The Governor was at the time delivering on the way forward during a press conference today, June 8, 2022, alongside Premier Wheatley on the Commission of Inquiry recommendations.
Governor Rankin said, as laid out in the CoI proposal to be published today, regular updates will be provided against millstones with each government ministry and department providing monthly delivery reports on milestones.
“And I will formally assess progress every three months, before sending a quarterly update to the Foreign Secretary in the UK. And this will continue throughout the full period of CoI implementation,” he added.
“If the Government of National Unity or any subsequent government, fails to deliver any of the milestones without reasonable justification or I assess that progress is being frustrated in any way, the UK Government and I will take action to protect the interests of people here.”
He said that action will include a continuing option of temporary suspension of the House of Assembly and Cabinet with a temporary governor-led interim administration, assisted by an Advisory Council to drive forward the implementation of any outstanding recommendations.
According to the Governor, the UK Government has put in place the framework to suspend cabinet and the HoA through an Order in Council.
“This is the procedural order put before the Privy Council in the UK, which is required in order to make any changes to the Constitution of the BVI.”
He added, “And that will allow the Foreign Secretary to swiftly provide me with the powers necessary to take corrective action if progress against the milestones is unsatisfactory.”
However, the Governor said if the Government of the VI delivers on the commitments and promises they have made, then the Order in Council "will be kept in reserve and will not need to be used.”
Meanwhile, it was revealed that the plan was agreed to by the Unity Government without the input of the people of the VI and without the public even seeing the final report.
Premier Wheatley, in his justification for the course of action, said that process was in motion ‘for some time’.
He added that as an elected representative of the people and as acting Premier, following the detainment of Ex-Premier Andrew A. Fahie (R1) in the US, "I have a responsibility to act in the best interest of the people of the Virgin Islands."
Hon Wheatley detailed, “And what was in the best interest of the Virgin Islands at that time was us to begin a constructive dialogue with the Governor, with Minister [Amanda] Milling [and] with the UK Government on how we could avoid the partial suspension of the Constitution and have the people’s elected representative involved in the reform process, which is in everyone’s best interest.”