Beautiful Virgin Islands

Friday, Jan 27, 2023

To recolonise a country in 2022 is just not acceptable– Julian Willock

Former Speaker of the Virgin Islands House of Assembly (HoA) Mr Julian Willock has maintained that the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) recommendation to suspend the constitution of the Virgin Islands was never acceptable in modern society and would have gone against the principles of democracy.

Speaking on a Bermuda radio talk show, "Motion to Adjourn - Territories Talk' on Thursday, October 13, 2022, the former Speaker highlighted that the VI was not going to let the UK take over the territory without a fight.

“This has been consistently resisted by the majority of the people, both the business community and the political class. And everyone has said that while we know the territory has got certain things wrong, just like others have got things wrong in their development…. suspending our Constitution is a no no,” he remarked

Following the conclusion of a hastily called Commission of Inquiry paid for by the UK Government during the height of the global Coronavirus pandemic, lone Commissioner and UK national Sir Gary R. Hickenbottom included the suspension of the constitution as a major recommendation to carry out reforms in the VI.

Following the conclusion of a hastily called Commission of Inquiry paid for by the UK Government, lone Commissioner and UK national Sir Gary R. Hickenbottom included the suspension of the constitution as a major recommendation to carry out reforms in the VI.

Fight for democracy continues - Willock

However, according to the former Speaker, that just was not acceptable for the VI and the direction it is heading.

“In 2022, to recolonise the country is just not acceptable in a modern society where everyone is concerned about freedom and where we have people all over the world fighting for democracy.”

He pointed to Ukraine and Russia conflict and remarked that the big fight there is for their [Ukraine] own democracy, not to be invaded by Russia.

Mr Willock maintained that other countries around the world, using examples such as the UK, France, Uganda, Bermuda, and Trinidad and Tobago, have gotten things wrong in their development.

“The US now is fighting for their own democracy, where there are people who don't feel, who don't respect the democratic principle, and like we in the Virgin Islands, we are also fighting for our democracy from our administrative power,” he said.

UK holding gun to VI's head?

The UK has held back on imposing direct rule on the VI but has an Order in Council on reserve that gives the unelected Governor the power to suspend the constitution and run the territory.

Many see this as reeking of colonialism and even racism, while some have said the UK is holding the Order in Council like a gun to the VI's head.

A VI delegation to the UK next month will be encouraging the colonial power to remove the Order in Council.


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