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Speaker & Deputy Speaker taking CoI to court over status of its lawyers

- arguments will center around whether CoI lawyers were illegally practicing law in the VI since March 2021
Speaker of the Virgin Islands (VI) House of Assembly, Hon Julian Willock may have blindsided the UK-Sponsored Virgin Islands (VI) Commission of Inquiry, indicating that the Commission will now be meeting the Speaker and Deputy Speaker in court over the status of its Lawyers. Photo: HoA/Youtube
Hon Julian Willock made the announcement in a press conference today, August 18, 2021, alongside Silk Legal’s Richard G. Rowe and Daniel R. F. Davies. Photo: HoA/Youtube
Hon Julian Willock made the announcement in a press conference today, August 18, 2021, alongside Silk Legal’s Richard G. Rowe and Daniel R. F. Davies. Photo: HoA/Youtube
Questions were raised during the CoI hearing about the status of CoI Council Bilal Rawat to practise law in the Virgin Islands. Photo: Internet Source
Questions were raised during the CoI hearing about the status of CoI Council Bilal Rawat to practise law in the Virgin Islands. Photo: Internet Source
Sir Gary R. Hickinbottom, in response to concerns raised by Silk Legal, stated that the CoI lawyers did not need to be admitted to the bar practice law in the Virgin Islands in order to carry out their duties. Photo: VINO/File
Sir Gary R. Hickinbottom, in response to concerns raised by Silk Legal, stated that the CoI lawyers did not need to be admitted to the bar practice law in the Virgin Islands in order to carry out their duties. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI– The Speaker of the Virgin Islands (VI) House of Assembly, Hon Julian Willock may have blindsided the United Kingdom-sponsored Virgin Islands (VI) Commission of Inquiry, indicating that the Commission will now be meeting the Speaker and Deputy Speaker in court over the status of its lawyers.

Hon Willock made the announcement in a press conference today, August 18, 2021, alongside Silk Legal’s Richard G. Rowe and Daniel R. F. Davies.

Status of CoI Lawyers questioned 

“On the tenth hearing day of the Commission of Inquiry, Mr Richard G. Rowe of Silk Legal inquired of the one-man Commissioner as to whether the lawyers, Bilal Rawat, Andrew King and Rhea Harrikissoon, who are assisting the Commission, were admitted to practice law in the Virgin Islands in keeping with Section 18 of the Legal Profession Act 2015 of the territory,” Hon Willock indicated as the justification for the move.

He said the ‘one-man Commissioner’ Sir Gary R. Hickinbottom then responded in the negative and further stated that they did not need to be admitted to practice law in the Virgin Islands in order to carry out their duties.

“Mr Hickinbottom, nevertheless, directed that the mentioned persons make an application to be admitted to practice law in the territory,” Hon Willock detailed.

He said the three Commission of Inquiry lawyers then filed applications to be admitted to the BVI Bar; however, ahead of the move, he said the law firm representing the House of Assembly, Silk Legal, was directed to file an objection on behalf of the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker.

Hon Willock indicated that the injunction was on the basis that the applicants have been practicing law in the Virgin Islands since March 2021, in breach of the Legal Profession Act.

Speaker & Deputy has 'standing' to take matter to court 

“Their side raised the issue as to whether the Honourable Deputy Speaker and I had standing to make an objection; however, the Court ruled last month that we did have standing and set a trial date for the case in October of this year. We had also raised other concerns, which I am not at liberty to disclose at this point, as the matter is live before the court,” the Speaker said.

Mr Willcok indicated that Silk Legal has been further instructed to file an injunction to prevent the three Commission of Inquiry lawyers; Bilal Rawat, Andrew King and Rhea Harrikissoon, from doing any more work associated with the Commission of Inquiry until the Judge rules after the October trial.

“Furthermore, and bearing in mind that the practice of law is not confined to the courtroom, we have decided to seek a determination from the Court as to whether in BVI law, it is lawful for lawyers who have not been admitted to practice law in the Virgin Islands, to be appointed to act as barristers and/or solicitors in Commissions of Inquiries, generally; and if it is lawful for lawyers who have not been admitted to practice law in the BVI to carry out legal duties in relation to Commissions of Inquiries, generally,” Hon Willock further indicated.

