Beautiful Virgin Islands

Friday, Feb 03, 2023

‘Pay close attention’ to updates on proposed constitution suspension

‘Pay close attention’ to updates on proposed constitution suspension

Governor John Rankin has urged residents to pay close attention to upcoming updates about a likely announcement on whether the BVI’s constitution will be partially suspended as recommended in the Commission of Inquiry (COI) report.
“I can’t give you an exact timeline but… I hope decisions will be made soon and there are serious discussions going on,” Governor Rankin said recently in response to questions about a timeline for that disclosure.

Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley has been in negotiations with United Kingdom (UK) officials on a proposal for the way forward following the report’s release weeks ago.

Governor Rankin said: “The proposal needs to be looked at seriously, it’s important we get that right but I also recognise we must not delay too long and people want to know what that final decision will be. Watch this space!”

In the meantime, Dr Wheatley said he expects to make that proposal public at some point but noted that it will remain private in the interim since it has gone through several iterations and remains part of a negotiation process.

“When that document is final and it’s accepted, it will be shared with the public,” Premier Wheatley said.

Dr Wheatley further stated that the public has been crying out for years about some of the issues highlighted as some of the report’s recommendations and all the government is doing now with its proposals, is simply responding to those cries.

“We see these reforms as being in the best interest of the people of the Virgin Islands and that’s why we’re taking them forward,” Premier Wheatley said.

A joint press conference is scheduled to be hosted today with the Governor and the Premier where the public is expected to hear updates regarding the COI’s findings.

As one of its overarching recommendations, the COI report called for the partial suspension of the BVI’s constitution as well as direct rule by the UK through the governor as it’s representative for at least two years in the first instance.

The Premier and other elected officials, as well as other prominent members of society, have been in staunch opposition to this recommendation, charging that the BVI is quite capable of orchestrating its own affairs and does not want to lose its democracy.

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