Premier Explains Absence Of Local Dialogue On Reform Proposal

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By Sonje Greenidge, Journalist

Updated 11:05 PM AST, Tue Jun 21, 2022

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(Photo Credit: GIS)

(PLTM) - Premier and Minister of Finance Dr. Natalio has sought to explain why the framework of implementing the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) report was submitted to the United Kingdom (UK) Government without dialogue with members of the public.

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He mentioned that following the arrest of former Premier Andrew Fahie, quick decisions had to be made to prevent the suspension of the Constitution.

“This is the starting point from which we have to look at the Government’s proposal to the UK for addressing the findings and recommendations of the CoI report, and why some things had to be done urgently to protect the democratic rights of the people of the Virgin Islands,” Dr. Wheatley told persons in attendance at a public meeting at the Elmore Stoutt High School tent on Tuesday, June 22.

He also stated that all elected members of the HoA representing both the Government and the Opposition were united in preserving democratic governance in the Virgin Islands and sought to circumvent the imposition of direct rule by the UK.

Dr. Wheatley also noted that “The four overarching recommendations fell within the existing constitutional authority of the Governor, myself, and the Cabinet. These included the establishment of a Constitutional Review Commission and the initiation of comprehensive review of the discretionary powers of elected officials.”

However, he mentioned that the principal recommendation was A1 which is the partial and temporary suspension of the Constitution for an initial period of two years.

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As it relates to the recommendation to suspend the Constitution, the offices of the Premier, the Deputy Premier, all other ministerial positions, the Leader of the Opposition, the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker and the Cabinet Secretary would become obsolete according to Dr. Wheatley.

Premier Wheatley further explained that all legislative and executive functions would be administered by the Governor, who would have access to an advisory committee.

The public meeting marked the first in a series of public consultations on the framework for implementation of the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) recommendations. Dr. Wheatley noted that “As a unified people we must ensure our continued enhancement. Like you, I want the Virgin Islands to remain in the hands of Virgin Islanders. We all want the same thing.”

Dr. Wheatley told members of the public that it is in the collective interest of the public to implement the recommendations outlined in the CoI report for the purpose of strengthening the political institutions in the Territory, in addition to developing other areas in the public and private sectors.

This evening’s public consultation meeting is scheduled for 6:30 at the Watch House, while Wednesday’s meeting is at the Enid Scattliffe Primary School at 5:30.

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4 Comments
YES TO UK
@Simple, Who put them in charge?
Like · · 3d ago
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Simple
premier has nothing to explain. You guys like too much confusion. we've put people in charge, let them lead
Like · · 4d ago
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Duh
That's all good and well except the people don't trust the people in charge, so of course they going want more information.
Like · 4d ago
1 Like
Transparency
Will the press be allowed this time to freely film, take photos and report?
Like · · 4d ago
4 Likes
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