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Opposition under fire for silence on ‘Fast Track' initiative

-SCB residents chastise Members for no alerts on the controversial initiative
Last night, Thursday, May 23, 2019, Hon Julian Fraser, RA (R3) called a meeting at the Valarie O. Thomas Community Centre in Sea Cow’s Bay to share his views and hear those of residents on the ‘Fast Track Initiative’. He was joined by Opposition Leader, Hon Marlon A. Penn (R8) along with Hon Melvin M. Turnbull (R2) aka “Mitch”. Photo: VINO
“My question is why haven’t we heard anything before [amendments to Immigration and Passport Act]… immediately after you saw it on the order paper,” was one of the questions posited to Hon Fraser by resident Angelle Cameron, which came in for loud applauds from the audience. Photo: VINO
“My question is why haven’t we heard anything before [amendments to Immigration and Passport Act]… immediately after you saw it on the order paper,” was one of the questions posited to Hon Fraser by resident Angelle Cameron, which came in for loud applauds from the audience. Photo: VINO
A section of the audience at the Valarie O. Thomas Community Centre in Sea Cows Bay. Photo: VINO
A section of the audience at the Valarie O. Thomas Community Centre in Sea Cows Bay. Photo: VINO
SEA COWS BAY, Tortola, VI – Opposition Members of the Virgin Islands (VI) House of Assembly (HoA) came under fire for their silence over not making their constituents aware that the Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) led Virgin Islands Party (VIP) administration had planned to grant residency and Belonger status to unregulated immigrants by the end of June 2019.

Through the ‘Fast Track Initiative’, the intention was to have a bill amending the existing Immigration and Passport Act, to pave the way for the initiative to be achieved by having the bill read in the House of Assembly (HoA) three times at the same sitting, something that has never been done before.

Last night, Thursday, May 23, 2019, Hon Julian Fraser, RA (R3) called a meeting at the Valarie O. Thomas Community Centre in Sea Cow’s Bay to share his views and hear those of residents on the matter. He was joined by Opposition Leader, Hon Marlon A. Penn (R8) along with Hon Melvin M. Turnbull (R2) aka “Mitch”.

Opposition was unaware – Hon Fraser

Hon Fraser explained that it was a “usual” thing in previous government that when the sitting government intends to bring a Bill to the House of Assembly (HoA), prior, they would meet with Members of the Opposition in an informal setting to discuss and peruse the Bill.

This he said gave the opposition a heads up, of what is to come ahead of the first reading and subsequent committee sitting when the formal perusing is done.

He said that in this instance, this was not the case with the new VIP government leading to him and other members of the opposition, coming under fire for not making this position known earlier.

“My question is why haven’t we heard anything before [amendments to Immigration and Passport Act]… immediately after you saw it on the order paper,” was one of the questions posited to Hon Fraser by resident Angelle Cameron, which came in for loud applauds from the audience.

“Honourable Fraser you know that I am one of your biggest fans, you are a person who says it all, favourable, unfavourable, you say everything,” she added.

Further, the resident chastised My Fraser for not speaking up, “You are not Leader of the Opposition but you do have a team, a very strong team. None of you said anything publicly about it. It’s all been very 'hushy'. The only person who we heard from is our Premier, so we are now only listening to the only voice that we are hearing,” she said.

HoA Divided?

According to the vocal resident, up until last night’s meeting, the masses were of the opinion that everyone was united in the House of Assembly (HoA) with the amendments proposed by the VIP cabinet, as it relates to the regularization of persons residing in the territory 15 years or longer.

“To us, everyone is united in the House because we have not heard anything else. You are saying it’s only a week. It only takes you the next day to report to your people, to put a press release out there the day after. Form the minute you get the order paper you could say something,” the vocal resident further lashed out. 

She, however, said that persons are now happy to be hearing something, “But it’s disappointing that it’s taken this long because it would have been read three times and we would have been upset with our representatives thinking that you are in agreement with it.”

More Community Meetings

It was revealed that the opposition intends to have more community meetings in their various districts. However, according to Hon Fraser, “You come to a public forum like this, you still can’t get the temperature of the people because there are those who are reluctant to speak from both sides.”

