The Virgin Islands Party is seeking the resignation of Premier Andrew Fahie and hopes to replace him with acting Premier Dr. Natalio “Sowande” Wheatley, Dr. Wheatley announced on Saturday.
Dr. Wheatley also said that he had been unanimously voted chairman of the Virgin Islands Party, replacing Mr. Fahie, who is detained in Miami on charges of conspiracy to import cocaine and conspiracy to launder money.
“We recognise that given the practical realities of the current premier’s situation, it is incumbent that steps be taken to have a new premier substantively appointed to this critical constitutional post,” Dr. Wheatley said during an address to the territory. “The elected members have expressed the view that I should be appointed premier, and we’ll be taking steps in this regard.”
He added that all elected government officials expressed their support for the move, and that he was ready to take up the post.
On Sunday, however, opposition members expressed dismay that the dismissal of Mr. Fahie hadn’t already been finalised by his party.
Opposition Leader Marlon Penn also urged the sitting government to issue a public statement about the alleged actions of Mr. Fahie and BVI Ports Authority Managing Director Oleanvine Maynard, who is detained on the same charges in Miami.
“We urge Premier Fahie to resign out of respect for the people of the Virgin Islands and in recognition of the need for the territory to move forward,” he said during a press statement on Sunday. “We [also] call on any public official that knows that they may have violated the public trust to voluntarily demit office out of respect for the people of the Virgin Islands.”
Under chapter five, section 66 of the Constitution, an elected member of the House of Assembly, including the premier, must vacate their seat if they are serving a minimum of 12 months in prison by any court of law. The premier can also vacate his seat through a written address to the Speaker of the House.