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Newly sworn in Hon Vanterpool demands to speak ahead of time

- engages in back & forth with HoA Speaker Willock
Hon Mark H. Vanterpool, standing, right, shortly after being sworn in as Representative for the Fourth District, attempted to force the hand of Speaker Hon Julian Willock to grant his request to make remarks ahead of time at the Fifth Sitting of the First Session of the Fourth House of Assembly today, July 16, 2019. Photo: VINO
Speaker of House of Assembly (HoA) Honourable Julian Willock was forced to once again rise to his feet in authority as a Member of the Opposition sought to challenge his decision made on a matter raised today, July 16, 2019.
Speaker of House of Assembly (HoA) Honourable Julian Willock was forced to once again rise to his feet in authority as a Member of the Opposition sought to challenge his decision made on a matter raised today, July 16, 2019.
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- Speaker of the House of Assembly (HoA) Honourable Julian Willock was forced to once again rise to his feet in authority as a Member of the Opposition sought to challenge his decision made on a matter raised.

In this instance, Hon Willock was challenged by Hon Mark H. Vanterpool shortly after he was sworn in as Representative for the Fourth District and attempted to force the hand of the Speaker to grant his request to make remarks ahead of time at the Fifth Sitting of the First Session of the Fourth HoA today, July 16, 2019.

Hon Willock informed the new Member of the Opposition that he would have had time to speak during the “Any Other Business” segment of the sitting of the House, which he said is the norm.

“In keeping with what happened on March 12th where all the newly sworn-in members were allowed to speak under Any Other Business, I would prefer that you speak then,” said Hon Willock.

But Hon Vanterpool persisted as he sought to compare the March 12 swearing in to today’s, “On that day (March 12), the only business of the day was ‘Other Business’. Today it is a long list of things to be carried out and I think the people of the Fourth District, in the spirit of democracy, should hear from their member who has just been sworn in.”

Threating to make his speech, Hon Vanterpool once again sat as the Speaker rose to his feet but was up again continuing his plea at which time Hon Willock opted to recess the house.

The history of Willock vs Vanterpool

During this morning’s swearing in, Speaker Hon Willock took time out to outline the events that led to Hon Vanterpool being sworn in four months after he was elected Representative for the Fourth District.

“Honourable Members, I am aware that the constituents of the Fourth District, the media and the public have been following with keen interest the matter of the 5th March, 2019 resignation of Member-elect, Mr Mark H. Vanterpool and the Speaker’s acceptance of the resignation letter sent to the Office of Speaker, addressed to the Clerk,” Hon Willock recounted.

He said that subsequently, the now Hon Vanterpool took him, and by extension the House of Assembly (HoA), to court to seek remedy over the matter. In addition, he sought an injunction to interrupt the sitting of the House of Assembly and also sought judicial review on the Speaker’s decision to accept his 5th March, 2019 letter of resignation.

“Both legal actions failed in the High Court. Mr Vanterpool, in addition, did not show up to be sworn in on 12th March, 2019 like all other Honourable Members in the Chambers to-date.” 

In the latest ruling, the High Court suggested that Mr Vanterpool be sworn in, as according to the learned judge, his letter was invalid simply because it was addressed to the wrong person. Notwithstanding, in the same court decision, the Madam Justice pointed out that the whole issue of sitting the Member should have been a matter addressed by the House.

A change of heart

“My office had appealed the decision, but after consultation and reflection, withdrew all aspects of the appeal on 17th June, 2019. Furthermore, the Leader of government business, Premier and Minister of Finance and Member for the First District, the Honourable Andrew A. Fahie met with me and has expressed both privately and publicly his position that the Member should be sworn in,” said the Speaker.

He added that the Opposition Leader Hon Marlon A. Penn had also shared the view that Mr Vanterpool should be sworn in.

Hon Willock stated that the constitution of the Virgin Islands is the supreme law which everyone is duty bound to uphold.  Of paramount concern to him, he said, is the fact that the longer the legal battle, the greater the disadvantage to the people of the Fourth District who remain without a representative in the HoA, even though they have four At-Large Representatives.

“They should not be made to suffer for the action and conduct of others over which they had no control. They are innocent victims and have been pinned into an undeserving corner from which they must helplessly watch as the drama in the legal and political theatre unfolds without any meaningful relief.”

