British Virgin Islands

Thursday, Jun 17, 2021

VI 'treated like second class citizens' under UK rule - Premier Fahie

Says "upcoming Constitutional Review is 'golden opportunity' to address issues" (If the British will not find a way to remove, or the issue or the current government, from the table).

As part of the ongoing conversation on race and the unfair treatment of people of colour by institutions around the world, Virgin Islands' Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon Andrew A. Fahie says the Virgin Islands continues to be subjected to second class treatment as a British Overseas Territory.

"We are part of a system that treats us, in many ways, like second class citizens and second class people, in spite all that our generations have achieved and in spite of all that we have proven that we are capable of," Hon Fahie said in a June 11, 2020, statement on eliminating racism.

Addressing systematic racism

"We have to get to the bottom of this problem once and for all," he said while noting that the murder of George P. Floyd Jr is forcing societies to confront the existence of systemic racism.

"We have to remove all the obstacles, such as distrust, so that we can proceed to continue building these Virgin Islands that we love and call home, in the way that we want to see it built," Premier Fahie said in reference to the Virgin Islands.

He said the upcoming Constitutional Review exercise in the Territory, therefore represents a 'golden opportunity' to address some of the issues plaguing the Territory where equality is concerned.

"It is a chance to examine the institutional framework and make adjustments to allow the people of the Virgin Islands the opportunity to breathe and to truly lift their heads up."

Equity Commission being established

The Premier said in an effort to assist this process, Government is moving to establish an Equity Commission.

"This Commission will be charged with the task of examining how the private and public sectors operate to determine to identify the systemic issues that undermine equity in our society and to find solutions for creating a more equitable environment for all our people."

He said the VI is in a fortunate position to be able to learn from what is taking around the world and does not have to wait until people become too frustrated before proactive steps are taken.

He said too regularly, the people of the Virgin Islands have been crying out about inequitable treatment in various areas.

"Racism is worse than COVID-19, but there is a cure for racism and that cure is love, which we already have inside of us. Love conquers hate, always," Hon Fahie underscored.


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