Premier and Minister of Finance Dr the Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley (R7) has called out Members of the Opposition for ‘seeking to disrupt’ the work of the Government, rather than pledging to work collaboratively in the best interest of the people.
Dr Wheatley was at the time responding to a question from a reporter during a press conference and General Update on matters in the Virgin Islands (VI) on May 2, 2023.
The Premier was asked if he supports reported plans by the Opposition to establish Shadow Ministries.
Opposition has 'bad intentions'
Dr Wheatley noted that as part of the democratic process, he supports having an Opposition that would hold Government accountable, provide greater transparency as well as challenge necessary ideas; however, he is not in support of it working to discredit the works of Government.
“What I don’t welcome is ideas that they’re going to seek to disrupt the work of the Government for the people of the Virgin Islands
…They have described themselves as a united Opposition, saying that they’re going to have votes of no confidence without anything even coming to the House. So, in my opinion, that shows bad intentions on behalf of the Opposition.
“I would ask myself whether they are interested in supporting the work for the people of the Virgin Islands
or are they interested in power? Are they just wanting to try to make the Government look bad or are they willing to cooperate, all thirteen of us, in the best interest of the people of the Virgin Islands
?,” Dr Wheatley said.
Promising no-confidence votes and
filibustering, His Majesty's Loyal Opposition has said it will do all it
possibly can to achieve its agenda when up against the Virgin Islands
Party (VIP) Government in the Fifth House of Assembly (HoA).
'The elections are over!'
He further emphasised that voters have expressed confidence in the thirteen elected members and it is important for them to work collaboratively in the best interest of the people.
Additionally, Dr Wheatley stressed that it is important for the Opposition to shift its focus from trying to capture power.
“The elections are over, now it’s time to work…If they want to be able to have Ministers have specific focus on different areas that won’t bother me at all. I’m gonna still go about doing my work, and however they want to organise themselves as an Opposition, that’s for them to decide. I don’t have a challenge with it. I’m not daunted by it, I’m not intimidated by it…,” he noted.
Opposition Member Hon Julian Fraser, RA
(R3) has said debates in the House of Assembly are going to be vigorous
Opposition promises Motions of No Confidence & filibustering
During a joint press conference which included Members of the Progressive Virgin Islands Movement (PVIM), National Democratic Party (NDP) and Progressives United (PU) on April 27, 2023 promises of motions of no- confidence and filibustering were made.
The Opposition said it will do all it possibly can to achieve its agenda when up against the Government in the upcoming Fifth House of Assembly (HoA).
Opposition Leader and PVIM Chairman Honourable Ronnie W. Skelton (AL), who is also Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), registered his intention to make the meetings of PAC public, as he pointed out that the Opposition has ‘the bully pulpit’.
Opposition Member Hon Julian Fraser, RA (R3) also called for the meetings of the PAC to become public, noting that they will resort to filibustering if they need to.
Filibustering is the ‘activity or practice of obstructing progress in a legislature, especially by speaking at inordinate length.’
Hon Fraser said he sees at least two motions of no-confidence on the horizon.
“…what I can predict right now is you will see not one but more than one, probably two, motions of no confidence coming before the Fifth House of Assembly. I can predict that is going to happen and the debate is going to be vigorous, embarrassing, it’s going to be everything,” he said.