Information Officer II
Department of Information and Public Relations (GIS)
Premier Honourable Dr. Natalio D. Wheatley will be attending the Joint Ministerial Council (JMC) meetings in the United Kingdom between November 13 and November 15.
The objective of the official visit is to continue to promote the overall socio-economic and political interests of the Virgin Islands.
Premier Wheatley stated, “The 2023 JMC will focus on reframing the relationship between the OTs and UK, as well as the development of a new UK strategy for its engagement with the Overseas Territories.”
He added, ”This effort to reframe the relationship is about identifying and affirming certain political principles on which the UK and OTs operate in order to minimise friction and promote a more supportive posture by the UK for Territories, especially after the severe strains experienced over the years that damaged the relationship.”
Premier Wheatley is expected to engage in bilateral discussions towards the United Kingdom improving its relationship with Overseas Territories. These areas of consideration include respect for the role and responsibilities of the legislatures of the Overseas Territories; respect for the will of the people of the Overseas Territories and their unique cultures and values; and respect for the OTs’ self-governance and political advancement in line with the United Nations Charter.The discussions will also include UN declarations and UN resolutions; support for the sustainable development of the Overseas Territories to help them achieve the Sustainable Development Goals; and assistance to the OTs based on their vulnerability to help them respond to the negative impacts of climate change.
Premier Wheatley said the VI delegation will attend an event dedicated to honouring the late former Premier, Honourable Ralph T. O’Neal at a reception at the BVI London Office, which will culminate with the unveiling of a commemorative bust.
The Premier’s delegation includes Deputy Premier Honourable Lorna G. Smith, OBE; Special Envoy to the Premier, Mr. Benito Wheatley; Permanent Secretary in the Premier’s Office, Mrs. Carolyn Stoutt Igwe; Financial Secretary, Mr. Jeremiah Frett; Deputy Director of the International Affairs Secretariat, Ms. Dwynel Davis; Managing Director of the Financial Services Commission, Mr. Ken Baker; Director of Policy Development and External Relations of the Financial Services Commission, Mr. Cherno Jallow; and International Relations Counsel at the Attorney General’s Chambers, Mrs. Fiona Forbes-Vanterpool.
Minister for Communications and Works Honourable Kye Rymer will be appointed to carry out the duties of Premier and Minister of Finance for the period November 10 to 18.
Honourable Rymer’s appointment is in accordance with the Virgin Islands Constitution Order, 2007 Section 55 (2) which states, “If both the Premier and the Deputy Premier are expected to be absent from the Virgin Islands for more than forty-eight hours, the Governor shall authorise another Minister designated by the Premier to
perform the functions of the office of Premier; and the Governor shall revoke this authority on the return to the Virgin Islands of either the Premier or the Deputy Premier.”
The Government of the Virgin Islands remains committed to the overall development of the Territory through the strengthening of its relationship with the United Kingdom.