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Monday, Aug 15, 2022

Premier slams website for publishing draft UK-BVI reform proposals

Premier slams website for publishing draft UK-BVI reform proposals

Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley has come out in strong condemnation of the unauthorised publication of a draft proposal between the BVI government and the United Kingdom (UK) by a local media house.

While the Premier did not name the offending media house, the draft proposal appeared on the Julian Willock-owned Virgin Islands News Online (VINO) website in recent days.

“It was somewhat unhelpful, and I think it’s unhelpful to the public to have draft proposals circulating in the public; especially when we are in the midst of negotiations and the language of those proposals is not final. All it serves in doing is confusing the public,” Dr Wheatley said at a recent press briefing.

And while noting that it causes anxiety to the public, the Premier said publishing the document did not serve the purpose of keeping the public informed with accurate information.

He further explained that it was important for the government not to publish the document ahead of it being finalised.

“Unfortunately, you have media operations and individuals circulating documents which are not for public consumption. Those things are not in the public’s interest,” the Premier shared.

Who is held accountable for document leaks?

While speaking to the issue of who is held accountable when confidential government documents shared with Cabinet members are leaked to the public, the Premier said there is a duty for Cabinet colleagues to ensure that those documents remain private.

“It’s not something that I would encourage at all. In fact, I would strongly discourage it. I’ll discourage it on the part of Cabinet, elected officials – any type of public officials who have an oath to treat information confidentially,“ Premier Wheatley said.

He further argued that there is a difference between respecting confidentiality and being transparent.

According to the Premier, there are appropriate forums and appropriate processes to share information with the public and those should also be respected.

“In any instance where someone who has shared a document wrongfully or incorrectly, I condemn those instances,” the Premier added.


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