Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley expressed disappointment that some of his colleagues in the House of Assembly (HOA) seized the opportunity to drag family members of their fellow lawmakers into the debate during a recent House sitting simply because it was election time.
Dr Wheatley described it as unfortunate that some HOA members tried to make some type of closing argument to the people of the Virgin Islands
ahead of the general elections.
“I was even shocked and appalled that they, even in the House of Assembly would bring up some of our family members… because they were salivating at the opportunity — [saying], ‘This is the end of the VIP’. ‘Let me try to put a nail in their coffin’ — and really, in my opinion, made a spectacle of the whole thing,” Premier Wheatley said on the VIP Let’s Talk show recently.
Earlier this week, lawmakers validated the status of 688 persons who were granted Belonger status in the territory by the Virgin Islands
Party (VIP) under its fast track initiative. However, those persons were not outside of immigration controls at the time, as required by the law.
Dr Wheatley assured that the persons affected by the error are not mistakes, arguing that they have come to join the Virgin Islands
to help build the territory as partners.
“I think it’s quite unfortunate that these individuals, these hardworking individuals, all of these 688 persons, in this unfortunate circumstance, that they got dragged into this political argument, just because we are around election time,” the premier said. “I want to say to those 688 individuals, you are not mistakes as some persons have called you, we have in the party; we embrace you.”
He added: “Nobody can say they haven’t assisted and they haven’t helped. They’ve come and they’ve done their part and these persons shouldn’t be made to feel embarrassed or to suffer.”
Premier Wheatley said he agreed with Attorney General (AG) Dawn Smith on the need to strengthen the Attorney General’s Chambers to ensure that mistakes like this do not happen again.
According to the Premier, since coming into office, his government has approved several positions for the AG’s Chambers to enable them to do their job effectively. The premier stated that it was crucial to examine why the mistake was made and to put measures in place to prevent it from happening again.