Fourth District Representative Hon. Mark Vanterpool has called for the implementation of a special committee to conduct a cost analysis on the British Virgin Islands gaining independence from Britain.
Hon. Vanterpool’s remarks were made on Friday, December 4, during a special sitting to mark the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the Legislative Council, now named the House of Assembly.
“Until somebody comes to us and say ‘listen you, gentlemen, we think it is time that you cut your navel string from your mother and go on your own.’ When that time happens we will all going to be scrambling and say what we are going to do and how we are going to do it. In the meantime, we need to prepare and move on to see what we can move to the next stage. We are learning from 70 years that these good gentlemen fought for us to be able to have our own legislature and sit in here,” he remarked.
Hon. Vanterpool added, “It’s a lesson for us to learn, for our young persons to learn that they can aspire to something that they can do that once before they couldn’t aspire to that. What year are we going to aspire to Mr Speaker? That we are going to do the next step? Who is going to be the brave soul? Let’s see what it’s going to cost to be independent, let’s do a cost analysis, let’s set up a committee to do the cost, let us set up a committee to do this, a committee to do that.”
The opposition member pointed out that the BVI has been handling its own affairs for decades, yet the people still believe that the UK is needed.
“Sometimes we are fearful; we are afraid to stand up and speak up as to where we think we should be and what we should be doing. We are here celebrating today, but there would not be a celebration if somebody even one, was not willing to stand up and to gather help and to get people to understand what it meant to be governed by persons other than yourselves, with no interest in yourselves, when you are capable of doing it for yourself,” he said.
Notably, talk of gaining some level of independence from the United Kingdom has been ongoing for several decades. In recent times, successive Governments have talked about moving towards greater self-governance.