BVI, Caribbeanand International News

Local representation beats the alternative ‘big time’ - Premier

Local representation beats the alternative ‘big time’ - Premier

“As hard as we are on ourselves because we hold ourselves to a very high standard, we must never forget that having local representation beats the alternative, big time.” — Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley.
When the BVI first elected its own representatives, Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley said everything took a leap forward, including the territory’s tourism and financial services industries.

While celebrating the territory’s past leaders recently – including his grandfather Willard Wheatley – Premier Wheatley said it was the accomplishments of these leaders that helped ensure the successes achieved by the BVI.

Despite those successes, however, the BVI hovers dangerously close to a United Kingdom (UK) takeover following the release of a damning Commission of Inquiry (COI) report last year on its record of governance in the territory.

But Premier Wheatley has pushed back consistently on that threat, arguing that the BVI holds itself to a high standard.

Premier Wheatley made that argument weeks ahead of his planned visit to the United Kingdom (UK) where he intends to press UK Overseas Territories Minister Lord Zac Goldsmith to remove an Order in Council held in reserve in the UK Parliament. The order is to ensure the BVI complies with agreed governance reforms.

Dr Wheatley has also insisted that the UK’s threat of a takeover through the order in council which could see a suspension of the BVI’s constitution, is a colonial relic that needs to be left in the past.

“Without a shadow of a doubt, with having our own legislators, having our own ministers, having our own Minister of Finance, things improved drastically for us here in the Virgin Islands, as opposed to when we did not have that,” the Premier said recently.

“So, as hard as we are on ourselves because we hold ourselves to a very high standard, we must never forget that having local representation beats the alternative, big time,” Dr Wheatley added.

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