Others in the meeting also agreed that the Opposition was slothful in coming out to voice their position on the matter. 

10 Responses to “Opposition under fire for silence on ‘Fast Track' initiative ”

  • truth be told (24/05/2019, 10:51) Like (24) Dislike (19) Reply
    That is because all of them know it is the decent thing to do, but they are afraid to come out and say it to the people because it will cost the votes. The only problem I have is that is being done improperly.
    And the can still save face by saying; in the next 6 months we are going to clear off all the present application we have.

    Come the end of the year residents with 20years or more should be invited to apply. and in the middle o next year those with 15 years should be dealt with. Let go.
    • tallgirl (24/05/2019, 11:22) Like (18) Dislike (4) Reply
      Amen, well said. I think that is what the people were trying to say all along. Deal with those who are here the longest before inviting new applicants.
  • Mark (24/05/2019, 10:53) Like (17) Dislike (6) Reply
    seems like Frazer should have been the opposition Leader
  • Lord o (24/05/2019, 11:23) Like (10) Dislike (2) Reply
    Nothing good and righteous come easy. As a matter a fact the opposition is Fierce... Think of Abraham Lincoln Who Free the Slaves and was killed by his own People but History recorded him as the greatest wisest United states President. We can talk about Jesus Christ, Martin Luther, Malcolm X, Mandela, and Plenty others Who were oppressed / killed fighting standing up for what is right and Moral in the sight of God... I'm with The Premier. Would like to see him Clear up the back log first make sure he finds all those files... There are people in the system who determined not to give certain people status for personal reasons and they will do anything to stop them ...As a leader you can't always back down when you make a bold, courageous and conscious decision.... People rise up more against good.
    • Evidently (24/05/2019, 13:27) Like (15) Dislike (6) Reply
      To Lord o. The 15+ years for regularization status only apply to those at the lower end of the food chain, because those at the higher end, who are getting the bigger portion of the economic pie, like in the financial services, are regularized within 5 to 7 years, and with the assistance of our own in high places. Within that time they are able to buy lands, again from our own, at the highest bid, preceding to create segregated communities without any major challenges because other locals get locked out in a highly unregulated land pricing market. Moreover, there are no serious steps for succession planning, in certain high-end sectors, because those in charge do not wish to see our people controlling that much of the economic wealth in our country. For some to maintain their utopia, others must be kept at the bottom. We had better wake up and stop fighting our own while others prosper, seamlessly, right before our very eyes.
  • asking for a freind (24/05/2019, 12:09) Like (10) Dislike (11) Reply
    KEEP FIGHTING FOR ALL THE PEOPLE FAHIE WHERE WAS MARLONE ON THE 7.2 AND 40M OVERRUN ON THE PARK?
  • Quiet Rebel (24/05/2019, 12:18) Like (4) Dislike (3) Reply
    Was curious why the Opposition was as silent as a church mouse.The other question is why the 1st, 2nd 3rd readings on immigration such an important issue was being rushed in one sitting of the HOA? Thirdly, why was the Opposition not briefed well in advance of this bill coming to the floor? All members of the HOA should be apprised of all HOA agenda items well in advance of the meeting. Nothing should be a surprise.
  • Tired of the Nonsense (24/05/2019, 13:49) Like (16) Dislike (0) Reply
    I have been here for Forty years and I got naturalized this year. My thing is the damn government should not give no breaks.. If you want to be naturalized or get your belonger status you apply. go to the Passport or immigration office and ask questions. Stop the bloody nonsense bout you waiting on government. And even if the government fast tract it will not be free, you still have to pay the fees like the rest of us. I ain't hear him say it going be free. The opposition got time to waste explaining.
    • @Tired Of the Nonsense (24/05/2019, 14:29) Like (13) Dislike (1) Reply
      We need more people like you in the country. One that respects the country laws and its people! Unlike the others....
  • ndp (25/05/2019, 08:25) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    some folk have to understood that this process is not a right it’s a privilege not because you lived in the territory for x number of years give you the rights to automatically belong there is an applicable procedure and the authorities of the territory have the right to decline any such applicant. your 15 years is not an automatic qualification


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