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Suspending BVI constitution would have embarrassed the UK

Suspending BVI constitution would have embarrassed the UK

Special Envoy to the BVI Premier, Benito Wheatley, has stated that the UK would have faced international embarrassment if it had suspended the BVI’s constitution, as the recent Commission of Inquiry (COI) had recommended.
Speaking at a recent forum in the United Kingdom, Wheatley said it would have been a “public relations crisis” given that Britain is one of the countries supporting Ukraine in their fight against Russia.

“It would have been a public relations nightmare for the UK to be seen as removing democracy from a territory when Britain itself is supporting Ukraine’s struggle against Russia to preserve their freedom,” Wheatley posited.

Wheatley also told the forum that if Britain had taken power way from elected representatives, the country would have further perpetuated it’s image as a global colonial power and would have strengthened calls for decolonization and for Britain to pay reparations to nations made up of descendants of the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

He also added that there was no need for Britain to suspend the BVI’s constitution over the actions “of one man or small group of people.” In turning his attention to the Overseas Territories (OTs), Wheatley said the recent “BVI crisis” has given way to a new model for Britain’s relationship with OTs.

He said the BVI’s situation has shown that the UK needs to provide ongoing support to these countries so they can develop themselves, instead of wielding power after a crisis occurs. He said the OTs have been calling for a new relationship with the UK in recent years, but Britain has maintained that the current relationship is sufficient.

Wheatley disagrees that the current relationship is sufficient, adding that it gives the UK an unfair advantage; such as the power to use Orders in Council to snatch power away from local governments in the OTs. At the same time, Wheatley told the forum that it is up to OTs to offer their own vision for the kind of partnership they want with the UK in order for improvements to be made.

“A great deal of consultation would be required because of regional differences, levels of economic development, differences in political advancement and varying political aspirations,” Wheatley told the forum.
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