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Both Commissioner & AG agreed CoI lawyers needed to be called to BVI Bar!’- Speaker

- Hon Julian Willock maintains cases filed against CoI lawyers were in capacity as Speaker
Speaker of the Virgin Islands House of Assembly (HoA), Hon Julian Willock has maintained that anyone calling themself a Solicitor or an Attorney in the Virgin Islands (VI) must first be called to the BVI Bar, not according to him but according to the laws of the territory. Photo: VINO/File
Hon Julian Willock, the Speaker of the HoA, was a guest on the Monday, November 15, 2021, edition of the Umoja Show hosted by Cromwell Smith aka Ed Ju Enka on ZBVI 780 AM. Photo: Facebook
Hon Julian Willock, the Speaker of the HoA, was a guest on the Monday, November 15, 2021, edition of the Umoja Show hosted by Cromwell Smith aka Ed Ju Enka on ZBVI 780 AM. Photo: Facebook
During the June 14, 2021, hearing of the CoI, it was revealed that Bilal M. Rawat, acting as Counsel and Andrew King, along with Rhea Harrikissoon, acting as Solicitors, have been practicing law in the territory without being first called to the BVI Bar, in breach of the laws. Photo: CoI/Youtube
During the June 14, 2021, hearing of the CoI, it was revealed that Bilal M. Rawat, acting as Counsel and Andrew King, along with Rhea Harrikissoon, acting as Solicitors, have been practicing law in the territory without being first called to the BVI Bar, in breach of the laws. Photo: CoI/Youtube
DUFF’S BOTTOM, Tortola, VI – Speaker of the Virgin Islands House of Assembly (HoA), Hon Julian Willock has maintained that anyone calling themself a Solicitor or an Attorney in the Virgin Islands (VI) must first be called to the BVI Bar, not according to him but according to the laws of the territory.

Hon Willock spoke on the issue during the Monday, November 15, 2021, edition of the Umoja Show hosted by Cromwell Smith aka Ed Ju Enka on ZBVI 780 AM and noted that after breaking the law, for four to five months, the three lawyers attached to the Virgin Islands Commission of Inquiry (CoI) then tried to "get themselves sorted.”

Lawyers were told by Commissioner to seek admission to Bar 

During the June 14, 2021, hearing of the CoI, it was revealed that Bilal M. Rawat acting as Counsel and Andrew King, along with Rhea Harrikissoon, acting as Solicitors, had been practising law in the territory without first being called to the BVI Bar, in breach of the Legal Professions Act of 2015.

CoI Commissioner, Sir Gary R. Hickinbottom then defended the trio, indicating that they did not need to be admitted to practice law in the Virgin Islands in order to carry out their duties; however, he still directed that they take steps to be admitted anyway.

Hon Willock said that on these grounds, he and Deputy Speaker Hon Neville A. Smith (AL) filed an objection to the lawyers' application to be called to the Bar.

“You have already broken the law for four, five months,” the Speaker said while underscoring that it should not be easy for the three to break the law and then apply to be called for the Bar. 

Hon Willock said that in the hearing of the objection to the application, the CoI's lawyers were arguing on whether the Speaker and his Deputy had standing in the matter.

Judge ruled that Speaker had standing in official capacity 

Hon Willock said High Court Judge Vicky Ann Ellis ruled that the Speaker and his Deputy had standing, given they were participants in the CoI, and a date was set for the case, which was on October 26, 2021.

Despite the looming case on the matter; however, Hon Willock said the CoI still continued in September 2021, and as such, an injunction was filed to stop the three from practising since the matter was still before the courts.

“At no time, were we trying to stop the CoI,” Hon Willock related while noting that the injunction was just to block the three CoI lawyers from practising; however, the CoI had the option to get new lawyers.

Hon Willock related that while the Attorney General, Hon Dawn J. Smith, agreed that the three CoI lawyers were breaking VI's laws, she was somehow unwilling to object to the application of the three based on the request of Judge [Ag] Mr Adrian Jack.

“We Spoke to the Attorney General, she could not give us permission, because she already stated in writing that she is not objecting, so all we did was withdraw the case,” Hon Willock said.

