Despite elections being constitutionally due next year, Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley has noted that the decision to call an election is out of the hands of the current government.
According to the newly-installed Premier, Governor John Rankin
now holds that power.
Speaking at his first one-on-one press conference as Premier of the Virgin Islands
, Dr Wheatley noted that this power shifted to the governor based on the Commission of Inquiry
’s recommendations to partially suspend the constitution in relation to areas led by the elected representatives.
The Premier noted that no discussions have been held within the National Unity Government regarding when an election would be called.
“Elections are constitutionally due next year. But of course, those are decisions for the United Kingdom (UK) and the Governor right now,” the Premier told members of the media.
“They have the decision of whether they will impose a direct rule or not. If they impose direct rule, there will be no election in the Virgin Islands
. People will not have a choice as to who will represent their interests, there will be no House of Assembly. There will be no Cabinet,” Dr Wheatley added.
He noted that, for now, the National Unity Government is focused on implementing the COI
recommendations and reform strategies while maintaining the Virgin Islands
’ democratic integrity.
“This government of national unity would like the opportunity to implement reforms. We made a firm commitment to do so, and we are hopeful that the United Kingdom accepts our proposal to implement reform,” Dr Wheatley said.