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‘Independence is a decision for the VI people’– Premier Wheatley

- says decision will have to come in the form of referendum
Virgin Islands (VI) Premier and Minister of Finance, Dr the Hon Natalio D. Wheatley (R7) says if the VI is to ever take up a step towards independence, it will be a decision for the people of the territory. Photo: VINO/File
Premier Dr the Hon Natalio D. Wheatley was at the time a guest on the cross border Territories talk show which was broadcasted on July 13, 2022, via Facebook. Photo: Facebook
Premier Dr the Hon Natalio D. Wheatley was at the time a guest on the cross border Territories talk show which was broadcasted on July 13, 2022, via Facebook. Photo: Facebook
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI– Premier and Minister of Finance, Dr the Hon Natalio D. Wheatley (R7) says independence for the Virgin Islands (VI) is a decision for the people of the territory.

Dr Wheatley was at the time a guest on the cross-border show, 'Territories Talk', on July 13, 2022.

Independence will come through a referendum - Dr Wheatley 

Addressing questions on the possibility of independence in the VI, Dr Wheatley added, “Well, definitely independence is a decision for the people of the Virgin Islands that they will express through a referendum. But certainly, I think if we are ever to take that step, it will be because we have helped mature our institutions.”

Dr Wheatley said if the VI is to ever take the step towards independence, it will be because the VI has built up its independent institutions that can hold the politicians' feet to the fire, and keep them accountable, with an emphasis on transparency, accountability, good governance and respect for the rule of law.

He added that the efficiency and effectiveness of local systems and processes all help to build confidence among the people of the VI. 

“I believe the people of the OTs are no less than any group from any other place in the world. I believe we do have the ability to govern ourselves. I think in a lot of ways our development has been retarded and has been stunted based on the relationship that we've had with our administering power.” 

VI needs to mature & grow - Dr Wheatley 

The Premier said; however, that it is good that there's an awakening among the people of the VI, where there is a need to mature and grow as well as mature the local politics to ensure that the best interests of the territory are at the heart of everything and that relationships are formed. 

“I think the Territories Talk holds well for our future, that we realise that we have partnerships that go beyond the shores of our individual territories and that we'll utilise the resources which are around us.”

This, Dr Wheatley said, will help the VI in the event that the territory takes the step of going independent or choose to have a free association with another state, since independence is not the only option available on the way forward.

“So we've been attending the UN Decolonisation meetings, we've been reporting to them every year [and]they have actually passed some resolutions on the BVI supporting our right to self-determination, and we're going to continue reporting…. Going to continue going through the process and certainly, we are hopeful that the United Kingdom will be supportive of us in that, along with our brothers and sisters in the region,” he added.

18 Responses to “‘Independence is a decision for the VI people’– Premier Wheatley”

  • EE Potholes (15/07/2022, 11:39) Like (31) Dislike (2) Reply
  • Independence question (15/07/2022, 12:05) Like (35) Dislike (3) Reply
    This country cannot even go to the toilet on its own let alone run things properly..
  • Star (15/07/2022, 12:30) Like (32) Dislike (1) Reply
    Yeah East End Roads looking terrible, the government has no shame. Imagine coming off a flight and have to experience East End Roads. Go East End People and check it out for yourselves you won't believe.
  • fromafar (15/07/2022, 12:46) Like (6) Dislike (18) Reply
    we need it we are going no where too much people in our business
  • Strange Country (15/07/2022, 14:24) Like (23) Dislike (1) Reply
    A nation cannot exist when everyone who holds power is related or are old friends/enemies.
    Normal rules of nationhood cannot apply here, which is why we were not given independence when all the other Caribbean colonies got theirs. We are just too small.
    Yes, our population has increased a lot but the number of eligible voters is still very low – about the size of a small village in most countries, aka a 'community', not a 'country'.
    For a glimpse at how it would be, but much worse because there would be no oversight at all, look at the what COI showed us.
  • josiah'sbay (15/07/2022, 15:49) Like (2) Dislike (12) Reply
    Let's be honest, you'll need some form of independence to pursue free association. Integration is direct rule, so independence is the real choice.
  • Fear and guilt.. (15/07/2022, 16:08) Like (16) Dislike (1) Reply
    Independence can't save them from Jail..They are looking every way out. They have to pay for their sins. The have to account for all the tax payers money..
  • daffy duck (15/07/2022, 20:17) Like (11) Dislike (5) Reply
    Independence, you joking right...? This territory is way too corrupt to govern itself. Government needs to be a Government of the people not a Government of personal gain....The UK needs to step in and take over and weed out the bad apples...
  • c (15/07/2022, 20:55) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
    No. Dream on.
  • bvi to the bone (15/07/2022, 21:11) Like (5) Dislike (7) Reply
    Some of fellow Virgin Islanders are so stupid. I mean those who calling for direct rule or want to stay subservient to the former slave masters. I hope the idiots who calling for direct rule know don’t regret the day it happens. The UK cares nothing about the people of the Virgin Islands.
  • who? (15/07/2022, 22:14) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
    Which VI People get to vote for independence? Belongers? Or, BVI tax payers? Or, BVI residents?
  • Tafari Zharr (15/07/2022, 22:33) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    Goodness VI:

    Perhaps: Paradise or Paradox

    I can hear the rustled sounds of leaves on this almost breezy, Summer, July evening; and as I keep watch on the lake hoping to spot the stalking alligator the water ripples and flows to f**king nowhere. Which reminds me, All this talk about independence don’t guarantee freedoms, or protections, or survival w t f.

