With the United Kingdom deciding not to suspend the constitution or enact direct rule over the territory, the British Virgin Islands will be having its general elections next year.
Premier Dr Wheatley gave that indication on Wednesday after Governor John Rankin
delivered the news that the UK also accepted the BVI government’s proposal on how to implement what remains of the 49 recommendations outlined in the Commission of Inquiry
The government now has 24 months to roll out the recommendations or the UK will likely void the agreement and effect direct rule over the territory. Therefore, any administration that follows the existing National Unity Government must be prepared to follow through on this agreement with the UK.
“The [aforesaid] proposal mentions a two-year timeline and of course, as you said, elections are due probably somewhere around May next year. This means this proposal is binding on any future administration,” Dr Wheatley said.
“These reforms begin right away. As the Governor has mentioned, we already started by making changes, but this will be our main priority right up until the election and any future government of course will have to be true to those commitments over the years,” the Premier added.
Dr Wheatley further said the public service will play an integral part in the reform process as the COI
report focused mainly on the inadequacies and inefficiencies found within the territory’s public service.
“When people read the proposal, they will see there is a role for the Governor. There is a role for the Premier and the ministers in the Cabinet. There is a role for the House of Assembly and there are roles for all the ministries in the reform,” the Premier stated.
“If you look at the COI
report, you see there are things in there on statutory bodies, [and] contracts. We [also] have the issue of Belongership and residents. There are a number of issues that affect various departments and ministries of government, and I am actually excited to get into the details of some of those things with the public and have a discussion with the public about reform that must take place throughout the government,” Dr Wheatley added.