Swearing In Ceremony
His Excellency The Governor Mr. Daniel Pruce
Monday 29th January 2024
REMARKS BY PREMIER DR. THE HONOURABLE NATALIO D. WHEATLEY
I acknowledge the protocol that has already been established, but wish to recognize:
- His Excellency the Governor Mr. Daniel Pruce;
- Chief Justice of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court Her Ladyship Dame Margaret Priera and other Members of the Judiciary Present;
- Speaker of the House of Assembly The Honourable Cornine George-Massicot;
- Leader of the Opposition The Honourable Ronnie W. Skelton;
- Other Members of the House of Assembly;
- Deputy Premier the Honourable Lorna Smith OBE;
- Honourable Ministers and Junior Ministers;
- Deputy Governor Mr. David Archer;
- Cabinet Secretary Ms. Sandra Ward;
- Financial Secretary Mr. Jeremiah Frett;
- Permanent Secretaries and department heads present;
- The resilient people of the Virgin Islands, at home and abroad;
- Persons watching online and listening via radio;
- Ladies and gentleman;
A pleasant good afternoon to you all.
On behalf of the Government and people of these Virgin Islands, I extend a very warm and hearty Virgin Islands welcome to His Excellency the Governor Mr. Daniel Pruce and his lovely wife Rachael.
It is with very best wishes that we welcome you here to our home in these beloved islands where you will reside with us over the course of your governorship.
As is good practice for new Governors, I know you will take some time to get to know our vibrant community over the weeks and months ahead.
Undoubtedly, you will see the strength of the Virgin Islands spirit and the faith and resilience we have inherited from our foreparents who built up these islands through their blood sweat and tears, and left them as an inheritance for their children, grandchildren and future generations.
You will also see our love for family and community that has sustained us through the darkest days in our history, including the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
You will see the entrepreneurial spirit of our small and medium-sized business that drive our economy and sustains the resilience of our tourism and financial services industries.
Finally, you will see our love for lively debate and democracy which are regularly on display on social media and radio.
I encourage you to get out and about to see the natural beauty of these islands that are our environmental heritage that we are preserving for future generations of Virgin Islanders.
Governor Pruce, your appointment comes at a critical juncture in the United Kingdom’s (UK) historical relationship with the Overseas Territories (OTs). The Joint Declaration recently agreed between the UK and OTs based on democratic principles, consultation, mutual responsibility and mutual accountability was an important step in reframing our modern partnership for the 21st century.
Notably, the Joint Declaration, for the first time in a long time, outlines a pathway for the greater self-determination of those Overseas Territories who wish it.
I highly commend UK Minister for the Overseas Territories the Honourable David Rutley for his leadership in the joint development and approval of the Declaration. I look forward to welcoming him here next week for the very first time and to continuing the very constructive and good working relationship we have established. He has been instrumental in strengthening UK’s relationship with the BVI.
Governor Pruce, I am also looking forward to working closely with you. A lot hinges on the relationship between the Governor and Premier in our political system I will be a good partner as we carry out our respective constitutional roles.
My Ministerial colleagues also look forward to working with you in Cabinet and on other areas of our partnership.
We are hoping that by the end of your tenure, there will be a stronger public service and improved security across the Territory. We of course are committed to working with you in these areas to help support their strengthening.
We also look forward to working with you and your team on governance reforms. We share the sense of urgency in completing the remaining governance reforms and thank your team at the Governor’s office for their constructive approach as we have taken steps to accelerate implementation. My Ministerial and Honourable colleagues and I know that the people of the Virgin Islands are depending on us to complete remaining governance reforms and we will deliver.
Our mission of building a model democracy in which the people of these Virgin Islands thrive is rooted in our ironclad commitment to good governance. Governance reform is also the vehicle for achieving greater autonomy.
Democracy has been important to the people of these islands since 1950 when the legislature was finally restored and remains even more relevant today, especially after our recent free and fair General Election in April 2023 where the voters elected 13 Representatives to the House of Assembly.
2024 is an important year for democracy around the world. There will be elections in the United States (US), India, Mexico, South Africa, South Korea, European Union (EU), the United Kingdom (UK) and 39 other countries, including those where there are questions about whether the democratic will of the people will be respected.
Let the UK, Virgin Islands, and Overseas Territories continue to be shining examples of democracy in a very troubled world.
The people of these Virgin Islands wish for the democratic governance of the Territory to continue and their constitutional and democratic rights to be respected.
My elected colleagues and I support these desires of our people and will do our part.
As I close, Governor Pruce, I again pledge to work with you in the genuine spirit of partnership.
I wish you and Racheal a pleasant stay here in the Virgin Islands.
God bless these beautiful Virgin Islands.