Press Release

Office of the Governor
Release Date:
Thursday, 22 September 2016 - 4:13pm

His Excellency the Governor John S. Duncan, OBE, outlined Government’s legislative agenda when he delivered his second Speech from the Throne Address earlier today, Thursday, September 22.

The speech was delivered at the opening of the First Sitting of the Second Session of the Third House of Assembly of the Virgin Islands under the theme, “Securing Our Future”.

The speech covered specific focus areas for the Government of the Virgin Islands.  These focus areas are: improving social services; strengthening the educational sector; border protection; enhancing law, order and public safety; stimulating/fixing the economy; improving the standard of living; infrastructural development; and ensuring public sector reform.

In improving social services, legislative instruments related to the care and protection of children will be introduced to the House of Assembly.  A new Child Maintenance and Access Bill has been drafted to address financial and other support services necessary for the upbringing of a child.  This law will allow the courts to order that funds for the maintenance of a child be taken directly from the earnings of a person, in accordance with the terms of a maintenance order.

Regarding border protection, enhancing law, order and public safety, the Governor stated that keeping the BVI safe and crime free are crucial to securing the Territory’s future.  Therefore, Government will seek to upgrade the Police Act (Cap. 165) to strengthen the Force’s capability.  The Vehicle and Road Traffic (Traffic Signs) (Amendment) Regulations, 2011 will also be upgraded to address parking in Road Town and the amendment will include an increase in traffic fines.

The Government will also seek to introduce to the House of Assembly, legislation to establish the BVI Red Cross as a separate legal entity pursuant to the 1997 Supplemental Royal Charter of the British Red Cross Society.

Governor Duncan emphasised that education remains a crucial component to the advancement of the Territory and said that the recent passing of the Higher Education Licensing Act, 2016 and the Education Act, 2004, means that strong foundations in education are being built.

Also in strengthening the education sector, the Library Act is being amended to modernise the operational procedures of the services of the Virgin Islands Public Library. The Governor outlined that Government is expected to meet with the Christian Council and seek to establish regulations for Ecclesiastical Affairs.

The Government seeks to stimulate/ fix the economy through the BVI Investment Bill, which Governor Duncan said is an immediate priority to facilitate and drive domestic and foreign investment in the Territory. Also outlined in the speech are changes to diversify the Territory’s tourism product as a wedding destination including amendments to legislation. 

Governor Duncan said, “This will allow the Registrar or the Marriage Officer to conduct marriages on board a ship within the Territorial waters.”

The Governor said that progress has been made on the proposed amendments to the Marriage Ordinance (Cap. 272) which will bring in line modern laws for the overall improvement and efficiency in the registration and celebration of marriages in the Territory.

The Speech from the Throne is traditional in Commonwealth Countries and British Overseas Territories. It is the vehicle used by the elected government to set out its legislative programme for the upcoming year, and is prepared by the government on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen in whom the executive authority is vested and who is also part of the legislature.  Governor Duncan was sworn-in as the 16th Governor of the Territory on August 15, 2014.  He delivered his first Speech from the Throne Address on Monday, November 10, 2014.                    


Colene A. Penn

Head of Communications
Recovery and Development Agency
Tel: +1 (284) 345-2776 | Mobile: +1 (284) 345-3387