Beautiful Virgin Islands

Lorna Smith performs first stint as Acting Premier

Lorna Smith performs first stint as Acting Premier

Newly-appointed Deputy Premier Lorna Smith will today sit in the seat of Premier for the first time as she takes over the reigns from Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley who will be leaving the country to attend King Charles’ coronation in the United Kingdom.

Under section 55 of the Virgin Islands Constitution, one of the duties of the Deputy Premier is to lead the territory when the Premier is away or unable to carry out their duties. Smith will hold the fort for the rest of this week and will leave the territory next Monday to attend an important meeting in Britain.

“Honourable Smith won’t be leaving on Wednesday because she will be attending the Joint Ministerial Council meeting and that starts on Monday. On Wednesday, I will be leaving to attend the King’s coronation. So Honourable Smith will be here until Friday and once she leaves, Honourable Vincent Wheatley will be acting,” Premier Wheatley said at a press conference yesterday after being asked who will take the reins when he heads to Britain.

Section 55 of the Virgin Islands Constitution.

During the press conference, Premier Wheatley praised Smith as someone with a “very exceptional skill set” as he recalled her years of experience in different capacities in the public and private sector. He referred to her as a “fixer” who is fully able to perform as the Minister of Financial Services, Labour and Trade.

“As you know, she worked in the Premier’s Office for many years, she worked with the late great Lavity Stoutt, she worked with Ralph O’Neal, she worked as the director of the BVI London Office, she was the CEO of BVI Finance. In her private life, she worked with the financial services so she is very capable,” the Premier said.

“The challenges are great, but she is a fixer and a doer and we expect her to do great things in that ministry,” the Premier continued.

Although many have expressed disappointment in Smith’s decision to form an alliance with the VIP, the community is well aware of the important political position she now holds as a result of that decision. The seat of Deputy Premier is an important one, as the person who holds it is usually next in line if circumstances prevent the Premier from carrying out his duties.

This was the case in 2022, when then Premier Andrew Fahie was arrested on drug-related charges in the United States and then Deputy Premier Natalio Wheatley was ushered into the leadership seat. At the time, Premier Wheatley made history by becoming the youngest person to hold the seat of Premier in Virgin Islands history.


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