Former Deputy Premier, Dr Kedrick Pickering, has said he believes the United Kingdom (UK) must do a lot more to help the BVI in order for the territory to progress.
While appearing at a launch for the National Democratic Party’s Third District candidate, Aaron Parillon, Dr Pickering argued that the territory is facing tremendous problems at this time and said the BVI has to be realistic about the solutions.
“Our country has to deal with United Kingdom. It doesn’t matter whether we like it or not. All of the things that we want to achieve for our country has to be intimately tied to our relationship with United Kingdom government,” Dr Pickering said.
And according to Dr Pickering, in order for the territory to have a more mature relationship with the UK, the territory needs people who can sit at the table with the UK. He further argued that these persons should be able to command the UK’s respect in order to have the discussions that are needed.
“The way that can be done is by having a government that is being led by people like young Marlon Penn and myself with the experience of dealing with these people to be able to have the difficult conversations,” Dr Pickering shared.
He contended that the government does not have the money to fix major issues affecting the territory such as its ailing infrastructure – including water, sewerage and road networks – or even the financing necessary to move forward with the planned airport expansion.
Dr Pickering insisted that such funding either has to be borrowed or granted to the government, and he also stated that repairs to the BVI’s infrastructure need to be done all together.
“To do that, we’ve got to sit with the United Kingdom government and say to them, look, you say you have a responsibility for this country, you are over this country. Well, you must do a lot more to help us to achieve our goals as a country,” the former Deputy Premier said.
We need persons who can travel
Persons who are chosen to have such conversations, Dr Pickering said, should have the necessary intestinal fortitude, gumption and strength of character to stand up to the UK and let them know “we are a new bunch of people who are willing to take this country forward and move it in the right direction”.
“I’ve traveled far and wide representing this country,” Dr Pickering argued. “…the country needs persons who can deal with the international issues that we have. Financial services and tourism as our main industries — they’re not local industries.”
He added: “They’re based on what happens in Washington. They’re based on what happens in New York. They’re based on what happens in Hong Kong. And we need persons who can travel the distance to be able to negotiate on our behalf.”