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UPDATE: No one in HoA can 'direct' Speaker - Premier Fahie

- said tax payers will know of court costs when matter between Speaker Julian Willock & Mark H. Vanterpool is completely disposed of
The legal fees incurred in the court battle between Speaker of the House of Assembly (HoA) Honourable Julian Willock (in photo) and Fourth District Representative-Elect Mr Mark H. Vanterpool will be brought to the House of Assembly when the legal issues are completely resolved in the courts. Photo: VINO
Leader of the Opposition and Deputy Chairman of the National Democratic Party (NDP), Hon Marlon A. Penn (R8) is set to probe Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon Andrew A. Fahin (R1) on the legal fees surrounding the District 4 conundrum between House of Assembly (HoA) speaker, Hon Julian Willock and D4 Representative-elect, Mr Mark H. Vanterpool when the House sits on Friday, May 7, 2019. Photo: VINO/File/Facebook
Leader of the Opposition and Deputy Chairman of the National Democratic Party (NDP), Hon Marlon A. Penn (R8) is set to probe Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon Andrew A. Fahin (R1) on the legal fees surrounding the District 4 conundrum between House of Assembly (HoA) speaker, Hon Julian Willock and D4 Representative-elect, Mr Mark H. Vanterpool when the House sits on Friday, May 7, 2019. Photo: VINO/File/Facebook
According to an Order Paper released today, May 14, 2019, the probing will commence when legislators meet next Friday for the Third Sitting of the First Session of the Fourth House of Assembly of the Virgin Islands, where Premier Fahie will be forced to answer a number of burning questions surrounding the controversial case. Photo: VINO/File
According to an Order Paper released today, May 14, 2019, the probing will commence when legislators meet next Friday for the Third Sitting of the First Session of the Fourth House of Assembly of the Virgin Islands, where Premier Fahie will be forced to answer a number of burning questions surrounding the controversial case. Photo: VINO/File
With Justice Ann-Marie Smith handing down the ultimatum that Virgin Islands (VI) House of Assembly (HoA) Member-elect, Mr Mark H. Vanterpool be sworn into the House, Speaker Julian Willock has since indicated that the matter is heading for the Court of Appeal. Photo: VINO/GIS/File
With Justice Ann-Marie Smith handing down the ultimatum that Virgin Islands (VI) House of Assembly (HoA) Member-elect, Mr Mark H. Vanterpool be sworn into the House, Speaker Julian Willock has since indicated that the matter is heading for the Court of Appeal. Photo: VINO/GIS/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – The legal fees incurred in the court battle between Speaker of the House of Assembly (HoA) Honourable Julian Willock and Fourth District Representative-Elect Mr Mark H. Vanterpool will be brought to the House of Assembly when the legal issues are completely resolved in the courts.

This is according to Premier and Minister of Finance, Honourable Andrew A. Fahie (R1) in response to questions from Leader of the Opposition Honourable Marlon A. Penn (R8) during the Third Sitting of the First Session of the Fourth House of Assembly of the Virgin Islands on May 17, 2019.

Who is paying?

Hon Penn had wanted to know “If the Government of the Virgin Islands is paying the legal fees for the Honourable Speaker of the House of Assembly for the case involving Mr Mark Vanterpool vs Honourable Julian Willock, Speaker of the House of Assembly.” Further, the Opposition Leader on behalf of the people of the Territory wanted the Leader of Government Business to indicate if indeed the public purse is handling the bill, “What is the estimated cost of said legal fees?”

Further, Honourable Penn wanted the full details, including what amount billed is paid thus far and, if the answer is no as it relates to the VI handling the bill, an explanation of the basis under which the Speaker and by extension, the HoA's legal services were retained.

Premier Fahie noted that the Member’s question was “valid” and that the information the Member was asking would be furnished to the House in detail on completion of the matter in the courts.

This, according to Honourable Fahie, is in keeping with Section 17 (1)G (vi) of the Standing Orders, which states, “and I quote, a question shall not be asked about any matter then pending before any court of justice or which reflects any decision of the courts of justice. I crave the member’s indulgence but as soon as the matter is completely dispose of I will definitely furnish the House with the information.”

Tax payers will be told of expenses incurred

The Opposition Leader then noted that the matter is up for appeal and there is an aspect of the case that has already been completed, however, he still felt Government should indicate whether it is paying the legal fees.

“Mr Speaker, that is not totally correct. There is an appeal on the case, that the Speaker has placed on the case, and a stay on the case, which has held up any decision already made,” Hon Fahie responded.

Honourable Penn then wanted to know who was paying for the appeal, the estimate cost and the amount billed paid thus far. According to him, the Appeal’s case will not be heard until a few months and expressed concern with the amount of money being accumulated as legal fees.

“I understand that some eighty thousand dollars has already been spent by the Opposition. The people of the Territory deserve answers, but you will be giving your answers.”

