Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley has suggested that stipulations made by Julian Fraser during negotiations with the premier’s Virgin Islands Party (VIP), were simply too much to accommodate as it sought an alliance to help form the government.
The VIP won six electoral seats at the just concluded elections, but needed seven seats in total to form a government in the 13-member House of Assembly (HOA), and approached Fraser about a potential alliance to do so.
Speculation was rife that Fraser, who is Chairman of Progressives United (PU), had insisted on becoming premier of the territory as a precondition to forming an alliance with any of the other parties that were successful at the polls. However, Dr Wheatley declined to confirm that this was indeed what happened.
“You had the Progressive Virgin Islands Movement who had three [seats], you had the National Democratic Party who had three, and then you had PU with one. And of course that PU, that one seat, would’ve been necessary to make the whole thing work,” Premier Wheatley shared recently on JTV News.
He continued: “And of course Honourable Julian Fraser, we met with him, other parties met with him, and it became clear his demands were ones that many of the parties would not have been willing to accommodate.”
Despite being pressed on the issue, Premier Wheatley maintained that he was not inclined to disclose the details of talks that were held with Fraser and what his specific demands were.
“I don’t make a habit of disclosing any private or confidential meetings I have with anyone,” Dr Wheatley said. “I’ll just leave it as saying that his demands were too great and I don’t think that the people of the Virgin Islands
would’ve been pleased.”
Dr Wheatley maintained that there was simply no means of forming a government for any of the other successful parties beyond sharing an alliance with Fraser’s PU.
“Outside of Honourable Julian Fraser, there was no pathway to a government being formed,” he stated. “So anyone who wanted to form a government had to deal with the Virgin Islands
Party unless you would concede to the demands of Honourable Julian Fraser.”