Independence Is Dangerous, We Want Self-Governance
The push for constitutional reform is not a power grabbing, nor is it the BVI seeking independence. This assurance came from Hon. Vincent Wheatley, Minister for Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration.
Minister Wheatley said that government is pushing for self-governance, pointing out that independence is dangerous.
"We should not confuse self-government with independence. They are two very different things because independence is a very dangerous thing…look at the countries who were colonize at first but became independent afterwards, they found that it wasn’t what they had bargained for," the Minister said during the debate on the motion for Constitutional Review, Monday, July 27.
He mentioned what took place in Haiti where they had to pay some $21B to France for their freedom.
"It came with a high cost. So, it is very important for the persons listening to understand, we are not talking here about independence, self-government, be careful to make that distinction...we are not talking about independence, independence is a different kettle of fish, it is self-government," he assured.
Minister Wheatley said there are persons who are attempting intimidate the government to bar them from making bold decisions.
"We have to man-up and do what we know we were called here to do at this point in time without fear of anybody. Yes, there are those who are trying to intimidate us, 'oh don’t go there', 'oh you not ready'…and all kind of foolishness…it ain't no power grab," he stated.
The Minister said, "We were sent to the House to advance the people’s agenda and part of that is political and economic advancement, how you get that? through the constitution."
Through the motion the government is seeking for the House to approve the establishment of and the composition of the Constitutional Review Commission for the purpose of conducting a full review of the Virgin Islands Constitution Order, 2007 (U.K.S.I. No. 1678 of 2007).
According to the motion, it was agreed between the United Kingdom Government and the Government of the Virgin Islands that the said Constitution may be reviewed after 10 years after the date of which it came into force. It is now 13 years since that Constitution came into force.
The motion also states that Cabinet has agreed, subject to the approval of the House of Assembly of the Virgin Islands for the establishment of a Constitutional Review Commission comprising nine members: a Chairperson, Deputy Chairperson and five other members to be nominated by the Premier and two members to be nominated by Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition and appointed by the Cabinet, for the purpose of conducting a full review of the Virgin Islands Constitution Order, 2007 (U.K.S.I 2007 1678).
The motion also contains information on the composition of the Commission which states: ‘the overall composition of the Commission should cover the main Islands of the Virgin Islands collectively and include persons drawn from the legal fraternity, academia, business, communications/public relations, and other areas of civil society’.