British Virgin Islands

Wednesday, Jan 20, 2021

Having reps in British parliament could help the BVI

Having reps in British parliament could help the BVI

The UK politicians proposing legislation that would give Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies representation in the British Parliament should not be dismissed.

That’s the position put forward by former legislator, Dr Kedrick Pickering who said those who proposed the legislation are only trying to advance the cause of the BVI and other British Overseas Territories.

He made the statement after being asked to comment on the Representation of the People, Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories Bill that some UK politicians proposed to the British government earlier this year.

The draft legislation has not been considered by the British government and this means no official decision has been reached on the matter.

But what the bill proposes is that a total of nine Members of Parliament (MPs) from the Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies should sit in the House of Commons to not only look after their own local needs but to represent their constituents in every respect — the same as other UK MPs do for their constituents.

Don’t dismiss the idea


Speaking on the Honestly Speaking radio show on November 24, Dr Pickering said Virgin Islanders shouldn’t dismiss the idea but should discuss it and see how it could be used to advance the mission of self-determination that the BVI has embarked on.

“It’s a novel idea. It could only help us to discuss it and there may be issues we haven’t thought about. The more we discuss them, we will unravel, it will help to educate us and make us recognize that in the interdependent world in which we live, we might be able to build bridges rather than create separations where they are not necessary,” Dr Pickering explained.

He added that the proponents of the bill are to be considered as “our friends”. Dr Pickering said it would be worthwhile for the BVI and other OTs to form partnerships and have dialogue with these UK politicians in an effort to point out areas of the proposed bill that they agree and disagree with.

“It is their way of saying ‘this is one way we think we can help’. We need to now look at it to see how it can benefit us and then move forward in that direction. It may need some tweaking to be to our advantage rather than dismissing it outright,” Dr Pickering stated.

Autonomy shouldn’t be taken away from OTs


The bill put before the British parliament is being championed by former member of the States of Guernsey, Anthony Webber, and UK MPs John Penrose and Andrew Rosindell.

Webber, one of the proponents of this legislation told the Express news outlet earlier this year: “This is not something which is supposed to be decided by local areas or dependent territories, it is something decided by the UK national parliament. It is the UK Parliament’s responsibility, no one else’s, to bring this about.”

At the same time, those who are championing the law also say autonomy shouldn’t be taken away from OTs and Crown dependencies as it is only fair for these territories to continue governing their own affairs.

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