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Our ‘Top priority’ is implementation of CoI recommendations- Premier Wheatley

- said new Gov't is a willing partner with the UK
Dr the Hon Natalio D. Wheatley (R7), left, was sworn in as Premier of the Virgin Islands by Governor John J. Rankin, CMG (right) on May 6, 2022. Photo: Facebook
Some members of the National Unity Government. From left: Junior Minister for Tourism, Hon Alvera Maduro-Caines (R6); Minister for Education, Culture, Youth Affairs and Sports, Hon Sharie B. de Castro (AL); Minister for Transportation, Utilities and Works, Hon Kye M. Rymer (R5); Acting Premier Dr the Hon Natalio D. Wheatley (R7); Minister for Health and Social Development, Hon Marlon A. Penn (R8); Minister for Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration, Hon Melvin M. Turnbull (R2) and Junior Minister for Trade and Economic Development, Hon Shereen D. Flax-Charles (AL). Photo: Facebook/File
Some members of the National Unity Government. From left: Junior Minister for Tourism, Hon Alvera Maduro-Caines (R6); Minister for Education, Culture, Youth Affairs and Sports, Hon Sharie B. de Castro (AL); Minister for Transportation, Utilities and Works, Hon Kye M. Rymer (R5); Acting Premier Dr the Hon Natalio D. Wheatley (R7); Minister for Health and Social Development, Hon Marlon A. Penn (R8); Minister for Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration, Hon Melvin M. Turnbull (R2) and Junior Minister for Trade and Economic Development, Hon Shereen D. Flax-Charles (AL). Photo: Facebook/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- Following the successful passing of the resolution in the House of Assembly to remove Andrew A. Fahie as Premier of the Virgin Islands, Governor John J. Rankin, CMG yesterday evening, May 5, 2022, appointed Dr the Hon Natalio D. Wheatley (R7) as Premier and Hon Kye M. Rymer (R5) as Deputy Premier, before swearing in the new Cabinet Ministers.

The National Unity Government is being proposed as the alternative to direct rule, which was strongly recommended in the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) Report.

‘A new era of democratic governance’- Dr Wheatley

Premier Wheatley, whose grandfather Willard Wheatley once held the post of Chief Minister, said he was proud to lead this National Unity Government that reflects the hunger in our community for unity.

“This swearing in ceremony represents another important and necessary step in the process of renewing our cherished democracy and reforming our institutions and systems of government. It is my hope that this day will be remembered as the day that we began a new era of democratic governance in the territory,” Dr Wheatley stated in his first speech as Premier.

Dr Wheatley said the National Unity Government is looking forward to a “much stronger relationship” with the Governor in Cabinet as “we work together in the best interests of the people of the Virgin Islands and delivering on their priorities.”

The new Premier said there is a tremendous amount of work to do to begin embedding a new culture and better practises within local institutions and systems of government.

CoI Recommendations ‘top priority’

Meanwhile, Dr Wheatley disclosed that the implementation of the recommendations in the CoI Report will be the first order of business for the new government.

“Let me state unequivocally that the National Unity Government is fully committed to reform. For the avoidance of doubt, I want to be perfectly clear our top priority is the implementation of the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry Report within a framework of democratic governance and in close cooperation with the governor and United Kingdom, our partners.”

‘Implementation body’ to be created

 He also reiterated that said implementation of the recommendations cannot simply be done within the existing structures of government and that an implementation body will have to be created to support and advance the work involved.

“…and there will have to be partnership between the Virgin Islands and United Kingdom to achieve the desired outcome of a model democracy whose institutions and systems of government are robust and whose economy provides opportunities for everyone to make a decent living.”

‘We are a willing partner with UK’- Dr Wheatley

The Premier also said he is well aware that a decision has not been made by the United Kingdom on the Report’s recommendation for a partial suspension of the constitution.

“Nonetheless, we will continue to engage the governor on how best the National Unity Government can work in the best interests of the people of the Virgin Islands to deliver reform.

“We are a willing partner and ready to take the process forward in partnership without delay,” Dr Wheatley stated.

