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Thursday, Jun 30, 2022

'VI Gov’t was warned about UK’s intention to suspend constitution’- Richard G. Rowe

'VI Gov’t was warned about UK’s intention to suspend constitution’- Richard G. Rowe

Whether the saying ‘too late shall be the cry’ will be appropriate remains to be seen; however, the Virgin Islands Party (VIP) Government was reportedly warned about the intentions of the United Kingdom (UK) to suspend the local constitution and was urged to make it a national effort to resist those intentions of recolonisation.

This was disclosed by Attorney at Law Mr Richard G. Rowe while a guest of the radio show PSI TV broadcast live on YouTube on May 16, 2022.

One of the main recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) Report is the controversial suspension of the Virgin Islands Constitution and imposition of direct rule from London.

The serving political parties in the territory have since united to form a coalition government to make a statement to the UK that direct rule is not an option and that they are willing to work along with the UK to implement the CoI recommendations for good governance.

Gov’t speedily remodelled itself- Kenneth G. Gladstone

Host of the show Kenneth G. Gladstone had commented that it was very interesting how swiftly the government “remodelled itself” within a week of the incarceration of former Premier Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) and the release of the CoI Report.

“I’ve never seen anything as speedy as that in my entire life,” Gladstone exclaimed.

I warned Gov’t UK CoI was a ‘done deal’- Richard G. Rowe

Mr Rowe, whose law firm Silk Legal was contracted to represent Members of the House of Assembly who were not Ministers during the Commission of Inquiry, responded that it may well be that the legislators have finally listened to advice.

He said in the earliest days of receiving this appointment to act on behalf of the legislators, he met in Caucus with the legislators and advised them that having gone through the CoI Report from the Turks and Caicos Islands the CoI exercise in the Virgin Islands was a “done deal, they were going to make recommendations to suspend the constitution.”

Mr Rowe, who had labelled the CoI as an “Inquisition” due to its one-sideness, alleged that the then premier told him “he didn't want to hear that.”

Gov’t was urged to resist recolonisation efforts

Mr Rowe continued that he “urged the bodies to go to make it a national campaign to explain to the people what was being undertaken, no one listened.

“I urged a broad unity of all the parties. They are now seeing the need for this broad national coalition to fight a force, to resist a force which is bent on recolonising the Virgin Islands.”

Mr Gladstone responded in disbelief: “So you saw all this coming and warned them but they didn’t listen?”

Mr Rowe replied: “No, I guess they thought that in the face of a ferocious beast what you ought to do is play dead.

“What that does it puts you up for a meal, because it was obvious, it has been obvious, for those who have eyes to see, that this [suspension of the constitution] was the intention.”

CoI was a script already written?

Many in the Virgin Islands also had suspicions about the CoI being a script already written, especially since the ex governor Augustus J. U. Jaspert, who called the CoI, is a buddy of UK Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, who is described by many as a racist and an imperialist.

Mr Johnson, who was fired as a journalist for falsely attributing a quote to someone he wrote in one of his articles, is of the view that colonialism should not have ended in Africa.

Mr Johnson in a February 2, 2002, article in the Spectator titled “Africa is a mess, but we can’t blame colonialism”, argued that Africa’s woes cannot be blamed on “Britain, or colonialism, or the White man…The continent may be a blot, but it is not a blot upon our conscience.”

Mr Johnson lamented that Africa is nominally free from colonialism, stating: “The problem is not that we were once in charge, but that we are not in charge anymore.”

Lone Commissioner of the Inquiry into governance in the Virgin Islands Sir Gary R. Hickinbottom over 40 recommendations in his Final Report, with the main one being suspension of the local constitution and imposition of direct rule in the Virgin Islands. Photo: VINO/File.

Attorney at Law Mr Richard G. Rowe (right) of Silk Legal was a guest of the radio show PSI TV with host Kenneth G. Gladstone (left) broadcast live on YouTube on May 16, 2022.


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