New Constitution May Include Term Limit For Politicians


Should there be a term limit for legislators in the British Virgin Islands? At least two members of the Opposition believes that this should be considered for the Territory’s next Constitution. The recommendation was made in the House of Assembly on 28 July. 

The first mention of the suggestion was made by Fourth District Representative Hon. Mark Vanterpool during the debate for the commencement of the Constitutional Review process. Hon. Vanterpool explained that persons in the Territory have apprehension and misgivings about legislators and suggested that a term limit might help to improve public opinion about politicians. 

The Opposition Member told the House of Assembly, “I would mention in here now, we need actual term-limits so that people can believe and trust us a little more and not see us here forever, especially the premiership or the leadership of the country.” 

“At least it gives a chance for after two terms or another term for a Premier to lead the country and he takes a break. And if he’s young enough and wants to come back again, he comes back again later,” he explained. 

Leader of the Opposition Hon. Marlon Penn, during his contribution to the debate, also made this suggestion. In fact, Hon. Penn told his colleagues that something should be done in the area of term limits and he mentioned that the Cayman Islands was able to put term limits in their Constitution. “It is something that we might want to consider. It is something that we should consider.” 

In further making a point for this consideration Hon. Penn told legislators, “We don’t want to have a king, and create kingdoms. That person has the ability or the opportunity to come back one term off as being the Premier, but it is something I think we need to consider. As we do the review [its]something we need to look at very keenly.” 

He said that that sister overseas Territories’ constitution recommends that the Premier serves for two consecutive terms; and noted that it is something the BVI may want to look at. 

So far the public response to limiting the terms of politicians has been well received by the public as examples from leaders of superpowers have generated extreme divisiveness in their respective countries with the term “populist” being rapidly replaced by “fascist” and “dictators” even in the “conservative” media.