Outspoken ZBVI 780 radio moderator and pastor, Mr Claude O. Skelton-Cline has challenged the people of the Virgin Islands to have more dialogues regarding the issues surrounding Brexit and the future of the VI under a United Kingdom outside of the European Union.
"We should not go to bed like Rip van Winkle and sleep through a revolution, they have made their stand as who and what they [are] going to be, even as they struggle with their own reassessment and realignment in the earth, and we as Virgin Islanders ought to be thinking and talking the same things, who are we going to be?" Skelton-Cline stated.
Building a future outside of EU
"What is going to be our relationship with the United Kingdom if any? What is that going to look like? What is our constitutional review going to resolve? What kind of self-determined or independent path are we setting?" He asked.
According to the commentator, in addition to asking complex questions regarding the future of the Territory, one must also contemplate what roadmap is being created to put the future generations of Virgin Islanders on a stronger and a better footing as global citizens.
"These are the kind of conversations that needs to be heightened, that needs to be accelerated, that needs to be had and we need to be having. And we need not wait for the government to do that," he said.
Already, Premier and Minister of Finance Hon Andrew A. Fahie, in statements released ahead of the official Brexit leave on January 31, 2020, said the Territory will be seeking to maintain its relationship with the EU and keep as many of its benefits as possible.
The Premier also indicated that his administration will be pursuing trade opportunities that would have opened as a result of the UK leaving the EU.
Governor of the Virgin Islands, H.E. Augustus J. U. Jaspert told reporters yesterday, February 3, 2020, that in all of the VI's economic pursuits with the EU and prospective economic partners, the UK will no longer be in the negotiating room.
More meaningful dialogue
According to Skelton-Cline, "We as citizens in this country... ought to begin to have meaningful dialogue under the mango tree, by the well, at the taxi stands, in our kitchens, in our living rooms, on the job... these are the kind of conversations that we need to be having."
Skelton-Cline was adamant that the people of the Virgin Islands must not allow themselves to leave their faith and future in the hands of outsiders and other people.
In calling for a self-determined future for the people, Mr Skelton-Cline noted; "Our action to Brexit should not be a reaction, it ought to be an action, it ought to be proactive."
While the UK will no longer fully participate in the economic, social, political and legal arrangements of the EU, Premier Fahie noted that there would be no immediate changes regarding issues like travel, EU funding and other benefits for the VI before the end of 2020.