Friday, January 26, 2007

BVI Chief Minister is Asked to Proclaim Information on Constitutional Changes

We have already discussed negotiations over changes for the new BVI Constitution, which have started in March 2006, and came to its third round in November 2006. The Constitutional talks were held over the past months on the new constitution for the territory by a delegation from the BVI and UK.

It seems that the political situation around the above-mentioned talks is becoming more sensitive at the moment. On Wednesday, January 24, the opposition leader Ralph O'Neal has requested Honourable Dr. D. Orlando Smith to tell the people of the BVI what is expected from the final round of constitutional talks.

The leader of the opposition, who is also a member of the BVI Constitutional negotiating team, has noted that the new Constitution is meant for the people of the British Virgin Islands who have to live with the constitution. He said that it is important that the leader of government business, who is the main leader in the country, to tell the people what is expected to be achieved in London as a result of these Constitutional talks.

O'Neal position is that the following questions are of the most importance to be disclosed to people of the British Virgin Islands:

  • whether the Governor will remain as chairman of the Executive Council,
  • whether the police and the civil service will be removed from under the Governor,
  • whether the Deputy Governor will become the head of the civil service,
  • whether the Solicitor General will be a constitutional post,
  • whether the Attorney General should still sit in Executive Council.

The final round of constitutional talks is to take place in London from February 26 to March 2. Ralph O'Neal considers his personal radio speech as an alternative way of informing people of the BVI about constitutional talks if above mentioned questions are not made public till the end of this month.

It is worth to be added that BVI Government has made efforts to keep this process public, for example by holding public meetings, to get public opinion on what should be included in particular Chapters of a new Constitution.

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