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British Virgin Islands Government - Political Dynamics
Sources: The Library of Congress Country Studies
    << Back to British Virgin Islands Index

    The British Virgin Islands had a highly stable two-party system in the late 1980s. One observer has called the territory a haven of political tranquillity with little apparent interest in political activity, virtually immune to the political, social, and economic pressures that beset the region.

    H. Lavity Stoutt, leader of the Virgin Islands Party (VIP), became the islands' first chief minister in April 1967. In a 1975 election, Stoutt's party and the rival United Party (UP) each won three of the seven elective seats on the Legislative Council. Willard Wheatley, then an independent, won the last seat and held the balance of power. He served as chief minister, with Stoutt as deputy chief minister.

    In the first election held under the new Constitution (of June 1, 1977), in November 1979, independent candidates won five of the nine (increased from seven) elective seats, and the VIP won the other four. Stoutt became chief minister. In the November 1983 election, the VIP and the UP, the latter then headed by Wheatley, each gained four seats. The one successful independent candidate, Cyril Romney, became chief minister and formed a coalition government with the UP. In September 1986, Stoutt again became chief minister as the VIP captured a majority in the Legislative Council elections.

    These transfers of power did not result in great changes in policy. There was real reluctance among the populace to discuss independence or constitutional change. Most citizens apparently preferred continued affiliation with Britain.

    Data as of November 1987

    NOTE: The information regarding British Virgin Islands on this page is re-published from The Library of Congress Country Studies and the CIA World Factbook. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of British Virgin Islands Political Dynamics information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about British Virgin Islands Political Dynamics should be addressed to the Library of Congress and the CIA.

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Revised 10-Nov-04
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