The first meeting of the Constitutional Review Commission was held yesterday, Monday, 18 July.
In her opening welcome remarks at the Department of Youth Affairs and Sports conference room, the Chairman, Mrs. Lisa Penn-Lettsome expressed her thanks to fellow commissioners for agreeing to serve and reminded them that they were all bearing witness to history in the making.
“To my mind, never before has a constitutional review been commissioned in such circumstances that the Territory finds itself in at present. What is more, we have been charged with trying our very best to ensure that, never again will a constitutional review have to be commissioned in such circumstances”, the Chairman told the members.
Noting that the commissioners had been given a short time to accomplish a major task, the Chairman encouraged the commissioners by stating, “It is clear that every confidence has been bestowed upon us that we will succeed in meeting our ever important task.”
Following the swearing-in of members present, the commissioners immediately set about agreeing a draft set of Terms of Reference that would be used to chart the course of the commission’s work going forward.
Under the Framework for Implementation of the Recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry Report and other Reforms, the Government of the Virgin Islands proposed a deadline of 31 July, 2022 for the Constitutional Review Commission to present draft Terms of Reference to the Premier and the Governor for joint sign-off.
The commission was approved by Cabinet on 29 June, 2022. The forthcoming Constitutional Review will consider the aspirations and changes the people of the Virgin Islands wish to see in the next constitution.
The members of the Constitutional Review Commission are Mrs. Lisa Penn-Lettsome, (Chairman), Ms. Janice Stoutt (Deputy Chairman), Dr. Charles Wheatley, Mr. Ronnie W. Skelton, Mrs. Bernadine Louis, Reverend Dr. Melvin A. Turnbull, Dr. Benedicta P. T. Samuels, Dr. Steve Lennard, Ms. Maya Barry, Mr. Sendrick Chinnery, Ms. Noni Georges, Mr. Coy Levons, Mr. Rajah A. Smith, Sir Dennis Byron, Mrs. Tanya Cassie-Parker and Ms. Susan Demers.