28 Responses to “Our ‘Top priority’ is implementation of CoI recommendations- Premier Wheatley”

  • Unseen defender (06/05/2022, 08:15) Like (19) Dislike (1) Reply
    Now there is no Opposition? How can we have a Government with no opposition, they will do the same. Now Marlon is a let Down , he should have settled only for Dep Premier cause he was the Leader of the Queens opposition , so this is not a good start, it’s unfair. Also this is a bribe to stop the UK’s direct rule and this is what we need in this place. They will still abuse the expats. I hope the UK don’t fall for this trick.
    • @ unseen defender (06/05/2022, 09:20) Like (4) Dislike (20) Reply
      realistically speaking there are three different political parties which now makes up the government

      In the past the government was simply Virgin Islands Party

      We now have NDP affiliates & we now PVIM affiliates under the new leadership of government business

      It is a dam good strategic move because our people are fully capable to run these islands and putting aside political difference and form a combination government is a great move

    • fraser (06/05/2022, 09:48) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Is an island unto himself. He is the lone ranger Opposition
    • time will tell (06/05/2022, 10:09) Like (3) Dislike (14) Reply
      Does Barbados have an opposition? How are they surviving? Your comment that Marlon should not have settled for less than Deputy Premier reeks of the same BS that got us here in the first place. I guess educating morons like you is also going to have to be a top priority for them. As for abusing expats, some of you abuse yourself when you bring your old nasty ways to the new life you claim you come here for. Why not just wait and see what will happen before being soo negative? Sooo Sickening!!!
  • Well (06/05/2022, 08:22) Like (11) Dislike (0) Reply
    I hope he means the investigations as well.
  • who to blame (06/05/2022, 08:49) Like (14) Dislike (0) Reply
    the allegations that my BVI was involved with money laundering that my BVI was involved in trafficking drugs??????

    Where is the former head of the port
    Where is the former chief minister

    Both of them sits in detention centers in USA and what are allegations against the 2 of them

    Both parties used their post for personal gratification now they got apprehended wants the world to stop spinning

  • Earl (06/05/2022, 09:05) Like (27) Dislike (4) Reply
    A few weeks ago he was spewing everything anti UK and independence for the BVI...
    Now he's the Governor's best friend !
  • Rubber Duck (06/05/2022, 09:15) Like (15) Dislike (3) Reply
    They are all a disgrace to the nation.

    Sack them all.
  • Crazy joe (06/05/2022, 09:17) Like (18) Dislike (5) Reply
    Nah. Your top priority is continue ripping off the country, oppressing the ex pats and filling your pockets with loot.

    Leopards don’t change their spots.
  • Ah well ! (06/05/2022, 09:37) Like (4) Dislike (6) Reply
    Hold your heads up high Virgin Islanders, for this to shall pass!
  • blowing in the wind (06/05/2022, 10:11) Like (19) Dislike (3) Reply
    the new premier not 1 month ago was spouting anti of the other hon ministers was out in the carpark protesting the other day..vocally as she always is. and now we all of a sudden partners ????

    Governor, watch your back is all im sayin...and i.m saying it respectfully.
  • big show (06/05/2022, 10:15) Like (14) Dislike (3) Reply
    I'm so a shame to be from the BVI we use to be such a strong people and we are so weak this thing about Natalio being our Premier disgusts me this guy is my family and it has nothing to do with family this man sat down along with his administration and watch Andrew Fahie bring the speaker to the house Bevis and Patsy to the board the man of the cloth to be an advisor the greedy bill and all the people was against the whole administration have failed us even Marlon Penn who I refuse to vote for now for supporting this guy being Premier right now in my opinion Mitch needs to rise up and push for Premier right now we need a man of God to lead us he is the only one in there with God on his side not like fake Andrew and that man alyo pushing is power hungry just like Andrew
  • lol (06/05/2022, 10:18) Like (7) Dislike (1) Reply
  • E. Leonard (06/05/2022, 10:24) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    Daron Acemoglu, and James A. Robinson in their best selling book Why Nations Fail noted that nations failed because of institutions, specifically extractive political and economic institutions. Extractive institutions are a vicious circle. The institutions in most of Africa, West Indies, Asia, South America, etc have roots in the colonial era. Moreover, successive governments, and politicians and people failed the Virgin Islands(VI) (British). Some may balk at my lumping the people in the VI’s royal mess. To that question I refer to dissident theologian Dietrich Bonhoefffer who was in the Nazi concentration camp : “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil.” Bonhoeffer also said of bystanders: “ God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to Act is to act.”

    Moreover, the VI has an interim coalition government. However, it must not be a government just on paper; it must work in unison for the VI and the public good to right the VI ship that ran hard aground on the reef, leaning badly and taking on water. Members of the unity government must set aside their different political ideologies, competition, political ambitions, etc and work for the good of the country. It must be work horses, not show horses. Either way the annals of history will reflect on its performance. 16 billions eyes are on you, even the sight challenge.

