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Premier ignores VI residents & will submit Govt’s unilateral views to UK review

Premier ignores VI residents & will submit Govt’s unilateral views to UK review. Photo: VINO/File
Notably, Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) had announced his plans to establish a Domestic Committee to seek consultations with the people of the VI—an initiative he confirmed during his August 15, 2018 press conference. Photo: VINO/File
Notably, Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) had announced his plans to establish a Domestic Committee to seek consultations with the people of the VI—an initiative he confirmed during his August 15, 2018 press conference. Photo: VINO/File
Senior Pastor of the Cane Garden Bay Baptist Church, Reverend, Dr Michael A. Turnbull, has made clear—the matter cannot be dealt with by the current crop of elected officials in government.
Senior Pastor of the Cane Garden Bay Baptist Church, Reverend, Dr Michael A. Turnbull, has made clear—the matter cannot be dealt with by the current crop of elected officials in government.
The Premier—unlike Hon Andrew A. Fahie’s approach to traverse the Territory and meet with the people in a Town Hall meeting format—said, “my Government has already commenced work on responding to inquiry and any member of community is invited to also make their submission to my office.” Photo: VINO/File
The Premier—unlike Hon Andrew A. Fahie’s approach to traverse the Territory and meet with the people in a Town Hall meeting format—said, “my Government has already commenced work on responding to inquiry and any member of community is invited to also make their submission to my office.” Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – In a ‘knee-jerk’ reaction to the Territory-wide consultations, organised by the Opposition Leader, Honourable Andrew A. Fahie (R1), Premier of the Virgin Islands (VI), Dr the Honourable, D. Orlando Smith, (AL) has confirmed that the National Democratic Party (NDP) government will now, ‘unilaterally’ respond to the United Kingdom (UK) Parliament’s request, regarding the formal review of future relations with its Overseas Territories (OTs).

The move by the Dr Smith Administration comes almost one month after the UK Parliament formally tasked its Parliamentary Special Select Committee on Foreign Relations, with opening up a formal review of the UK’s future relationship with its OTs.

The Government Information Service (GIS) announced Dr Smith’s position on August 15, 2018—hours after a press conference held by Hon Fahie—who earlier in the day outlined his plans for Territory-wide consultations with the people of the VI.

Notably, Hon Fahie had announced his plans to establish a Domestic Committee to seek consultations with the people of the VI—an initiative he confirmed during his August 15, 2018 press conference.

Smith vs Fahie

This, in order to prepare a ‘consensus based’ submission, on behalf of the people of the VI—a starkly different approach from that announced by GIS, for the NDP government to prepare its own submissions and submit to the UK, on behalf of the people of the VI.

The Premier—unlike Hon Fahie’s approach to traverse the Territory and meet with the people in a Town Hall meeting format—said, “my Government has already commenced work on responding to inquiry and any member of community is invited to also make their submission to my office.”

Dr Smith has essentially decided to have the NDP leadership submit to the UK Parliament, its unilaterally concluded submission, while ignoring the views of the people Territory-wide, since there will be no consultations held.

GIS in its press release, quoted Dr Smith saying instead, “…we have always valued our relationship with the UK Government, Parliament and people, none more so than last year when so much help and support was forthcoming from all levels of British society post-Irma.”

Speaking to the announced review, Dr Smith drew reference to the UK’s 2012 White Paper, which spoke about the, "new partnership - the new way forward" for the UK OT relationship.

The Inquiry, he said, “gives us the opportunity to present our perspective… we will seek to ensure that the Committee understands our position on the recent threat of an Order in Council and why this has the potential to have such an adverse impact on the partnership between us.”

Premier Smith in drawing reference to the UK’s Parliament Special Select Committee on Foreign Relations,  observed that the Chairman had pointed out the UK’s place in the world is changing, and as such posits, “I believe that the BVI can have a positive role to play as it adapts.”

Mixed Reactions

While the decision by the UK to review its future relationship with its OTs has drawn mixed reactions from residents, there is consensus on one aspect; the NDP does not hold the confidence of most in the Territory to handle the debacle.

Only recently Senior Pastor of the Cane Garden Bay Baptist Church (CGBBC), Reverend, Dr Michael A. Turnbull made clear—the matter cannot be dealt with by the current crop of elected officials in government.

Dr. Turnbull in a public missive on Monday, August 13, 2018, cautioned, “We cannot depend on the Government or any other public official to have the conversation for us. We have to start taking responsibility as a people to shape the Virgin Islands we want, and to shape the VI-UK relationship that we want…We have not been doing a good job at this, and then we complain when we are not getting what we expect.”

He was adamant, “…we have been shirking our social responsibility relying solely on the elected officials to represent us, rather than holding them accountable to the relationship we want to see.”

Working Groups

Opposition Leader, Hon Fahie after meeting with Premier Smith on August 14, 2018 following that day’s sitting of the HoA, had also expressed similar sentiments.

He disclosed to media operatives during a press conference—held on August 15, 2018 at Village Caythe Opposition Leader told media operatives “I am satisfied with what, I am doing.”

Pressed further on the outcome of the meeting with Premier Smith, Hon Fahie said, “I was more convinced to continue to get the people involved.”

Grilled further by the media for a more specific answer on the outcome of the meeting with the Premier, Hon Fahie said rhetorically, “I was satisfied that the government is being consistent…they are being consistent with how they get people involved, they’re being consistent with how they’re going to do their (PR) Public Relations afterwards, I was satisfied they’re being consistent.”          

Hon Fahie,  is scheduled today August 16, 2018, to meet with those in the Territory willing to lend their expertise to the cause, at which time five thematic working groups will be established under the ‘consultation committee’—announced a week ago.

That activity is also slated for the Village Cay, Hotel and Marina.

 Secrecy

Since taking power in the 2011 Elections, the NDP government has since demonstrated a track record of ‘secrecy’ in its transactions while ignoring the input of residents of the VI.

There is currently rising levels of confusion as to who is really in charge of the Territory since Dr Smith now shares responsibility with the recently elected Chairman of the NDP, Honourable Myron V. Walwyn (AL).

This obtains, since Hon Walwyn is now co-Leader of government’s business in the HoA.

4 Responses to “Premier ignores VI residents & will submit Govt’s unilateral views to UK review”

  • ok (16/08/2018, 10:37) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Independence coming soon no accountability
  • Political Observer (PO) (16/08/2018, 12:51) Like (19) Dislike (0) Reply
    The NDP is a fragmented, lame duck government; it is just marking time and calling it in. In regards to the inquiry, the government is behaving in a unilateral fashion, not multilateral as it should. It is if it has resigned to fact that the BVI problems will be the province of another government. This behaviour is the fault of the electorate; it votes and then it goes in deep hibernation until the next election. The electorate has the true power but it seems as if it yields it to the politicians who should only have apparent power. No respect for the electorate; it is if it thinks they are ignoramuses. If the government is going to call it in, it is time for election.
  • WOWW (16/08/2018, 16:45) Like (21) Dislike (1) Reply
    Thumbs up if you want vip win

    Thumbs down if you want ndp win
  • cromwell (17/08/2018, 15:38) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    For the Premier to respond to the UK inquiry without any input from the people is likely to tell London a great deal about the state of affairs in the BVI. Clearly, what the people of the BVI think does not matter to the incumbent leadership and I am sure this will register with London accordingly.


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