Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley said he recently reported Governor John Rankin to the United Nations Special Committee on Decolonization.
Speaking in the House of Assembly on June 29, Premier Wheatley said his report was based on Governor Rankin’s recent statement that he may exert additional powers over the Virgin Islands.
“In early June, I travelled to the United Nations (UN) headquarters in New York to appear before the Special Committee on Decolonization, also referred to as the C-24. I also informed them of where things currently stand in the relationship between the UK and the Virgin Islands,” Premier Wheatley told the House of Assembly.
“I did place on the record my administration’s objection to the UK continuing to maintain an Order in Council in reserve, that can immediately suspend the constitution. It is not necessary. UK parliamentarians, CARICOM, OECS and the C-24 agree with our position. I also expressed our deep concern about recent statements by the Governor regarding him potentially obtaining additional powers over the Virgin Islands. This also is not necessary,” the Premier added.
Recently, Governor Rankin gave his quarterly update on the progress the government is making to implement the good governance recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry. The Governor’s overall conclusion was that the government was moving slowly and he mentioned there are powers he can use to achieve important deliverables if the elected government continues to lag behind.
“If we do not see the ‘meat on the bones’ of these reforms by my next quarterly review, additional action will be necessary,” Governor Rankin said in his report. “I will hence be exploring options for additional resources, powers and technical expertise to accelerate reforms.”
Elected leaders have traditionally taken offence whenever a Governor uses his powers to make decisions without their approval. The Governor also warned the elected representative that Britain’s Order in Council is still in place and the UK needs to see significant progress in the governance reform process before it removes the Order in Council that threatens to take power away from local leaders.
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