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Britain opens inquiry on future of BVI-UK relationship

UK minister responsible for Overseas Territories, Lord Tariq Ahmad (foreground) and BVI Governor, Augustus Jaspert. (BVI News photo)

By Davion Smith, BVI News Staff

The United Kingdom has opened up an inquiry concerning the future of its constitutional relationship with the British Virgin Islands and other Overseas Territories (OTs).

The UK launched the inquiry claiming they are struggling to find a balance between ‘respecting OT self-governance’ and ‘ensuring the security and stability of OTs’.

“As our place in the world changes, we need to think about the effect on them (Overseas Territories) and whether the structure of our relationships still works,” explained Tom Tugendhat, who is Chairman of the UK’s Foreign Affairs Committee — the group leading the inquiry.

The committee said the inquiry will consider how effectively the UK manages its responsibilities towards OTs, and “how it envisages their future”.

As part of the inquiry, the committee is inviting written submissions about the governance of OTs, financing of OTs, and how the relationship between the UK and its OTs benefit each party.

Stakeholders are also being asked to submit their thoughts about the representation of the OTs in the UK, the Commonwealth, and other international fora. They are further invited to submit thoughts about ‘assets and liabilities’ such as natural resources in OTs, and the effects of extreme weather events on them.

Stakeholders have until September 3 to make their submissions.

In response to news of the UK’s inquiry, Leader of Opposition Andrew Fahie said he intends to form a committee and hold community meetings to gather the views of BVI residents in relation to what the territory’s relationship with Britain should look like, going forward.

Inquiry the result of bad blood between UK and OTs

The UK’s Foreign Affairs Committee suggested it was prompted to launch the inquiry because of the growing ‘strain’ in the relationship between the UK and Overseas Territories such as the BVI.

This strain became more evident since the UK passed the controversial amendment to its Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act. The amendment is forcing the BVI to implement what are known as public registers of company beneficial ownership.

These registers are feared to cause massive blows to the BVI’s main revenue-earner — the financial services.

The UK’s lower parliament known as the House of Commons —  which is responsible for the Foreign Affairs Committee —  is the body that pushed to implement public registers in the BVI.

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25 Comments

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  1. Submission says:

    This is a simple submission…give OTs the same standing as crown dependencies at least when it comes to fiscal matters.

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  2. WOW says:

    I didn’t know about this until I heard the speech and public meetings planned by the leader of the Opposition Hon.Fahie. We must get involved.

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  3. People says:

    Let us put our differences aside and unite with Hon. Fahie with the public meetings on this matter so that Our voices and views can be heard. This is so important.

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  4. SMDH says:

    I am not a 100% fan of Hon. Andrew Fahie but I must say thanks for his steady leadership in looking out for what’s best for we the people by holding public meetings to get our input on this important matter so that the UK can know how we in the V.I. truly feel.

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  5. Again says:

    The BVI is fast asleep in the middle of yet another revolution and our government once again kept us in the dark.

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  6. My my my says:

    Well when were we going to know about this? The things that the people really need to know is hidden from them while political games are busy being played.

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  7. SOS says:

    Mr Governor, simply put, we need help.

    We lack checks and balances in our current system of government. Witness the abuse we have had to endure these past eight years as our Premier appointed himself to oversee finances. — h– the cost overruns with the pier project while selling bonds and running for re-election claiming the cost was a lot lower. He negotiated horrible deals without consulting the people or even doing basic due diligence. He has refused to issue audited statements.

    There is a strong suspicion amongst the people that elected officials have personally benefited from questionable expenditures.

    We also lack proper planning. Our education system is broken and we don’t know what the plans are to fix it. Our roads are broken and we don’t know what the plans are to fix them. Our water supply is broken and we don’t know what the plans are to fix it. Our electricity supply is unreliable and broken and we don’t know what the plans are to fix it. Our internet is slow and broken and we don’t know what the plans are to fix it. Our economy is broken and we don’t know what the plans are to fix it. Our spirits are almost broken and we need your help because Lord Almighty our elected officials aren’t going to help us.

    Please Mr Governor help us create a plan and please help us fix these things.

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    • Concerned says:

      I could not agree more. The U.K. has to know that the current (and previous) BVI governments have not/will not control themselves with transparency audits etc. U.K. has to weild a whip until the BVI has HONEST people in government.

  8. Freedom from tyranny is a human birth right says:

    Hypocrisy shines brighter than the sun is dark?

    The UK does not respect self governance of Afro Caribbean nations, nor in Geo-political or human rights affairs.

    In point, its historic record and the establishment of “current Public Register legislation/amendment” is an economic and political weapon constructed by them to deliberately destroy the economy of this OT nation.

    For what other purpose would such a hostile piece of legislation be crafted and enacted?

    The Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act is a document, in its inception, designed to combat corruption in the UK, a task it has failed to achieve there.

    Today, since its mega failure, it has turned its attention on the OT’s to beat them across the head until they surrender their nation, people, economy and future to the pseudo absentee landlord.

    However horrible the effects will be, we must never give in! We shall never surrender!

    We, as a people and nation, have earned the right, the human, political and Godly right to determine our economic, human and political progress and destiny.

    And while we are on that human and intellectual path, we must also seek out our enemies and spies within and permanently expel them.

    How? by creating a new political paradigm and new alliances who are favorable to our cause, suitability and survive-ability.

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    • Reader says:

      I agree…

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    • Rubber Duck says:

      In China the penalty for drug use is death.