Law must be equal to all

He said once the Court decides that points 1 and 2 are not lawful, there will be consequential orders, which he was not at liberty to discuss at present. 

Hon Willock affirmed that his only interest is the rule of law and that the laws of the Territory, and that no one is above the law.

He said what must be good for the Speaker, the teacher, the waste management collector, the journalist, and countless of "my brothers and sisters incarcerated at Her Majesty’s Prison" must be good for all others.

17 Responses to “Speaker & Deputy Speaker taking CoI to court over status of its lawyers”

  • Well (18/08/2021, 18:40) Like (8) Dislike (1) Reply
    LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL , WE GOING DOWN TOGETHER , BECAUSE WE ARE ALL ON THE SAME ARK / PLUS THE SHARKS HAS TO BE FED
    • Styler (18/08/2021, 19:54) Like (8) Dislike (26) Reply

      I agreed we in this together these DAM ***** men think we black uneducated and dumb, we fighting together

  • Good going. (18/08/2021, 18:47) Like (26) Dislike (36) Reply
    Stay in the fight my brother. It is about time we stop letting people think we stupid.
  • NICK (18/08/2021, 20:26) Like (12) Dislike (3) Reply
    no one is above the law:very interesting statement,here,in the bvi.5o%of the population is above the law.
  • Rubber Duck (18/08/2021, 21:42) Like (18) Dislike (1) Reply
    Who is paying for these legal actions?
  • good (18/08/2021, 21:45) Like (2) Dislike (6) Reply
    Twas about time...
  • Forbidden Truth (18/08/2021, 21:52) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
    If it was the person from the caribbean working without a permit you will hear the ongpong. Then when they complain you will hear the ingping.
  • Tax payers (19/08/2021, 01:22) Like (12) Dislike (3) Reply
    I hope this court business ain’t at the expense of tax payers especially when you have teachers complaining about basic resources and pay. Barry said you will hear.
  • Pick your fights (19/08/2021, 03:24) Like (27) Dislike (3) Reply
    The COI is an investigation and not the practice of law, anyone can do what Rawat and the others are doing. What does Willock think he has to gain by taking this action?
  • Sarah (19/08/2021, 07:26) Like (8) Dislike (1) Reply
    Are the lawyers for the government from the UK admitted to the BVI Bar?
  • ... (19/08/2021, 07:30) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Hmm if a lawyer breaks the law what will happen?
  • @ WELL (19/08/2021, 08:12) Like (8) Dislike (2) Reply
    they better enjoy the good times and their
    ARROGANCE they were getting away with / the ( COI ) will expose you all and using ( RACISM ) is not going to work
  • @@well (19/08/2021, 10:14) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
    It is historically known that whenever black people stand up for themselves they are call arrogant. We are not in the dark ages anymore. We have rights like everybody else and we are all created equal. There are some house slaves around who think they are in a different boat but we are all in the same boat. The game is the same devide and conquer.
  • Dancing in the sunshine (19/08/2021, 10:47) Like (4) Dislike (4) Reply
    I totally agree with the Hon. Speaker for challenging the lawyers representing the C.O.I. These white people think that they could come to the Caribbean and do whatever they can and we must accept them. Massa days are over and we as Black people must stand up against them. There are people here who would like to see the fall of this government. However, I am one hundred percent behind the government.

    The British and other European nations went around the world as explorers and developers from India to Africa and the Caribbean and exploited their economic resources and their peoples. Thus leaving them with little or no education and means to develop themselves. It is our time now and we are worth every fiber of of our bodies. Even if the legal fees would cost a million dollars, our dignities worth more than that. It is time that the House Slaves mentality be eradicated from amongst us.
  • Noble (19/08/2021, 13:24) Like (4) Dislike (2) Reply
    While this may be a noble fight and some may perceive the battle as one championing justice for the BVI it is we the tax payers will bear the burden of these political games. Already over $3m in lawyers expenses. Does anyone really think the COI will just go away? Its greed and political games just like this that prove we need a COI
  • Well (20/08/2021, 16:23) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    it looks like some people didn't get the message / those who are into corruption and are on the ARK are going down together and are grasping at straws / the COI have and are only revealing your hidden secrets and your distractions ain't going to work ( England will deal with their own Corruption for themselves )


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