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Possible court action over Hon Vanterpool’s ‘defamatory’ outburst

- Premier Fahie says contractors & others are free to seek legal redress
Fourth District Representative Hon Mark H. Vanterpool (R4) may have opened up himself to lawsuits following defamatory statements made outside of the Virgin Islands House of Assembly on July 16, 2019. Photo: Facebook
The Premier Andrew A. Fahie in his media statement underscored, “Whilst contractors and other affected persons are free to seek legal redress from the courts for defamation,” the government would not be bullied by Vanterpool’s ‘intimidatory politics’ which he said is rooted malicious falsehoods. Photo: Facebook
The Premier Andrew A. Fahie in his media statement underscored, “Whilst contractors and other affected persons are free to seek legal redress from the courts for defamation,” the government would not be bullied by Vanterpool’s ‘intimidatory politics’ which he said is rooted malicious falsehoods. Photo: Facebook
While many Political Pundits have suggested that Hon Mark H. Vanterpool would enjoy legal immunity over the rants, given that his statements were made at the HoA, those rights and immunities do not extend to crimes unrelated to his office. Photo: VINO/File
While many Political Pundits have suggested that Hon Mark H. Vanterpool would enjoy legal immunity over the rants, given that his statements were made at the HoA, those rights and immunities do not extend to crimes unrelated to his office. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – Newly sworn-in Fourth District Representative, Hon Mark H. Vanterpool (R4) could see himself being hauled before the courts for ‘defamation’ over some comments he made outside the House of Assembly (HoA) on Tuesday, July 16, 2019.

Soon after being sworn-into the House at the Fifth Sitting of the First Session of the Fourth HoA, Hon Vanterpool resorted to launching a vicious personal attack—under the guise of freedom of speech—against not only the Premier and Minister of Finance Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1), but to several prominent members of the VI public and private sectors, including an attack on the construction industry.

Premier Fahie labeled the rant by Hon Vanterpool as "totally disrespectful", "character assassination" and defamatory.

Damaging

“It is passing strange that Mr Vanterpool’s preferred course of action is to mount his soapbox and attack all and sundry including contractors, the police service, the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Supervisor of Elections and the Elections Office, and the people, without giving a second thought to damage and hurt that his words could cause to innocent Virgin Islanders and to our national economy,” Hon Fahie said in a media statement, issued Thursday, July 18, 2019.

The Leader of Government Business in further lashing out with disapproval said, “His [Hon Vanterpool] preposterous allegations will adversely affect the reputation and integrity of the local construction sector and discourage the use of local contractors with the intended benefits of job creation and stimulation of the domestic economy.”

Further, the Premier said the vicious and damaging attack on the local construction sector could not come at a worse time.

"The BVI’s services sectors are trying to restore confidence and trust that they can honourably and competently execute projects that would be executed through the Recovery and Development Agency (RDA) and Central Government," he said given the massive alleged corruption and mismanagement that took place under the previous National Democratic Party (NDP) administration. 

The Premier also noted that Vanterpool’s recklessness can and will also adversely affect the VI’s ratings on the International Transparency Index and thus, its investment climate.

Legal immunity?

While many Political Pundits have suggested that Hon Vanterpool would enjoy legal immunity given that his statements were made at the HoA, those rights and immunities do not extend to matters unrelated to his office.  

According to the Virgin Islands Constitution Order 2007, section 82, “The Legislature may by law determine and regulate the privileges, immunities and powers of the House of Assembly and of its members, but no such privileges, immunities or powers shall exceed those of the Commons House of Parliament of the United Kingdom or of its members.”

However, others have argued that Hon Vanterpool cannot enjoy immunity for defamatory statements made outside of the parliament without a Speaker presiding.

Premier Fahie noted; however, that “whilst contractors and other affected persons are free to seek legal redress from the courts for defamation,” the government would not be bullied by Mr Vanterpool’s ‘intimidatory politics’ which he said is rooted in malicious falsehoods.

“Your government’s time, effort and energy are better spent addressing the needs of the thousands of Virgin Islanders and residents who remain without a roof over their heads two years after the devastating hurricanes of 2017,” Premier Fahie implored as critical, given the 2019 hurricane season is upon the territory.

