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Belonger status has been dealt with hatefully, immaturely - Premier

Belonger status has been dealt with hatefully, immaturely - Premier

The territory’s discussions on immigration issues should take a more mature course, Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley has suggested.

The Premier was at the time responding to questions from the media about recommendations from the Commission of Inquiry (COI) report in relation to residency and Belonger status.

Calling it a “hot one“, Dr Wheatley recommended that persons read the section of the COI report on Belongership issues.

And while arguing that the issues of Belongership and residency status in the territory had been dealt with hatefully and immaturely in the past, Dr Wheatley said recommendations from the report suggesting that Belongership should be granted in accordance with the law, were part of the proposal sent by his government to the United Kingdom (UK).

“The report speaks to having a review and of course, that review will inform our policies and any amendments to the law,“ Premier Wheatley stated.

Open and transparent dialogue needed

Premier Wheatley said immigration issues have been something that persons are very passionate about in the BVI, adding that it has been an issue that leads to quite a bit of discord and disharmony in the community.

“We have to approach this situation, first of all, with a great deal of maturity. I think when we discuss the issues, that as we have in the past, we’ve done so in a very immature way in my view and in some instances in a hateful way,“ the Premier said.

Premier Wheatley said he was calling for an open and transparent dialogue on immigration issues in the community.

“Not one where one group is attacking another group, but let’s look at what’s in the best interest of the Virgin Islands and the Virgin Islands moving forward for generations to come,” he added.

The Premier noted that the COI report has brought much information to the forefront and said persons have been able to see what has been taking place by reading it.

“We want to continue to build our society to be a place that’s inclusive, but also that’s a place that of course where we preserve our history, our tradition, our culture, where we are able to provide opportunities for all,” he stated.

The Premier said he believes this could be done with persons who have come from all over the world while ensuring that those persons in the BVI don’t feel forgotten, lost, and as if they are disappearing.


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