This was revealed by Special Envoy to the Premier, Mr E. Benito Wheatley at the United Nations Pacific Regional Seminar on Decolonisation in Saint Lucia held on May 11, 2022, where he highlighted that the majority of the [British] Virgin Islands (VI) cherish democracy.
Mr Wheatley told the gathering that the National Unity Government has committed to undertaking reforms, including implementation of the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry report, under continued democratic governance, and in partnership with the UK and in close cooperation with Governor John J. Rankin.
“The Government believes this is the most desirable approach, especially since the Governor is constitutionally responsible for the Public Service, security, and administration of the courts, while the elected Government is constitutionally responsible for managing the rest of Government."
Mr Wheatley said the proposal was submitted on May 10, 2022, and that the Unity Government sincerely hopes that the UK Government will accept the proposal and will be willing to partner with the VI Government to help the [British] Virgin Islands become the model democracy that its people desires.
“It is also the UK’s obligation under Article 73 of the UN Charter to help the people of the Territory develop their free political institutions,” he reminded.
My Wheatley said the position to reform the Government under a democratic system is not only that of the political directorate, it is also the sentiment of the majority of the population who cherish democracy and do not want to see the constitutional progress made over the past 70 years reversed.
“Not only is the sentiment against direct rule strong in the British Virgin Islands, but the strength of feeling is across the Caribbean where Governments and their people genuinely want to see the UK break with its past and to stand up as a champion of freedom and democracy in the Commonwealth and around the world, including places such as Ukraine. The British Virgin Islands should be no exception.”
Mr Wheatley thanked the UN Special Committee on Decolonisation for their interests in the current circumstances as well as CARICOM, OECS, the Caribbean Territories, the University of the West Indies, the Government of Saint Lucia, and Governments across the region for their expressions of support and offers of assistance.
Wheatley added, “The British Virgin Islands will remain engaged with the committee on the available options sanctioned by the UN. I ask that a recent self-governance assessment of the Territory completed by independent governance expert Dr Carlyle Corbin is placed on the record of this regional seminar.”
Dr Corbin has said the VI is systematically prepared for independence.