It has been over 40 years since the Virgin Islands came out of Grant-in-Aid from the United Kingdom (UK) and independently, without the help of the UK, began to successfully develop the Territory and making it an envy of the region.
Now the UK, through a controversial and biased Commission of Inquiry (CoI), has marched in accusing the Virgin Islands (VI) of poor financial stewardship and threatening to suspend the local constitution for direct rule.
This 'march' is being continued by UK-appointed Governor John J. Rankin, CMG, who many accuse of running the territory via indirect rule and has been portraying himself like an elected official.
But according to former Financial Secretary Mr L. Allen Wheatley, in a social media commentary, today, December 16, 2022, the UK and the Governor need to show more respect to the Virgin Islands.
They need to go scatter- Wheatley
He also said a lot of persons in the VI wrongly believe that the UK gives money to the territory. He said this was discontinued when the Grant-in-Aid era ended in 1978.
“A long time now, since the 70s, we have been running our own budget, finding our own monies to finance our country and we have been financially independent since 1970 something. So, all this stewardship talk with the CoI
, they need to go scatter.
“We been on our own a long time, doing what we have to do and now they coming here now and telling us how to manage money? They can’t even manage theirs in the UK but I am not going down that road.”
‘All UK does is build prisons’
He also questioned what good has the UK done for the VI since, adding that the help has come in the form of a prison. In most of the territories and some of the commonwealth countries, the UK’s main assistance has come in the form of prisons.
“My point is if we could be running our ship for over 40 years, keeping it viable, keeping it functioning, keeping the country going without begging the UK for a dime, and as Lucky Dube say all they do is build prisons, prisons, that’s all the UK ever did since 1970 something, is build one prison in Balsam Ghut, and look over the police.”
Police & Government House funded by VI
Mr Wheatley pointed out that even the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF), which falls under the responsibility of the Governor, is being funded by the VI and not the UK.
It was noted too that the New Government House, where the Governor resides, was built by the VI government and not the UK.
“I was FS then, I said to them [UK]; well look, since this is your Government House that the governor is going to be living in then y’all should fund your Government House. You know what they told me? Y’all making too much money down there [for UK] to build any Government House.
“You see that new Government House that Rankin in? Ain’t no UK money build that. It is BVI money that built that Government House. So, he is in there living off of our money that we blood, sweat and teared for and now coming and telling us about we don’t have good stewardship.”
‘We deserve more respect’
The outspoken Mr Wheatley informed that there is a budget for the Governor that covers expenses that relate to the Governor and that the Governor actually gets a marginal amount of money from the UK to help with small things called Good Governance Funds.
“And other than that, the Governor of the British Virgin Islands, his whole operation here in the BVI, is financed by the BVI Government, by our money, nothing to do with the UK.
“So if our stewardship was so bad how come, for these umpteen years, we be covering the expense of the governor? And how could we build a Government House that cost nearly three million dollars if our stewardship was so bad? Come on man. Stop talking nonsense. Governor Rankin, your daily subsistence is financed by the people of the BVI and, therefore, we deserve more respect,” Mr Wheatley stated.
It has been over 40 years since the
Virgin Islands came out of Grant-in-Aid from the United Kingdom (UK) and
independently, without the help of the UK, began to successfully
develop the Territory and making it an envy of the region.