Amidst public concerns about the implications of conflict of interests, Premier and Minister of Finance Dr. Natalio Wheatley stated that it would not be in the best interest of the people of the Virgin Islands if the skills and expertise of his brother Mr. Benito Wheatley, especially at this critical juncture in the Territory’s development, were inaccessible.
Under the former Virgin Islands Party (VIP) administration, Benito was appointed to the position of Special Envoy in the Office of the Premier.
“He continues to do a good job of serving the Virgin Islands
people, and I see no reason for that to be interrupted at all,” Premier Wheatley said in response to questions from BVI Platinum News at a press conference on Friday, June 24.
Premier Wheatley also revealed that Benito's skills were instrumental in securing the result that was achieved after negotiations on the Commission of Inquiry
) report between officials from the Virgin Islands
and representatives from the United Kingdom (UK) government.
The result was that a decision was made by the UK to allow for the recommendations in the CoI
report to be implemented under a continued democratic system of government, in which direct rule was circumvented.
Dr. Wheatley asserted that the close relationship with his brother should not preclude him from working in the capacity of Special Envoy to the current Administration due to his expertise in areas of international relations.
“He has been working in the area since the R. T O’Neal administration; so he has a great deal of experience. He has a great deal of expertise in this particular area. I think the Government of the Virgin Islands
is well served by having him serve for the past 4 administrations,” Premier Wheatley confirmed.
He continued by stating that close family members working together is a regular occurrence in the Virgin Islands
, due to its small size and the interconnected nature of social networks that exist in the Territory.
“I think we have to be mature enough as a society to be able to manage those potential conflicts,” Dr. Wheatley announced.
He also mentioned that as it relates to receiving political advice from his brother, “We keep it as professional as possible.”
Benito's contract as Special Envoy of the Premier ends December 31, 2022.