As the Virgin Islands enters the second month of 2023, Premier and Minister of Finance, Dr the Hon Natalio D. Wheatley (R7) still has not declared an election date for 2023, even after being questioned by Virgin Islands News Online (VINO).
The Premier in a recent statement; however, said his government intends to tackle as much legislation ahead of the 2023 elections.
He was at the time delivering remarks in a statement on January 26, 2023, in the House of Assembly.
As the Virgin Islands enters the second
month of 2023, Premier and Minister of Finance, Dr the Hon Natalio D.
Wheatley (R7) still has not declared an election date for 2023, even
after being questioned by Virgin Islands News Online (VINO).
Gov't tackling legislation - Dr Wheatley
“With the General Elections constitutionally due by May of this year, the House of Assembly will have to be dissolved by March of this year. While the Government of National Unity will attempt to tackle as much of the legislative work that is possible before elections, we recognise the challenges to see the full legislative programme through.”
He said what that means is that the 5th House of Assembly and the Government will be in a position to carry forward the baton when it is handed over and to proceed with ample pace.
Meanwhile, the Premier said the VI has been making tremendous progress with the CoI
recommendations; however, there are some areas where the Government would have liked to have seen further advancement.
“Madam Speaker, the Government of National Unity and I have always been forthwith in admitting that the timelines proposed in the Framework were ambitious. We recognise, and I know the Virgin Islands
community agrees, that for what is at stake and the benefits that will accrue from strengthening our governance systems and processes, it is necessary, and it will be worth it for us to push ourselves a bit harder,” he said.
Adjustments to be made - Premier
Premier Wheatley added that the Government recognises that as the work rolls out and emergent issues and unforeseen circumstances arise, they would have to make adjustments.
“With the delay in commencing the public information and consultation process for the Constitutional Review, as well as some administrative delays, the Chair of the Constitutional Review Commission has requested the full 18 months instead of the initial 12 months to complete the process,” he said.
The Premier detailed that another factor that must be looked at closely is the timeframe required for drafting new policies and legislation, now that through the ongoing work, the scope of the legislative component of the reforms is becoming clearer.