Deputy Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley said the BVI’s territorial song resonates more with residents and should replace the UK National Anthem at more local events.
The minister made this announcement on September 24 in the House of Assembly as he asked the House to formally approve the playing of BVI’s territorial song at all future events organised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
“I cannot be pleased listening to the lyrics of God Save The Queen when it says for the Queen to ‘long reign over us’. When I listen to the words of the territorial song, how much it resonates. But ‘the Queen long reign over us’, I don’t believe it so it can’t resonate in my heart,” Dr Wheatley asserted.
He said eventually the BVI will have to become a fully independent nation, as was recommended by the United Nations. Thus, he said he believes the territory should gradually embrace the playing of the territorial song, ‘Oh Beautiful Virgin Islands’, at more local events.
“Is it really necessary to have the UK National Anthem played at some of the events we have? When I was growing up I never heard the UK national anthem as much as we hear it now,” Wheatley said.
He added that some BViIslanders will not agree that the territorial song should take prominence over the UK national anthem, adding that some people have “reverence” for the UK. But he said it is important for the BVI to continue moving towards becoming an independent nation.
Earlier this year, IOC approved the BVI’s request to have ‘Oh, Beautiful Virgin Islands’ played instead of the national anthem, ‘God Save the Queen’ whenever a local athletes win a gold medal at international sporting events.
The House of Assembly formally acknowledged that change yesterday September 24.
The territorial song was originally composed in 2012 by siblings Ayana Hull and Kareem Nelson-Hull and arranged by Howard John.