Victory for democracy in the British Virgin Islands
Edward Fitzgerald QC, along with Joe Middleton and local Attorney Patrick Thomson of the BVI have successfully vindicated the right of Mark Vanterpool to take his seat in Parliament. The Speaker had alleged that Mr Vanterpool was not entitled to do so as a result of him submitting a resignation letter to the Clerk.
Edward Fitzgerald argued before the High Court that the resignation letter was invalid and had since been repudiated by the Clerk and also withdrawn by Mr Vanterpool. The Speaker, however, refused to swear Mr Vanterpool into Parliament, thereby denying him the right to represent the electorate. Ultimately, the High Court judge accepted Edward’s submission that the resignation was procedurally invalid and declared that Mr Vanterpool was in fact entitled to take his seat.
The Speaker has subsequently abandoned his appeal against the decision so Mr Vanterpool will now take his seat in Parliament once more.