Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley has reassured the Virgin Islands people that while the National Unity Government will be focused on reform and implementing the Commission of Inquiry recommendations, his government will not neglect the delivery of public service and the growth of the economy in the territory.
Speaking at the swearing-in ceremony at Government House on Thursday, Dr Wheatley said he will continue to utilize his new responsibilities in the best way to ensure the needs of the people and the territory are addressed.
“In my capacity as Minister of Finance, I will ensure that the financial services industry continues to meet the high standards of regulation that have made us successful as an International Finance Centre over the years, particularly as we prepare to join international regulatory efforts by a number of governments aimed at improving the integrity of the global financial system,” Dr Wheatley said.
“Under my leadership as Tourism Minister, a robust effort to support the tourism industry will be made. I will be assisted in my duties by Junior Minister for Tourism Honourable Alvera Maduro-Caines, and I will also have the benefit of the knowledge and understanding of the Junior Minister for Trade, Economic Development, Agriculture and Fisheries Honourable Shereen Flax-Charles on the specific needs of the business community,” he added.
The Premier noted implementation of the recommendations cannot be done within the existing structures of the government and as a result, an implementation body will be created to assist with the COI
“An implementation body will have to be created to support and advance the work involved and there will have to be a partnership between the Virgin Islands
and the United Kingdom to achieve the desired outcome of a model democracy whose institutions and systems of government are robust and whose economy provides opportunities for everyone to make a decent living,” Premier Wheatley said.
He said while he understands that a decision has not yet been made by the United Kingdom on the report’s recommendation for a partial suspension of the territory’s constitution, he will continue to engage the governor on how best the National Unity Government can work in the best interest of the Virgin Islands
people to deliver reform.
“We are a willing partner and ready to take the process forward in partnership without delay,” the Premier said.
“Change will be hard. Tough decisions will have to be made, and people we know and care about will be affected. However, this is for the better, and in the end, we will emerge stronger as a society,” Dr Wheatley added.
He promised that the new ministers in his Cabinet will bring fresh ideas and urgency to their portfolio on behalf of the people.
“Education will get the attention it so urgently needs, led by Minister for Education, Culture, Youth Affairs and Sports, Honourable Sharie de Castro. Minister for Health and Social Development Honourable Marlon Penn will ensure that health and medical institutions continue operating and that services are maintained,” Dr Wheatley said.
“Minister for Natural Resources and Labour Honourable Melvin ‘Mitch’ Turnbull will continue the work of improving our labour regime and management of the environment,” he added.