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New Deputy Premier of the Virgin Islands, Dr. the Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley said he is humbled on his appointment and is thankful for the confidence placed in him by Premier and Minister of Finance, Honourable Andrew A. Fahie.
Honourable Wheatley, who is the also the Minister for Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Fisheries and Agriculture will remain in the post for the duration of Government’s term in office. He thanked Premier Fahie for not only making an investment in him, but for doing so in all the persons who have been elected under his leadership.
The Deputy Premier said, “Premier, the Territory will have strong leadership for years to come because of your vision and your hard work and your sacrifice and I thank you for that.”
Honorable Wheatley said the titles come with a heavy responsibility and that it is not about self-aggrandisement or for ministers to exalt themselves over others.
“These titles are placing a heavy responsibility on our shoulders to serve others. That is what leadership is about,” the Deputy Premier said, adding, “Leadership is about serving others, it is about empowering communities to be the best that they can be. It is about empowering people to become their best selves. It is about empowering our young people in the education system, helping us to be healthy and strong. The post of Deputy Premier is one that I take very seriously.”
Honourable Wheatley said that the Premier has done a visionary act as never before in history has ministers been able to serve as Deputy Premier in three-month stints.
“The stints went a long way in helping to build capacity for the entire Territory for years to come,” he said, adding, “The Premier has a unique ability to see the best in persons. He sees potential and has a special quality to bring out this quality in you.”
He further said, “I thank my colleagues who are here to support me; your presence here truly means a lot to me. I look forward to their assistance and guidance with God’s help.”
Deputy Premier Wheatley reflected on his close relationship with God. He also acknowledged the struggles of the 25 enslaved ancestors of the Nottingham Estate who were manumitted in June 1776, explaining that their legacy is an important part of his lineage and on whose shoulders he stands.
He also acknowledged his parents, family, and grandparents, one of whom was Dr. Willard Wheatley former Chief Minister of the Virgin Islands June 2, 1971 to November 12, 1979, and was also the first Minister of Finance. He also acknowledged his grandfather’s brother Mr. Leslie Malone who was the first representative of the eastern district.
Premier and Minister of Finance, Honourable Andrew A. Fahie informed the public officially at an Informing Ceremony at The Stickit on August 7 immediately following the swearing-in of the new Deputy Premier at the Government House.
The Premier at the beginning of the Government’s term in February 2019 said that he was taking an unconventional approach where all the Ministers of Government, at different intervals would be appointed to perform in the role of Deputy Premier, albeit on a rotational basis, and to act as Premier.
The first minister to serve as Deputy Premier was Minister for Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Agriculture and Fisheries, Dr. the Honourable Natalio Wheatley from March 6, 2019. The Minister for Transportation, Works and Utilities, Honourable Kye Rymer served from June 6, 2019. Minister for Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration, Honourable Vincent Wheatley served from September 6, 2019. Minister for Health and Social Development, Honourable Carvin Malone was sworn in as Deputy Premier on December 17, 2019.
Dr. the Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley was officially sworn in at the Government House by His Excellency the Governor Mr. Augustus Jaspert on Friday, August 7, 2020.