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Historical: First Grandfather & Grandson as VI Chief Minister & Premier!

-Dr. the Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley now walks in the footsteps of his grandfather Dr Willard Wheatley, MBE
Today, in the Virgin Islands (VI), we have a new Premier in the person of Dr. the Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley (R7) sworn in on May 5, 2022, whose grandfather the late Dr Willard Wheatley MBE, LLD was a Chief Minister and the First Minister of Finance. Photo: Internet Source/Facebook
The late Hubert Robinson O’Neal ultimately lost his life in 1971 carrying furniture to the school in North Sound, Virgin Gorda that bears his name. His son, former legislator Dr Hubert O’Neal followed some forty-five years later and won a seat under the National Democratic Party banner and served from 2015-2019. Photo: GIS/Internet Source
The late Hubert Robinson O’Neal ultimately lost his life in 1971 carrying furniture to the school in North Sound, Virgin Gorda that bears his name. His son, former legislator Dr Hubert O’Neal followed some forty-five years later and won a seat under the National Democratic Party banner and served from 2015-2019. Photo: GIS/Internet Source
Two brothers also served in the Parliament, former Legislator Earl P. Fraser (1983-1986) and current Representative Hon. Julian Fraser RA (1999-current). Photo: GIS/Internet Source
Two brothers also served in the Parliament, former Legislator Earl P. Fraser (1983-1986) and current Representative Hon. Julian Fraser RA (1999-current). Photo: GIS/Internet Source
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI - It only happened once before in the history of the Virgin Islands (1950- current) but it was at a different level. The first father and son to represent Virgin Gorda today, part of the ninth district, started with Hubert Robinson O’Neal in 1970 who was from Virgin Gorda.

The late Hubert Robinson O’Neal ultimately lost his life in 1971 carrying furniture to the school in North Sound, Virgin Gorda that bears his name. His son, former legislator Dr Hubert O’Neal followed some forty-five years later and won a seat under the National Democratic Party banner and served from 2015-2019.

They became the first father and son to be elected to Parliament in the Virgin Islands (VI), albeit years apart taking into account the Parliament/House of Assemblies from 1950 to current.

Top job - grandfather & grandson

However, history has been made for the second time at a different level in 2022. Today in the Virgin Islands (VI), we have a new Premier in the person of Dr. the Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley (R7) sworn in on  May 5, 2022, whose grandfather the late Dr Willard Wheatley MBE, LLD was a Chief Minister and the First Minister of Finance.

The former Chief Minister Wheatley served from 1971-1986 representing what is today the 8th District.  He also served as Chief Minister and Minister of Finance for two consecutive terms from 1971-1979.

Today his grandson also known as ‘Sowande’ is the fourth Premier of the Territory.  

His late grandfather was the one that took the VI out of grant-in-aid in 1978, a programme where the VI had to depend on the colonial master the United Kingdom for money to fund the Budget. 

The grandfather and grandson combination is another historical moment for the British Overseas Territory of some 30,000 people.

Other families in the House from 1950 to current

While other siblings of Chief Ministers have run for office, like the son of the Late H. Lavity Stoutt - Preston P. Stoutt and the daughter of the late Cyril B. Romney- Joann R. Romney; they have not been successful.

There were two brothers who served in the Parliament, former Legislator Earl P. Fraser (1983-1986) and current Representative Hon Julian Fraser RA (R3) (1999-current) and Lavity Stoutt (1967-1995) and his brother Prince M. Stoutt (1977-1983, 1990-1995)

Over the years in the HoA, there were continued combinations of first cousins, uncles, aunts and nephews/nieces as well as in-laws serving in elective office because of the small population. 

However, in the VI’s political history in the HoA of 1950 to current, only one combination of father and son and one of grandfather and grandson to date have held the highest office.

Editor’s note: Local historians in the Virgin Islands noted that before 1950 there was a House of Assembly going back to 1713 to around 1902 before it was suspended.  They said free coloured slaves served, and in particular, there was one by the name of William Agrippa O’Neal, elected 1836 who served and was the grandfather of the late First Premier of the Virgin Islands, Ralph T. O’Neal OBE.

 

25 Responses to “Historical: First Grandfather & Grandson as VI Chief Minister & Premier! ”

  • Windy (07/05/2022, 14:37) Like (16) Dislike (9) Reply
    Good history vino you remain a source of solid information
    • 8 (07/05/2022, 16:13) Like (11) Dislike (4) Reply
      ‘Sowande’ is the fourth Premier of the Territory. Now I am not disputing this as you may be focusing on the word "premier".

      However, I would rather like to say ( and I stand to be corrected) he is the 7th leader of the territory from the 7th district!!!

      Perfect !!!

    • Rubber Duck (07/05/2022, 23:41) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
      Five families run the crime in New York.

