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British Virgin Islands Constitution

PART III

The Executive

13. (1) The executive authority of the Virgin Islands shall be vested in Her Majesty. (1) The executive authority of the Virgin Islands shall be vested in Her Majesty.

(2) Subject to the provisions of this Order, the executive authority of the Virgin Islands may be exercised on behalf of Her Majesty by the Governor, either directly or through officers subordinate to him, but nothing in this subsection shall operate so as to prejudice the provisions of any law for the time being in force in the Virgin Islands whereby functions are, or may be, conferred on persons or authorities other than the Governor.

14. There shall be an Executive Council in and for the Virgin Islands which shall consist of the Chief Minister, not less than two nor more than three other Ministers and the Attorney General.

15. (1) The Chief Minister shall be appointed by the Governor as follows:

(a) If a political party gains a majority of the seats of elected members of the Legislative Council the Governor shall appoint as Chief Minister the elected member of the Legislative Council recommended by a majority of the elected members of the Legislative Council who are members of that party.

(b) If no political party gains such a majority or if no recommendation is made under paragraph (a) of this subsection, the Governor acting in his discretion, shall appoint as Chief Minister the elected member of the Legislative Council who, in his judgment, is best able to command the support of a majority of the elected members of the Legislative Council.

(2) The other three Ministers shall be appointed by the Governor in accordance with the advice of the Chief Minister from among the elected members of the Legislative Council.

(3) The Governor, acting in accordance with the advice of the Chief Minister, shall appoint one of the Ministers as Deputy Chief Minister. This appointment may be revoked by the Governor, acting in accordance with the advice of the Chief Minister, but such revocation shall not in itself affect the Minister's tenure of office as a Minister.

(4) If occasion arises for making an appointment of any Minister between a dissolution of the Legislative Council and the polling in the next following general election, a person who was an elected member of the Legislative Council immediately before the dissolution may be appointed as if he were still a member of the Legislative Council.

(5) Appointments made under this section shall be made by instrument under the public seal.

16. (1) If a motion that the Legislative Council should declare a lack of confidence in the Government of the Virgin Islands receives in the Legislative Council the affirmative votes of a majority of all the elected members thereof, the Governor shall by instrument under the public seal, revoke the appointment of the Chief Minister:

Provided that before so revoking the Chief Minister's appointment the Governor shall consult with the Chief Minister and, if the Chief Minister so requests, the Governor, acting in his discretion, may dissolve the Legislative Council instead of revoking the appointment.

(2) The Chief Minister shall vacate his office if, after the polling in a general election and before the Legislative Council first meets thereafter, the Governor, acting in his discretion, informs him that he is about to appoint another person as the Chief Minister.

(3) Any Minister shall vacate his office if -

(a) he ceases to be a member of the Legislative Council for any reason other than a dissolution; or

(b) he is not an elected member of the Legislative Council when it first meets after a general election; or

(c) he is required under the provisions of section 30 (3) of this Order to cease to perform his functions as a member of the Legislative Council; or

(d) he resigns it by writing under his hand addressed to the Governor; or

(e) if he is absent from the Virgin lslands without, in the case of the Chief Minister, having given the Governor prior notice of such absence or, in the case of any other Minister, having obtained the written permission of the Governor, acting in accordance with the advice of the Chief Minister.

(4) A Minister other than the Chief Minister shall also vacate his office if –

(a) the Chief Minister vacates his office; or

(b) his appointment is revoked by the Governor, acting in accordance with the advice of the Chief Minister, by instrument under the public seal.

17. (1) If the Chief Minister is expected to be absent from the Virgin Islands for more than forty-eight hours, the Governor shall, by notice in the Gazette, authorise the Deputy Chief Minister to perform the functions conferred on the Chief Minister under this Order. This authority shall be revoked by the Governor, by notice in the Gazette, on the return of the Chief Minister to the Virgin Islands.

