Update: “They Will Have To Wait & See”—Willock On Question Of Impartiality

Ahreefa Bacchus, Journalist | March 12, 2019 11:14 am AST | 12 Comments
Ahreefa Bacchus, Journalist
March 12, 2019 11:14 am AST | 12 Comments
Photo Credit: Ahreefa Bacchus/BVI Platinum News
Photo Credit: Ahreefa Bacchus/BVI Platinum News
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Following his election and appointment as Speaker of the House of Assembly (HoA), questions began surfacing of Hon. Julian Willock’s ability to serve in his new position impartially, given his affiliation with the Virgin Islands Party (VIP).

During the campaign season, the new Speaker had been on the frontlines, lobbying for the election of the VIP. He had also attempted to run with the party as an At-Large candidate, but lost his bid in the VIP’s internal election.

In response to these concerns and questions, the new Speaker said that the people of the British Virgin Islands (BVI) will simply have to wait and observe his performance, telling BVI Platinum News, “They will just have to wait and see. I know my role…I will tell the people just wait and see, I will not let them down.”

In his first speech as Speaker of the House, he pledged to be fair, non-partisan and objective, telling the members of the House and public, “…That balance is always a test for any Speaker.”

“I am aware that while the Opposition is in the minority, those districts that sent them to the House deserve to be heard through their members, and will be heard. Notwithstanding, I also have a duty to preside in a way where the Government business is not unnecessarily frustrated, or undermined,” he stated.

“I wish to help elevate this House of Assembly to the centre for good governance and working with both the Leader of Government business, Hon. Fahie and the Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Penn, to see that the Government’s legislative agenda is achieved,” he later said.

“The legislative branch’s role must be taken seriously, and the Speaker and members must serve with dignity, integrity and with utmost professionalism,” Hon. Willock declared.

He went on to say that he plans to ensure that members of the HoA do not misuse the privilege of immunity to engage in personal attacks against ordinary residents or businesses, saying, “The dignity of the House must not be compromised, or should the chambers be used to victimize and be dismissive of Opposition members.”

Meanwhile, speaking on the issue of the Speaker’s relationship with the VIP, Premier Hon. Andrew Fahie, who nominated Hon. Willock said, “Everyone has a democratic right to support who they want politically.”

“Everyone in this country is due to a fair chance, a second chance. No matter who you choose, you will have some for and against. He will have to guard his actions. Mr. Willock will have to guard his actions accordingly. I am confident that he can and I am confident that the House can get no worse than it was; it can only get better,” Hon. Fahie further posited.

In congratulating Hon. Willock moments after his appointment, Hon. Fahie publicly stated, “I believe in a Virgin Islands where each of us can take our rightful place in this society, a place where grace and mercy reside. A place that offers all a second chance to our people.”

Previous Article Published March 12: Julian Willock Is Speaker!

Julian Willock has been elected as Speaker of the Fourth House of Assembly (HoA).

Photo Credit: Ahreefa Bacchus/BVI Platinum News
He was elected following nomination by Premier, Hon. Andrew Fahie moments ago during the First Sitting of the First Session of the Fourth HoA, which is currently underway at the Multi-Purpose Sports Complex, today, March 12.

Willock was a popular face on the Virgin Islands Party (VIP) campaign trail, following a failed bid to be elected by the party’s Congress as a candidate for the election. He ran in the VIP’s internal election for a spot on the party’s At-Large slate, but lost.

Willock formerly served as Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Communications and Works, but was dismissed.

His dismissal followed his suspension and an investigation of a case where Willock had allegedly employed persons with Virgin Islands News Online (VINO) without the necessary work permits, used public office to conduct his private business and had editorial control of a news publication.
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