Opposition Leader Hon. Marlon Penn has called for a change in the Virgin Islands Constitution that would see a two-term limit for persons occupying the office of Premier.
“For me, it was always something that I thought was necessary, and it’s something that I support particularly with the Premier,” he said yesterday, June 23 during his appearance before the Commission of Inquiry
He added, “I am looking at the Cayman Islands model where you can have a Premier only sit for two consecutive terms. After that second consecutive term, that person can still run as a member, but they would have to sit either as a Cabinet minister or as a backbencher when they are in Opposition.”
The Opposition Leader said there are benefits to this proposed model.
He stated that it allows for different perspectives to emerge specifically in party politics within the process, and persons will get the opportunity to get a diverse view in terms of persons and leadership styles.
Counsel to the CoI
, Mr. Bilal Rawat asked him: “Wouldn’t you achieve the same effect, diversity of views, a refreshing of the House of Assembly if you had term limits for all members of the HoA?”
Hon Penn replied, “I wouldn’t go that far. I think you need to have the ability to have a level of continuity in terms of knowledge. You don’t want to every four years to have freshly elected members that don’t have the institutional knowledge of how the system works, the capacity in some cases to do some things or to teach the other members the way to move things forward in the right direction.”
He said his argument is that this is one way of building institutions.
“The institution needs to have the agility, it doesn’t matter who comes, but you still need that continuity in terms of leadership and the BVI at the end of the day is a small society, and you would want to have a proper transition of leadership than persons just leaving the scene just like that,” he remarked.