The belongership and voting status of 688 Virgin Islanders have come under question in a recent audit, and Governor John Rankin has taken emergency action to have the issue resolved ahead of the 2023 General Election, just 10 days away.

On Friday the Governor announced that following discussions with the Premier and the Cabinet, it has been decided that the 4th House of Assembly will be recalled in the coming days.

As it is intended that members of the public will only have the chance to read the contents of the audit after it is laid in the House of Assembly, the Governor provided some context on the severity of the situation at hand.

He further explained that this is of particular concern on the eve of an election, as it becomes a question of whether or not the affected individuals hold a legal right to vote in the Virgin Islands. 

He stressed that in no way are the persons affected at fault for this error, and added that it is very likely that these individuals have been operating as valuable members of the society under the belief that their belonger status was legitimate.

The Governor said that, ultimately, the move is to allow the House of Assembly an opportunity to resolve the issue as representatives see best.

The House of Assembly will reconvene on Monday 17 April 2023. 

It was not indicated how long the house is expected to operate in this instance, however, Premier Dr the Honourable Natalio Wheately did indicate that the move does not intend to impact the Election from taking place as is already planned. 

Wheatley said that during the sitting on Monday a bill will be introduced to validate the status of those affected.