Premier reminisces about Unity Government

Dr. the Hon. Natalio Wheatley, Premier of the BVI
Dr. the Hon. Natalio Wheatley, Premier of the BVI.

Premier and Minister for Finance Dr. the Hon. Natalio Wheatley announced that the Unity Government has come to an end and that he is surprised that the cooperation that came with the Unity Party seemed instantly lost.

While speaking in the House of Assembly on 2 March the Premier recalled the genesis of the Unity Government which is a coalition of three Parties that united in the wake of the arrest of the former Premier Andrew Fahie and the threat of the partial suspension of the Territory’s Constitution following the Commission of Inquiry.

In reflecting, Hon. Wheatley noted that the members for the period of the time they were part of the Unity Government forgot politics and Party: “All of us in the House of Assembly have to balance our personal interest versus the national interest. We all have to be working in favor of the national interest. At times, Madame Speaker, our interests converge, our interests come together; and our interests diverge.”

The Premier said that he can now see that the Unity Government has ended based on the actions of members from the two other political parties that form the government. “I made a statement that the Unity Government is coming to an end. I think persons will be able to notice that the Unity Government has come to an end. The unity government is coming to an end based on the contribution of some of the members,” the Premier explained.

Hon. Wheatley said he was happy that the members last year made the bold decision to form the Unity Government. He said that it is a decision he respects. “I have to say that I was happy that we could have come together to stave off the suspension of the Constitution and work to reform the Virgin Islands to improve it to make it better. In that instance, our interests converged – national Democratic Party, Progressive Virgin Islands Movement, and Virgin Islands Party. Our interests converged because we faced a national crisis.”

The rift and split between the three parties has been apparent in recent weeks based on various comments made by Hon. Marlon Penn and Hon. Melvin Mitch Turnbull in the House of Assembly or in media interviews. Hon. Wheatley announced that he has noted the separation and opined that these actions are in an attempt to gain power.

Using a biblical story as an analogy of the current state of the Unity government the Premier said: “As we get closer to elections it would seem as if our interests have started to diverge because of course I am the Premier of the Virgin Islands and it’s kind of like Joseph in the Bible whose father gave him a coat of many colors and his siblings thought that they deserved to have the coat of many colors. I think they ended up actually going to kill him and he ended up being sold into slavery; so I have the coat and there are others who want the coat.”

The Premier further announced that he is ready for the political stage where the former Unity Government members and their parties will make their stance. “At some point, Madame Speaker, and I was waiting for it, at some point the target is on you. Generally, the argument you will hear is that we sat down with Fahie and so whatever sins that we perceive that he has extended to the rest. That will be the argument. So the interests have diverged and the battle has begun. I would have preferred for the battle to begin when we dissolve the House but it is what it is, Madame Speaker,” Hon. Wheatley declared.