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VI’s financial independence must be celebrated - E. Benito Wheatley

-As territory marks 40th Anniversary of the end of ‘Grant-In-Aid’
“Celebrating important moments in our political history is about building our national consciousness, especially at a time when we are rebuilding our society and must hold together to face the challenges of today and tomorrow,” Mr Wheatley told those gathered. Photo: YouTube
According to Mr Wheatley, “The end of Grant-In-Aid completed the process of firmly placing the territory’s finances in local hands, after the finance portfolio was handed over from the Governor to the elected government in 1978, under the stewardship of the then Chief Minister, the late Dr Willard Wheatley.” Photo: VINO/File
According to Mr Wheatley, “The end of Grant-In-Aid completed the process of firmly placing the territory’s finances in local hands, after the finance portfolio was handed over from the Governor to the elected government in 1978, under the stewardship of the then Chief Minister, the late Dr Willard Wheatley.” Photo: VINO/File
Mr Wheatley underscored the importance of the VI’s financial independence at a Dinner Event to mark the 40th Anniversary of the end of ‘Grant-In-Aid’ on December 15, 2018. Photo: YouTube
Mr Wheatley underscored the importance of the VI’s financial independence at a Dinner Event to mark the 40th Anniversary of the end of ‘Grant-In-Aid’ on December 15, 2018. Photo: YouTube
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – With the introduction of the Virgin Islands (VI) Ministerial Government in 1967, finance was not a portfolio devolved to the elected Government.

That responsibility remained under the United Kingdom (UK) appointed Governor, who also oversaw Britain’s financial assistance to the Territory, referred to as ‘Grant-In-Aid.’

This is according to Chairman of the End of Grant-In-Aid Celebration Committee, Mr E. Benito Wheatley who underscored the importance of the VI’s financial independence at a Dinner Event on December 15, 2018, to mark the 40th Anniversary of the historic moment.

Importance of Political History

“Celebrating important moments in our political history is about building our national consciousness, especially at a time when we are rebuilding our society and must hold together to face the challenges of today and tomorrow,” Mr Wheatley told those gathered.

“This is crucial for any people in the process of nation-building, the end of Grant-In-Aid in 1978 was a significant achievement in the history of the BVI not simply because it ended the territory’s external dependence on the UK, but because it clearly demonstrated the ability of our people to manage our own financial affairs and uphold the dignity of Virgin Islanders,” he said.

According to Mr Wheatley, “The end of Grant-In-Aid completed the process of firmly placing the territory’s finances in local hands, after the finance portfolio was handed over from the Governor to the elected government, under the stewardship of the then Chief Minister, the late Dr Willard Wheatley.”  

On June 1, 1977, Dr Wheatley officially became the VI’s first Minister of Finance following exceptional public management during the period.  By 1978, the Government independently closed a budget deficit and ended the year with a budget surplus of $1.3 million according to Mr. Wheatley.

Moving Forward

“It took steadfast leadership to realise these goals, which were the next great step in our march towards greater self-determination, we cannot underestimate how important development was for us as a people, the financial independence gained by the BVI gave the territory the ability to steer and accelerate the development of our society in the years that followed,” Mr Wheatley noted. 

He said as it stands today, and as the VI progresses, the government will need the financial, fiscal and regulatory powers it current enjoys, “to meet the challenges of recovery and to cope with external pressures bearing down upon the territory at this time.”

“Our financial independence is precious and we must safeguard it for the benefit of future generations.” he said.

“Let this anniversary be a reminder to us of the great value of our financial independence, the steadfast leadership that achieved it and the importance it holds for our future as a people.”  

6 Responses to “VI’s financial independence must be celebrated - E. Benito Wheatley ”

  • cromwell (19/12/2018, 13:06) Like (17) Dislike (10) Reply
    I think Benito is perhaps living in the past, how can the territory claim to be financially independent when the UK is having to guarantee hundreds of millions in loans. With $3.6 billion of damage following last years hurricanes, and, the probable revere reduction in finance revenue following the share register, and, EU legislation debacles, it's quite likely the territory may have to revert back to some form of Grant-in-Aid facility from the UK moving forward.
    • dude (20/12/2018, 13:22) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
      I think maybe Wheatley is showing the difference in leadership mentality, and how this recent philosophy has been contrary to our progress. How we were on a great path but the arrogant leaders of today have retarded our progress with their miseducated philosophy and lack of understanding and respect for our history. They ignored the foundation and went astray and we have to get back to the mentality that we had before when we were more focused on our own agenda and not that of others.
    • wize up (20/12/2018, 17:50) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      @ Cromwell: the current economic situation of this territory certainly does not reflect where we came from as a people: check your history and the facts will show the territory was on a firm economic footing thougout the 70s; 80s, 90s but we up the creek now because of leadership: our territory came out of grant-in-aid in the 70s and come 2018 we right back against the wall(who to blame?)...the facts of history can not be easily disputed(some have to read it; while some of us live though those golden years)..peaceful; love and unity(no crime!!!)...
  • facts (19/12/2018, 13:20) Like (7) Dislike (4) Reply
    Good that the Wheatleys are not letting the just come rewrite history
  • Diaspora (20/12/2018, 09:07) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    No doubt Dr. Hon Willard Wheatley is due praise for weaning the the VI off of grant-in-aid in 1978. However, fast forwarding 40 years there are severe troubling chinks in BVI financial armor. The historic flood of August 2017 and the devastating hurricanes of 2017 have exposed the fragility of the economy and the structural weakness of the financial foundation. Though these are different times, it will take the same skill, ability, competence, plan of action.......etc demonstrated by Teacher Wheatley to reinforce and strengthen the territory’s financial position.
  • @ facts (20/12/2018, 09:16) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    FACTS WITH THIS NEW SET THEY ALWAYS THINK EVEYTHING STARTED SINCE THEY GOT TO OFFICE


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