The government has moved to introduce a Financial Services Ministry with the assignment of ministerial portfolios after the recent swearing-in of government ministers last week.
A recent government release revealed that newly elected Deputy Premier, Lorna Smith, OBE, is now expected to serve as Minister of Financial Services, Labour and Trade, which is a newly created portfolio.
Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley, who retains the portfolio of Minister of Finance, indicated that the development of the Financial Services, Labour and Trade Ministry is in alignment with his government’s strategic position to fully harness the economic potential of the territory.
Among the subject areas announced as being under the Deputy Premier’s portfolio are banking (includes the National Bank of the Virgin Islands
), Companies, Consumer Affairs, Economic Planning, e-Government and Financial Services.
Smith is also expected to oversee Human Resource Planning, Insurance, Investment Promotion, Labour, Science and Technology (including digital transformation), Statistics, Trade and Business (including licences), Trusts and Workforce Development.
Premier Wheatley commented: “As a territory, we have engaged in a series of serious discussions about creating a new ministry that focuses more keenly on one of the two main pillars of our economy.”
Since the Deputy Premier has such a wealth of experience and is going to bring to bear her expertise in this area in a more direct way, Premier Wheatley said his government has determined that now is the opportune time to take this important step in the formation of this new ministry.
In the meantime, the other ministerial assignments that were announced include the return of Kye Rymer as Minister for Communications and Works and Sharie de Castro as Minister for Education, Youth Affairs and Sports.
Vincent Wheatley will now take up the role of Minister for Health and Social Development. This follows his stint as Labour Minister in the previous Virgin Islands Party (VIP) administration.
For the two newly elected VIP representatives, Luce Hodge Smith will serve as Junior Minister in the area of Culture and Tourism, while Dr Karl Dawson will serve as Junior Minister in the area of Agriculture and Fisheries.