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Premier Wheatley calls for local political debates

Premier Wheatley calls for local political debates

Stressing the importance of meaningful debates between political candidates during the elections period, Premier and Seventh District Representative Dr the Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley has suggested that an Elections Commission should be put in place to conduct the debates among other things.

Appearing as a guest on Talking Points, which was streamed live on Facebook on March 13, 2023, Dr Wheatley was asked by co-host Damian C. Grange if he was in favour of debates and if he thinks that should be part of the political process.

“Yes,” Premier Wheatley promptly responded, adding that an Elections Commission should be facilitating the process.

Appearing as a guest on Talking Points, which was streamed live on Facebook on March 13, 2023, Premier Dr the Hon Natalio D. Wheatley (R7), right, was asked by co-host Damian C. Grange, left, if he was in favour of debates and if he thinks that should be part of the political process. Centre is Elvin Grant.

Politics should not be 'mainly about personalities'

“I think we perhaps need some type of Elections Commission. Yes, we have an elections office right now, but perhaps a Commission that can stage debates or maybe even the media organisations can get together and stage debates; but debates are a good way to draw a contrast between various candidates and various Parties”, he noted.

“For a very long time the Virgin Islands has been mainly about personalities when it comes to politics, but it has to become more about policies, more about principles, more about an ideology”, the Premier and Minister of Finance continued.

The Virgin Islands Party (VIP) Chairman, who took the helm of government in May 2022, added that the [British] Virgin Islands is presently at a crucial stage in its history, as it relates to its relationship with the United Kingdom (UK) and this is something which he believes everyone should be able to share their view on as it relates to where they see the future of the territory.

As such, Hon Wheatley said citizens’ views on social issues are important and their voices should be heard.

“We just launched a Sustainable Development Plan. Where are we going in the future? How do we see our economy developing? How do we see social issues developing?…These things are important for persons to be able to discuss as a community and to be able to chart the way forward,” he argued.

Dr Wheatley was one of four candidates who appeared on a forum 'A Response' on Sunday, March 12, 2023, when the candidates fielded questions from the public.

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