While providing an account of his recent trip to the United Kingdom (UK), Premier Dr. the Honourable Natalio Wheatley revealed that the trip included several interactions with dignitaries also in attendance at the Commonwealth Games, and a meeting with UK Minister for Overseas Territories the Right Honourable Amanda Milling.

Among other things discussed, Premier Wheatley said during his meeting with Milling, they “discussed the need for the Virgin Islands to have greater fiscal flexibility to respond to surging inflation, high fuel and energy costs and urgent infrastructural needs”.

He said that emerging from that meeting he was ever more certain of the importance of the government being “in some way able to further help ease the financial burden on families and businesses until external economic conditions improve”.

The Premier said in the coming weeks he hopes to address the people of the territory with good news emerging from discussions with the UK surrounding financing the recovery of the territory, including, among other things, the Halls of Justice Project.

“As it pertains to the Halls of Justice, that project is one that we want to get going. Funding was a challenge before. We only had about $4 million available and the project cost about $23 or $24 million. That’s part of the reason why I travelled to the UK, because I wanted to have some discussions about financing our recovery with the United Kingdom Government and the Minister for Overseas Territories”, Premier Wheatley stated.

He added, “So very soon we should have something to report about our ability to beagle to finance our recovery, which will help us to be able to get the funding necessary to commence the Halls of Justice Program.”

The premier said during his trip he also had the pleasure of meeting and having discussions with several other high ranking English and Commonwealth officials, including Prince Charles, Secretary General of the Commonwealth Baroness Patricia Scotland, Leader of the UK Opposition Sir Keir Starmer and UK Minister for South Asia, North Africa, the United Nations and the Commonwealth Lord Tariq Ahmad.

Premier Wheatley described his exchanges with the dignitaries as “congenial and in the true spirit of the Commonwealth Games.”