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‘Politically convenient’ narratives about Gov’t travel will only hurt VI– Premier

- says Governments have to travel to fight for the territory's interests internationally
Virgin Islands (VI) Premier and Minister of Finance, Dr the Hon Natalio D. Wheatley has shut down what he called ‘Politically convenient’ narratives about Government travel being propagated by opposition members and others in the Virgin Islands. Photo: GIS/Facebook
Junior Minister of Culture and Tourism, Hon Luce D. Hodge-Smith (R4) on October 6, 2023, has also has cause to lash out at narratives about unnecessary government travel reminding the press that travel is necessary to aggressively sell the VI. Photo: GIS/Facebook
Junior Minister of Culture and Tourism, Hon Luce D. Hodge-Smith (R4) on October 6, 2023, has also has cause to lash out at narratives about unnecessary government travel reminding the press that travel is necessary to aggressively sell the VI. Photo: GIS/Facebook
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI– Virgin Islands (VI) Premier and Minister of Finance, Dr the Hon Natalio D. Wheatley (R7) has shut down what he called ‘politically convenient’ narratives about Government travel being propagated by Opposition Members and others in the Virgin Islands.

The Premier made the comments during a November 10, 2023, press convenience on his participation in the Joint Ministerial Council (JMC) in London and other matters in the VI.

“One thing I would encourage is because I've heard this narrative, of course, about travel; every government has to travel, not just the BVI government. The other overseas territory governments, some of them have to travel maybe two weeks to get to London,” he said.

“So everyone has to travel. You go to international meetings where you're fighting for your interests and your place in the world, and inevitably you have to pay for airplanes, and you have to pay for hotels. And the further you travel, the more expensive it gets.”

The Premier added that he does not think the narratives being pushed serve the interest of the people and said that believing people can stay in the VI and things will work out for the territory will ultimately end up hurting the VI.

Political narratives will ultimately hurt VI - Premier Wheatley 

Since taking office, some Opposition Members and members of the media have accused Government members of traveling for fun, talk, and cocktails with nothing to show in return.

“I know sometimes it's politically convenient to have a narrative… I've heard this from the Opposition Members et cetera. It may be politically convenient to have a narrative that there's something wrong with officials representing the interests of the Virgin Islands internationally, but if we ever take that posture, it will hurt every single citizen and resident,” the Premier said.

Junior Minister for Culture and Tourism Hon Luce D. Hodge-Smith (R4) on October 6, 2023, also had cause to lash out at narratives about unnecessary government travel.

“We are in a global community. We cannot act in silo. Nothing comes to us. We have to go and aggressively sell our product and if it means traveling across the world to do it, we need to do it,” she said.

28 Responses to “‘Politically convenient’ narratives about Gov’t travel will only hurt VI– Premier”

  • Politically convenient (13/11/2023, 12:03) Like (7) Dislike (15) Reply
    The Premier and Hon. Luce are completely correct. We are not a secluded region. Finance and tourism are our two most important industries, and we must actively promote and advocate for our interests globally. I hope they are more transparent about the outcomes and expenses of each trip. After all, it is the taxpayers' money and interest.
    • A Capitalist Who Loves the BVI (13/11/2023, 16:29) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
      "[W]e must actively promote and advocate for our interests globally." That's true as far as it goes, and nobody disputes the concept, but look at some of the trips, such for climate change (as if the Territory is going to be able to impact it, or needs to send people IN PERSON to such a conference), and then there's the Miami Boat Show - just to name a few. And in each instance, look at how many people are sent. There's no discipline when it comes to selecting a venue or how many people will attend.
      • First class - five star hotels (13/11/2023, 18:12) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
        Why do our Government representatives have to travel first class and stay in 5 star hotels. You do not see employees in the private sector flying first class or staying in 5 star hotels - they travel in economy for shortish trips and business for longer flights, and stay in reasonably priced hotels. Our deputy Premier does not travel first class when she travels privately!
        • Lodger. (13/11/2023, 22:47) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
          If they travel to, or through, the UK via Antigua, there is no first class, only business, and neither on local flights.
    • Eldread (13/11/2023, 23:19) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      But why must they be summon like little children by these world leaders, can't they tell them that they will use technology like Skype, they have no contribution to make abroad but to sign prepared documents for them that has been thought out by these foreign countries, they can't ever dream of telling them to send their rep to visit BVI, stop being little children acknowledging colonial power when it sweet you to go on sight seeing trips, when you done you cry bout colonialism.
  • Really??? (13/11/2023, 12:16) Like (32) Dislike (2) Reply
    So what's the budget?
    What is the protocol for deciding who goes and how much we spend?
    What methodology is in place to assess the value of these trips to the territory?
    Where is the transparency?

