Fraser concerned sister islands excluded from statutory councils


Opposition Leader Julian Fraser has expressed concern that the sister islands of the BVI are being excluded from statutory representation on the council.

Fraser expressed that concern during a speech to the House of Assembly (HOA) yesterday, September 20, as lawmakers debated the Not-for-Profit Organizations (NPO) Amendment Act 2022.

The Leader of the Opposition said he had a conversation with a resident about the statutory councils which were formed recently and which do not appear to include representatives from the Sister Islands.

Fraser suggested House members avoid appearing insensitive and as if they were not looking out for the best interests of the Sister Islands. He also noted that this is something they may not have done enough, but have been looking to rectify lately.

According to Fraser, when members of the House were putting together demands for a board of directors for the Water and Sewerage Authority – which is set to become a statutory body – he made strong calls for representation from the Sister Islands in that time.

“So, I figure whenever something comes up here (in the HOA), where an opportunity arises for us to make sure that fairness, as far as representation goes, I will speak about it,” , said Fraser.

Fraser said he was equally convinced that opposition HOA members had a say in the composition of statutory boards.

House members, Fraser said, have a responsibility to the people of the BVI to distribute taxpayers’ money fairly so that people’s lives on each of the sister islands are the same as in Tortola.

In the meantime, Health Minister Marlon Penn, while addressing some of Fraser’s concerns, said there are already provisions in the amended NPO Bill allowing the Leader of the Opposition to appoint a member on the board.

“The point raised regarding the sister island is duly noted,” Penn said. “I know we are in this Assembly, have made these changes from time to time to ensure that Sister Island is adequately represented on most if not all councils in this territory and I know that once you will have the stage committee discussion, once it’s practical, we could have that discussion,” Penn said.

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