Section 64 (4) of the BVI constitution says, the House of Assembly shall elect a member of the who is not a member of the Cabinet to be Deputy Speaker of the House. This means no Minister is allowed to be elected as Deputy Speaker.
Speaking on the Hot Seat radio show, Fligelston-Davies — who unsuccessfully contested the April 24 general elections as a Territorial At-Large candidate — reasoned that this will be difficult since all seven members of the VIP-Lorna Smith coalition occupy a ministerial post or a junior minister post.
“The major issue is who is going to become the Deputy Speaker of the House because the Deputy Speaker cannot be a minister and it has never been someone in the Opposition. In this instance, you have seven ministers, which is the full side of the government, so who is going to become the Deputy Minister now?” Fligelston-Davies questioned.
The public is now waiting to see if the government will choose a Deputy Speaker from the two junior ministers — Luce Hodge Smith, Junior Minister for Culture and Tourism; and Karl Dawson, Junior Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries.
If this were to happen, it wouldn’t be the first time a junior minister is chosen to be Deputy Speaker. Under the last National Democratic Party (NDP) administration, former Junior Minister for Tourism Archibald Christian was appointed as Acting Deputy Speaker for a short time.
If that option is not pursued, the government may have to choose a Deputy Speaker from the Opposition. Though this has never happened in the BVI, section 64 of the constitution doesn’t explicitly state that it can’t be done.