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Tuesday, Dec 05, 2023

Premier equates constitutional suspension with slavery

Premier equates constitutional suspension with slavery

Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley has equated the prospect and threat of the BVI’s constitution being partially and temporarily suspended with the enslavement of Africans by European colonisers.
The current administration averted that constitutional suspension when it joined forces with the political opposition to form the coalition ‘Government of National Unity’ and agreed with the United Kingdom (UK) on a framework document for implementing the 48 other recommendations proposed in the Commission of Inquiry (COI) report.

“The thought of the constitution being suspended makes me think of slavery. It makes me think that I’m being treated as a slave and that I am being regarded as someone in chains,” Premier Wheatley said while speaking in the House of Assembly (HOA) recently.

He continued: “I think of it as that type of act; an imperial colonial act in the same type of spirit that slavery was being conducted and my reaction is to fight against this type of slavery in this colonialism.”

In the face of threats faced by the territory, Dr Wheatley said he was disappointed that there are still persons who choose to fight against each other instead of fighting together against these acts.

“I ask myself how much has changed since the days when we were fighting against each other for the benefit of European slavers,” the Premier said.

The Premier previously said he is against the parliamentary Order in Council placed in reserve by the UK. This reserved order will allow the suspension of the constitution to be swiftly enacted if the reforms are delayed unjustifiably or not implemented as agreed. At the time, he suggested that the UK should abandon the business of suspending the constitution of its dependent territories.

Just recently, Governor John Rankin admitted that the Order in Council was being used as an insurance mechanism to ensure the government’s compliance with those reforms.

In the meantime, Premier Wheatley is set to meet with UK Overseas Territories (OT) Minister Jesse Norman who is expected to be in the territory over the next two days where the Premier said discussions will be had on the progress of agreed governance reforms and strengthening the economic resilience of the territory.

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