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Parliament
The Parliament of the British Virgin Islands
Parliament | House of Assembly | Executive Council
Introduction

The House of Assembly of the British Virgin Islands, until 2007 known as the Legislative Council, has 15 members; 13 directly elected for four year terms—nine in single-seat constituencies and four "at large"—one ex officio member and one Speaker chosen from outside the house.

The House of Assembly of the British Virgin Islands is comprised of Members who are elected by the people of the British Virgin Islands and therefore play a very important role in the lives of British Virgin Islanders. 

The House of Assembly has a unicameral system (i.e. made up of one chamber) because of its relative smallness compared to larger countries, which operates under a bicameral system consisting of an Upper and Lower Chamber.  Together with the Governor, who represents the Queen, the House of Assembly makes Acts of Parliament, or legislation. 

Additionally, Members of the House of Assembly form the Government of the British Virgin Islands.  The Government is formed by Members of a political party, or coalition of political parties, that has a majority of members in the House of Assembly.

History

The history of legislatures in the British Virgin Islands can be roughly divided into two: colonial legislatures in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and then a hiatus, followed by the modern legislature after the re-introduction of democracy in 1950.

The first Legislative Council of modern times was formed in 1950 pursuant to the Constitution Act, 1950. It had eight members, two ex-official members, two nominated members and four elected members. Requirements for standing for election included income, property, and a deposit (forfeited with failure to garner a certain percentage of votes). The four members were elected in the 1950 on a Territory-wide basis.

In 1954 the existing constitutional provisions were replaced by the Constitution and Elections Ordinance, 1954 which expanded the elected membership to six, divided amongst five district seats (with Road Town having two representatives). The 1967 Constitution expanded the elected membership to seven, with each district having a single representative. In 1977 the Elections Ordinance, 1977 expanded the number of district seats to nine. Pursuant to the Elections Act, 1994 the British Virgin Islands introduced four Territorial at-large seats in addition to the nine district seats, creating a total of 13 elected members to sit alongside the two ex-officio members (the Speaker and the Attorney General). 

Legislatures
Election Years Term Elected seats
1950 1950 - 1954 First Legislative Council 4 at-large
1954 1954 - 1957 Second Legislative Council 5 territorial
1957 1957 - 1960 Third Legislative Council 5 territorial
1960 1960 - 1963 Fourth Legislative Council 5 territorial
1963 1963 - 1967 Fifth Legislative Council 5 territorial
1967 1967 - 1971 Sixth Legislative Council 7 territorial
1971 1971 - 1975 Seventh Legislative Council 7 territorial
1975 1975 - 1979 Eighth Legislative Council 7 territorial
1979 1979 - 1983 Ninth Legislative Council 9 territorial
1983 1983 - 1986 Tenth Legislative Council 9 territorial
1986 1986 - 1990 Eleventh Legislative Council 9 territorial
1990 1990 - 1995 Twelfth Legislative Council 9 territorial
1995 1995 - 1999 Thirteenth Legislative Council 13 (9 territorial plus 4 at-large)
1999 1999 - 2003 Fourteenth Legislative Council 13 (9 territorial plus 4 at-large)
2003 2003 - 2007 Fifteenth Legislative Council 13 (9 territorial plus 4 at-large)
2007 2007 - 2011 First Assembly Legislative Council 13 (9 territorial plus 4 at-large)
2011 2011 - 2015 Second Assembly Legislative Council 13 (9 territorial plus 4 at-large)
Speakers of the House of Assembly
Name Entered Office Left Office Legislature
Hon. Henry O. CREQUE 1967 1971 Legislative Council
Hon. H.R. PENN, MBE 8 Jul 1971 1975 Legislative Council
Hon. Ivan DAWSON 1975 1983 Legislative Council
Hon. Keith L. FLAX 1983 1997 Legislative Council
Hon. Reuben W. VANTERPOOL 1997 2003 Legislative Council
Hon. Vivian Inez ARCHIBALD 10 Jul 2003 2007 Legislative Council
Hon. Roy HARRIGAN 14 Sep 2007 12 Sep 2011 First House of Assembly
Hon. Ingrid MOSES-SCATLIFFE 8 Dec 2011 Present Second House of Assembly
Deputy Speakers of the House of Assembly
Name Entered Office Left Office Legislature
Ivan DAWSON 1971 1975 Legislative Council
Leopold E. SMITH 1975 1978 Legislative Council
Omar HODGE 1979 1983 Legislative Council
Earl P. FRASER 1983 1986 Legislative Council
Terrance B. LETTSOME 1986 1990 Legislative Council
Oliver CILLS 1990 1995 Legislative Council
Reeial GEORGE 1995 16 Jun 2003 Legislative Council
Eileene L. PARSONS 10 Jul 2003 2005 Legislative Council
Delores CHRISTOPHER 2005 2007 Legislative Council
Keith L. FLAX 2007 2011 House of Assembly
Delores CHRISTOPHER 8 Dec 2011 Incumbent House of Assembly
SOURCES:
http://www.legco.gov.vg
http://www.bvi.gov.vg/house-assembly
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