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Premier seeks to mend relationship between gov’t and governor

Premier seeks to mend relationship between gov’t and governor

Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley has said he is committed to improving and mending the relationship between the BVI government and the United Kingdom through Governor John Rankin.
The Premier, who has been a strong critic of the United Kingdom government in the past, acknowledged that the relationship between past and present Governors of the territory and elected officials has been frail. And with the Government of National Unity tasked with implementing the Commission of Inquiry recommendations; he said it was important that the relationship between the two public bodies is mended.

“I want to make it clear that my focus right now is doing what is in the best interest of the people of the Virgin Islands and I want to have a strong, constructive partner with the United Kingdom government and Governor Rankin in doing so. I am not going to focus on the past and what is happening in the past. Every day gives us a new opportunity to improve on what needs to be improved,” Dr Wheatley said.

“It was very clear previously that the relationship between the elected government and the governor and the United Kingdom was not as strong as it should be, and I am committed to making sure it is strong in the best interest of the people of the Virgin Islands because for us to do what we need to do, we need the support of the United Kingdom government,” the Premier added.

Dr Wheatley, who described the UK as a champion of democracy – contrary to his previous criticisms, was asked by a member of the media why he has changed his outlook on the UK. In response, he said the focus now is on improving the Virgin Islands’ democracy and he cannot dwell in the past.

“Well, I think across the world, we have to be focused on improving our democracy and my focus right now is improving the democracy of the people of the Virgin Islands and the people of the United Kingdom will be focused on improving their democracy as they are doing every day,” he said.

“That is why I am quite pleased at the decision of the Foreign Secretary the Right Honourable Liz Truss and Minister Milling; Governor Rankin and the UK government has come to — to allow us the opportunity to be able to implement these reforms through democratic governance,” Dr Wheatley added.

Yesterday, Governor Rankin announced that the BVI government will have an opportunity to implement the Commission of Inquiry (COI) recommendations under a democratic government framework. However, if the government fails to meet targeted deadlines, then the Governor still retains the power to dissolve the House of Assembly and initiative direct UK rule with a Governor-led administration, as recommended by the COI.
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