    The Unity Government led by Premier Natalio Wheatley (D-7, MoF ) must be clear-eyed and laser focused on the mission/vision. A weakness in VI institutions is effective planning; it must plan, organize, debate, decide and deliver. There will be disagreements among members of the Unity Government, but politics is the art of compromise. It must do the right things, not just do things right. It be both effective and efficient. The Unity Government will not keep everyone happy or satisfied, for no government can do that. All it can do is do the right things as best it can with available resources. It must communicate with, engage and inform the people.

    In my last paragraph, I focused on government but the key player (s) in fixing the VI problems is the VI PEOPLE, not the politicians nor the UK. I will digress for a minute to say this. I’m not in the camp that believe that the only problem-solver for the VI’s problem is direct rule. The VI people must have some national pride, confidence, etc. Again, the current situation is a VI caused and the VI people must fix it.

    Moreover, the VI is a democracy, ie, a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Thus, the people must own the problem and step forth and fix it. The VI has the knowledge, skill, ability, talent, etc to attack an fix its problems. It is do or die. All Virgin Islanders and VI residents must cooperative and collaborate on righting the sinking ship. It is an all hands on deck effort. Everyone must hitch themselves to the wagon and pull it. The VI people must get civically engaged in the territory’s affairs.

    Finally, the VI is in crisis, the ship is sinking and if it sinks it is going down with every Virgin Islander. The VI has myriad of problems but to its to do list it must add a self-empowerment plan. It has to shed the dependency.
    • ReaPol (06/05/2022, 12:17) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
      @E. Leonard, bro, that is real and it’ s free. Nevertheless, I have a bone to pick with you. Ah yu does soak up the BVI-provided education, go away and forget about the poor BVI. Wassup wid dat? That said, I agree that the people must be engaged. Congrats Unity Government and wish you well. It is a priceless model of cooperation, differences aside and putting country first. Now, let’s get to work and work tirelessly to fix our problems. Too much time yapping already.
      • Sound Bites (07/05/2022, 19:37) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        I have roots; deep roots in the SK/N Federation. It is/was also a Tri-party government. I excitedly watched every campaign video from their 2015 campaign launch. The energetic Mark Brantley's slogan was"The Sherrif". Their dociment of corporation and committment was signed in the street of Nevis. Today just over a One-term administration the Governor-General is awaiting Legal Counsel on a "Motion-of-no-Confidence" against Prime minister Timothy Harris. What are the Over-arching issued? (1) premiership to be passed to the leader of one party, (2) Nevis demands a greater share of the moneys from the "Citizen-by-Investment" program. In short order "Tea.Unity" will be a thing of the past.
        Bvis National Unity Government is political experiment meant to keep the so-called Colonialists at bay leaving us tomove forward ir slip backwards.
        Days after the arrested of then premier and port director it Dark Clouds seem to have been overshadiwing iur Bvis for days. Gloom seens to have been overshadowing us. The feeling of shock disbelief and grief seemed to have engulfed us. The ckallenge ahead to shipright our Bvi homeland wont be easy not rapid. In the Holy Scriptures the search was to fine just one (1) Righteous man in order for God to spare the city of Sodom and Gomorrah
    • Ne Timeas (06/05/2022, 16:11) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
      “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil.” Bonhoeffer also said of bystanders: “ God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to Act is to act.” Deep powerful, words.,The BVI must take this under advisement. We must admit that we spoke by not speaking and we acted by not acting. Going forward, we must commit to and engage in civic participation. E. Leonard, this blog is sage council for the new Unity Government. It took betrayal, shame, embarrassment, threat of losing our democracy, reintroduction to colonialism, etc, for the VI people to unite. Better late than never. Let’s use this opportunity, this chance for a rebirth, to put the BVI on a sustainable course along the 21st Century and beyond. We stumbled badly but we learn from this stumble to put the BVI in a stronger position as it was. The BVI people must sacrifice to invest the time and effort now to realize a high return on its investment later. .
    • Stealth (07/05/2022, 06:15) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      “ Silence in the face of evil is itself evil.” Bonhoeffer also said of bystanders: “ God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to Act is to act.” This quote needs further exploration and its applicability to the politicians and the VI. After slavery and the sprint away from the territory due to declining sugar profitability, the BVI people were left alone in dire straights to survive and developed a reputation as an independent and hardy group of people. However, with the introduction of modern political system, it reverted back to the dependency rooted in slavery and colonialism. The people got soft, shedding that hardy persona. Political patronage and dependency became common place. The people leaned heavily on government and political representatives for political favors. For example, the monthly allocation to elected members to spend in their district is nothing more than a voting buying scheme that indirectly buy silence. People develop an attitude of self-interest over public interest. Moreover, the process for selecting Premier and ministers too promoted silence.

