In what legislators described as a major milestone for establishing a medical school in the territory, the House of Assembly unanimously passed a resolution last Thursday allowing an Ireland-based medical accreditation body to operate here.

After presenting the resolution, Deputy Premier Dr. Natalio “Sowande” Wheatley explained the accreditation process and the agreement currently in discussions that he said would allow the Tiber Public Health Benefit Corporation to build and run a medical school in Tortola.

“As we all know, we are seek- ing to diversify our economy. For many years, we have spoken about medical schools in the territory,” said Dr. Wheatley, who is also the minister of education. “We have now been able to take the steps necessary to bring our medical school here to the Virgin Islands.”

The Ireland-based Accreditation Commission of the Colleges of Medicine will evaluate the programme offered by the medical school and report to the education minister every year, he ex-plained.

The agreement between the government and ACCM will last “for the duration of the operations of Tiber Health,” Dr. Wheatley added.

The ACCM accredits eight Caribbean medical schools and one Middle Eastern school. It was granted a 10-year recognition by the World Federation on Medical Education in 2017.


Health and Social Development Minister Carvin Malone said establishing a medical school would offer opportunities for residents to participate in initiatives offered by Public Health England and other institutions, but he didn’t provide more details.

Dr. Wheatley went on to say that students from the United States and other Caribbean islands would at- tend the school alongside Virgin Islanders.

He explained that they would spend money in the territory and “provide economic opportunities.”

More information, he said, will be provided soon.

Premier Andrew Fahie said earlier this month that the school will initially seek to draw 50 students and that other medical schools are interested in establishing campuses in the territory as well.

“We’ll see if we can safely have about three medical schools at the most operating at the BVI at the same time,” he said.

The schools would “operate in different disciplines and areas” without competing against one another or the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College, he added.

Tiber is a for-profit corporation whose main campus is located in Ponce, Puerto Rico. The corporation is headed by Dr. David Lenihan, a Missouri chiropractor with a Ph.D. in neuroscience from the University of Edinburgh.

Tiber has satellite campuses in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and in St. Louis, Missouri.