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Tuesday, Oct 04, 2022

Nothing can be done to justify taking away BVI’s autonomy

Nothing can be done to justify taking away BVI’s autonomy

A 15-months-long Commission of Inquiry (COI) has produced nothing that suggests the BVI should lose its self-governing status, Deputy Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley has concluded.

Dr Wheatley gave that indication last evening, March 5, on the heels of the COI’s Commissioner Sir Gary Hickinbottom delivering the final report on the Inquiry to Governor John Rankin, who has since indicated that he will review the voluminous document before discussing it with officials locally.

Dr Wheatley said the inquiry would have identified some challenges faced within the modern-day governance structure of the Virgin Islands. But the Deputy Premier argued that there is really no country around the world immune from some of those very challenges faced pertaining to governance.

“I’m quite confident that there’s nothing that has been done – and of course we can only speak for ourselves, of course – but nothing can be done that can justify any loss of autonomy of the Virgin Islands, or any persons restricting your development,“ Dr Wheatley said during his appearance on the Virgin Islands Party’s Let’s Talk radio show Tuesday night.

What UK did after Turks & Caicos COI frowned upon

According to Dr Wheatley, this is because the United Nations essentially guarantees the BVI‘s right to self-determination.

“Things like what happened to the Turks and Caicos Islands and things like that, like taking away their constitution and things like that, this is really frowned upon – and really should never be the case – by institutions like the United Nations,“ he contended.

Dr Wheatley, who also serves as the territory’s Education Minister, further stated: “We all have to stand up and we all have to defend our ability to determine our own destiny.”

Independence isn’t the only option for BVI

Among the options he explained are available to the BVI are free association, independence and integration.

“Some people treat independence like it’s the only option, it’s not the only option,“ Dr Wheatley noted.

He also expressed that the BVI can even consider the option of free association with the United Kingdom – its current administering power – if it so desires, and define what that relationship should look like.

“What the world has said is that colonialism must be a thing of the past, where one group of persons wants to determine what happens to another group of people without their consent and without their approval. That’s what we call colonialism when one group nominates another group and you don’t have democracy,“ the Deputy Premier argued.


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