Information Officer II
Department of Information and Public Relations (GIS)
Premier Honourable Dr. Natalio Wheatley will be attending 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) from November 30 to December 6 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
The objective of this 28th annual United Nations (UN) climate change conference is to determine the responsibilities of governments, and other global leaders to accelerate actions towards combatting the effects of climate change.
Premier Wheatley stated, “This meeting presents an excellent opportunity to advocate in an international forum for the needs of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) that are especially vulnerable to ill-effects of climate change.”
The Premier added, “We will advance for climate justice, where major polluters recognise their responsibility to assist those disproportionately affected, in adaption and mitigation, by adopting metrics which properly assess eligibility for concessional finance. We will also promote the Virgin Islands’ readiness to receive funding and investment, due to our advanced legislative framework, our Climate Change Trust Fund, and a bevy of costed approved projects.”
COP28 will explore the climate-health nexus, where bi-lateral discussions on health concerns and implications of climate change will be held.
Against this backdrop, the Premier’s delegation will include Minister for Health and Social Development, Honourable Vincent Wheatley; Climate Change officer in the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources, and Climate Change, Ms. Angela Burnett-Penn, and the Acting United Kingdom/European Union Representative Ms. Tracy Bradshaw.
Minister for Communications and Works Honourable Kye Rymer has been appointed to carry out the duties of Premier and Minister of Finance for the period 28 November - 1 December 2023 as Deputy Premier, Honourable Lorna G. Smith, OBE will also be away from the Territory from Tuesday, November 29 to December 1.
Honourable Rymer’s appointment is in accordance with the Virgin Islands Constitution Order, 2007 Section 55 (2) which states, “If both the Premier and the Deputy Premier are expected to be absent from the Virgin Islands for more than forty-eight hours, the Governor shall authorise another Minister designated by the Premier to
perform the functions of the office of Premier; and the Governor shall revoke this authority on the return to the Virgin Islands of either the Premier or the Deputy Premier.”
On her return to the Territory, Deputy Premier Smith will be appointed to carry out the duties of Premier and Minister of Finance during the period December 2 to 5.
Honourable Smith’s appointment will be in accordance with Section 55 (1) of the Virgin Islands Constitution Order, 2007 which states, “If the Premier is expected to be absent from the Virgin Islands for more than forty-eight hours, the Governor shall authorise the Deputy Premier to perform the functions of the office of Premier; and the Governor shall revoke this authority on the return to the Virgin Islands of the Premier.”
The Government of the Virgin Islands remains committed to the overall development of the Territory including advancing mitigation measures in response to climate change concerns confronting Small Island Developing States.