Territorial At-Large Representative Shereen Flax-Charles delivered an emotion-filled presentation in the House of Assembly (HOA) yesterday, arguing, among other things, that Virgin Islanders appear to be fighting against themselves as they strive for independence.
“We are in an uphill battle against those supposed leaders who continue to shirk proper protocol and process, and in doing so, it presents a picture of the Virgin Islands
as unfit to lead itself,” Flax-Charles said while urging that this is not the case.
Flax-Charles encouraged lawmakers to put aside politicking, and appreciate the complexity and human component of the unfortunate situation that left lawmakers having to validate the status of nearly 700 residents as Belongers after a legislative oversight was discovered.
“I demand that we be presented with the full truth of this matter,” she urged. “I demand that we are able to understand the true guiding rationale as well as the full scope of the implications which arise from this matter as it relates to issues such as land holding, trade licenses, and even naturalisation and passport issuance.”
I’ve been called every manner of ‘half-breed’
The first-term lawmaker shared that, although she felt very conflicted on the matter, she understood how persons felt from both sides of the divisive issue. She also shared that she was encouraged during the 2019 elections to stop saying that her mother is from Antigua. “I will segue for a quick second to say that unfortunately, sometimes I too feel that I do not belong,” Flax-Charles said with her voice filled with emotion. “I’ve been called every manner of half-breed.”
She said until the full details of the matter are explored and presented, she would abstain in the interests of good governance and respect for the good sense and good nature of the people.
The lawmaker said persons were urging that she needs to read the report on the issue, but said even members of the HOA were not given an opportunity to do this. “How can I make a decision on something when I do not have all the facts?” Flax-Charles asked.
According to the legislator, persons have to be given an opportunity to read and dissect the reports in order to understand and be able to ask the questions that need to be asked.
“We are following this Westminster system, but the time has come where we need to take a stand and decide our destiny and that system needs to be addressed as soon as possible,” she commented.
She added: “The secrecy cannot continue, because at the end of the day, I’m walking these streets and persons come up to me and say ‘the government do this’, ‘the government do that’, and a lot of times, some of us have no idea until we read it on a news site or it pops up in one of these chats.”