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Mark H. Vanterpool ’s resignation letter was invalid- Court rules

- Justice Ann-Marie Smith said Mr Vanterpool should have been allowed to submit new letter of resignation but addressed to Speaker
Fourth District Representative-Elect Mr Mark H. Vanterpool speaking to reporters following the High Court ruling in his favour today, May 2, 2019. Photo: Facebook
Speaker of the House of Assembly Honourable Julian Willock has previously said he would abide with the decision of the Court. Photo: GIS/File
Speaker of the House of Assembly Honourable Julian Willock has previously said he would abide with the decision of the Court. Photo: GIS/File
Fourth District Representative-Elect Mr Mark H. Vanterpool outside the High Court, following the decision today, May 2, 2019. Left is his wife Mrs Judith E. Vanterpool. Photo: Facebook
Fourth District Representative-Elect Mr Mark H. Vanterpool outside the High Court, following the decision today, May 2, 2019. Left is his wife Mrs Judith E. Vanterpool. Photo: Facebook
Justice Ann-Marie Smith has ruled that the resignation letter addressed to the Clerk of the House of Assembly (HoA) by Fourth District Representative- Elect Mr Mark H. Vanterpool was invalid. Photo: Internet Source
Justice Ann-Marie Smith has ruled that the resignation letter addressed to the Clerk of the House of Assembly (HoA) by Fourth District Representative- Elect Mr Mark H. Vanterpool was invalid. Photo: Internet Source
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- Justice Ann-Marie Smith has ruled that the resignation letter addressed to the Clerk of the House of Assembly (HoA) by Fourth District Representative-Elect Mr Mark H. Vanterpool was invalid and that Mr Vanterpool should be sworn in as an elected Member of the House of Assembly.

Justice Smith gave her final decision on the matter in the High Court of the Virgin Islands today, May 2, 2019.

Mr Vanterpool was elected to represent the Fourth District in the General Elections on February 25, 2019 but resigned days after. His resignation was accepted by Speaker of the House of Assembly Honourable Julian Willock after it was forwarded to him by the HoA Clerk.

However, Mr Vanterpool, suddenly had a change of heart and indicated his interest to be sworn in to the HoA, noting that his resignation could not have been valid as it was not addressed to the Speaker.

After Hon Willock refused to have him sworn in Mr Vanterpool moved to the courts seeking leave for a Judicial Review, after also filing for an Injunction, which he lost on April 2, 2019.

Resignation was invalid

The learned judge in her ruling said the court was guided under Section 75 of the Constitution and found that, among other things, that Mr Vanterpool could not constitutionally resign as there is no constitutionally recognised right conferred on him to resign during the interval between the general elections and the date on which the House of Assembly convened on March 12, 2019.

Further, she said the letter dated March 5, 2019 written by Mr Vanterpool and addressed to the Clerk of the HoA is not the constitutionally recognised and proper manner of resignation prescribed by section 67 (3)(a) of the Virgin Islands Constitution Order 2007.

Justice Smith said the proper way to effect a resignation in the Court’s view was to have then issued a new notice of resignation addressed to the Speaker. "As we know this was not done.”

The will of the people

Justice Smith informed the Court that based on sworn affidavits, Mr Vanterpool had indicated on more than one occasion that he was ready, willing and able to take the Oath in accordance with the Virgin Islands Constitution Order 2007.

In a second affidavit, the Applicant stated that on the 12th of March 2019 he received many calls from his constituents and that they expressed great concern and asked him to reconsider this decision to proffer his resignation. “This is indeed a significant point and one which has weighed on the Court’s mind,” Justice Smith stated, adding that since election day the people of the Fourth District have been without representation.

“The applicant has not been able to represent his constituents nor contribute to the budget debate.”

Justice Smith, in concluding, said the Court was of the view that this case was compelling as any case “for the matter to have been dealt with by the House as a whole, rather than the Speaker, when the House of Assembly was subsequently convened, however, whereas in this case the strict requirements of 67(3)(a) of the Constitution has not been complied with and Section 7 having no legal effect it is doubtful whether the speaker could unilaterally by acceptance or a declaration determine that a vacancy exists and proceed to exclude a member of the House of Assembly without a formal proceeding of the House of Assembly.”

She noted too that general elections and by-elections come at a great expense to tax payers.

Speaker Willock had previously indicated he was willing to abide by the ruling of the Court.

More details to follow.