All cases filed in official capacity as Speaker 

Hon Willock said in all the cases, everything was filed in his official capacity as Speaker of the House.

He noted; however, that Judge Jack somehow ruled that because he could not get the permission of the AG, he had to pay the cost of the case as a private citizen, although the cases were filed in his official capacity as Speaker.

Hon Willock further said that those who are arguing that the three lawyers did not need to be called to the Bar must also remember that the Commissioner, Sir Hickenbottom, and the Attorney General had established that the three should be called to the bar.

29 Responses to “Both Commissioner & AG agreed CoI lawyers needed to be called to BVI Bar!’- Speaker”

  • dog man (15/11/2021, 18:54) Like (4) Dislike (1) Reply
    who is on trial
    • ... (16/11/2021, 06:13) Like (2) Dislike (18) Reply
      I am concerned for this nation. so happy the esteemed got to tell his side
  • BuzzBvi (15/11/2021, 18:55) Like (61) Dislike (1) Reply
    I don't know how folks cannot get this. They were not acting as counsel or Solicitors. They were working as part of a Commission of Inquiry which was not a Trial or a Court but an Inquiry. Rawat was in effect asking questions as the Commissioner on and for his behalf. (That helped relieve that burden for the Commissioner and as we saw enabled him to have more of an overview and ask additional questions for clarity. As a system it worked very well. The others I am not so sure about except to say they were also working as part of an Inquiry, not a law court or legal office.
    If a person holding a legal qualification and works in another capacity, or visits the island, is going to be required to apply to the bar in the VI, just so that they can be a clerk, a consultant, a plumber or a visitor, that would be beyond ridiculous. This has all along been based on a false premise. When it goes to court and they are prosecuting, defending or operating within the role of Counsel or a Solicitor that then they will need to be admitted. We are all hoping that is why they now applied.
    • Reply (15/11/2021, 20:35) Like (7) Dislike (7) Reply
      So you saying the AG and hickinbottom did not know what they were talking about?
    • Get this (16/11/2021, 05:42) Like (3) Dislike (14) Reply
      They were acting as solicitors and as counsel. They were advising the Commissioner and everyone else, including the Premier and the Governor, on BVI law, they were signing summonses and warning letters to witnesses, examining witnesses on oath, giving their legal opinions (on BVI law), making submissions and much more. All BVI law. The Inquiry was started and conducted under BVI law. That’s why they were directed to be admitted in the BVI. They applied, they got their hearing adjourned, and the latest word is that they are now trying to quietly withdraw their applications. Smoke, mirrors, truth, lies & games …
    • @ bvibuzz (16/11/2021, 12:08) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      Stop talking rubbish you are misleading the public they must and should have been called to the bar
    • jack (17/11/2021, 00:19) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
      So why they did apply to be admitted if they didn't need to?
  • nonsense (15/11/2021, 19:35) Like (37) Dislike (4) Reply
    They were not practicing law! Stop the madness! UK could have appointed 3 Accountants to conduct the COI. Their profession may be layers but they weren't practicing law so no need to pass the bar here.
    • @ nonsense (16/11/2021, 06:20) Like (7) Dislike (13) Reply
      So only you are correct, the AG and Commissioner were wrong? What kind of craziness is this? You haters are going from horrible to what I can only term as indescribable.
  • BOTTOM LINE (15/11/2021, 20:51) Like (21) Dislike (0) Reply
    The judiciary has heard this case and ruled against the esteemed. If he believes justice has not been served then he should appeal the ruling. The court of public opinion is not going to pay his legal bills. The taxpayers are.
    • @ BOTTOM LINE (16/11/2021, 06:07) Like (3) Dislike (19) Reply
      a small but in significant point judges are most often wrong, that is why there is an appeal process. The speaker is correct
      • @@ bottom line (16/11/2021, 06:57) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
        Tell us ok why isn’t the speaker appealing the ruling?
        • josiah'sbay (16/11/2021, 10:36) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
