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Premier’s three-man committee for Speaker gets HOA green light

Premier’s three-man committee for Speaker gets HOA green light

Premier Andrew Fahie received the votes needed from the House of Assembly (HOA) late last evening to establish a special select committee for the latest controversial matter regarding his appointed Speaker, Julian Willock.

The motion was put forward to determine if Willock received permission to file a court injunction against attorneys with the Commission of Inquiry (COI) and to further determine whether that action was warranted.

According to the Premier, the members that agreed to serve on the special select committee are legislators Mark Vanterpool of the National Democratic Party, Julian Fraser of Progressives United, and Vincent Wheatley who is the only member of the governing Virgin Islands Party.

Premier Fahie said the quorum of the special committee would be two persons.

5-2 victory for the government

In the meantime, five legislators supported Fahie’s motion for the committee while two opposition legislators, Marlon Penn and Melvin Turnbull, voted against the initiative.

Premier Fahie, Health Minister Carvin Malone, Works Minister Kye Rhymer, Junior Tourism Minister Sharie deCastro and Deputy Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley all voted in favour of the motion.

Five legislators were absent for the vote.

Proposed amendments cause a stir

Following the debate, Premier Fahie attempted to make amendments to the motion, but Penn questioned the move.

“These changes that have been made to this motion that has been debated extensively are substantive changes,“ Penn stated.

He said the Premier ought not to introduce such changes then immediately wrap up the debate without starting a new one.

Turnbull, too, offered an objection and said it would create conflict in the House.

In response, the Premier said the changes were merely cosmetic so if Penn had issues with the changes, he would abort the amendments.

Judge’s decision not being set-aside

Meanwhile, it was the court that ordered Willock to pay the fees so the Opposition has argued that the establishment of the committee means an interference with the court’s judgement.

Premier Fahie denied that the judge’s decision was being set aside, and said the House has the legal scope to indemnify the Speaker.

“I am not saying the House will do it or do it not, the law allows the House to do that,” he stated.

Fahie further said no one was criticising the judge in any way. He said the committee simply seeks to conduct a fact-finding mission to determine whether the facilitating of the payment for Willock’s fees can be made or not.


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