Many political and social pundits had believed that the current Deputy Premier, Hon Carvin Malone (AL), the Minister for Health and Social Development, would have secured the second spot in the Fahie-led VIP Administration after serving the longest in the rotation.
Premier Fahie had announced that, as part of his unconventional government, he would rotate all his Ministers in the post of Deputy Premier and at the end of the rotation he would choose a permanent person for the position.
It is unclear what led to the Premier’s final decision; however, no one is questioning if Dr Wheatley is capable. He has emerged as a powerful speaker in the House of Assembly (HoA) and, outside of Premier Fahie, has the second-largest ministerial portfolio.
Hon Wheatley, who defeated another Deputy Premier- Dr Kedrick D. Pickering- in the 2019 general election as one of the biggest upsets in that poll, also served as the immediate past President of the VIP and was a long time lecturer at H. Lavity Stoutt Community College (HLSCC).
Despite opening a District Office, which was not done by his predecessor, and announcing and implementing various initiatives to promote his constituents, including businesses, his critics’ have claimed he is not on “the ground in his district” and that many of his Seventh District residents feel neglected.
They have also claimed he has not made a move to clean up the Ministry of Education with many of the former controversial Minister Myron V. Walwyn’s “holdovers” that continue to undermine him and cause havoc to the local education system.
Those who defend Dr Wheatley; however, have noted that his critics in the Seventh District seem to “want him to do in 20 weeks what the former representative, Dr Pickering, did not do in 20 years.”
His supporters have noted that Dr Wheatley, whose grandfather was a Chief Minister, remains humble and easy to access, and is a sincere politician.
Dr Wheatley is an educator by profession and holds a PhD in Languages and Cultures of Africa from the University of London.
The Virgin Islands Constitution makes provision for a Deputy Premier in Section 52 (2).
At the time of publication, neither Premier Fahie, Hon Malone nor Dr Wheatley had responded to our request for comments.
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