24 Responses to “Mark H. Vanterpool ’s resignation letter was invalid- Court rules”

  • Harumph (02/05/2019, 13:01) Like (88) Dislike (11) Reply
    The decision of the Court is hardly a surprise - the speaker had no chance of winning and had to go 1,000 miles away to find a lawyer prepared to argue the case for him. Unfortunately thatblawyer was arrested yesterday so could not be in the BVI today.
    Any honourable or esteemed speaker would now resign.
    • @ Harumph (02/05/2019, 13:58) Like (12) Dislike (44) Reply
      Willock stay focus explode all options in the court
    • Strupps (02/05/2019, 15:07) Like (26) Dislike (28) Reply
      Willock did his job. Shows he has balls. Why yall didn't ask the former speaker to resign when she didn't allow the Governor to be sworn in at HOA.
      • Huh? (02/05/2019, 18:13) Like (11) Dislike (4) Reply
        Willock clearly did. It donhis job - which was to swear in Mark.
        The Judge has now told Willock to his job - hopefully he will now be a good boy and do it quickly.
        • Strupps (03/05/2019, 00:00) Like (4) Dislike (6) Reply
          Mark was given the date to be sworn in. He chose to RESIGN in writing and on video and did not show up. Everyone else showed up and was sworn in. Willock did his job.
      • ??? (03/05/2019, 10:52) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
        The governor wasn't elected.
        • Strupps (03/05/2019, 11:18) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
          The Govern didn't resign in writing and on video.
          • ??? (03/05/2019, 13:23) Like (4) Dislike (2) Reply
            Gov still wasn't elected, whether he resigned in writing and on video, or not. The speaker embarrassed himself, his boss Fahie, the government, the people of the 4th district and the whole country. Mark deserves his share of the blame but as the judge proved the speaker was full of himself.
            • what (03/05/2019, 15:55) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
              No. Mark embarrassed himself, the district and the people of the BVI. This is his mess. Don't get it twisted.
  • Congratulations (02/05/2019, 13:14) Like (66) Dislike (17) Reply
    I think congratulations are in order. Congratulations court, we have an impartial judicial system we can trust and rely on. Congratulations Mark Vanterpool RD4 well done!!! Congratulations Attorney General - turns out that your interpretation of the constitution was as sound as it could be. Andrew now needs to report to the people as to the cost of the unnecessary saga to taxpayers if he is to remain true to his word concerning being transparent during his tenure as Premier. Yes, we need to know!!!
  • the rock (02/05/2019, 14:07) Like (23) Dislike (26) Reply
    Bang bang bang, 4th district, time to wuk dadddy time to wuk! Hon yur large, willock yuh small!
  • Balh (02/05/2019, 14:21) Like (39) Dislike (44) Reply
    Mark should be ashamed, taking the position as a Rep as a joke thing. Let's see if he gonna be half hearted or a real action man
  • Nicodemus (02/05/2019, 14:22) Like (32) Dislike (26) Reply
    A byelection would have been bye bye for Mark fuh good. Many who voted for him wasnt going and place no x on a name that ain't have the people at heart.
    • End this thing (02/05/2019, 15:26) Like (30) Dislike (8) Reply
      Hope Andrew and VIP can Accept the Judge ruling and end this thing. .. This may be the one issue that turn VIP into a one term government... This bad move can over shadow all their good.
    • asking for a friend (02/05/2019, 16:01) Like (4) Dislike (1) Reply
      has the fat lady sing?
  • Charley Rose (02/05/2019, 15:00) Like (13) Dislike (1) Reply
    I am very glad that this phase is over and gone behind us. Let us look to the future and work collectively towards the development of the territory. If it is the will of God that this matter is resolve, it will be good for the territory. It is time to move on. God has the final say.
  • what a thing (02/05/2019, 15:15) Like (25) Dislike (22) Reply
    So it’s ok for a man to married to a woman and then he decide within a week that he wants an anolment and after that week someone else shows interest in the woman and he decides he wants her back now the woman no longer wants the man but the courts decides that she has to stay with him
    Mark was the one who did not show up to be sworn in but the good thing is that he will have to answer for the moneys that is missing and the over runs on those projects and let me see all of you who were fighting for him answer for him now the real thing start ,I would like to ask the attorney general and the magistrate,Where were you when the governor was forced to be sworn in the high court and not in the house of assembly because the then speaker of the house did not see it fit for him to be sworn in her house .
  • As-expected (02/05/2019, 15:22) Like (17) Dislike (1) Reply
    Not surprised... I've been upon here saying this case is as simple as ABC --123...,Simple common sense. I hope its not tax payers money they are using...
  • next (02/05/2019, 15:41) Like (8) Dislike (10) Reply
    This will only let the government block anything the 4th district wants to do. Watch and see.
  • The Reaper (02/05/2019, 16:02) Like (4) Dislike (5) Reply
    U all need too be Quiet
  • Really (02/05/2019, 16:18) Like (12) Dislike (21) Reply
    So no mention to the fact that he did not show up to be sworn in or sent explanation? Well he beg for the job, so he better work. He has no place to run, so SIT IN THE OPPOSITION!
  • ABC (02/05/2019, 19:57) Like (5) Dislike (18) Reply
    I will be very disappointed if the government does not appeal mark has no regard for the house of Assembly
  • lol (03/05/2019, 11:24) Like (1) Dislike (4) Reply
    Is the Action Man being flanked by a side piece in the presence of his W...?


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