“Had we not formed the government we would have faced a crisis and the governor would have had to step in and either appoint a premier and a government, which I don’t think anyone really wants to happen.
“And also, we have the Order in Council hanging over our heads. Who knows what might have taken place if we were not able to form a government.”
This is according to Premier Dr the Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley (R7) who said Honourable Lorna G. Smith, OBE, a Member of the National Democratic Party (NDP), should be commended for putting the territory first and averting a potential political crisis that would have seen the governor intervening.
Dr Wheatley shared those sentiments while being interviewed by Calistra Farrier of CaribUpdate and broadcast on YouTube today, April 27, 2023.
Deputy Premier Hon Smith’s alignment with the Virgin Islands Party (VIP) to form the new government on Tuesday, April 25, 2023, came as the Progressive Virgin Islands Movement (PVIM) led by Hon Ronnie W. Skelton (AL), National Democratic Party (NDP) led by Hon Marlon A. Penn (R8) and Progressives United (PU) led by Julian Fraser RA (R3) could not reach an agreement to form the next government and oust the VIP from office.
Both PVIM and NDP won 3 seats and PU won 1, which meant they had the opportunity to take the government with their 7 seats combined.
Premier Dr the Hon Natalio D. Wheatley
(R7) was interviewed by Calistra Farrier of CaribUpdate. The interview
was broadcast on YouTube today, April 27, 2023.
‘Tremendous respect’ for Hon Lorna G. Smith, OBE
Premier Wheatley, during the interview, was asked whether the VIP had talks about a possible coalition government even before the elections; however, Dr Wheatley said there were none since he had a great deal of confidence in the VIP slate.
Asked how the VIP was able to find common ground with Hon Smith, Dr Wheatley said the VIP has a tremendous amount of respect for Hon Smith. He noted too that Hon Smith was once the Permanent Secretary of the VIP leader and late Chief Minister H. Lavity Stoutt, and she also served under the late Hon Ralph T. O’Neal, OBE.
Dr Wheatley continued that Hon Smith has a vast amount of experience and knowledge, highlighting that she led BVI Finance, which is the marketing arm for the VI’s financial services industry, and also worked as the Director of the BVI London Office, adding that Hon Smith is very experienced in business and the financial services sector.
Hon Smith stepped up with the VI needed her- Premier
“So we know that having someone like her on the team, she brings a tremendous benefit,” Dr Wheatley said, adding that it was “fitting” for her to sit in Cabinet and to be Deputy Premier, considering her great experience, knowledge and skills.
“So I think Mrs Lorna Smith should be commended for stepping up to the plate at the time when the country needed her and we need political stability as we seek to implement the reforms from the CoI
process, as we seek to implement the National Sustainable Development Plan and as we seek to go forward with our Green Agenda, among other things,” Premier Wheatley stated.