He added, “I can no longer, in good conscience, continue the distress and inconvenience that the issue of Mr Vanterpool’s resignation has caused to so many. Whilst I appreciate the dynamics of the other voices in this Chamber, there are times when the duty of our office demands that we rise above this and do what is just and right for the people of our beloved islands. I consider this to be one such occasion.”

Meanwhile, after not getting his way with the Speaker, Hon Vanterpool left the proceedings of the HoA to make his statement in the HoA compound to a few persons who had accompanied him for the swearing in. The statement, which focused on allegations against Premier and Minister of Finance Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1), the Government of the Virgin Islands and the Office of the Elections Supervisor, was live streamed on his Facebook page.

The HoA has since been adjourned until Thursday July 25, 2019.

13 Responses to “Newly sworn in Hon Vanterpool demands to speak ahead of time”

  • Umm (17/07/2019, 00:57) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Strange? No comments?
  • 123 (17/07/2019, 05:51) Like (17) Dislike (13) Reply
    Mark needs to go bottom line
  • tretretrete (17/07/2019, 06:18) Like (19) Dislike (10) Reply
    Mark I'm glad you got sworn in. Let it go.. You trying to let the speak know you don't want to be his friend you ain't come there to get along with him.. I think he knows that. Let it go. You going to have ample time 4 yrs to represent your people... Mark you are a very good man you should have got sworn in along time ago.. But. Please let it go and inspite of the wrong n the hate. Let it go. Be professional show some respect....
  • VOW (17/07/2019, 07:37) Like (13) Dislike (2) Reply
    This man were a bully when they had control of the HOA and he start the same shit again. There is no place in the HOA for this we do not need this in the BVI we are hot use to this conduct even when it get hot and if this continue I think both of them should be band I know one is an elected member but we do not want this in our ISLAND. They can go else where with it . And to the Premier you should step in and speak to these two child I say child because that is how they are behaving.
    • right (17/07/2019, 10:03) Like (9) Dislike (4) Reply
      Interesting comments...respect is greatly needed, also, I would have to say the speaker acted according to the laws/rules of the HOA and Hon. Vanterpool knows the laws, at least he should after serving for so long, so he knows he cannot speak at that time, it has noting to do with how long he had to wait to be sworn in, that is mostly his fault anyway! He needs to respect the laws of the HOA, and I will back the speaker or any member of the HOA once they follow the rules of the house and bring some order and dignity in the HOA.
  • Jaigon (17/07/2019, 09:34) Like (17) Dislike (6) Reply
    I am of a very strong conviction that something is seriously wrong with MHV. No one who is of a sound mine will behave like that. He said some unfounded things which opened himself to some serious law suits, I just hope he is prepared to deal with that when the time comes.
    • @jaigon (17/07/2019, 11:42) Like (6) Dislike (1) Reply
      He has immunity while on the HOA grounds. He is not that stupid. Plus he says they are facts so he must can prove them. You can only be successful at suing someone when they are saying things they cannot prove to be true or you can prove to be false. Mark did not stutter yesterday. He released some serious information that should really make us sad as a people.
      • mumu (17/07/2019, 12:34) Like (9) Dislike (2) Reply
        Boss you have no immunity if you are not speaking IN the house sitting presided over by the Speaker. Wa foolishness you talking.

        Mark gone crazy. Too long they were left there to do what they want and how they want. Dem can’t catch themself. Loss of power does that to you.
      • Jaigon (17/07/2019, 13:14) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
        @@jaigon, he have immunity inside the HOA hall but not outside. So watch and see what will transpire
  • Yep (17/07/2019, 10:05) Like (10) Dislike (1) Reply
    I hope MHV do not have a mental breakdown because he looks like he is heading in that direction... outside of politics he is ok but he needs to be careful, especially seeing that he mentioned his reason for resigning in the first instance was due to medical reasons....
  • @## (17/07/2019, 10:11) Like (9) Dislike (3) Reply
    @ Jaigon
    I totally agree with you...Something is wrong with Mark.
    He needs to be checked in somewhere because he is in need of some professional help.

    We does see, and don't do anything. Then it is 2 late.
  • Ingles (17/07/2019, 10:18) Like (12) Dislike (3) Reply
    Those Spanish women turned this man crazy or what?
  • my view (17/07/2019, 15:13) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    He does not belong in the house

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