Friday, September 21, 2007

1st House of Assembly inaugural sitting held in BVI

September 14, 2007 can be considered to be the beginning of a new era in BVI politics as the 1st sitting of the new House of Assembly convened in Road Town.

The 3-hour session attended by Gov. David Pearey, public servants, family members, students, party supporters and visitors hosted the 13 representatives elected during the August 20 General Elections. Also, a delegation from the U.S. Virgin Islands attended the ceremony.

David Edgecombe represented Gov. John deJongh Jr., Simon Caines represented Lt. Gov. Gregory Francis and Stephen Frett represented Senate President Usie Richards. Sen. Carmen Wesselhoft of St. John also attended.

The main three tasks of the day were selecting a speaker, who does not belong to the ranks of elected House members, electing a deputy speaker and administrating the oath of allegiance to the new members.

The speaker was elected unanimously. It was former teacher and government Personnel Department employee Roy Harrigan of Virgin Gorda. Former speaker and businessman Keith Flax was elected the new deputy speaker.

The government side of the House are the following persons:

  • District 1 Rep. Andrew Fahie, Minister of Education and Culture;
  • District 2 Rep. Alvin Christopher;
  • District 3 Rep. Julian Fraser, Minister of Communications and Works;
  • District 4 Rep. Vincent Scatliffe; District 5 Rep. Elvis Harrigan;
  • District 6 Rep. Omar Hodge, Minister of Natural Resources and Labor;
  • District 8 Rep. Dancia Penn, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health and Social Development;
  • District 9 Rep. and Premier Ralph O'Neal, Minister of Finance;
  • Territorial At Large representative Keith Flax;
  • Territorial At Large Vernon Malone;
  • Territorial At Large representative Irene Penn-O'Neal.
The opposition side are:

House Speaker Harrigan accepted the position with humility and took the responsibility. He gave each member 5 minutes to speak.

Premier O'Neal noted that there were only 2 seats on the opposition, however, he mentioned that he would not tolerate them being bypassed.

Opposition Leader Smith stated that it was a great honor for his National Democratic Party government to have served the British Virgin Islands for the last 4 years. He also noted that despite the fact that the opposition is small in number, it will have a voice.

When congratulating the new government, he reminded the new constitution that elected representatives have greater responsibilities, especially as regards external affairs and police and crime.

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