“Mr Speaker, with due respect to the tax payers I never told him that the tax payers will not hear how much money is spent. But we cannot have the rules of the House, Mr Speaker, and break them because a few people want to know, or maybe more than a few. The Standing Orders of the House is very clear. As soon as the matter is properly disposed of in the courts, if it is ten cents, ten dollars, a hundred thousand dollars, two hundred thousand dollars, I will come to the House and tell the tax payers how the money is spent,” Hon Fahie stated, emphasising that until that time the Standing Orders prevent him from answering the Member’s question.

“Premier, I thank you for confirming that the tax payers will be paying the bill,” Hon Penn responded.

HoA Members cannot “direct” Speaker

The Opposition Leader and National Democratic Party (NDP) Deputy Chairman Hon Penn also wanted the Honourable Premier to disclose whether he had any discussions with the Honourable Speaker about his decision not to swear in Mr Vanterpool to the HoA, “especially in light of the recent court decision to granting the duly elected member redress and requiring the Speaker to swear him in. If so, could the Honourable Premier tell this Honourable House what is his position on the matter and whether it was shared with the Honourable Speaker?”

Premier Fahie noted that neither he nor any Member of the House could dictate to the Speaker.

“Mr Speaker, with due respect to the Leader of the Opposition, he will know that nobody in this Honourable House can direct the Speaker of the House,” Premier Fahie stated, reiterating that necessary information on the legal matter will be furnished to the House on completion of the case.

Meanwhile, during the questions regarding the matter between the Speaker Willock and Mr Vanterpool, the Minister for Health and Social Development Honourable Carvin Malone (AL) wanted to know if it would have been best for the Deputy Speaker to take over from Hon Willock.

Speaker Willock said he was willing to recuse himself; however, no one officially objected to his presence. When the last question on the court issues had been posed and answered; however, Third District Representative Hon Julian Fraser RA suggested Mr Willock should have allowed the Deputy Speaker to stand in to accommodate the questions.

See previous article published May 14, 2019

‘Who is paying?’ Opposition Leader to grill Premier on D4 Saga

Leader of the Opposition and Deputy Chairman of the National Democratic Party (NDP), Hon Marlon A. Penn (R8) is set to probe Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) on the legal fees surrounding the Fourth District seat conundrum between House of Assembly (HoA) Speaker, Hon Julian Willock and Representative-elect, Mr Mark H. Vanterpool, when the House sits on Friday, May 17, 2019.

According to an HoA Order Paper released today, May 14, 2019, the probing will commence when legislators meet next Friday for the Third Sitting of the First Session of the Fourth House of Assembly of the Virgin Islands, where Premier Fahie will be the subject of a number of burning questions surrounding the controversial case.

High Court Case

Hon Penn, amongst other questions, will be querying, “If the Government of the Virgin Islands is paying the legal fees for the Honourable Speaker of the House of Assembly for the legal case between Mr Mark Vanterpool vs Honourable Julian Willock, Speaker of the House of Assembly,” according to the Order Paper. 

Further, the Opposition Leader on behalf of the people of the Territory wants the Leader of Government Business to indicate if indeed the public purse is handling the bill, “What is the estimated cost of said legal fees?”

Mr Penn wants the full details, including what amount billed is paid thus far and, if the answer is no as it relates to the VI handling the bill, an explanation of the basis under which the Speaker and by extension, the HoA's legal services were retained.

He is also seeking clarity on how those legal fees are anticipated to be met.

Appeal Court Case

With more burning questions, the Opposition Leader is also looking to know from the Leader of Government Business, who or what will be paying for the Appeal Case surrounding the House Speaker’s refusal to swear Mr Vanterpool into the elected seat, even after Justice Ann-Marie Smith had handed down a ruling that the Fourth District Representative-elect be sworn into the House.

Hon Penn will further query from the AG, the estimated cost of those legal fees if the government is covering the bill and if no, what basis under which they were retained and how those costs will be met. 

The controversy officially began on March 5, 2019, after Mr Vanterpool—who won the Fourth District seat in the February 25, 2019 polls—submitted his resignation to the House of Assembly with a letter addressed to the Clerk of the House as a Speaker had not yet been named.

Following that, Mr Vanterpool recanted his resignation on March 14, 2019, citing incorrect resignation procedure, while noting that the people of his district had encouraged him to continue being their representative.

Appeal Court ruling final 

Speaker Willock, however, had stated the resignation was already accepted and refused to swear Mr Vanterpool into the HoA, leading to the entire D4 saga which is now at the final Appeal's Court stage following a High Court ruling in favour of Mr Vanterpool.

22 Responses to “UPDATE: No one in HoA can 'direct' Speaker - Premier Fahie”

  • PVIM (14/05/2019, 19:55) Like (40) Dislike (43) Reply
    is this same politician that sat for 8 years in the chamber and ask no questions about the NDP’s lack of accountability for the tax payers money: why the young man did no question the disappearance of that eight million tax dollars which was pass in house of assembly for the purpose of east end sewage project: we not even touching the aeroplanes issue because no sense continuing crying over spilt milk however your tax money simply flew away and the planes have not touch down as yet: Penn should shed some light on those matters because he was part of the deception within the NDP administration for 8 years: all checks were cashed for a wall project and all now the wall not done(no questions from penn): some keeping say move on because the pass is the past however persons doing jail time over the mismanagement of cooperate funds but politicians walking free amidst serious allegations of mismanagement of tax money
    • WHY? (15/05/2019, 06:27) Like (72) Dislike (14) Reply

      Why you guys always reversing and trying to justify wrong? The question needs to be asked and answered. Willock should pay. Not the treasury. Shoot

      • @Why? (15/05/2019, 09:38) Like (16) Dislike (36) Reply
        I just want to hear about the 7.2m
        • Only that (15/05/2019, 10:59) Like (31) Dislike (18) Reply
          You only want to hear about the past. You must be a historian. You will never move forward. We already said we need to hear about the 7.2 fool. Don't use this to justify the other wrong fool!
      • Jaigon (15/05/2019, 18:35) Like (17) Dislike (27) Reply
        @ WHY?. Give one good reason why Willock should pay. You guys are missing the real issue here. Willock did not start this whole episode, Mark Vanterpool did. If only he had honor the will of the people of the 4th District, accept his victory and show up to be swear in as the representative of the people we will not be here now talking about this matter. We must remember the Willock have a moral, legal and constitutional right to appeal the decision of the judge and that is exactly what he is doing. He is the speaker of the HOA and all cost associated with this case brought by Mark Vanterpool must be charge against the consolidated funds of the territory, see it need not ask who is paying.
        • @## (20/05/2019, 09:56) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
          @Jaigon - Totally agree with you. We already know who have to pay.

          We just hope that this will be the end of this matter that Hon Vanterpool created.
    • Eh eh (15/05/2019, 09:56) Like (14) Dislike (10) Reply
      Stop using PVIM name with your piss poor stupid arse blog. You sound like the typical VIP blogger.
  • facts (14/05/2019, 21:15) Like (10) Dislike (23) Reply
    Does anybody taking Malone seriously? I think not
  • The Reaper (15/05/2019, 07:02) Like (15) Dislike (0) Reply
    @. PVIM Swear In Mr Hon V then ....U there with that long paragraph. Come Friday We will see. Stop messing With. The Governor.
    • The Reaper (15/05/2019, 10:24) Like (16) Dislike (7) Reply
      Who messing with the governor the former speaker refused to swear in the same governor
  • The Streets (15/05/2019, 09:38) Like (16) Dislike (58) Reply
    Esteemed speaker we with you boss man
  • ABC (15/05/2019, 18:15) Like (9) Dislike (21) Reply
    Stay the course Willock
  • NDP Bloggers Go AWAY! (19/05/2019, 19:07) Like (5) Dislike (13) Reply
    Look like NDP trying everything in their power to deflect from their actions! Sorry but their actions are still relevant and we will not leave any stones unturn.. until we truly know what happen to all the millions! If I was the Speaker I would have sworn Mark in so fast so that when he is asked the questions and he presents his answers.. I would have the fact book right there staring in his face! Expose all liers...
  • Sigh (19/05/2019, 19:21) Like (18) Dislike (10) Reply
    Marlon's snickering in the house is rather annoying
    • Blind Loyalty (20/05/2019, 07:23) Like (11) Dislike (2) Reply
      This is an ABC simple as can be matter. Common sense. Mark should have already sworn in... How the Premier can say no one can tell the speaker what to do.. Nonsense... Then if he is not a team member or prepare to listen replace him.He doesn't pay his own salary he get paid. .. If this was his money spending he wasn't going to be doing what he is doing.
  • Yawning (19/05/2019, 23:05) Like (11) Dislike (0) Reply
    okay then. Let’s stop the whichever P talks and focus on what is going on right now. Willock said if I recall he would be content with the judges ruling. Just hurry up with this topic. ego bruised much huh ?
  • Powerful man (19/05/2019, 23:21) Like (4) Dislike (10) Reply
    Tell them foy
  • Damon (20/05/2019, 07:50) Like (4) Dislike (8) Reply
    @PVIM.. I agree with u 110%..Hon.i can’t believe that Hon. Penn is asking this if the Premeir when he sat for 8 long years him and his cronies and squandered us the tax payers monies by the millions and to date no true accountability.. the past is the past yes but that NDP past has affected the territory..how can we just turn a blind eye because it’s the past.. We can’t and shouldn’t.. as Premier stated, once the process is completed he will inform the people re: who is fitting the bill.. I believe “Jaigon” is right..Hon. Penn is shameful asking this question in the HOA after what he was part of for 8 years..In all fairness to the speaker it is his right to see this process through to the end..
  • rubbish (20/05/2019, 12:54) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    FAHIE silence speaks volume...……..he agrees with the rubbish the speaker is doing

    So you telling me no one can fire the speaker???????
  • pat (20/05/2019, 12:56) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply

    Where is the problem.
  • rattie (20/05/2019, 15:07) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Willock is the new big man
  • Jamrock (20/05/2019, 15:37) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Why is everyone sticking to the fact that Mark caused this. They both are to be blamed but why is it ok for Willock to change his mind about accepting the resignation letter and Mark shouldn't have changed his mind because the people didn't want him to quit on them.


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