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VI people must wake up to rethink relationship with UK- Premier Wheatley

VI people must wake up to rethink relationship with UK- Premier Wheatley

Premier and Minister of Finance, Dr the Hon Natalio D. Wheatley (R7) has called on the people of the Virgin Islands (VI) to unite, stop the infighting, and send a strong message to the United Kingdom (UK) that it does not want a relationship where the UK can suspend the local constitution.

This comes as the Premier has been vocal about the powers of the UK to even suspend the constitution of another territory, which he says goes against democracy.

“I don't agree with it in any way, shape or form. I do not agree with the United Kingdom or any other government suspending another group's constitution, it's fundamentally undemocratic,” Dr Wheatley outlined on an October 6, 2022, press conference.

No imposition of Democracy - Premier Wheatley


“You can't impose democracy on someone, even if you suspend the Constitution, the people still have to live here, and we still have to deal with our own affairs,” he said.

Premier Wheatley added that from his perspective, the concept of suspending a constitution is a flawed one that the United Kingdom should abandon.

Premier Wheatley, since taking the helm of the Government of National Unity, has been on a mission to prevent the suspension of the local constitution.

The Premier has however in recent time, become an advocate for a new relationship with the UK, one defined by the UK not having the powers to coerce the territory, but rather, working together with the local government.

“Draft Order in Council or not? The United Kingdom has the authority under the laws in our constitution and the laws of the United Kingdom to suspend our constitution... I believe that we have to move away from our relationship where any government or any group of people can put another group of people in that position,” he said.

New Relationship needed - Premier Wheatley


The Premier said to move away from that relationionship, the people of the VI must be able to wake up and get together, “let's stop fighting against each other and let's work together and send a very clear message that we do not want that type of relationship anymore,” he said.

With the VI going through a constitutional review process, the Premier said it is a 'wonderful time' for the VI to send a very clear message on its relationship with the UK.

“We do not want a relationship with colonial practices… where you take away our House of Assembly and you take away Cabinet and you put all executive and legislature power in one man’s hand who's not elected, for me that's unacceptable,” he said.

With the VI going through a constitutional review process, the premier said it is a 'wonderful time' for the VI to send a very clear message on its relationship with the UK.

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