Wednesday, March 07, 2007

New BVI Constitution Agreed

The successful conclusion of the British Virgin Islands constitutional talks were welcomed by Lord Triesman, FCO Minister responsible for the Overseas Territories, on February 28, 2007.

On February 26-28, delegations from the BVI and UK met in London for the 4th round of talks on constitutional review for the British Virgin Islands. The constitutional talks were hosted by Lord Triesman, and the leader of the delegation was BVI Chief Minister the Hon Dr Orlando Smith.

According to Chief Minister Orlando Smith, the BVI team achieved 95% of the proposals for a modernized constitution, which is a highly satisfactory result from the negotiation.

Drawing conclusions on the talks, Lord Triesman expressed his delight regarding co-operation aimed at producing a new constitution, which is an great step forward for a modern BVI.

The new constitution includes provisions devolving significant new powers to the Government of the BVI. Lord Triesman emphasized the significance of the fact that the BVI has proved it has been devoted to the promotion and protection of human rights by means of including a Fundamental Rights Chapter in the Constitution and congratulated Dr Orlando Smith and his delegation on their dedication to secure what is the best for people retaining the links to the UK. Regarding the issue of internal security, a new National Security Council will be established, which will give BVI Ministers a greater say in police matters. Also, greater influence will be given to the BVI Premier to setting the Cabinet agenda.

To remind of the constitutional review process, it should be mentioned that it began in 2004 with the appointment of the BVI Constitutional Review Commission. After extensive public consultation, in February 2005, the Constitutional Review Commission's report with recommendations was presented to Executive Council. In 2006, constitutional reform talks began in the BVI and delegations from the BVI and the UK had 3 rounds of constitutional talks. Their result was a draft text discussed in London on February 26-28, 2007.

No comments: