Governor John Rankin chaired Cabinet meetings on Oct. 5, 11 and 18. All members were present except Education, Youth Affairs and Sports Minister Sharie de Castro, who was overseas on official duties on Oct. 5 and 11; Health and Social Development Minister Vincent Wheatley, who was chairing the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States meeting on Oct. 11; and Attorney General Dawn Smith, who was overseas on official business on Oct. 18. Members took the following actions, according to a summary published in the Gazette on Oct. 30.

Oct. 5

1.a. Decided that the governor issue a proclamation that March 4, 2024 be appointed as the public holiday commemorating the anniversary of the birth of H. Lavity Stoutt; and, subject to confirmation, June 14, 2024 be appointed to be kept as the sovereign’s birthday.

b. Reviewed and accepted the list of public and common law holidays to be celebrated in the year 2024 as follows: Jan. 1 as New Year’s Day; March 4 as the anniversary of the birth of H. Lavity Stoutt (in lieu of March 7); March 29 as Good Friday; April 1 as Easter Monday; May 20 as Whit Monday; June 14 as the Sovereign’s Birthday (to be confirmed); July 1 as Virgin Islands Day; Aug. 5-7 as Emancipation Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday; Oct. 21 as Heroes and Foreparents Day; Nov. 27 as the Commemoration of the Great March of 1949 and the Restoration of the Legislative Council; Dec. 25 as Christmas Day; and Dec. 26 as Boxing Day.

c. Decided that the full list of public and common law holidays for 2024 listed above be published once the governor makes the necessary proclamations.

2. Decided that Akeem Pickering be appointed as the managing director of the BVI Ports Authority for a period of two years as per the BVIPA Board’s Resolution No. 30 of 2023; and approved that he be remunerated at the following rate in accordance with the same resolution: $108,000 for annual salary; $2,400 for annual travel allowance; $2,400 for annual entertainment allowance; $115 per month for medical insurance; 36 vacation days per year; and a BVIPA assigned vehicle.

3. Approved four non-belonger land holding licence applications.

Oct. 11

1. Noted the summarised list of priority training needs for the public service identified for the period covering 2024 to 2025, which will guide the training programmes to be facilitated through the VI Public Service Learning Institute under the following broad categories: immediate training needs; long-term skill enhancement; compliance and regulatory training; soft skills development; specialised training; and cross-training opportunities.

2. Approved the following criteria to be used to designate the first class (historical tier) of national heroes of the VI:

i. Actions taken by the individual that provided leadership and/or a catalyst to a collective, historical movement in the VI, with key defining moments or events in the life story or history of the VI for the cause of humanity, universal liberty or freedom, social justice or self-determination. These collective movements and events should have led to a shift or change in the trajectory of the growth and development of the VI.

ii. Actions taken by the individual which carried or magnified the voice of the people of the VI so that the individual gave voice to the collective historical movement carrying out the will of the people.

iii. Actions taken by individual which required a demonstration of significant courage in the face of adversity, pain and selfsacrifice.

b. decided that the following people be recognised as the first class of national heroes: Shelly Martin; Perreen Georges; Augustus McCleverty; Obadiah Dawson; Henry Garnet; Theodolph Faulkner; Glanville Fonseca; Carlton de Castro; H. Lavity Stoutt; and Noel Lloyd.

c. decided that the next and succeeding national heroes satisfy the following criteria:

i. has made a significant and lasting contribution to the VI;

ii. has enriched the lives of others;

iii. has a legacy that will stand the test of time and have continued relevance in the future;

iv. has contributed to the quality of life and destiny of the VI;

v. be considered as outstanding in their area of activity (once selected from any area, such as from the medical, education or political field);

vi. has ready name recognition among the general population;

vii. is recognised by his/her profession or organisation; and

viii. is reflective of the VI’s cultural heritage and diversity.

d. Approved proposed means for honouring national heroes:

i. declaration of a national heroes park or area and erection of busts or plaques there;

ii. development of educational material on the national heroes which can be taught in schools in the territory;

iii. development of publications which can be disseminated to members of the public;

iv. creation of documentaries, exhibitions or other communication strategies to educate the public on the national heroes;

v. presentation of a token such as a plaque to the living descendants of the national heroes;

vi. display of photos, paintings, drawings, illustrations or other depictions of national heroes at the airport and other ports of entry, such as in a mural form;

vii. creation of merchandise in honour of national heroes, such as mugs, t-shirts, caps and so on.

e. Decided:

i. that a resolution be laid and debated in the House of Assembly to declare the first class of national heroes;

ii. that the Premier’s Office instruct the Attorney General’s Chambers to prepare a resolution to declare the first class of heroes to be tabled at the next sitting of the HOA;

iii. that national heroes be designated every five years and that persons be designated for recognition during the ensuing years based on categories identified and approved by Cabinet, following a nomination process; and

iv. that in commemoration of 80 years of secondary education in the VI, educators who are 80 and older would be recognised at a ceremony in their honour as part of this year’s observance of Heroes and Foreparents’ Day.

3. Approved the Implementation Plan for the Commission of Inquiry Recommendations, subject to:

a. amendment, in agreement with the United Kingdom government, of the language of Recommendation A4 of the Framework for Implementation of the Recommendations to state, “The governor establishes one or more independent unit(s) to conduct investigations, the results of which the governor will then forward as appropriate to the attorney general and the director of public prosecutions to facilitate the taking of steps to secure money, land or other assets pending criminal and/or civil confiscation and/or recovery proceedings. They should be responsible for civil recovery;” and

b. amendment of the language in Action Item A04.03 of the implementation plan to reflect the amended language referenced under Recommendation A4.

Oct. 18

1. Reviewed and approved the Deputy Governor’s Office’s 2022 annual report and decide that it be laid on the table at the next convenient sitting of the HOA.

2. Reviewed and approved the Civil Registry and Passport Office’s 2021 annual report and decided that it be laid on the table at the next convenient sitting of the HOA.

3. Reviewed the recommendations of the Board of Immigration in respect of applicants for certificates of residence; accepted the recommendations of the board to grant certificates to 89 people in accordance with Section 18(1) of the Immigration and Passport Act (as amended); accepted the recommendations of the board for endorsement of a minor in accordance with Section 18(2) of the Immigration and Passport Ordinance; and directed that the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sustainable Development instruct the Department of Immigration to communicate Cabinet’s decision to the respective applicants in a timely manner.

4. Decided, in principle, that four stamps to commemorate the coronation of King Charles III be issued in accordance with Sections 4 and 5 of the Stamps Act (CAP 212); noted that approval of the designs will be sought from Buckingham Palace via the Royal Household Section in the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, following approval by Cabinet; and decided:

a. that the Ministry of Finance instruct the Attorney General’s Chambers to vet and finalise the draft Stamps (Coronation of King Charles III) Order, 2023; and

b. that the finalised order be published in the Gazette and thereafter be laid in the HOA at its earliest convenience.

5. Noted the expiration of Michael Matthews’ appointment as BVI Ports Authority board member on Aug. 28; approved Mr. Matthews’ re-appointment as a board member for two years effective Sept. 15, 2023 until Sept. 14, 2025 by Section 1(1)(b) of the First Schedule of the BVI Ports Authority Act, 1990; noted that the member will be paid $900 per month or, if re-appointed as deputy chair, $1,500 per month; and decided that the Ministry of Communications and Works instruct the Attorney General’s Chambers to prepare the instrument of appointment.