According to local reports, the Speaker of the British Virgin Islands (BVI) House of Assembly, Julian Willock, has resigned.
On Tuesday, BVI News quoted Willock saying that he was the ‘sacrificial lamb.’
However, the online publication explained that when pressed, he said he would not betray the confidence of Acting Premier Dr. Natalio Wheatley and the conversation they had earlier.
Willock told BVI News he would have a press conference, hopefully by the end of the week.
The report of his resignation as Speaker came amid a turbulent few days for the BVI.
Last week, United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) undercover agents arrested the territory’s Premier Andrew Fahie and the BVI Director of Ports Authority Oleanvine Maynard on drug and money laundering charges in a sting operation.
Investigators took them into custody on Thursday after they allegedly agreed to accept money from the undercover agents posing as Mexican drug traffickers.
A Commission of Inquiry report was released one day later, recommending that the BVI be effectively governed from London to “restore the standards of governance” that people there “are entitled to.”
This independent inquiry was established in January 2021 by the Governor of the British Virgin Islands to review the territory’s governance and make recommendations for improvement.
But on Monday, activists gathered outside the office of Governor John Rankin in the capital, Road Town, on the island of Tortola, chanting slogans and holding signs that said “No UK rule.”
Acting BVI Premier Dr. Natalio Wheatley has publicly stated his opposition to the UK rule proposal and has disclosed that moves are afoot to secure the resignation of Premier Andrew Fahie.
Wheatley also announced that the ruling Virgin Islands Party (VIP) has unanimously appointed him Chairman of the political organisation.
Headline photo: Julian Willock (Courtesy Department of Information and Public Relations)