reporter. (23/04/2017, 11:10) Like (18) Dislike (0) Reply
    This is a Hussain Bolt Parliament.. everything done fast, quick and speedily.. we go bathroom before we come out law done pass... Not just NDP. VIP did the same... I Agree with Fahie time to slow down. Give People Chance to think.
  • wize up (23/04/2017, 11:44) Like (1) Dislike (8) Reply
    picky picky picky!!!!!
  • empty chair (23/04/2017, 11:55) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
    Fraser is missing in action
  • Political Observer (PO) (23/04/2017, 14:38) Like (16) Dislike (0) Reply
    In total agreement with the Hon Andrew Fahie, D-1 Rep and Leader of the Opposition, that legislation should not be rushed through the HOA, unless there is an emergency or an urgent need. In fact, unless there is an emergency bills should not have all needed readings in the same sitting. Further, there should be a certain time lapse between the 1st and 2nd readings. This gives the electorate time to persuse the legislation and make comments. The electorate is left out of the bill passing process. The electorate, the key stakeholder and those affected by legislation, seem to have the least input. Futhermore, specific time should be dedicated for public comment on bills. Electorate need to get engaged.

    If we are a democracy, we must behave like it is a democracy. Dictators make people do things; whereas, leaders make people want to do things. We must act like leaders. Lopsided government anywhere is bad news. Often coalition government is better choice. If the score were say 7-6 or 8-5 or 11-2, things may be better.
  • Future Premier Fahie (24/04/2017, 19:09) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    I am with you 1000%!!! The bills need to be read on 3 separate occasions. It used to be the exception that a bill's reading would be twice or thrice in one sitting but now NDP make that the rule. Lack of transparency is all!!! Give the public time!!!
  • 911 (24/04/2017, 20:58) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    SMH. Time for change
  • * (24/04/2017, 21:36) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Great observation. Why did it take so long to address it? It is wrong, dead wrong, to have all the readings on the same day. Blatant lack of transparency and total disregard for the peoples' opinions. Where is the input from the politicians' employees (we, the people?). When will we ever learn?
  • Hmmmmm (25/04/2017, 19:56) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Yes, a chicken will be eaten occasionally, but, I guarantee you the mongoose will be held to account.
  • zone 3 (29/04/2017, 22:13) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    The Premier job is simply too large and complex for a man of his grossly diminished abilities.



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