Emphasising that the Virgin Islands Party (VIP) is an inclusive government, Premier Dr the Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley (R7) has indicated that members of the Opposition are welcomed to join his new team.
The Premier was at the time speaking on unity, governance and his agenda for his new presidential term, during an interview with Calistra Farrier of CaribUpdate and broadcast on YouTube on April 27, 2023.
Dr Wheatley was asked by Farrier if he will be seeking to bring members of the Opposition into his government, given the VIP’s slim one-seat majority, to which he indicated his willingness to work along with the Opposition, in an effort to move the [British] Virgin Islands (VI) forward.
“We are a government of inclusion and I believe that of course the Opposition has a role to play; and we have a very strong Opposition…Most of the members are either Chairmen of their Parties or former Chairmen. I would say formidable Opposition, but certainly there are persons in the Opposition who, if they were minded to, we would always welcome them if they wanted to come...I believe that we have to build the territory together,” Premier Wheatley said.
Premier Dr the Hon Natalio D. Wheatley
(R7) was interviewed by Calistra Farrier of CaribUpdate. The interview
was broadcast on YouTube on April 27, 2023.
'Special work' to be done
Relating to the move in which Member of the National Democratic Party (NDP) Honourable Lorna G. Smith, OBE, now appointed Deputy Premier, aligned herself with the Party to make up the majority after the VIP had only managed to secure 6 seats, Dr Wheatley said other Opposition Members are welcomed to join to work for the development of the VI.
“Just like Lorna Smith came, if there are others who want to be part of the special work that we’re doing for the people of the Virgin Islands
, we would certainly welcome it,” Dr Wheatley stated.
Hon Smith’s alignment with the VIP to form the new government on Tuesday, April 25, 2023, came as the Progressive Virgin Islands Movement (PVIM), which is led by Hon Ronnie W. Skelton (AL), National Democratic Party (NDP) led by Hon Marlon Penn (R8) and Progressives United (PU) led by Julian Fraser (RA (R3) could not reach an agreement to form the next government in an effort to oust the VIP from office.
While the VIP has already announced its official Members of Cabinet, their portfolios have not yet been announced which Dr Wheatley stated would be forthcoming by the end of the week.