The people have spoken, and the territory’s democratic machinery has processed their input and delivered a government headed by Premier Dr. Natalio “Sowande” Wheatley.

Though voters did not give Dr. Wheatley’s Virgin Islands Party a majority, they nevertheless gave it a reasonably strong vote of confidence: The VIP won twice as many seats as any other party, enabling it to form a government with National Democratic Party at-large member Lorna Smith, who will serve as deputy premier.

By all indications, the election was free and fair, and we were glad that negotiations to form a government did not drag on for days — particularly since the governor is empowered to appoint a premier in the event of a deadlock.

Moving forward, Dr. Wheatley and his VIP colleagues must remember that their election to office was a very narrow second chance that came despite the arrest of former VIP leader Andrew Fahie last April. After that blow, the territory desperately needed a fresh start. Voters’ decision to return most of the relatively young VIP team suggests that they believe the VIP could provide exactly that.

But the new government has much to prove. Members must make full use of their chance if they hope to keep their seats in the next election — and to fend off any leadership challenge that might take place in the meantime.

To that end, they must put the campaigns behind them, roll up their sleeves, and get to work straightaway.

A great place to start is continuing and accelerating the reforms promised after the Commission of Inquiry. After all, fully reforming the territory’s governance systems is a critical ingredient of the needed reset.

On a related note, we particularly like the party’s commitment to following the recently adopted National Sustainable Development Plan. By sticking to this collective roadmap — around which the VIP wisely built its election manifesto — members can rest assured they are going in a direction that was decided by the people in numerous public consultations.

Across the aisle, the opposition also has much to do, particularly if its divided members hope to mount a strong challenge to the VIP in four years’ time. To that end, they must work tirelessly and honestly, collaborating with the government when it is in the right and calling foul when it falls short. There is no room for excuses: The formidable opposition is fully staffed with six members experienced in areas including politics, governance, legislating, business and education. They should bring their collective experience to bear to hold the government’s feet to the fire.

The public also has an indispensable role to play by staying engaged and making sure the leaders they elected are held to account.

We fervently hope that the disappointing voter turnout was not an indication of flagging civic engagement. In a territory that has historically seen a strong turnout, only about 58 percent of eligible voters cast a ballot this year — down from 64.6 percent in 2019 and 67.5 percent in 2015.

Truly, this is no time to disengage. Nor it is the time to gloat or trade any more jabs.

It’s time to get to work.