Fourth District Representative Mark Vanterpool has offered his support to former colleague Eileene Parsons who has been embroiled in controversy in recent weeks on her perceived definition of who is a Virgin Islander.
Parsons said a Virgin Islander has to be able to trace their parentage back three generations of Virgin Islanders on both sides.
While speaking in the House of Assembly yesterday, Vanterpool indicated that Parsons was correct in her stance.
“Why are you worrying about that? Somebody has to define what an indigenous Virgin Islander is, and Miss Parson defines it. What is the big fuss?” Vanterpool questioned.
“I want to make sure I clarify what I am saying. There are some of us who are Belongers of the Virgin Islands
. That is our definition. We are Virgin Islanders based on Belongership. We are Virgin Islanders by adoption but there are those who are Virgin Islanders by being indigenous and there is nothing wrong with that,” Vanterpool said.
“Let us all work together, let us join together. There is nothing wrong with protecting indigenous Virgin Islanders. In the United States, the indigenous United States citizens are protected, they have their own laws. Nothing is wrong with that. I don’t want people to crucify Miss Parsons. Let us get the right decision. If we want to name it indigenous Virgin Islander vs Belonger Virgin Islander, then let us do that,” the Fourth District Rep added.
He said there must be some protections put in place for indigenous Virgin Islanders. Vanterpool said instead of fighting and getting worked up over the comments, all residents must work together to make the place better for everyone who lives and works here.
“Let us stay together as one group. Whether white Belonger, black Belonger, Anguillan Belonger, or Kittitian Belonger, we belong to the Virgin Islands
. It does not say that you are indigenous as Miss Parsons qualified by generations going back. That is okay, there is no reason we cannot qualify that in our constitution and give some protections to indigenous Virgin Islanders,” Vanterpool said.