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Establish Indigenous Virgin Islander category and seek reparations

Establish Indigenous Virgin Islander category and seek reparations

Leader of the Opposition Julian Fraser has called for the Constitutional Review Committee to create a new section in the Virgin Islands Constitution that establishes a category for indigenous Virgin Islanders who would get reparations from the United Kingdom.

Speaking at the opening of the emancipation festival celebrations last night, the Third District Representative noted he wanted people to remember one word – reparations – when they left the festival grounds last night.

“I don’t ever want you to forget that one word. I want you to let your children know that one word because it means everything to the future of the Virgin Islands. Before I leave that word with you, I want to say to you that,” Fraser said.

The Opposition Leader noted that the British government has finished paying off a loan that they used to pay the masters of the plantations at the time of emancipation and mentioned it is time for them to get a new loan to pay reparations.

“Reparations shall come to Virgin Islanders who would be here to get it and I want for the new constitution review to reflect that. In that new constitution review, we shall create a new section in the constitution and establish a new category of persons in the Virgin Islands called indigenous Virgin Islanders. Those indigenous Virgin Islanders would be referred to as DOVIS (Descendants of Virgin Islands Slaves) and they would be compensated through this reparation for that whatever we were emancipated from,” the Opposition Leader added.

Fraser takes aim at COI

The Senior Legislator also spoke candidly about the recent Commission of Inquiry and the consequences surrounding the recommendations made by Commissioner Sir Gary Hickenbottom.

“As recently as 2021, January to be exact. A commissioner was appointed to do a Commission of Inquiry and exactly 16 months later, that Commissioner submitted a report to the Governor. In that report, the Governor was told as a recommendation that they should suspend parts of our constitution and impose self-rule on our country,” Fraser said.

“I want you people who are going to be dancing on August Monday to understand what is going on in this place. We have a fight on our hands, and we are going to fight it together and we are going to win. Because like I said in the House of Assembly the other day, the Order in Council has already passed. It is only waiting on the Governor to sign off on it and I said to them, that the Governor has conscience because he did not sign off on it. He is here today, and I am saying the same thing,” the senior legislator proclaimed.

Fraser said people should not take emancipation lightly. He said it has been happening for 188 years and now it is clear, at this time in the territory’s development, what can happen. He said the territory is made of strong people.

“I want to wish you a happy emancipation, I want to wish you a safe emancipation, I want to wish you joy and happiness during that period and I want to wish the Festivals and Fairs Committee all the best and I want them to make sure that the pitfalls that came the way of former Festival and Fairs Committee; they avoid them and make this year’s festivals and fairs exemplary and far different from anyone we have before. I have seen it and it can happen,” he said.


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