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'Bad' NDP Gov't shunned the people in drafting recovery plan- Doug Wheatley

- said everyone was affected by the hurricanes & should have had a say in the initial phase of Draft Recovery Plan
Host of the latest local talk show, BVI Have Your Say, Mr Doug Wheatley has lamented that the public was left out of the formulation of the Draft Recovery Plan. Photo: VINO/File
The draft recovery plan following the August floods and September hurricanes has been posted on the Government website for input from residents, according to the National Democratic Party Government. Photo: bvi.gov.vg
The draft recovery plan following the August floods and September hurricanes has been posted on the Government website for input from residents, according to the National Democratic Party Government. Photo: bvi.gov.vg
According to President of the Virgin Islands Party (VIP) Mr Natalio D. Wheatley aka Sowande Uhuru, needs to stop the practice of only consulting with people during election time. Photo: Facebook
According to President of the Virgin Islands Party (VIP) Mr Natalio D. Wheatley aka Sowande Uhuru, needs to stop the practice of only consulting with people during election time. Photo: Facebook
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- “I am a true believer in Democracy and I don’t believe that democracy just functions at election time. By democracy we mean when the people are involved in their own governance.” Those were the sentiments expressed by the President of the Virgin Islands Party, Mr Natalio D. Wheatley aka Sowande Uhuru, when he appeared on the newest radio talk show, BVI Have Your Say.

The show was hosted by veteran social commentator and retired civil servant Mr Doug Wheatley, and was first aired on CBN 90.9 FM Radio at 8:00 P.M. on Wednesday January 3, 2018.

The duo was at the time talking about the importance of having such forums where residents are given a chance to voice opinions and concerns about what is taking place in the community.

It is not one of nature's little secrets that the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) Government often leaves the people who elected them out of the decision-making process. In fact, some persons even ventured as far as calling it a dictatorship instead of a democracy. Politicians and residents alike have been calling for more community involvement in the development of policies.

During the discussion between father and son, it was junior Mr Wheatley that said, “We have a system here where we vote for representatives and they are supposed to represent our interest every day of the year…We don’t elect persons to do whatever it is they feel like doing.”

More community involvement needed

Most recently the Draft Recovery Plan for the Territory was released, reportedly for the public's input. Many persons voiced concern about the lack of community involvement in the preparation of the document, even though residents are now being consulted on its implementation. It was Opposition Leader Honourable Andrew A. Fahie (R1) who called it ‘putting the cart before the horse.’

Govwernment said in the proposed recovery and development plan that roughly $721M will be needed to restore the territory over the next five years.

Adding his voice to the choral of persons calling for community involvement in the development of the Draft Recovery Plan, [Natalio] Wheatley stated, “It speaks about consulting with the people, and it speaks about persons being involved in the process, but in practise it's not taking place, because even in the formulation of the plan the persons should have been involved much more than they were involved, as opposed to just government bureaucrats getting together and determining how things should be.”

Media has a role to play

It is this very reason, he explained, that the media, be it radio, television, printed press, social media or news, have an important part to play in allowing the voice of the people to be heard.

“One thing I would like to propose differently from the very onset, from the very jump, is we have to get the democratic process right. We have to involve persons. The government opposition, they have a role to play, so we have to support them in their role to play. The media has a role, an educated public has a role to play. All the different institutions of government that ensures checks and balances and accountability, they have a role to play.

It is evident that Mr [Doug] Wheatley too agrees that community consultations are necessary if the Recovery plan is to benefit the people. He added, “You cannot proceed, as the government is trying, to create a restoration policy and not involve your people. The people have to be involved in it.

“From the very jump street, the people should have been involved in it. There are only 13 members of the House and there are some 30,000 people in the BVI, and they have been adversely affected by the hurricanes and therefore they should’ve had a say in how things will be put together again and what should be done. I think that it is very bad indeed that the government of the day did not see it possible at the time to involve the people.”

Meanwhile, BVI Have Your Say did not offer a call in segment during its first airing but the host Mr Wheatley promised its availability during the next show.

4 Responses to “'Bad' NDP Gov't shunned the people in drafting recovery plan- Doug Wheatley”

  • The Watcher (04/01/2018, 09:41) Like (0) Dislike (2) Reply
    like father like son!
  • Political Observer (PO) (04/01/2018, 09:50) Like (7) Dislike (1) Reply
    BVI Have Your Say, you say. That didn’t happen last night. It was a one way conversation; listeners were not engaged, for they had no means of engaging in the conversation. The NDP was heavily criticized for not involving residents in recovery plan development. Nonetheless, BVI Have Your Say didn’t give eager listeners the opportunity to actively participate in the discussion, Yes, it was the maiden show but an opportunity was missed. First impression is important. Ok. You promised to engage listeners on next show. We will see. In regards to the $721M recovery plan, government has drafted a plan (good or bad) and did the unusual by putting it out for review. Normally, projects are “Done Deal.” Time will tell if this procedure was just a sham. From jump street, the airport extension needs to be remove from this plan. A want that is devouring 95% of the Business and Economy line item on recovery plan is a non starter. Critical needs need to be addressed first. The airport extension is not affordable and can be deferred to the long term. What is the rush to fund this project that the territory cannot afford? Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.
  • no trust (04/01/2018, 10:59) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
    This "government" can't even tell us how much has been spent and what it's been spent on. Now, they want us to trust them with this plan for OUR future--which, includes funding their pet project, airport expansion. Ask the people what WE need. Please, get a roof over everyone's head. Get 100% power and water restored. Make the roads drivable. Help us afford recovery. Is that asking too much?
  • rattie (04/01/2018, 19:20) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Nothing new here this is how the nod operates


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