Premier and Minister of Finance Dr. Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley will be absent from the Territory from today Wednesday, May 3 until Saturday, May 13, for the purpose of attending the Coronation of His Majesty King Charles III alongside The Queen Consort in the United Kingdom.
Premier Wheatley will also attend a series of meetings namely the Overseas Territories Political Conference and the meetings of the Joint Ministerial Council.
The objective of this official visit is to continue to advance the socio-economic and political interests of the Virgin Islands.
Premier Wheatley during his recent Press Conference said, “My Government will resume engagement with our United Kingdom partners and continue the process of building a new modern partnership that is stable and supportive of the aspirations of the people of the Virgin Islands.”
The Premier also indicated that he anticipates engaging in strategic discussions with Lord Zac Goldsmith and other United Kingdom Ministers at the Joint Ministerial Council meetings, the Overseas Territories Political Conference, and the BVI All Party Parliamentary Group.
Premier Wheatley stated, “I will be seeking the United Kingdom Government’s support on my administration’s agenda on reform in the areas of economic resilience, infrastructure, sustainable development, climate change, the environment, and health. I believe the United Kingdom’s partnership with the Virgin Islands must add value to the relationship and support the work being undertaken by the local Government to improve the lives of the people in the Territory.”
According to the Premier, Deputy Premier Honourable Lorna G. Smith, OBE is also scheduled to be away from the Territory commencing May 5 and Minister for Communication and Works Honourable Kye Rymer is scheduled to be away from the Territory during the same period May 3 to 13 for both personal and duty travel accordingly.
In light of the foregoing, Honourable Lorna G. Smith will be appointed to carry out the duties of Premier and Minister of Finance for the period May 3 to 4 and then Honourable Vincent Wheatley be appointed to carry out the duties of Premier and Minister of Finance for the period May 5 to13.
Honourable Smith’s appointment is in accordance with Section 55 (1) of the Virgin Islands Constitution Order, 2007 which states, “If the Premier is expected to be absent from the Virgin Islands for more than forty-eight hours, the Governor shall authorise the Deputy Premier to perform the functions of the office of Premier; and the Governor shall revoke this authority on the return to the Virgin Islands of the Premier.”
Honourable Vincent Wheatley’s appointment is in accordance with the Virgin Islands Constitution Order, 2007 Section 55 (2) which states, “If both the Premier and the Deputy Premier are expected to be absent from the Virgin Islands for more than forty-eight hours, the Governor shall authorise another Minister designated by the Premier to perform the functions of the office of Premier; and the Governor shall revoke this authority on the return to the Virgin Islands of either the Premier or the Deputy Premier.”
The Government of the Virgin Islands remains committed to the overall development of the Territory through the strengthening of its relationship with the United Kingdom