Ninth District Representative Vincent Wheatley said he is opposed to the BVI moving forward with a constitutional review if an Order in Council from the United Kingdom (UK) parliament remains hanging over its head.
Wheatley made that argument as legislators debated amendments to the terms of reference of the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) yesterday, September 21.
Wheatley said while he had no issue with the composition of the CRC, the terms of reference was an entirely different issue.
“I think sometimes we find ourselves dabbling in leaves where we should be more dealing with branches, roots, and [the] trunks of matters. We are playing around a committee,” Wheatley said.
The legislator said he sometimes asks himself if the BVI is on a real journey towards autonomy or is simply just playing games.
According to Wheatley, there are decisions the BVI really needs to make, but he felt no real efforts were being made to make those decisions.
Wheatley said the BVI needs to be deliberate about what it’s doing to get to self-determination.
“Right now, there’s an Order in Council over our head; an Order in Council that the Governor just has to go and gazette that thing, and we gone. All 13 of us (legislators) in here gone,” Wheatley argued.
He continued: “But we here talking about constitutional review. So, we should say that this should never happen again; that the territory should never be put in a position where anybody can put an Order in Council over your head and then tell you ‘come negotiate’ about your constitution, where you want to go, your aspirations as a people. Let’s talk about that, but, meanwhile, I (the UK) have an Order in Council.”
Given the Order in Council in place, Wheatley said it was clear the UK doesn’t trust the BVI to move forward in good faith.
“We’re playing in leaves. Let’s get out of these leaves and let’s start coming down in the branches and the trunk and ask ourselves, ‘Are we going to go through this review in good faith, in trust, in a sensible partnership?’ And I said no,” Wheatley stated.
“I like what we’re trying to do,” Wheatley added. “It’s a good thing. But it is simply an exercise, because it is expected.”
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