    Asking for all a we.
  • bvi (13/11/2023, 12:17) Like (38) Dislike (1) Reply
    How many international vessels have been registered here in the bvi since your Monaco trip?
  • Big Richard (13/11/2023, 12:18) Like (26) Dislike (1) Reply
    Total B.S.
  • lodger (13/11/2023, 12:38) Like (0) Dislike (14) Reply
    Suck it to them dr
  • WHAT!!! (13/11/2023, 12:41) Like (36) Dislike (3) Reply
    NO you can’t blame it all on the opposition, I would say that the majority of people here are fed up with you and your ministers and hangers on traveling all the time first class on our tax dollars while we live with disgusting roads, no water, toxic smoke from open burning snd broken down schools to name a few.
    • @ WHAT!!! (13/11/2023, 16:40) Like (15) Dislike (0) Reply
      Why does the Premier and Deputy Premier have to go to the same overseas events….why does the Minister of Education have her friend/Personal Asst tag along on almost if not every trip?

      • @wHAT (13/11/2023, 20:34) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
        I can like your post a thousand times. Neither the minister nor her friend the CEO is good for education. Seems like the CEO (ag)pushed out C.... So she can rack up frequent flyer miles. Ask her and the minister what are their plans for moving education forward.
  • Native Senior Citizen of the British Virgin Islands (13/11/2023, 12:46) Like (19) Dislike (1) Reply
    More Lamed Excuses

    No one, I hope, is against our government leaders traveling to do business overseas for the people of the BVI best interest. The problem is how, and why, what, where, who, the cost of traveling, and the benefits we get in return. You see unreasonable narratives, Premier Natalio Sujande Wheatley, but we take in account value for dollars spent.
    I see your push back as an attempt to chastised us your BOSS. We're in the Constitution do you have the right to chastised us? You are our servant, not we your/yours.
  • Bush Professor (13/11/2023, 13:40) Like (6) Dislike (1) Reply
    There are two critical issues here (1) government travel, and (2) swiiftboarding, ie, in politics, swift and forceful response to divisive, dishonest, misinformation, disinformation, malinformation, etc. It has been political weapon since John Kerry 2004 Presidential campaign.

    Let’s take a peek at government travel. Firstly, government travel is inherent to being a government inna remote location as the BVI and is a sunk cost. The BVI government will received hundreds of travel invites to attend meetings, conferences, training, etc., for travel out of the territory in a fiscal year. It cannot attend every travel invite or opportunity out of the territory. Consequently, travel must be managed and maximized to improve governing. Therefore, there must be strict criteria for traveling out of the territory, ie, travel must be selective and targeted as providing value for money. The Operations and maintenance should include a line item for travel which should be closely monitored. Travel is a need of governing but it is spending taxpayers money, so every effort must be taken to maximize expenditure efficiency. Perception is sometimes reality and every effort must be made to demonstrate that the travel produce valua for money and was not just perceived travel junkets. Of course, the reality of governing is that unplanned urgent and important travel needs emerge during the fiscal year and that travel budget adjustments may be needed.

    Secondly, in regards to swiftboating, IMO, the Premier should be selective in responding to the myriad of mischievous, dishonest, misinformation, disinformation, attention seeking etc, missives. Doing so may give undeserving legs to undeserving issues and people. The counter to some of the missives is to let topnotched policies and performance speak. True, there is some missives that be responded to immediately. It is a balancing act.
    • A Capitalist Who Loves the BVI (13/11/2023, 16:35) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
      It's "swiftboating" not "swiftboarding," and its genesis is from John Kerry's run for President of the US. His military record in Vietnam, some of which was aboard what was known as a Swift Boat, was scrutinized, and some would say unfairly attacked.
    • Contrarian (13/11/2023, 16:53) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      To Bush Professor, I’m too a graduate of the Manda School. I like your style of almost all the time taking a different view of things, taking the discussion deeper into the nucleus of things and not just the surface, outter thin band of things. Let’s face the reality of the situation, both the government and opposition are green and inexperienced with some being out of their depth. The BVI entered the ministerial system of government in 1967. However, there is a dearth of experience in governing. Who to blame? The blame must be shouldered by a) UK, which is the administrative power responsible for guiding the VI towards a full measure of self -government, b) the local political leaders who failed to develop a strong succession plan for the next cadre, generations of leaders to take the leadership and management baton and seamlessly carry on. This did not happen and we are floundering, c) the electorate has the direct power to demand better but dependency drives them to over look poor performance, under performance, etc., putting self-interest over public interest.

