Fourth District Representative Mark Vanterpool has called for an end to prejudice against Belongers, residents and Virgin Islanders who identify as Caucasian.
Vanterpool drew attention to the issue during a special sitting of the House of Assembly on December 4, where leaders met to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the restoration of the legislature in the Virgin Islands
He said there is a constant call for unity within the community but reminded residents that unity means respecting and acknowledging the rights of white residents who contribute as much as anyone to the BVI community.
“There are a lot of white people in this territory who live together in harmony with us. They have their rights too. I hope when we speak of unity, we know that unity should include them also. And I hope another one (white resident) is in here representing their kind in the House Of Assembly. I put it on the table whether you like me for saying it or not,” Vanterpool argued.
The Opposition legislator said in the past, residents have shunned white locals who’ve expressed an interest in running for political office. But he said the BVI’s legislature should be representative of the diverse cultures and backgrounds of the people who contribute to the territory’s development.
“When are we going to accept our own people as our own people, whether they are black or white? People in this country who have contributed, whether they are black or white, when are we going to accept them? When will our own political parties invite them to run?
If we are out fighting against racism — there’s racism on both sides. there could be black racism, white racism, Asian racism, is it not right? These people live among us all these years and when they push up their heads saying they want to run for office, everybody runs into a corner. I know what I am talking about. But the time will come, what are we going to do? They have a right, they are part of us,” Vanterpool stated.
Using himself as an example, Vanterpool said he was born in Anguilla and brought to the Virgin Islands
by his mother when he was just a year old. He said he believes the BVI can achieve unity as they accepted his family as one of their own when they first immigrated here.