      Here it’s around 10
  • both ah dem cheap (07/05/2022, 14:43) Like (4) Dislike (4) Reply
    2 pea from the same pod
  • family (07/05/2022, 14:50) Like (11) Dislike (2) Reply
    Interesting but not unusual because the same situation occurs in all the islands of the Eastern Caribbean and Bahamas. Spend time in Antigua, Puerto Rico, Martinique, etc. and every government has close family relatives in similar positions over the decades. The sea isolates each island so those that enter public life are usually following in the footsteps of their parents, cousins, etc. The problem with too many relatives in public service is that these related individuals begin to place their loyalty to their family's above their loyalty to their constituents of voters who elected them to that office.
  • Family Affair (07/05/2022, 14:59) Like (7) Dislike (2) Reply
    Lots of family in there now
  • WEW (07/05/2022, 15:19) Like (20) Dislike (8) Reply
    Just shows that the gene pool in the BVI is too small
    • @ wew (07/05/2022, 15:58) Like (6) Dislike (14) Reply
      you are free to make a reservation to where have bigger gene pools…..there lots more like you in the land just full of talk. thanks God for the united states dollars
    • ... (07/05/2022, 17:46) Like (2) Dislike (2) Reply
      Dont worry due to the transatlantic slave trade and its horrors there are plenty of European genes floating around in the BVI....
  • Congratulations (07/05/2022, 15:29) Like (11) Dislike (11) Reply
    It is a historic moment in the Virgin islands indeed. Congratulations Dr. Natalio Wheatley.
  • FIRE (07/05/2022, 15:30) Like (12) Dislike (2) Reply
    After election we will see who the people wants.
  • rubber duck (07/05/2022, 16:30) Like (3) Dislike (24) Reply
    I miss mr willock from the house already
  • wondering (07/05/2022, 16:34) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
    Was "Grant In Aid" really a bad thing or good thing??? Hmmm?
    • lodger (07/05/2022, 21:23) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
      It was a good thing because not enough tax income was generated to run our affairs. However, once the offshore financial services kicked tax money flowed in like a river, and grant in aid was no longer needed or wanted. Mores the pity that since then, Omars cookie jar has been wide open with no lid or bottom. Greedy politicians, civil servants, landlords, contractors, and yes drug facilitators, have somehow managed to divert that income, such that we have very little to show for it. “Natures Little Secret”? BAH! This place is a disgrace compared to Bermuda, Cayman, and Barbados, and places in the Middle East, which made good use of the oil bonanza.We should be ashamed at how we have, collectively, not progressed our home. It could be beautiful but the only beautiful view is from the water, hence our successful sailing industry.
  • history teacher (07/05/2022, 17:07) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
    The editor’s note is facts
  • Just saying (07/05/2022, 17:12) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    I want to learn more about the history of the early house of assembly before 1950
  • backstbber (07/05/2022, 17:13) Like (6) Dislike (6) Reply
    He shot the sheriff in the back and took over
  • yea right (07/05/2022, 17:34) Like (15) Dislike (0) Reply
    Willard Wheatly as a independent candidate used the power of balance on two occations to become Chief Minister, joining with a different party each time. He had no loyality to anyone and always had difficulty holding the team together. In the end his partners in the government, the Virgin Islands Party, fielded Louis Walters and unseated him in the election ending his political career.
  • testing 1 2 3 (07/05/2022, 19:56) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    somewhere around 1975 under willard wheatley bvi was removed from grant in air by great britian

    our people strive from back then until now without any handouts from united kingdom

    1975-2022
  • You forgot (07/05/2022, 22:14) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    In the 1960 General Elections in District 1, Joseph E. Romney ran against H. Lavish Stoutt.
    In the 2019 General Elections, Sylvia Romney-Moses, grand daughter of Joseph E. Romney, was one of two candidates against Andrew Fahie.
  • Nepotism (08/05/2022, 07:19) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
    Let's not celebrate the wrong reasons. Let Dr Wheatley become a great or terrible leader on his own merits.

    I wish showing the family ties between our leaders was a good sign, or maybe just a consequense of our small population, but I am afraid it really shows how our goverment is run by a small group of individuals leeching from power.

    All we are seeing in the last 20 or 30 years of goverment in the BVI is how our MINI oligarchs have risen into positions of power and alternated in power.

    We should fight fpr a real representative democracy and stop our dependency on rusty professional politicians, crooked businessmen seeking their own advantage, money and powee greedy clergymen, and the newst power form of democracy rapers: social commentators.

    Do not let our 20 or 30 self entitled people tell us what to do.

    Goverment is createated to represent us, we should be the one telling them what we want.
  • @ NOT ALI OH (08/05/2022, 16:02) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
    YOU SHOULD OF TRIED YO EMULATE MR WILLARD FROM DAY ONE ( BUT YOUR
    ACTIONS HAS NO INTEGRITY , SO WE ALREADY SEEN THROUGH YOU ALL PUBLICITY STUNTS , THEATRICS OR WHATEVER YOU ALL COMING WITH


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