(2) If the Executive Council advises the Governor that the Chief Minister is unable to perform his functions by reason of illness, the Governor shall, by notice in the Gazette authorise the Deputy Chief Minister to perform the functions conferred on the Chief Minister under this Order. This authority shall be revoked by the Governor if the Executive Council advises him that the Chief Minister is again able to perform his functions.

18. (1) The Governor, acting in accordance with the advice of the Chief Minister, may, by directions in writing, assign to any Minister responsibility for the conduct (subject to the provisions of this Order and of any other law) of any business of the Government of the Virgin Islands, including responsibility for the administration of any department of government:

Provided that a Minister shall not be charged with responsibility under this section for any of the matters mentioned in the next following section.

(2) The Governor, acting in his discretion, may at any time call for any official papers or seek any official information or advice available to a Minister with respect to a matter for which that Minister is responsible under this section.

19. (1) The Governor shall be responsible for the conduct (subject to the provisions of this Order and of any other law) of any business of the Government of the Virgin Islands, including the administration of any department of government, with respect to the following matters:

(a) external affairs;

(b) defence, including armed forces;

(c) internal security, including the Police Force;

(d) the terms and conditions of service of persons holding or acting in public offices;

(e) the administration of the courts:

Provided that the Governor, after consultation with the Chief Minister, may assign to any member of the Executive Council responsibility for the conduct on behalf of the Governor of any business in the Legislative Council with respect to any of the said matters.

20. Every member of the Executive Council shall, before entering upon the duties of his office as a member, make before the Governor an oath or affirmation of allegiance in the form set out in the Schedule to this Order and an oath or affirmation for the due execution of that office in such form as may be prescribed by any law in force in the Virgin Islands or, if no law in that behalf is for the time being in force, in the form set out in the Schedule to this Order.

21. The Governor may summon any public officer to a meeting of the Executive Council whenever, in his opinion, the business before the Council renders the presence of that officer desirable.

22. The Executive Council shall not be summoned except by the authority of the Governor, acting in his discretion:

Provided that the Governor shall summon the Council if the Chief Minister so requests.

23. . (1) The Governor shall, so far as is practicable, attend and preside at meetings of the Executive Council.

(2) In the absence of the Governor there shall preside at any meeting of the Executive Council such member of the Council as the Governor, acting in his discretion, may appoint.

(3) No business shall be transacted at any meeting of the Council if there are less than two members present besides the Governor or other person presiding.

(4) Subject to the last foregoing subsection, the Council shall not be disqualified for the transaction of business by reason of any vacancy in the membership of the Council (including any vacancy not filled when the Council is first constituted or is reconstituted at anv time), and the validity of the transaction of business in the Council shall not be affected by reason only of the fact that some person who was not entitled so to do took part in the proceedings.

24. (1) The Attorney General shall have power, in any case in which he considers it desirable so to do-

(a) to institute and undertake criminal proceedings against any person before any civil court in respect of any offence against any law in force in the Virgin Islands;

(b) to take over and continue any such criminal proceedings that have been instituted by any other person or authority; and

(c) to discontinue at any stage before judgment is delivered any such criminal proceedings instituted or undertaken by himself or any other person or authority.

(2) The powers of the Attorney General under the last foregoing subsection may be exercised by him in person or by officers subordinate to him acting under and in accordance with his general or special instructions.

(3) The powers conferred upon the Attorney General by paragraphs (b) and (c) of subsection (1) of this section shall be vested in him to the exclusion of any other person or authority:

Provided that where any other person or authority has instituted criminal proceedings, nothing in this subsection shall prevent the withdrawal of those proceedings by or at the instance of that person or authority at any stage before the person against whom the proceedings have been instituted has been charged before the court.

(4) For the purposes of this section, any appeal from any determination in any criminal proceedings before any court, or any case stated or question of law reserved for the purpose of any such proceedings, to any other court or to Her Majesty in Council shall be deemed to be part of those proceedings.

(5) In the exercise of the powers conferred upon him by this section, section 49 (2) and section 50 of this Order the Attorney General shall not be subject to the direction or control of any other person or authority.