          The Speaker is not appealing the process because he doesn't have the backing of the Government which means he would have to use personal means and resources to pursue it, which is costly.
          • So (16/11/2021, 13:04) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
            Govt want to pay his legal bill but dont believe in his case enough to appeal the decision? What sense does tha make?
  • Lawyer Tourist (15/11/2021, 21:02) Like (15) Dislike (2) Reply
    Wha yah saying Boo? In addition to having to take Covid tests etc. before travelling I have to get admitted to the bar before visiting the BVI for vacation just because I am a solicitor in New Jersey? Or only if I call myself a solicitor or attorney. Ok, not going to call myself while I here. Yah cool wid dat?
  • Common Sense (15/11/2021, 22:12) Like (16) Dislike (4) Reply
    They will need to be called to the Bar for the next stage of the exercise, which, is probably prosecution.
    What a sad state of affairs.
  • asur (15/11/2021, 22:15) Like (7) Dislike (34) Reply
    Keep fighting for the people Mr Willock
  • Hmmmm (15/11/2021, 23:18) Like (10) Dislike (1) Reply
    Here we go and with this bullcrap
    • @ Hmmmmm (16/11/2021, 06:25) Like (4) Dislike (20) Reply
      This bvi is just going down the drain, with so many haters of JW. The people don’t even care anymore about the rule of law!
  • Rubber Duck (16/11/2021, 01:47) Like (4) Dislike (19) Reply
    Facts and truth will win
    ; we need to knight Mr Willock
  • asura (16/11/2021, 06:09) Like (4) Dislike (19) Reply
    Mr. Speaker, you may have stepped in an ants nest for doing what is legally RIGHT for we the people! nuff respect bro
  • WHO'S IN CHARGE ? (16/11/2021, 07:45) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    SOME SAYING THEY RUN THINGS , AND YET WE HAVE AN INDIVIDUAL CALLING ALL THE SHOTS FROM HIS THRONE , WHEN ARE WE GOING TO CROWN THIS SELF ESTEEMED KING ?
  • SMH (16/11/2021, 08:25) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
    All these Distractions and und e rmining gemics. Mr. Speaker just go to Court of Appeals or pay Your Own Bill. The Tax Payers didnot have anything to do with your personal indifferences. Enough is Enough! You need to Come to Order.
  • josiah'sbay (16/11/2021, 11:05) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
    We VIlanders don't see ourselves as collective with rights and having the right to pursue self-determination. Which means we should be developing our own laws by which we want to be governed and safe guarding our humanitarian rights. Our Constitution should be a product of our making and not a UK's mandate of what they want us to adhere too. Their mandate should be a separate document attached to our Constitution. Everything in that Constitution we that we sign-off on are tacitly agreed too, leaving no wiggle room for challenges. We see ourselves as a dependent territory without sufficient maturity, intellect or the ability to function without custodial representation. As such our thought process is to not offend, rock the boat or challenge any of the UK's mandates.
  • @ RUBBER DUCK & @ @BOTTOM (16/11/2021, 13:42) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    IF THEY GOT NOTHING TO HIDE / WHATS ALL THIS DRAMA FOR ? WHATEVER HAPPENED TO ( TRANSPARENCY )? NOW WE HAVE TAXPAYERS MONEY
  • Reply (16/11/2021, 15:35) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    NO DUMMY , IT WAS NECESSARY TO WASTE .TIME AND TAXPAYERS
  • Dancing in the sunshine (17/11/2021, 12:47) Like (0) Dislike (2) Reply
    We need more people in the Territory like Mr. Willock to represent us and not chicken hearted ones. The late Theodor Faulkner was not a lawyer, but he was able to initiate changes in the Territory because he saw the treatment of his people by the Administrator. Don't worry about the trash talking of some of the puppets of the British COI. Mr. Willock had the guts to represent the people. I will give him my unswerving support. Even if we have to raise funds for him to pay the legal cost.
  • BVI Laws Is First British Laws in the court of law. (17/11/2021, 13:12) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    The UK owns the BVI. The UK employed the CoI.
    Do we lead with our feet or do we le lead with our brain, which one? The B in BVI means British. How then can BVI laws even think and argue to exclude the UK from their ruling position over VI Laws?
    Which of the two is more powerful? Is it the one that is ruled over or the one that rule over?
    Simple common sense. We live in a real world, not a fantasy world people.


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