    Perhaps, it’s as simple as wanting to Wake up to see and smell VI ocean; are we daydreaming? Two things can be true. VI, I hear you as you wrestle with whether to rustle feathers or not to rustle leaves. I hear how you sound so unfulfilled and it might just be that subjugation of a people that has ran it’s course! Goodnesses.

    Perhaps colonization is dead to you; but is colonization dead to them?

    Perhaps, VI are pinning for a past that’s gone.

    Perhaps, the future it hopes for is just another affair - an unrequited love filled with the nostalgia where the only familiar thing is slipping away ticktocking further and further away from any future of a more abiding quintessential VI;

    VI, My fears are your fears, my concerns are yours, and though my fathers bones are buried in your soil, my soul is stained by a culture that is inherently flawed so I’m begging of you, not to become the paradox but the paradise upon which future generations will proudly parade from East to West and North to South to display humanity and dignity beyond a digital world of keyboard thugs and assholes.

    Perhaps, it’s better to be a bit Rusty lest for uncertainty, fears, and untimeliness, what are the chances for a more advantageous democracy?

    Perhaps the only other real choice is to ride this MFBOT out until the wheels fall off- Until then, all we have is the meantime to discover who we are by facing the necessary truths, making required truces, and sprucing up economy and getting rid of “class” and other demeaning local social constructs, right?

    Whatever happens, in terms of yes or no to independence it should not be blamed on anyone demographic; what’s most meaningful is finding theories of reconciliation rather than attribution among ourselves. Have we not fought each other long enough, politics is a endless game but we live, in numerical proximity to death, regardless of the tiresome shame of missteps, mistakes, and misery for most of it.

    VI, Love, trust, and forgiveness is a recipe for being closer, stronger, and united. The VI may be that Sweet Pea that has been flowering since whenever- overtime - into the present so until we figure this s**t out I give you that which has no limits. Here is:

    “Anytime” by Brian McKnight- the next song on my playlist- opening lyrics - rightfully fitting - because “Anytime” is better than No Time” and no matter what happens VI one day you’ll look back at your lives wondering If you did the right thing for love or country.
    “ I can’t remember why we fall apart, from something that was so meant to be, forever was the promise in our hearts, Now more and more I wonder where you are,
    So do I ever cross your mind -anytime”

    A resounding : Y E S
  • Native Senior Citizen of the British Virgin Islands (16/07/2022, 00:29) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Hon. Premier, Natalio Sajande Wheatley, the time for independence will come, but first we have deal with the mai task before us. Until then, independence talking is futile (meaningless at this time. Don't muddy the water any muddier than it already is politically, please.
    You know that first we have to comply with the CoI recommendations accordiling to the agreed plan. Any upsturing is is dangerous for us. Don't "rush the brush."
  • fromafar (16/07/2022, 07:03) Like (7) Dislike (1) Reply
    Independence is a decision for the people of the Virgin Islands and who are these people ? who are these people that are eligible to make that decision ? Is it the UK? . The US ? The entire Caribbean? No it is the indigenous people of these islands ,

  • NO INDEPENDENCE (16/07/2022, 07:42) Like (5) Dislike (1) Reply
    I disagree with you Mr. Premier. You all have to clean up this country from where you all have it right now. I really do not have any confidence in you and the unity group that was formed. Why, you and your former members had to know what was going on and you did nothing to stop our country from going down the the wrong direction. If you see something, say something and you did not do that. The people of this country are not humble enough for independence. There is NO LOVE in this country but we use the slogan BVI LOVE where is it. Let us as citizens of this country humble ourselves and ask the master that we pray too to forgive us for all our sins and wrong doing done to this nation. LOVE IS THE KEY WORD UNTIL WE LEARN TO LOVE we not ready for independence. Everyone always saying to give the young people a chance, but this shows that our your people are not ready. Our older people cared about our country, you all are not because when you can take up and move to other parts of world once you screw it over we cannot because we are only citizen of the British Virgin Islands not the United States etc. I have a question what would we go independence off of, tourism, what do we export, what would be our currency? You all fail to plan. I would not like to be on this independence ship under this leadership. We will not make it. Focus on the issues at hand building this country back to where we can gain the respect that we once had. Let's stop selling our country out for thirty pieces of silver. Everyone cannot have a building name in their honor like our former ministers. Remember this is a global world that we live in and we cannot do it all by ourselves.

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