      Voters when they go to the polls typically every four years to vote for members to form a new government don’t vote directly for Premier. Elected members determined who becomes Premier, the big dog and number one among equals in the HOA. But elevation to being a minister is another story. The Premier has almost unilateral power in deciding who are selected as ministers. Being a minister is a cherished position with power, status and influence. Some scurrilous scoundrels used their ministries as a passport, a vehicle, for personal gain. Some ministries become a government within a government. Consequently and regrettably, some ministers to stay in their position of power, status and influence avoid confronting wrongdoings. They go along to get along at the expense of the public good. This situation is not unique to the BVI; it is universal in both the Westminister and presidential systems. It is the unofficial rule, not the exception. The whole thing is warped, corrosive, and corrupt, creating an interdependent and parasitic relationship between politicians and constituents, and Prime ministers, Premiers, and Chief Ministers and their ministers. It is common place in the UK and in the OTs. The crown dependencies? Do they get the same scrutiny as Caribbean OTs? Are all OTs treated equally?

      Agree with Ne Timeas that the post was sage advice. Wish the new Unity Government well and may it garner the full support of the people, the main cog in wheel of the rebirth and renaissance, and may it have fair and strong with at its back as it grapple with the Herculean task ahead.

    • Undercover Obs (07/05/2022, 11:11) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
      E. Leonard, excellent political suggestions for today, tomorrow, and beyond. But we must be mindful that this Unity Government is a temporary government. Some history made. Premier Natalio “Sowande Uhuru” Wheatley joined his grandfather Dr. Williard Wheatley as the only immediately family members thus far to hold the top leader of government position in the BVI. Moreover, the constitution being suspended is a fait accompli, despite Government Rankin laughable communique that no decision has been made. That decision was made before Sir Gary Hickinbottom set foot on BVI soil. Anyone believe that he was handpicked to be fair and balance; he was hired to find the causes to support the decision. True, our actions contributed immensely to fleshing out the theory of the case, ie, the BVI and its people are corrupt.

      Undoubtedly, the arrest of former Premier Andrew Fahie was an accelerant to suspending the constitution and implementing UK direct rule, though the Governor and other folks lied with a straight face claiming the one thing has nothing to do with the other. If you believe that bold face lie, I have some mineral rich land on Wickham Cay for sale at a low cost. Don’t trust what I say just look at the sequence of event. Prior to Fahie’s arrest, the Governor was deliberate doing a two-step dance on when, how and to whom the CoI was going to released. Then , as soon as Fahie was arrested, the CoI dropped to the public. Who is fooling whom.
  • good day (06/05/2022, 10:29) Like (8) Dislike (3) Reply
    Congratulations to the new unity Government. We don’t want any more drug dealing gun running trash running Government. The vehicle the former Premier was using needs to be tossed in the middle of the Sea. Don’t utilize the vehicle because you will be putting bad karma on yourself.
  • BuzzBvi (06/05/2022, 10:43) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    The rats now encircle the cheese.
  • fromafar (06/05/2022, 11:07) Like (2) Dislike (6) Reply
    The Governor seems like he playing us , I keep saying do not trust these British guys in today's publication you see how he try to remind us the "decision is not his , the decision has not been made regarding the COI" Say i told you so , The Governor said he following the constitution, Great! People don't loose sight of the objectives of UK. Mr. Andrew F. just made things easier for the UK to achieve open registers , gay marriages , money laundering king pin and the like . And who is interested in this the UNITED STATES, AND THE UK. THEY ARE NOT INTERESTED IN THE VIRGIN ISLANDS FOR NO OTHE REASON.
  • BUSY BEE (06/05/2022, 11:39) Like (4) Dislike (5) Reply
    Hopefully the Hon. Mr. Turnbull can clean up the mess at the Labour Dept.
  • Old Peculiar (06/05/2022, 11:58) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    When the cats away - the rats will play.
  • Ummmm (06/05/2022, 14:24) Like (7) Dislike (1) Reply
    Can't believe his top priority is pleasing the UK. lol
    Wasn't he the one last month speaking with UN about colonization and stuff.
  • Forbidden Truth (06/05/2022, 23:10) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Invite the Hill man on your implementation team. He's not for sale.
  • down2earth (09/05/2022, 11:37) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    I am truly puzzled! Mr. Wheatley says they will be implementing the COI's recommendations. Isn't suspension of the Constitution one of these?

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