      Consequently, the lack of seasoned governing experience is driving our leaders to promote image over form and substance.; effective functioning suffers. Here is a comment I picked along the way in life’s journey in the leadership and management world .Human capital is the most important resource but also the challenging to manage (rule, never use the term manage people, for they are not things; they are led) in a huge, sometimes unruly government bureaucracy. Another lesson is public management is not a profession or job for the weak of heart or for those who want to be loved and admired or for those who believe there is nothing to running public organizations but a little common sense and skill. Yet another lesson is that opposition are experts at running government, for they know everything that is wrong, etc but the reality hits the road when in power, the same experts flounder. They find out that allocating scarce resources, finding money to deliver, delivering services which residents increasingly are demanding more of, etc is distressing and not that easy in a resource poor locale. Further, I agree with Bush Professor in his advice to the Premier on swiftboating, ie, the Premier cannot and should not waste his valuable time chasing down and responding to every mischievous, attention seeking comment from people who are looking for stature, etc. Be selective in what gets picked up and responded to. The delivery of service to the msjority of people speaks volume, for you cannot please everyone no matter how hard you try; it is like taming the wind. Just optimized and maximized available budget resources effectively to deliver the most services to the most people. Several other bloggers have pounded on this point. It is sound advice.
      • @Contrarian (13/11/2023, 22:40) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
        @Contrarisn , you and Bush Professor, stop it, stop, for some readers may believe that Manda Dchool is a real school. Locals will get the metaphor or simile..
      • Eldread (15/11/2023, 04:05) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        All this long poetical writing about UK guiding BVI to self government give me a break, does your enslavers teach you to take power? They took power by violence as Christianity and guns where needed, the onliest way to take power for yourself is to burn down government house and the people trace John Rankin out, the infrastructural institution of power need to be eradicated to mentally free the BVI. SO STOP ASKING U.N
  • NB (13/11/2023, 16:23) Like (11) Dislike (0) Reply
    Mr. Wheatley, and I shall continue to address you as Mr. Weheatley. Honourable will be applicable when your actions are honourable, and that goes for everyone. Now, Mr. Wheatley, based on the reason for the trips, you have the choice to send a representative of that Ministry. There is absolutely no reason for you nor your ministers to be going. For example, just one example, the Monaco trip, Why you had to be there? What do you know about that industry? Why didn't you send the relevant person(s)? You are supposedly the leader of this territory and you are to be 'on the ground' most times because you are needed here. Instead, the airline pilots see you more that the people in the BVI see you. And you still want to come here and justify travel? Your job is to serve the people of this territory, not hop on airplanes in fancy suits and check into 5 star hotels every time a pot bottom knock. Jah
  • lol (13/11/2023, 16:29) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    All they are bringing back from these trips are souvenirs
  • lol (13/11/2023, 16:31) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    From where in the world does it take 2 weeks to get to London in this day and age ?
  • Wow Opposition (13/11/2023, 17:23) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
    Do you remember when governor jasper came to the Virgin Islands during that late July early august and the NDP government was in power and Ingrid Moses was the speaker of the house and they did not allow governor Jasper to be sworn in the house of assembly the said opposition member Ronny Skelton and others went on a cruise they said when the then speaker said that he would not be sworn in ,in her house they had to swear in governor jasper in the high court up stairs and that is what cause this country to head down a rabbit hole and can not catch it’s self ,is that the type of travel are you talking about well if it’s that your talking about your so damn right . But until this country open your eyes and try to remember the ones who are destroying this country every day it will ge the same thing by the same set of failures e we ho call them selves politicians the greedy ones who could not take deputy even though they had the smaller share but now all of a sudden they are so called patriotic BVI landers set of crooks .wow
  • OJ (13/11/2023, 17:44) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Is OJ one of the advisers in the premier’s office?
  • ?? (13/11/2023, 20:47) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    What Mitch, Marlon.and Fraser went to Africa to fight for on behalf of the BVI while people here can barely eat?
  • Funny (13/11/2023, 21:16) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    so 7 members of government and 4 of them are outside the territory at the same time???
  • HMMM (14/11/2023, 06:32) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Natalio aint with it at all.
  • tola (14/11/2023, 08:33) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    comments full a salt

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