24 Responses to “Possible court action over Hon Vanterpool’s ‘defamatory’ outburst”

  • $40 M (19/07/2019, 08:55) Like (14) Dislike (22) Reply
    for the good of the country I hope he is sued but he has a lot of money
    • Why (19/07/2019, 09:08) Like (10) Dislike (4) Reply
      Wasn’t it only a few months ago you all were targeting O’Neal for treating legal action against Cline for similar action?
      • Sue him!! (19/07/2019, 18:33) Like (7) Dislike (12) Reply
        Mark is from ANGUILLA. He doesn't care about the BVI. That's why he can be so loud and loose. Sue the bastard.
    • VICKIE (19/07/2019, 10:10) Like (20) Dislike (25) Reply
      IT IS TIME FOR THE BVI GO BACK TO HAVE PEOPLE IN THE HOA WHO HAVE AT LEAST ONE GRAND PARENT WHO IS A BVI CITIZEN BY BIRTH WE HAVE TO DO THIS TO PROTECT WHAT WE HAVE LEFT. BE CAREFUL PEOPLE THS MAN SEEMS AS IF HE IS ON A SERIOUS MISSION AND YOU FOLLOWERS HE CAN LEAVE THE BVI ANYTIME HE HAVE HIMSELF SET UP ELSE WHERE. THE OTHER PERSON IS FAR FROM WHAT HE CLAIMS BUT WE HAVE TO FOCUS ON REBUIDING THIS PLACE NOT THE PAST . I HOPE THEY ALL LEARN FROM PAST MISTAKES THAT INCULUDE FROM TOP TO BOTTOM AND DO NOT REPEAT THEM. MR VANTERPOOL IF YOU CARE FOR THE ISLAAND WHERE YOU GROW UP AMONG US PLEASE ACT LIKE IT AND DO NOT THROW STONES BECAUSE THOSE SAME STONES CAN COME AFTER YOU ONE DAY.
      • Roxy (19/07/2019, 14:10) Like (10) Dislike (20) Reply
        Vickie, you are a fool. The BVIslanders are slowly fading away. Face it. In the next election you all will be overwhelmed by the amount of so called island people and caucausians that will bein the race.
      • Outsider (20/07/2019, 17:27) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
        You’re may well be a U.S. citizen like half the belongers.
        Reason, your mother may have given birth to you in U.S. territory.
        Hypocritical?
    • Yo (19/07/2019, 17:36) Like (6) Dislike (2) Reply
      $1.5 mill a year for security equals around $86,000.00 a month equals to about 6 million for the 4yr contract, lets stop thr small mind thinking bvi!
    • Truth (19/07/2019, 21:43) Like (7) Dislike (3) Reply
      Sue over the truth, does that make sense. Apart from Mark being loud outside the House, tell me what he said that was a lie?
  • Sika (19/07/2019, 09:20) Like (47) Dislike (16) Reply
    Why sue? Let people have freedom of speech! You want to be in power and thin skin? Now I’m starting to think what he said was the truth? Like you want to silence him?
    • @ sika (19/07/2019, 09:59) Like (17) Dislike (11) Reply
      My only issue is, if you going to rant like a mad man at least tell the Truth
    • Outlaw (19/07/2019, 14:21) Like (14) Dislike (1) Reply
      @sika, freedom of speech does not mean you can go about saying all kinds of defamatory and damaging things on people’s character. Freedom of speech yes but if you say things you cannot prove and which you know is not true, you are exposing yourself to law suits.
  • Talk what the duck ordered (19/07/2019, 10:00) Like (7) Dislike (46) Reply
    That’s what you all get for putting an island man In your house of assembly
  • Bush Lawyer (19/07/2019, 11:06) Like (6) Dislike (9) Reply
    Though the D-4 rep rant outside of the HOA chambers was despicable, unprofessional......etc, he may be immune from legal action, for though outside of the chambers, he may still be covered as being in the HOA. In the HOA, members can recklessly say what they want, when they want about anyone without any accountability. Is there a doctor in the house, for something may be wrong with a member or two. A member or two may be playing with a full deck, their elevator is not traveling all the way up, they may have a few missing or loose screws....etc
  • The Reaper (19/07/2019, 15:38) Like (13) Dislike (3) Reply
    He is takin truth
  • wize up (19/07/2019, 16:27) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    all of our political aspirants usually bad mouth one another: tit for tat(especially during political campaigns) we as people usually pick on side over the other; however the politicians using their political portfolios for personal gratification: we the people at each others throat....
  • the rock (19/07/2019, 17:45) Like (20) Dislike (2) Reply
    Im back, the speaker is a big child, before the swearing in he had to embarras hon vanterpool one last time and that was ok, hon vanterpool sucked it up, all he hon vsnterpool asked for was a couple of minutes to say thank you to his family and supporters and that he was denied, i will bet a milion bucks hon fahie and willock will never answer back hon vsnterpool in court, if you live in a glass house dont throw stones and if you cant take blows brothrrs do throw blows.
    • hog (19/07/2019, 20:10) Like (6) Dislike (2) Reply
      Come on fools in Tola Mark is throwing you guys off track so that you all don’t investigate him
  • old (19/07/2019, 20:07) Like (0) Dislike (2) Reply
    I want to now if the governor come to the bvi for vacation .the man is a joker
  • Good gig (19/07/2019, 20:08) Like (2) Dislike (4) Reply

    All you people in Tola is a set of fool don’t you all se that he did something wrong an he don’t want no one to investigate him so he throwing you all off track can’t you all see

    • @ Good gig (19/07/2019, 21:22) Like (8) Dislike (3) Reply
      Since you see why don't you file a report at the police station?
  • preschool (19/07/2019, 20:20) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    who owns the security company. Will dividends associated with the security company be paid out per annum or will the dividends from the security firm be paid in a lump sum at the ending of the four years. Does the deputy governor have the armed police officer while acting as governor?

  • james (21/07/2019, 14:36) Like (0) Dislike (2) Reply
    Honorable Vanterpool made that immunity null and void when he defied the Speaker and went outside and made his address to the press. He would have been covered if his statements were made during a debate or general statement by Members according to the Rules of the House.
  • gvd (22/07/2019, 14:00) Like (0) Dislike (2) Reply

    Mark should be ashamed of himself, he take that bull to Anguilla not here in the BVI that give him bread.


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