Governor John Rankin has again refuted claims that the United Kingdom (UK) played any role in insisting that BVI delay its general elections immediately after the release of the Commission of Inquiry (COI) report.
The governor’s comments come in the wake of a statement by Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley which argued that the so-called “no early elections” madate’ was the explicit request of UK officials during negotiations with the BVI government as the territory explored measures of staving off direct and temporary UK rule as recommended in the COI
report. Dr Wheatley further argued that this provision was included in the final framework document agreed between the two sides, and quoted a section of a letter to the BVI government from the then-Overseas Territories Minister, Amanda Milling, which he said made this clear.
But according to Governor Rankin, his previous statement refuting this notion, was a true and accurate statement at the time. The governor also emphasised at a press conference last Friday, that the notion of delayed elections was the brainchild of BVI elected officials.
“The fact is that the proposal for a Government of National Unity, explicitly based on not holding an immediate election was one made by BVI political leaders,” Governor Rankin said. “It was not a proposal made either by myself as governor or by the UK government, and at no point did the UK government insist that no elections be held.”
He added: “That said, the reason given for why the Government of National Unity proposal ruled out an immediate election, was so that the process of reform and implementation could begin straight away. I discussed that with the UK government at the time and agreed that this seemed a reasonable position.
Opposition Leader Julian Fraser previously disclosed that the proposal for an all-party government was made by then-Opposition members to UK officials after the COI
report was released and both Minister Milling and the governor indicated their interest through their body language and questions they were asking.
In the meantime, the governor said he has not accused the Premier of lying about the matter and said he had no intention of entering a further tit-for-tat discourse with Dr Wheatley moving forward.