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‘I don’t support’ allowing Hon Fahie to join HoA virtually- Hon Malone

‘I don’t support’ allowing Hon Fahie to join HoA virtually- Hon Malone

Now that ex Premier of the Virgin Islands Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) is out on bail in Miami, the question being asked is whether he will be allowed to attend sittings of the House of Assembly (HoA) in a virtual capacity to enable him to keep his seat as an elected representative.

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.

‘I don’t support that’- Hon Malone

During a press conference on June 15, 2022, to announce his decision to join the Opposition, At Large Representative Hon Carvin Malone was asked if he feels Hon Fahie should be allowed to join HoA sittings virtually.

“Well, that is not my particular decision. I don’t know of that being done at any time here in the Virgin Islands. It was done during the pandemic, the height of the pandemic, but it is not being done for any member that I’m aware of,” Hon Malone responded.

Asked if he would support a motion to allow Hon Fahie to be able to join the HoA virtually, Hon Malone said he would not support such a motion.

“We have to be able to have it done so it is consistent. It will be the first time it has been accomplished and it is not one that has come to the table, and if you asking the question I’m not going to skirt around it, the answer is no. I don’t support that and his day in court will come…” Hon Malone stated.

Hon Fahie could be excused- Hon Malone suggests

The former Health Minister suggested; however, that there is the possibly that Hon Fahie could be exempted from being made to vacate his seat if he fails to attend three consecutive sittings of the HoA.

“The three strikes you’re out rule is actually covered in the constitution…It says that if you’re absent without reason, without notification, then is when those rules come in. So, if there is a specific reason given to the Speaker, given to the House of Assembly, well then those three strikes don’t apply at that particular time,” Hon Malone stated.

He also suggested that the law may be subject to interpretation.

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

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,” Dr Wheatley had stated.

At a press conference on Friday, May 27, 2022, Premier Dr the Hon Natalio D. Wheatley (R7) has said Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) should focus on his court trial defense.

Hon Fahie out on bail

Former Premier and Minister of Finance Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) was detained in Miami on April 28, 2022, by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) on drugs and money laundering conspiracy charges.

He was released on bail from the Miami Detention Centre on June 13, 2022; however, he is not allowed to leave the US or his place of residence in Miami.

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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