As the British Virgin Islands mark 70th anniversary of having a Legislative Council now renamed to the House of Assembly, Fourth District Representative Hon. Mark Vanterpool is questioning who will be the next Theodore Faulkner to lead the territory towards greater autonomy.
Faulkner who was a fisherman from Anegada, travelled to Tortola with his pregnant wife, had a disagreement with the physician and it led him to speak out against the social ills and overall discontent he felt towards the governance of the territory in the market. There was a major protest on November 24, 1949, and it paved the way the restoration of the Legislative Council and General Elections.
“Until somebody comes to us and say ‘listen, you gentlemen, we think it is time that you cut your navel string from your mother and go on your own.’ When that time happens we will all going to be scrambling and say what we are going to do and how we are going to do it. In the meantime, we need to prepare and move on to see what we can do to move to the next stage. We are learning from 70 years that these good gentlemen fought for us to be able to have our own legislature and sit in here,” he on Friday, December 4, 2020, during a special sitting to mark the 70th-anniversary event.
Hon. Vanterpool added, “It’s a lesson for us to learn, for our young persons to learn that they can aspire to something that they can do that once before they couldn’t aspire to that. What year are we going to aspire to Mr Speaker? That we are going to do the next step? Who is going to be the brave soul? Every time it is raised, ‘Let’s see what it’s going to cost to be independent, let’s do a cost analysis, let’s set up a committee to do the cost, let us set up a committee to do this, a committee to do that.”
Vanterpool pointed out that the BVI has been handling its own affairs for decades, yet the people still believe that the UK is needed.
“Sometimes, we are fearful; we are afraid to stand up and speak up as to where we think we should be and what we should be doing. We are here celebrating today, but there would not be a celebration if somebody even one, was not willing to stand up and to gather help and to get people to understand what it meant to be governed by persons other than yourselves, with no interest in yourselves, when you are capable of doing it for yourself,” he said.