Works to implement the Commission of Inquiry reforms are still progressing steadily, according to Premier Dr. Natalio “Sowande” Wheatley.

As of September, 24 of 50 recommendations from last year’s COI report have been completed, and the rest are in progress, Dr. Wheatley said during an Oct. 31 update in the House of Assembly.

He also estimated that 60 to 79 percent of the required “actions” necessary to implement all the reforms are completed. That includes 10 out of 12 official reviews, he said, noting that the two outstanding reviews fall under the purview of Governor John Rankin.

Mr. Rankin delivered his fourth quarterly review on the overall implementation a month ago, saying that important progress had been made but that much more needs to be done to meet the United Kingdom’s May 2024 deadline. The premier countered in the House last week that more has been done than appears at face value.

“The progress achieved far exceeds that which a coarse interpretation of these numbers might suggest,” he said.

Deadline requests

Dr. Wheatley also explained his reasons for seeking certain deadline extensions, most of which he said stemmed from the need to consult the public and from unavoidable delays like the general election held earlier this year.

He did not indicate whether the UK had granted the requested extensions, but he said his administration will work with public officers to keep up the momentum of carrying out the reforms.

“I wish to make it abundantly clear that while the COI and the double-threat of partial suspension of the Virgin Islands Constitution and re-imposition of home rule through an order in council did play a major role in the events that led up to this accelerated reform programme, these have never been the leading motivations for the mission we are embarked upon,” he said, adding, “We have always been public in stating our belief that this process benefits our territory and our people, and is necessary for us to advance in every way.”