- Written by The BVI Beacon
- Published: 10 November 2017
On Monday, House of Assembly members are scheduled to meet for their second official session since the passage of Hurricane Irma, with a busy agenda that includes debates on three financial services-related laws as well as amendments to the Marriage Act.
The sitting will also include questions from the opposition relating to government’s recovery effort and funding options going forward.
According to the order paper, lawmakers will give second and third readings to the Micro Business Companies Act, 2017; the Limited Partnership Act, 2017; and the Marriage (Amendment) Act, 2017.
The micro business legislation is designed to create a new, cheaper business vehicle with annual turnover or gross asset value capped at $2 million. The businesses would be less complex and more transparent — with publicly available participant data online — than the standard BVI Business Company, according to a draft of the legislation Gazetted in March.
The Limited Partnership Act is designed to overhaul the Partnership Act, 1996, and allow the territory to market LPs as an international investment vehicle.
The Marriage (Amendment) Act would update marriage regulations, including adding a stipulation that would allow for weddings at sea. Government officials have touted it as a necessary step towards promoting wedding tourism.
Premier Dr. Orlando Smith (R-at large) is also scheduled to give a first reading of the “Financial Services (Special Circumstances) Act, 2017.” The bill has not yet been Gazetted.
Questions and answers
Opposition Leader Andrew Fahie (R-D1) is scheduled to ask Dr. Smith questions relating to government’s debt to the BVI Electricity Corporation; the territory’s total damage assessment; potential recovery financing options; and the pre- and post-Irma balances of the Reserve Fund, the Development Fund, the Consolidated Fund and the Emergency Disaster Fund.
Mr. Fahie also plans to ask the premier how much government is planning on paying the heavy equipment operators who aided in the recovery process.
Additionally, the opposition leader is scheduled to ask about the future of the public service, as well as whether government plans to go after the $7.2 million it spent on BVI Airways.
Opposition member Julian Fraser (R-D3) is scheduled to ask Dr. Smith whether government plans to compensate business owners who suffered from looting in the aftermath of Irma.
He is also scheduled to ask about the timetable for the return of the territory’s Commercial Court, which temporarily relocated to St. Lucia.
Additionally, Mr. Fraser plans to ask Communications and Works Minister Mark Vanterpool (R-D4) about government’s restoration of electricity and water.