Monday, April 02, 2007

Honourable Dr Orlando Smith - Chief Minister of the British Virgin Islands

The BVI Constitutional Talks were successfully concluded on February 28, 2007. As the leader of the delegation, Dr Orlando Smith informed that the BVI team achieved highly satisfactory negotiation results, and the constitutional talks were successfully concluded.

As Chief Minister of the Territory, Orlando Smith has been the member of the BVI Constitutional Negotiating Team during all the period of negotiations. He participated in all the rounds of Constitutional talks, the last of which took place in the period between February 23 and March 4. Now, as the new BVI Constitution is finally agreed, Dr Orlando Smith has informed the government will undertake a major public education programme, which will commence after the final adoption of the Constitution by the Governments of the BVI and UK.

The public education campaign is to include public meetings, radio and television broadcasts, other activities and publications. Detailed information on the programme will be distributed in print and on the internet. The Chief Minister said public meetings will be held on Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Jost Van Dyke and Anegada by the BVI Constitutional Review Commission. He added, “The Commission understands better than anyone how we arrived at our new Constitution, what it means for our community, and how best to explain it. They also have the advantage of coming to this task from a non-political position." Dr Smith said he hopes every member of the community will take the time and effort to learn about the new BVI Constitution.

Honourable Dr Orlando Smith is a figure having much weight in the British Virgin Islands' government and financial community, and it is worth-while to devote separate post to information on his background, his duties and achievments in the current position of the head of Government.

Dr Orlando Smith (born August 28, 1944) is a former chief medical officer who came into politics by being elected to the Legislative Council of the British Virgin Islands in 1999, as the leader of the newly formed National Democratic Party. He took office of the Chief Minister of the British Virgin Islands on June 17, 2003, after he had lead the National Democratic Party to victory in parliamentary elections, for the first time in its history. He won by promising to boost investment in health care and education, and to reduce government corruption. The defeated Virgin Islands Party had been in power for 17 years until 2003.

In the position of the Territory's Chief Minister, Honourable Dr Orlando Smith has numerous responsibilities, including co-ordination of Government policy, development proposals and aid, economic planning, immigration issues, industrial development, regional affairs, social security, tourism, and many others.

Among the statutory boards, agencies and departments that should report directly to Chief Minister there are the Financial Services Commission, BVI Tourism Board, Social Security Board, Information and Public Relations Department, Immigration-tourism Department, etc.

Dr Orlando Smith will be also one of the most important speakers during the seminar for Dubai's business and financial community, which will be hosted by the BVI International Finance Centre in April.

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