British Virgin Islands

Monday, Sep 27, 2021

Wheatley ‘rejects notion of UK takeover’ as COI exposes BVI ‘flaws’

Wheatley ‘rejects notion of UK takeover’ as COI exposes BVI ‘flaws’

With a Commission of Inquiry (COI) still underway to learn whether corruption or abuse of office may have taken place in recent years, some members of the public who’ve lost confidence in government have embraced the inquiry and want “Britain [to] take over for a while”.

But while delivering his official address for the territory’s 2021 emancipation holidays, Deputy Premier and Culture Minister, Dr Natalio Wheatley described those persons as being “disillusioned”.

He further dismissed any calls for a British takeover.

“My people, I reject this mentality with every fibre of my being. Let us continue the work of developing our institutions, and educating our people. Let us use the tools of democracy — including public forums, responsible journalism, protest, debate, and even elections. But let us not surrender to the archaic and colonial tools that the world should have forgotten about long ago, such as takeovers, imposed legislation, and imposed administrators,” Dr Wheatley stated during the 2021 Emancipation Service on Sunday, August 1.

“Let us also be appreciative of our ancestors who have toiled hard to lay the foundation for our success. And let us never shy away from our responsibility to keep building these beautiful islands for the benefit of coming generations,” he added.

No country immune to these alleged deficiencies

As for the COI, the Deputy Premier argued that any society placed under a microscope will have its flaws and weaknesses exposed, “especially a society that has suffered great neglect and exploitation by its coloniser over hundreds of years”.

He said the United Kingdom, like other societies, is not immune to the kind of “alleged deficiencies” being scrutinised here in the BVI. Bolstering that point he cited a recent newspaper article from The Guardian newspaper, published a headline stating, ‘Under Boris Johnson, corruption is taking hold in Britain’. The subtitle reads, ‘Cronyism is rife, our system of checks and balances is being dismantled, and ordinary people will soon start to suffer’.

“That is just one article, but similar scathing claims can be made of the United States of America, Russia, China, and all throughout the world,” the minister said.

“The reality that the [UK] Prime Minister [Boris] Johnson rejected calls for a Commission of Inquiry in the United Kingdom while allowing one to be imposed here speaks to the unequal partnership that exists with our administering power,” added Dr Wheatley, who reminded residents that the has done well for themselves.

“Let us never forget where we were prior to 1950, with no proper healthcare, no proper education, no proper infrastructure. It is the advancement of our democracy and our local autonomy which has led to the gains in our society. And while we are extremely critical, let us not take for granted that we are incredibly blessed and enjoy a standard of living that many people around the world would hope and dream of. As bad as some think we are, we still attract people from all over the world who choose to call BVI home. We can’t be that bad. Our education system produces individuals who have topped schools abroad and even topped various industries abroad. No, we are not what some paint us to be.”

“In fact, we have done well. And we have a lot to thank God for. Let us never be ungrateful for his favour upon us,” he stated.


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