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British Virgin Islands legislature approves no-confidence vote against Fahie

By Brian Ellsworth and Zarrin Ahmed

MIAMI (Reuters) -The British Virgin Islands’ House of Assembly on Thursday approved a no-confidence vote against Andrew Fahie, a step toward removing the overseas British territory’s premier after his arrest on drug charges in Miami last week.

“The honorable Andrew A. Fahie has lost the moral authority to be able to lead the Virgin Islands,” said Acting Premier Natalio Wheatley in proposing the motion. “He cannot lead the people of the Virgin Islands any longer.”

The 15-member assembly backed the measure with a vote of 10 in favor and one “absent.”

The territory’s constitution says that following a no-confidence motion, the territory’s governor – a representative of Queen Elizabeth – shall revoke the premier’s mandate.

It adds that the governor also has the option to dissolve the assembly upon the request of the premier.

The office of Governor John Rankin did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

Theresa Van Vliet, a lawyer representing Fahie in Miami, declined to comment.

Fahie, 51, was arrested at a Miami airport along with the managing director of the territory’s Ports Authority, Oleanvine Maynard.

The U.S. Department of Justice says Fahie in recorded meetings with a confidential source posing a from the Drug Enforcement Administration agreed to help smuggle cocaine through the territory in exchange for a portion of the proceeds.

Van Vliet in a court hearing on Wednesday said Fahie will plead not guilty to the charges.

Separately, a commission of inquiry last week said the British Virgin Islands assembly and its constitution should be suspended due to systematic dishonesty in governance, a proposal that would effectively leave the territory governed from London.

(Reporting by Brian Ellsworth and Zarrin Ahmed in MiamiEditing by Matthew Lewis)

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