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British Virgin Islands Constitution

PART I

Introductory

(1) This Order may be cited as the Virgin Islands (Constitution) Order 1976.

(2) This Order shall come into operation on the 1st day of June, 1977.

(3) On the coming into operation of this Order the Virgin Islands (Constitution) Orders 1967 to 1971 shall be revoked.

(4) Notwithstanding subsections (2) and (3) of this section-

(a) the Legislative Council as constituted by the Orders hereby revoked, except that the Financial Secretary shall cease to be a member, shall remain in existence until 1st October, 1979 or until it is dissolved pursuant to sections 16 (1) and 47 (2) of this Order, whichever is the earlier, and during its existence Part IV of the Orders hereby revoked shall continue to apply in relation to the existing Council and the members thereof, except as otherwise provided in this section; and

(b) pending such dissolution, the Speaker, Deputy Speaker and members of the existing Council (other than the Financial Secretary) may continue to hold their respective offices notwithstanding that they would not be qualified to do so under this Order; but persons elected to fill their offices in the existing Council, should any of these fall vacant, shall be persons duly qualified under this Order, elected for electoral districts constituted, and by voters qualified in accordance with Part IV of the Orders hereby revoked; and

(c) on such dissolution section 48 of this Order shall apply as it does on the dissolution of the Legislative Council constituted under Part IV of this Order.

(1) In this Order, unless it is otherwise provided or required by the context-

"the Court of Appeal" means the Court of Appeal established by the West Indies Associated States Supreme Court Order 1967;

"dollars" means dollars in the currency of the Virgin Islands or the United States of America;

"election" means election of an elected member of the Legislative Council and "general election" shall be construed accordingly.

"the Gazette" means the official Gazette of the Virgin Islands;

"the High Court" means the High Court established by the West Indies Associated States Supreme Court Order 1967;

"minister of religion" means any person in holy orders and any other person the functions of whose principal occupation include teaching or preaching in any congregation for religious worship;

"the Police Force" means any police force established for the Virgin Islands under any law in force in the Virgin Islands;

"public office" means, subject to the provisions of subsections (8) and (9) of this section, any office of emolument in the public service or any office of emolument under any local government council or authority in the Virgin Islands;

"public officer" means the holder of any public office and includes any person appointed to act in any such office;

"public service" means the service of the Crown in a civil capacity in respect of the Government of the Virgin Islands;

"session" in relation to the Legislative Council means the sittings of the Council commencing when the Council first meets after being constituted under this Order, or after its prorogation or dissolution at any time, and terminating when the Council is next prorogued or is dissolved without having been prorogued;

"sitting" in relation to the Legislative Council means a period during which the Council is sitting continuously without adjournment and includes any period during which the Council is in committee.

(2) For the purposes of this Order a person shall be deemed to belong to the Virgin Islands if that person-

(a) is a British subject and was born in the Virgin Islands; or

(b) is a British subject and was born outside the Virgin Islands of a father or mother who was born within the Virgin Islands; o

(c) has obtained the status of a British subject by reason of the grant by the Governor of a certificate of naturalisation under The British Nationality and Statute of Aliens Act, 1914 or The British Nationality Act, 1948; or

(d) is a person to whom a certificate has been granted under the provisions of section 15 of the Immigration and Passport Ordinance, 1969 (in this section referred to as "the Ordinance", and references to the Ordinance or to any section thereof include references to any enactment amending or replacing the same) and has not been revoked under section 16 of the Ordinance; or

(e) is a British subject above the age of eighteen years who immediately before attaining that age was the child of a person to whom a certificate had been granted under section 15 of the Ordinance and not revoked under section 16 of the Ordinance:

Provided that a person shall cease to be deemed to belong to the Virgin Islands under the provisions of this paragraph who -

(i) subsequent to attaining the age of twenty-one years is ordinarily resident outside the Virgin Islands for a period of not less than five years; or

(ii) being a female, marries a person who is not deemed to belong to the Virgin Islands under the provisions of this subsection; or

(iii) is declared to be no longer a person deemed to belong to the Virgin Islands by an order made by the Governor in accordance with provisions of the Ordinance; or

