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Premier ambushes Turnbull over ‘Belongership to rapist’ comments

Premier ambushes Turnbull over ‘Belongership to rapist’ comments

Premier Andrew Fahie seized upon a statement made by Opposition legislator Melvin ‘Mitch’ Turnbull in the House of Assembly (HOA) last evening, interrupting Turnbull’s contribution numerous times to dispute his claims.

Turnbull was at the time referring to some of the perceived excesses of the governing Virgin Islands Party (VIP) administration. He proceeded to rehash reports coming out of the Commission of Inquiry (COI) that the VIP government considered awarding Belongership to a convicted rapist.

The Premier, rising on a point of information as Turnbull spoke, accused the legislator of getting his facts wrong and trying to score ‘cheap political points’.

“I’m not taking that anymore,” the Premier began. “That charade run long enough. When that [issue] came to the COI, you keep looking at things on our side. You have no intention of seeing anything other than political. When that matter came to the COI, it was not part of the criticisms given to the minister, and you need to get your facts and watch the whole of the COI, because nobody give no rapist any status.”

“When the thing came to the COI, the records from the police came forward saying that the man had a clean bill of health,” Premier Fahie further explained. “There was nothing wrong with his record. I’ve heard this being bat around in the public so many times and people actually believe it, and I told you already that’s not so and you still come and saying it.”

Premier’s interruptions force recess

Opposition legislator Turnbull, who refused to yield as the Premier rose repeatedly afterwards to interrupt, insisted that he only mentioned that Belongership was considered by Cabinet, against the advice of the then Attorney General, Baba Aziz, as well as the Deputy Governor, both of whom were seated in Cabinet at the time.

But even as Turnbull remained steadfast in his statements, the Premier continued to shout interruptions from across the room of the HOA and rose again, forcing Deputy Speaker, Neville ‘Sheep’ Smith to call a recess over the repeated disturbances.

The heated exchanged happened during the debate on Premier Andrew Fahie’s motion to establish a special committee to ultimately make recommendations to the HOA on whether taxpayers should be made to foot the bill for Speaker Julian Willock’s hefty legal fees from a failed court injunction against attorneys attached to the COI.

That debate is still ongoing.


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