Photo Credit: BVI Platinum News
A petition and representation at Friday’s House of Assembly sitting has been organized by a group of concerned Fourth District residents, who are troubled that the matter involving Fourth District Representative, Hon. Mark Vanterpool and Speaker of the House of Assembly, Hon. Julian Willock is dragging on.
The residents, who were guests on a ZBVI radio program yesterday, May 13, announced that they will commence signature collection for the petition from today, May14.
Raymond Fonseca, a resident of the district and an announced concerned citizen, said that the residents are hopeful that the petition would help to bring closure to the matter.
As it relates to the petition, Fonseca said that he is commencing the collection from Tuesday morning.
“I’ll be at One Mart…Tomorrow (May 14) 5:00 p.m...at the Road Town Band Stand we have someone there also if you want to sign the petition,” he announced.
The residents said that they plan to havethe said petition sent to His Excellency the Governor, Augustus Jaspert; Premier and Minister for Finance, Hon. Andrew Fahie; and Speaker of the House of Assembly, Hon. Julian Willock.
Laurie Rymer, host of the radio program, stated that the current situation where the representative is not being sworn in is a constitutional breach. Therefore, he said that this will be communicated to the Governor via the petition.
“What we are trying to do is to point out to His Excellency, which I am sure he already knows, that there is a breach in the Constitution; that the Constitution is not being followed, and that is a grave danger for the people of the Virgin Islands.”
In further noting that in his opinion, the standoff is wrong, Rymer said, “The Election Amendment Act says that there should be no vacancy in the House for a longer period than 60 days, and it's almost now 90 days since Mr. Mark Vanterpool has been seeking to be sworn in and seated as the legitimate representative and member of the House of Assembly of the Virgin Islands. This is the breach that we are talking about. This is a dangerous situation for the people of the Virgin Islands; whenever your Constitution gets breached or trampled on.”
During the program, various residents called in to air their view on the matter and what was being said by the panel.
One caller to the program explained that the district is not unrepresented as there are four At Large Representatives, and that the residents should make contact with these representatives.
However, Rymer disagreed stating, “It is not for the people to come to them and to beg them for representation; it is for them to reach out as they have during the elections campaign time. Election of course is now over and it is time for governance.”
Further, Rymer stated that governance demands that the four At Large members have meeting with the people of the Fourth District and hear from them.
“Go house to house and find out what difficulties they may have; it is for them to do that…They need to go to the people straight away to find out what difficulties they may be encountering as a result of their representative not being sworn in and seated in the House as he should be,” he stated.
In addition to the petition, residents of the Fourth District are also planning to make representation at the House of Assembly sitting that is scheduled for this Friday, May 17. It was emphasized that the representation is going to be peaceful and respectful.
“We are law abiding people and we do not wish for anyone to go there and be disruptive or to act in a very unlawful manner. People must always conduct themselves properly,” Rymer declared.
Additionally, Fonseca extended an invitation for residents from around the Territory, who are also concerned about the ongoing impasse between the Speaker and Hon. Vanterpool, to join the peaceful protest.
“We will be at the House of Assembly on Friday, so feel free to come down if you share the same sentiments as us. We invite you to come down and let us have a peaceful protest about it,” he said.