(f) is the wife of a person to whom any of the foregoing paragraphs apply and is not living apart from such person under a decree of a competent court or a deed of separation; or

(g) is the child of any person to whom any of the foregoing paragraphs of this subsection apply; or

(h) is a British subject and the widow of a person who immediately before his death was, or would but for his death have been, deemed to belong to the Virgin Islands under any of the foregoing paragraphs of this subsection and who was at the time of his death lawfully married to her and not living apart from her under a decree of a competent court or a deed of separation:

Provided that a woman shall cease to be deemed to belong to the Virgin Islands under the provisions of this paragraph if-

(i) subsequent to the death of her husband she is ordinarily resident outside the Virgin Islands for a period of five years or longer; or

(ii) she marries a person who is not deemed to belong to the Virgin Islands under the provisions of this subsection.

(3) In this Order, unless it is otherwise provided or required by the context -

(a) any reference to power to make appointments to any office shall be construed as including a reference to power to make appointments on promotion and transfer to that office and to power to appoint a person to perform the functions of that office during any period when it is vacant or the holder thereof is unable (whether by reason of' absence or infirmity of body or mind or any other cause) to perform those functions;

(b) any reference to power to remove a public officer from office shall be construed as including a reference to any power conferred by any law to require or permit that officer to retire from the public service;

(c) any reference to the holder of an office by a term designating or describing his office shall be construed as including a reference to any person who, under and to the extent of any authority in that behalf, is for the time being performing the functions of that office.

(4) In this Order, unless it is otherwise provided or required by the context, references to the functions of the Governor shall be construed as references to his powers and duties in exercise of the executive authority of the Virgin Islands and to any other powers or duties conferred or imposed on him as Governor by or under this Order or any other law.

(5) Where by this Order any person is directed, or power is conferred on any person or authority to appoint a person to perform the functions of an office if the holder thereof is unable to perform those functions, the validity of any performance of those functions by the person so directed or of any appointment made in exercise of that power shall not be called in question in any court on the ground that the holder of the office is not unable to perform the functions of the office.

(6) For the purposes of this Order, the resignation of the holder of any office that is required to be addressed to any person shall have effect from the time that it is received by that person.

(7) For the purposes of this Order, a person shall not be considered to hold a public office by reason only-

(a) that he is in receipt of a pension or other like allowance in respect of public service; or

(b) that he is in receipt of any remuneration or allowances in respect of his tenure of the office of Minister or Speaker, Deputy Speaker or member of the Legislation Council.

(8) If it is provided by any law in force in the Virgin Islands that an office shall not be a public office for the purposes of Part IV of this Order, this Order shall have effect accordingly as if that provision of that law were enacted herein.

(9) References in section 19 and Part V of this Order to public offices shall not be construed as including references to-

(a) the office of a member of any board, committee or other similar body (whether incorporated or not) established by any law in force in the Virgin Islands; or

(b) any office of emolument under any local government council or authority in the Virgin Islands.

(10) Where this Order vests in any person power to make appointments to any office, a person may be appointed to that office, notwithstanding that some other person may be holding that office, when that other person is on leave of absence pending relinquishment of that office; and where two or more persons are holding the same office by reason of an appointment made in pursuance of this subsection, then, for the purposes of any function conferred upon the holder of that office, the person last, appointed to the office shall be deemed to be the sole holder of the office.

(11) Where any power is conferred by this Order to make any proclamation, order or regulations or to give any directions, the power shall be construed as including a power exercisable in like manner to amend or revoke any such proclamation, order, regulations or directions.

(12) For the avoidance of doubts it is hereby declared that any person who has vacated his seat in any body, or has vacated any office, established by this Order may, if qualified, again be appointed or elected as a member of that body, or to that office, as the case may be, from time to time.

(13) Save as in this Order otherwise provided or required by the context, the Interpretation Act 1889 shall apply, with the necessary adaptations, for the purpose of interpreting this Order and otherwise in relation thereto as it applies for the purpose of interpreting and in relation to an Act of Parliament.