      Your apparent vision of the Chinese Virgin Islands has some serious questions to answer.

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    • Kinte says:

      I agree with the British govermet. The B.V.I. is corrupt and led by corrupt people. They dont have the interest of theB.V.I. in mind only their pockets along with tjat of their friends and family.

      If having these companies and individuals hiding their money in the B.V.I. was so beneficial to islands why then after the hurricanes we had to turn to the british for help. Their should have been enough money their to cover any disaster unless it was stolen. So to cry racism or anything like that is trying to have your cake and eating it too and shows your own biases. Same as when they gove the mobey to help I guess you think they should not have any oversight how it is spent either.
      I think they should si that is not all squandered or stolen.

    • Uncle Buck says:

      Take your bitter, racially fuelled ramblings elsewhere. You are a victim of your own cultural pitfalls, do not blame anyone else for your current predicament. Why are you still in the BVI when you loath it’s history, it’s cultural diversity and half its inhabitants? Why not move to South Africa where you get your wishes? Oh that’s right, since Apartheid ended the country has turned to poop.

  9. UK man says:

    https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/foreign-affairs-committee/news-parliament-2017/new-inquiries-launched-india-ots-17-19/

    this is the link to the UK gov site out the enquiry . read it rather than getting third hand information that is always bias one why or the other. Be informed not angry

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  10. Get says:

    out NDP, the horse has left the gate. Why are you still standing in it?

    For all of our people, get out and get involved yesterday!

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  11. Albion says:

    This was announced over 3 weeks ago in the UK… interesting that the UK seems to care much more about this than people and media in the BVI.

    https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/foreign-affairs-committee/news-parliament-2017/new-inquiries-launched-india-ots-17-19/

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  12. Political Observer (PO) says:

    The UK is looking out for UK interest and the VI and other Caribbean OTs are not its top priority. Let’s face it but the Caribbean OTs are not the Falkland Islands or Gibraltar or crown dependencies. These are the worst of times for the BVI. It has an awkward and tenuous with the UK, its supposed Mother country and its self determination options are limited. Its options are binary, ie, negotiating with the UK or go it alone. These options are little better than Hobson’s choice. Nonetheless, the BVI must effectively play the hand that it is dealt.

    In regards to the inquiry, it appears as if the sitting government is slow out of the block; a race can be won with a slow start out of blocks but it makes it more difficult and challenging, requiring more energy. The sitting government should be out front and taking the lead on coordinating the response effort; typically, there is one government at time.

    However, with the slow response, it seems as if the Opposition is the de facto government and taking the lead on coordinating the response. Thumbs up to the Hon Fahie, D-1 and Leader of the Opposition, for taking the lead on this critical, important and urgent issue. The Rattler will strike, strike and strike again!

    Nonetheless, improving relationship with the UK is in the national interest so every Virgin Islander should weigh in and contribute to the discussion regardless of political philosophy. When the dark, gathering clouds unleashed it fury, it will impact all of us regardless of political persuasions. This is a time for national unity.

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  13. Curly says:

    Lets me honest you arranged a march against the UK, don’t make idle threats because at some point part of the hand that feeds you, will withdraw it.

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  14. Reality says:

    Word on the street is the UK want to ditch us….they have initiated this with one purpose in mind let us have the independence that so many fools keep demanding…can’t blame them as we’ve been ungrateful, rude and stubbornly refused to reform our secretive, untransparent dishonest ways for too long…. They have much more important things to be concerned with now – the March was noticed and probably gave them just the reason they needed to instigate it! We have only our totally and utterly inept government to blame!

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  15. Anonymous says:

    You “belongers” have had essentially self rule for many many years. You’ve accomplished nothing. As a matter of fact things have become exponentially worse. Your like a teenager screaming for independence that thinks he knows everything. He can’t feed himself, clothe himself, provide shelter or even wipe his own a** without his parents help. Then the teenager reverts to criminal activity to support his lifestyle rather than listen to his parents. Drugs, graff, stealing and helping people hide illegal money. This is the situation of the BVI. This is the way of the BVI, this is the way of the African man throughout the world and this is the way of the independent African nations who can’t provide clean water to their citizens. Do the right thing and BEG the Brits to come and do what it takes to save the territory and your souls.

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  16. Wes says:

    It will be a miracle for a new political dispensation to appear. Politics is a microcosm of the society. Until we look inside and reform our selves it will be SSDD

  17. Gerance P. says:

    You KEEP a new pair of shoes that shines and fits well. You DISCARD the old pair that has holes in it and looks bad.

    Our basic primary infrastructure is broken and old.

    Fortunately for us, behind the broken roads and tattered buildings is a beautiful island in a beautiful place on Mother Earth. We just have to make it shine again. After that, everything will fall into place again.

  18. FINAL SOLUTION says:

    I hope the U.K gives the BVI the independance that some people are dying to get. Let them strip all bvi landers of their british citizenship, their u.k passport and their BVI passport which incidentally is a british passport and property of the queen. Let the bvi print their own vi passport not associated with anything british as an independant country in the Caribbean this will fix everything and there will be no more complaints end of story.

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  19. FINAL SOLUTION says:

    Mind you you cant keep a passport from a mothercountry if you still want to live in the now independant country the passport gets taken away or you have to move away to the contry of citizenship. All who want to have nothing to do with the u.k stay here all who want their taken for granted citizenship move to the u.k. lets do this. It will end 400 years of british colonization and we will have a seat on the United nations.

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