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BVI Premier shares details of Proposal to UK Government for continued democratic rule

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by Kevon Browne

St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): A decision on whether the United Kingdom will impose direct rule on the British Virgin Island or accept the New National Unity Government’s proposal has yet to be made.

At the end of April 2022, news broke of the arrest of Andrew Fahie, former Premier of the BVI, on drug trafficking and money laundering charges.

Simultaneously the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry Report for the Territory were communicated by Governor-General His Excellency John Rankin, with the significant recommendation being the two-year suspension of the constitution of the territory leading to direct rule by the United Kingdom.

People of the BVI and the regions spoke out against the imposition of direct rule from the UK and prompted now Premier and Minister of Finance Dr. the Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley to propose a counter to the recommendation.

A month after the announcement of the recommendation to suspend the British territory’s constitution, Premier Wheatley, in a statement on May 24, shared some details of the proposal made to the UK Government.

“The Government of National Unity’s proposal submitted to the United Kingdom outlines a framework for implementation along these lines, which will divide responsibilities accordingly. The government will be responsible for [the] overall implementation of the COI Report recommendations in partnership with the Premier and monitoring the government’s work program and implementation timetable. The Premier would support the implementation of the recommendations of the COI report through engagement with the Governor and coordination of the Ministries of government. As the leader of government business in the House of Assembly, I would also drive the legislative form agenda. The Cabinet would be responsible for agreeing and passing policies necessary to implement reforms.”

Premier Wheatley continued by declaring that there would be no early elections and outlined in the proposal the New National Unity Party would complete this term.

“Ministries will be responsible for implementing the reform policies agreed by Cabinet, and the House of Assembly will be responsible for passing all relevant legislation necessary for delivering reforms. The Government of National Unity believes that this approach would allow for the successful implementation of the COI Report recommendations under continued democratic governance. To be clear, there will be no calling of early elections, and our work will primarily be dedicated to reform for the remainder of this term.”

In further updates on the state of affairs in the country, the Premier shared that the board of the BVI Ports Authority has been dissolved, and the call for new members has been issued.

Other statutory boards are being assessed on whether they should be dissolved, including their Social Security Board.

“I want to make it clear that these boards are not being dismantled because of any knowledge of wrongdoing by the most recent membership. I personally know that we have members who have made strong contributions, who are people of integrity, who have sacrificed countless hours of their time and energy, but given recent events, it is important for us to have a fresh start,” explained Premier Wheatley.

MAKANA FERRY SCHEDULE

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