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Hon Fahie should 'focus on his defense'- Premier Wheatley

Hon Fahie should 'focus on his defense'- Premier Wheatley

Already stripped of his title of Premier of the Virgin Islands (VI), incarcerated Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) now faces losing his seat in the House of Assembly (HoA) since he may be unable to attend the required three consecutive sittings of the HoA.

That is unless he is able to attend virtually, providing he fulfills the conditions to allow him bail and the HoA allows him to join remotely.

A Miami federal judge on Monday, May 23, 2022, rejected a prosecutor’s bid to detain Hon Fahie, who was arrested on drug-related charges in late April at a Miami airport.

But before Hon Fahie can be released from a federal lock-up on a new $1 million bond, he must prove to the judge that the money for his bail comes from a legitimate source.

Can Fahie attend HoA meetings virtually?


At a press conference on Friday, May 27, 2022, Premier Dr the Hon Natalio D. Wheatley (R1) was asked whether Hon Fahie would be able to attend HoA sittings virtually.

“I don’t anticipate that we will be having virtual meetings anytime soon and my particular view with the former Premier is that it is my view that he should focus on his defense. He has a difficult case and task ahead of him and that is where his focus should be.”

While the Standing Orders of the HoA have been amended to accommodate virtual sittings, there has reportedly never been a situation where elected Members have attended virtually when Members were meeting face to face.

A source familiar with the Standing Orders told our newsroom they suspect a Member can be allowed to attend sittings virtually even when the entire sitting is not being held virtually, since the HoA would accommodate “witnesses” virtually during Standing Finance Committee Meetings.

“It is possible with the leave of the Speaker,” the source said.

While the Standing Orders of the House of Asembly (HoA) have been amended to accommodate virtual sittings, there has reportedly never been a situation where elected Members have attended virtually when the entire sitting is not being held virtually.


Governor can strip Fahie of HoA status- Premier


Meanwhile, Premier Wheatley had in a May 13, 2022, press conference explained that it was up to the Governor to strip Hon Fahie of his elected representative status.

"That's something for the Governor. If you look in the constitution you will see how a member of the House of Assembly (HoA) can be removed. It’s very clear there, a member can resign, if a member misses three sittings he can be removed and there are some other conditions, of course if they are declared insane or something like that but we have to look clearly in the constitution to see the conditions upon which you can be removed," Dr Wheatley had stated.

The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) in a statement on May 2, 2022, said “Like all persons charged with a criminal offense, Andrew Fahie is entitled to the presumption of innocence, procedural fairness, and a free and affair trial within a reasonable time.”

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