(Photo Credit: BVI Platinum News)
The deadline for the submission of the petition that was prepared by residents of the Fourth District, in hopes of persuading Speaker of the House of Assembly, Hon. Julian Willock to swear-in Representative-elect, Mark Vanterpool, has been extended.
Raymond Fonseca, a resident of the Fourth District and Chair of the Fourth District Grievance Committee, explained that following the demonstration at the House of Assembly last week and discussions that arose as a result, this prompted the extension to the end of the month.
Fonseca mentioned that Territory-wide interest was expressed, and this, he said, has encouraged the committee to make provision for persons outside the district to sign.
He said that in the meantime, the committee is also planning to have conversations with the four At Large Representatives.
Residents of the Fourth District, with placards in hand, demonstrated peacefully at the House of Assembly on May 17 in an attempt to persuade Hon. Willock to swear their representative in. However, the Speaker did not give in and as a result, Vanterpool is still not a Member of the House of Assembly.
On the day of the protest, in the presence of reporters, Fonseca and the group approached At Large Representative, Hon. Carvin Malone, and told him why they were protesting, and also informed of their plans to formally express their concerns to him.
During a media interview on that day, Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Marlon Penn told reporters that the matter spanned further than the boundaries of the Fourth District and was now of Territory-wide interest.
“Everywhere you go around this Territory there are concerns on this issue because it is an issue of democracy. If you have persons who are duly elected by the people and you have a Speaker unilaterally deciding that he is not going to swear persons in, it’s a concern for everyone. It’s a concern all of us should pay attention to…It’s a concern for me, it’s a concern for many people in this Territory and we need to bring it to some finality.”
Previously, the residents explained that that they plan to have said petition sent to His Excellency the Governor, Augustus Jaspert, Premier and Minister for Finance, Hon. Andrew Fahie, and Speaker of the House of Assembly, Hon. Julian Willock.