UN REAFFIRMS BVI CONSTITUIONAL POSITION AND RIGHT TO SELF-GOVERNANCE

C-24 regional seminar on decolonization photo


(Government of the British Virgin Islands, 1st September 2021) Deputy Premier Dr. Hon. Natalio Wheatley has welcomed the conclusions and recommendations of the
United Nations (UN) Committee of 24’s (C-24) regional seminar on decolonization held in Saint John
Parish, Dominica from 25th – 27th August 2021, which he attended on behalf of Premier and Minister of
Finance Hon. Andrew A. Fahie.
According to Hon. Wheatley, “The UN via the C-24 has again reaffirmed the right of the people of the
British Virgin Islands to self-determination and for self-governance in the Territory to be upheld. They
have clearly called on the Administering Power, the United Kingdom (UK), to respect the UN Charter and
international law which covers the special rights of the BVI and those societies on the UN list of
Territories yet to be completely decolonized. This is includes the BVI’s current constitutional position
and plans for Constitutional Review.”
In his report to the committee on the progress of decolonization and self-determination in the BVI, the
Deputy Premier highlighted concerns about the prospect of the Territory’s autonomy being taken away
following the completion of the ongoing Commission of Inquiry on the islands, despite the full
cooperation of the elected Government.
“The sitting Government continues to cooperate with the Commission of Inquiry and is only seeking a
just outcome. The process should not be used as a pretext by the UK to take away the autonomy of the
local Government or as leverage to compel us to simply do as they wish, as opposed to engaging in
dialogue. Moreover, the sitting Government should be allowed to exercise the maximum degree of selfgovernance permitted under the constitution. We are within our rights to do so,” Hon. Wheatley said.
He went on to say, “Furthermore, our plans for a Constitutional Review should not be impeded by the
UK on the basis that they want to wait for the outcome of the Commission of Inquiry. The two things are
mutually exclusive, and the UK should not be planning to capitalise on the Review as an opportunity to
impose on us what they wish or to circumscribe the powers of the local Government. Rather, the
aspirations of the Government and people of the British Virgin Islands should be the basis for any
constitutional changes, which should proceed without delay.“
2
In light of the concerns expressed by the Deputy Premier and other representatives of the Overseas
Territories which the UN says have yet to be decolonized, the C-24 agreed their conclusions and
recommendations of the regional seminar. Among other things, the C-24:
• Reaffirmed, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and other relevant
international law, that all peoples have the right to self-determination and, by virtue of that
right, to freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and
cultural development;
• Also reaffirmed that any attempt aimed at the partial or total disruption of the national unity
and the territorial integrity of a country is incompatible with the purposes and principles of
the Charter of the United Nations;
• Reconfirmed that the United Nations had a valid ongoing role in the process of
decolonization, that the mandate of the Special Committee was a major programme of the
Organization and that United Nations support should be provided until all outstanding
decolonization issues and related follow-up matters have been resolved in a satisfactory
manner, in accordance with the relevant United Nations resolutions and decisions;
• Reaffirmed the role of the Special Committee as the primary vehicle for fostering the process
of decolonization and for monitoring the situation in the Territories;
• On the status-related and/or constitutional review exercises and the overall process of
decolonization, stressed that such processes should be approached on a case-by-case basis
and in a way that was respectful of human rights, transparent, accountable, inclusive and
participatory, with the involvement of the people concerned, in accordance with the relevant
United Nations resolutions and decisions on decolonization and the purposes and principles
of the Charter of the United Nations;
• On the relationship with administering Powers, advised that interactions and cooperation
between the Special Committee and the administering Powers should continue to be
nurtured and strengthened through various possible platforms and means, including
informal working-level dialogue, and reaffirmed that all administering Powers, particularly
those that had not done so, needed to engage effectively in the work of the Committee;
The theme of the 2021 C-24 regional seminar on decolonization was “Implementation of the Fourth
International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism.”
The Deputy Premier was joined by the Special Envoy of the Premier Mr. Benito Wheatley.

Leave a comment

Social Share Buttons and Icons powered by Ultimatelysocial
error

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)