Beautiful Virgin Islands

'It's time for VI to seek its freedom'- Julian Willock

'It's time for VI to seek its freedom'- Julian Willock

Former Speaker of the Virgin Islands House of Assembly (HoA) Mr Julian Willock believes it is time for the Virgin Islands (VI) to seek self-determination; however, it will be a hard task convincing the people due to the current narrative perpetuated by the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) and the Commissioner’s report.

During an interview with Tahira Burke of Caribupdate News Service on October 25, 2022, Mr Willock was asked whether he believes it is time for the VI to consider becoming an independent state?

“Yes, it is time for the BVI to seek its freedom. It is time for the BVI to seek its self-determination,” Mr Willock responded in the interview published on YouTube.

‘A real challenge’

According to the former Speaker; however, the push for self-determination “is a real challenge right now” because Britain, via its controversial CoI, has “brilliantly painted the local political class as corrupt” and not acting in the best interest of the people.

“It will be very hard now to raise those issues of freedom and self-determination,” Mr Willock opined.

He added that the average person in the Virgin Islands is scared of the prospect of self-determination.

“You know why? Because, in their mind, if we move to our freedom, if we move to self-determination, then those politicians that were named in the Commission of Inquiry will be more corrupt or more bad for us. And that is the narrative.”

CoI Commissioner Gary R. Hickinbottom, right, was handpicked by former Governor and close ally of controversial former UK Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, Mr Augustus J. U. Jaspert, left.

Task not ‘insurmountable’

He said while not insurmountable, the advocates of self-determination and independence will have a hard time convincing the average person on the street that independence is the way to go.”

Asked what can be done to convince the people that self-determination is something that must be pursued, Mr Willock said five to eight months of sustained campaigning on educating the masses about independence could be effective.

“Because, you will have to convince the people of this country that we will be better off under independence.”

He asserted that education the people will bring a balance to the narrative since the public has only been fed with the scathing CoI Report that was done by a one-man Commissioner from the United Kingdom.

Former Speaker Mr Julian Willock, right, appeared in an interview with Tahira Burke of Caribupdate News Service on October 25, 2022.

Boris Johnson CoI

CoI Commissioner Gary R. Hickinbottom was handpicked by former Governor and close ally of controversial former UK Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, Mr Augustus J. U. Jaspert.

It was under the leadership of Boris Johnson, who is a known strong believer in colonialism, that the CoI was called.

Mr Johnson, who avoided a CoI into his then government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and funds, found it convenient to sponsor a CoI in the VI during the height of the pandemic.

It remains to be seen how the Rishi Sunak-led UK Government will respond to the current ‘Sword of Damocles’ Order in Council to suspend the Virgin Islands Constitution and impose direct rule on the VI.


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