Ahead of Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley’s plan to petition Britain next month to remove the Order in Council that threatens to impose direct UK rule over the territory, Governor John Rankin said he thinks it’s too early for that.
Rankin shared that position during a press conference yesterday, October 19, when he was asked whether he would support the removal of the Order in Council.
He emphasised that the Order in Council — which he described as “an insurance” — would only be triggered if there is a delay, without a legitimate excuse, in implementing the recommendations.
He also outlined the next steps that would occur once it was deemed that this delay had taken place.
“This will trigger consultations between the governor, the Premier, and the relevant actors to assess and address the delay. So that’s what would happen if there were a significant failure in implementation of the framework agreement,” Rankin stated.
“We are at the very early stages of the process,” Governor Rankin assured. “We estimate that implementation of… all the recommendations will be a two year process. This is my first review after just the first three months of implementation. So I think its would be premature at this stage to sort of take the action [remove the Order in Council] that’s been suggested.”
The governor further noted that it is entirely legitimate for Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley to raise the issues he wishes in discussions with the UK Minister for Overseas Territories, Jesse Norman, who is expected to arrive in the BVI next week.
It is now left to be seen whether the Premier and his delegation will still continue to press for the removal of the Order in Council when they visit the United Kingdom early next month.
For months now, politicians and pundits have continued to incite fear that the BVI’s constitution will undoubtedly be suspended at the whim of the governor if the territory fails, in any way, to comply with governance reforms agreed with United Kingdom (UK).
But these fears were allayed when Governor John Rankin
issued the first of several quarterly progress reports on the status of implementation of the Commission of Inquiry
) recommendations as agreed in a framework agreement between the BVI and UK governments.
The governor’s review largely concluded that, despite some concerns that still remained, there has been good progress made by the government in implementing the COI
recommendations in a timely manner.