Elections in the BVI is now eminent. Many persons are saying that we are not ready, while other are calling for elections now. The current challenges facing the Government, allegations of corruption, the slow pace of recovery, and the poor state of the economy all contribute to confusion of when elections should really be held. Normally, after the death of a sitting Member of the House of Assembly a by-election is held. There was only one case in recent history, where this was not the case; the case of the late Robinson Hubert O’Neal. Hon. O’Neal died during an election year and so a by-election was replaced by a general election six months later.
The debate over whether or not to have a by-election after the sad passing of Hon. Delores Christopher was settled by Governor Jaspert. A deadline of no later than April 16th , 2019 was announced by the Governor on Thursday 15th November 2018. This should not be seen as an arbitrary date at all. The BVI which has had to depend almost entirely on its International Business operations for its survival since the passages of hurricanes Irma and Maria are always under attack from the international community. The Territory was notified some months ago to pass “substance Laws” or risk being placed on the EU Blacklist. The deadline for passing the laws is 31st December 2018.
For those of you who are familiar with the procedure for passing laws, it is no small feat to pass laws in a short period of time as they require three readings in the House of Assembly. In the best of time, a law can receive its three readings in one Sitting, but only in the best of times. If for some reason the “substance Laws” are not passed by 31st December 2018, the BVI may once again find itself on the EU Blacklist. Not only will this significantly affect our international business operations and revenue, it will also negatively impact our recovery borrowing ability and interest rates. The bottom line is, this current Government, for the sake of the future of this country needs to stay together and work together and pass the necessary laws by 31st December 2018 to avoid the BVI being placed on the EU Blacklist.
If achieved, this should be greeted with a resounding round of applause. As no District should be unrepresented for too long, the people should then be given a fair time to hear the views of all prospective candidates and then choose who they fell will best represent the interest of the people and residents of the BVI. Three months seems fair to me, hence, three months after the deadline of 31st December 2018 puts us at the end of March 2019. If you are eligible to vote please register and exercise your democratic right.