(Photo Credit: BVI Platinum News)
Following a request to discontinue the court matter against Mark Vanterpool, Speaker of the House of Assembly, Hon. Julian Willock had directed that Vanterpool be summoned to attend the next sitting of the House of Assembly (HoA) to be sworn in.
In an official notice from the Clerk of the House to Vanterpool, dated today, July 10, it stated, “Pursuant to Standing Order 10(2), I have been directed by the Speaker of the House of Assembly to summon you to attend the Fifth Sitting of the First Session of the Fourth House of Assembly which has been scheduled for Tuesday, 16th July, 2019 at 10:00a.m. at the House of Assembly Chamber in Road Town.”
The Clerk further noted, “This summon is inviting you to be sworn into the Fourth House of Assembly.”
Just last month, Willock had requested through his attorney, Veritas Law, that the Court of Appeal discontinue all matters filed against Mark Vanterpool.
Willock had specifically asked that the Notice of Appeal filed on May 7, the Notice of Appeal filed on May 9, and the Notice of Application for a Stay of Proceedings to be dropped.
This decision came days after Premier Hon. Andrew Fahie asked Willock to reconsider his position and to swear-in Vanterpool as the Representative for the 4th District at the next Sitting of the House of Assembly.
The Premier said he felt that the matter was hanging over the Territory for an inordinate amount of time and had become a source of discord and bitterness that was undermining the harmony in society.
On May 2, Justice Ann Marie Smith ruled in favour of Vanterpool, who filed a Fixed Date Claim, seeking that the court declare that he did not vacate his seat in the House of Assembly and that the Speaker be ordered to swear him in. However, through his lawyers, Willock had appealed that decision.
The whole issue surrounding the District Four seat began when Vanterpool announced that he would be retiring from representational politics, and sent a resignation letter to the Clerk of the House of Assembly (HoA). There was not a Speaker in place at the time.
Vanterpool subsequently changed his mind, after Hon. Willock was appointed as Speaker of the House, and announced that he wished to be sworn in as the District Four Representative.
He had pointed out that his resignation letter was also invalid as the Clerk informed him that it was supposed to be penned to the Speaker of the House.