Ruling BVI party seeks resignation of Premier Andrew Fahie
This photo released by the Department of Information and Public Relations of the government of the British Virgin Islands on April 22, 2022 shows British Virgin Island Premier Andrew Alturo Fahie. Fahie and the director of the Caribbean territory’s ports were scheduled to appear in federal court in Miami on Friday, April 29, 2022 after their arrest on drug smuggling charges in a sting set up by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. (Department of Information and Public Relations of the government of the British Virgin Islands via AP)

TORTOLA, British Virgin Islands (CMC) – The governing Virgin Islands Party (VIP), is now in the process of appointing a new Premier and the members have so far thrown their support behind Deputy Premier, Dr Natalio Wheatley, who made the announcement late Saturday.

This development comes as Premier Andrew Fahie remains detained in the United States on drug and money laundering charges.

READ: BVI Premier arrested in US on cocaine and money laundering charges

Wheatley, a first-term legislator said the congress of the VIP, has already unanimously appointed him as chairman of the political organisation.

“Efforts are underway to seek the resignation of Honourable Andrew A Fahie as Premier of the Virgin Islands as this would facilitate the smooth advancement of the process,” Wheatley said during a public broadcast on Saturday night.

“I have never contemplated that the responsibility of the leadership of the Virgin Islands would come so soon under such circumstances. But I have been asked to lead and I rise to the call along with the rest of our team in the government who remain committed to the development of the Virgin Islands and the improvement of the quality of life for all our Virgin Islands and residents. These are demanding times for leadership and government but through the sum total of my education, training, and life experiences, I am confident in my preparedness to lead the Virgin Islands at this time along with my colleagues,” he added.

However, Wheatley must be appointed by Governor John Rankin, but this could be a challenge as the British Overseas territory could be placed under the direct rule of the United Kingdom.

UK direct rule was one of the chief recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry report released to the public on Friday.

If imposed, direct rule would see Rankin assuming the responsibilities of the elected government; something that was done in another British Overseas Territory, the Turks and Caicos Islands, after the conclusion of their Commission of Inquiry in 2009.

Meanwhile, high-level meetings are now scheduled to be held with the UK Minister for Overseas Territories, Amanda Milling, on Monday, to discuss the issue of direct rule and other recommendations as outlined in the report from the Commission of Inquiry.

Related articles:

BVI Governor calls for calm after Premier arrested in US

BVI Acting Premier says “due process” should be given to Premier Fahie after US arrest

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