British Virgin Islands

Saturday, Jan 23, 2021

Lack of trust in local leaders hindering quest for independence

Lack of trust in local leaders hindering quest for independence

Public commentator Elroy Turnbull has expressed that a lack of confidence in locally-elected officials is the reason many BVIslanders shun the idea of becoming an independent nation.

On the September 17 airing of the Honestly Speaking radio programme, Turnbull said he believed there is a general feeling among the populace that local leaders are corrupt.

“In my opinion, what we need is a new sense of consciousness. You must remember our history is such that we came out of slavery then we got a little bit of our freedom. You have to get people to feel confident in where they are going. Sooner or later we have to go for the whole marble (independence),” Turnbull explained.

He added that many people prefer to remain a territory of Britain because local leaders don’t present a better alternative.

“You don’t want people to start saying ‘look, I prefer to stay where we are than be under John Jones because he is a crook’. That is the feeling that is out there prevailing. We have to be able to feel as though our leaders aren’t going to take us for a ride,” Turnbull stated.

It gets worse every election

He said the lack of trust is worsened whenever the BVI goes to the polls and allegations of corrupt leadership dominate the election process.

“It’s like an infection, it spreads. People lose confidence, people lose hope. Why do you think the NDP lost? Because people didn’t trust them, people felt they were corrupt. That kind of doubt and feelings spreads and diffuses all over,” Turnbull asserted.

The National Democratic Party (NDP) served two terms in office before being defeated at the 2019 polls by the Virgin Islands Party (VIP).

Throughout its time in office, the NDP administration was dogged by many political scandals in which people accused them of gross misuse of public funds.

Similar allegations have been levied against previous VIP administrations.

A report from the Mediterranean Region Election Observation Mission that observed the 2019 elections hinted that there is a lack of trust in the electoral system.

The report said the regulatory framework, particularly about campaign financing and lack of transparency undermines the equality and openness of the election process.


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