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Minister for Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Fisheries and Agriculture, Dr. the Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley is the new Deputy Premier of the Virgin Islands for the duration of the Government’s term in office.
Premier and Minister of Finance Honourable Andrew A. Fahie officially informed the public at a ceremony held at The Stickit in Long Look on Friday, August 7.
In making the announcement Premier Fahie said that his Government believes that the greatest wealth and strength of any nation is its youth. The future of a nation he added, lies in the hands of its prosperity and the quality of its youth determines the kind of future the nation will have.
“Therefore, if we want to ensure a bright future for our country, we need to strengthen and empower our youth,” said Premier Fahie adding, “The youth of any nation and society are its potential energy. They are the ones who are the pride of the nation. It is the youth that brings laurels of the country.”
The Premier further added, “It is in this vein, August 7, my birthday, that I am pleased to announce that Dr. the Honourable Natalio Wheatley will be sworn in as Deputy Premier and as this Government continues to work together to take this Territory forward.”
Premier Fahie explained that for the last 17 months the people and Territory of the Virgin Islands have been on an unconventional journey of transition, transformation, enlightenment and renewal.
“From day one, we knew that we would see interesting times that would require unconventional thinking and decision making,” Premier Fahie said.
As a result, he said that the opportunity for each minister to serve in the office of Deputy Premier was important to ensure that each link in this Government’s chain is strong. He said the appointments also allowed for each minister to get the experience and ensure that they develop in all areas of Government, as they served on a rotational basis, and in different capacities.
“By allowing our ministers to take turns in the office of Deputy Premier, we were giving them a wider, more comprehensive view of the functioning of the whole government system while equipping them to take on bigger challenges in the future,” he stated.
The Territory’s leader said his objective as Premier was to ensure that capacity is built by all those who he is working with to ensure that all persons are exposed to the necessary experience of the ministerial office so that they can be effective in any role, and at a moment’s notice.
“I have full confidence that they can run this country come what may. When we are finished with this unconventional move, they will be able to help this Territory in a time of crisis,” Premier Fahie further explained.
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 followed by Minister for Transportation, Works and Utilities Minister Kye Rymer from June 6, 2019. Minister for Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration Honourable Vincent Wheatley served from September 6, 2019 while Minister for Health and Social Development Honourable Carvin Malone was sworn in as Deputy Premier on December 17, 2019.
Premier Fahie said that he has no doubt the new Deputy Premier Wheatley would do an excellent job because he will get the support from his colleagues.
“As a Government we will continue to work together with each other. He said that it was not a simple decision. It is not one about winning over the other. It is all of us winning together.” Premier Fahie said.
The Premier thanked the ministers for agreeing to follow through on an unconventional area of the Constitution which allowed the appointment of each minister to serve in the post of Deputy Premier for three months.
“It’s is always good to move away from what is familiar. That is how you grow,” he said.
Premier Fahie thanked God for his continued guidance and the families of his government for understanding that building the BVI requires long hours. He also extended thanks to the Public Service, statutory organisations and their Boards for continued commitment and encouraged the people of the Territory to continue to take the time out to provide suggestions formally and informally which is an important part of participating in democracy.
Honourable Wheatley was officially sworn in at the Government House by His Excellency the Governor Mr. Augustus Jaspert on Friday, August 7 followed by the official informing of the public at The Stickit in Long Look
NOTE TO EDITORS:
- Photo 1:1- Official Photograph of Deputy Premier and Minister for Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Fisheries and Agriculture, Dr. the Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley