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Give each sister island its own representative — Wheatley

Governor Augustus Jaspert, Vincent Wheatley, and Premier Dr D Orlando Smith on a sister island. (Photo provided)

There are calls for the Virgin Islands Constitution to be amended to include at least two additional legislators in the House of Assembly.

Sister Islands Coordinator Vincent Wheatley is suggesting that Virgin Gorda, Anegada, and Jost Van Dyke should each be given a political representative that is exclusive to each of those islands.

He said having one political representative per sister island could be the best solution to the neglect sister islands residents continue to feel.

Government is often accused of focusing solely on the main island of Tortola.

Self-governance for sister islands

Some sister island residents now feel it would serve their best interest if they were self-governed.

Anegada businessman Jerry Vanterpool is one resident who holds that belief.

“Anegada has always been neglected since the devil was a boy. And if we don’t speak out and make a difference, we are not going to get any place. We are not going to do anything,” he said.

“These guys (government) are not nice. I don’t mind showing my passport when I go to Tortola, because really and truly when I go to Tortola all I do is spend money.”

He said government continues to promise greater assistance but never follows through on those promises.

“When election coming, these guys like ducks without a head saying that we have Anegada to the heart,” he said.

The businessman noted that Anegada is the second largest island in the BVI, so it could survive on its own.

“We are not getting anything. We are paying money to these guys. The couple dollars we are getting; we can use it to fix our infrastructure and we can move from there.”

More representation, self-governance not the answer

However, Wheatley said there are other ways to remedy neglect than self-governance.

“Forming your own government [for the sister islands] is an extreme solution … There are much cheaper, easier, and faster ways of achieving what they want, which is more involvement, a greater representation — whatever they feel they are missing,” Wheatley told BVI News on Tuesday.

“I think it is important that they get their own representatives. Because of the geography of the islands, it is hard to properly represent them.”

“So, it’s either they need their own representation or a different system of representation,” Wheatley reasoned.

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27 Comments

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  1. SP says:

    And you sir are ALL TALK and —- ACTION. What have YOU done as SISTER ISLANDS PROGRAMME COORDINATOR??? MAJORITY TORTOLA PROJECTS

    • Huh says:

      Are you dumb? The Sister Islands Programme Coordinator role is first of all not an independent role man does not come up with and choose what and where projects are done you could pick that up with your government jacka***

      • Read says:

        Have you seen his job description?? He does MORE for Tortola than the Suster Islands!!!Yes he may have a boss but he has no *****. Stand up for the sister islands and DONT LET THWM PISH YOU AROUND!! Each sister island ALREADY HAS FIVE REPRESENTATIVES

        • Again says:

          LOL have you read his job description? this is laughable he’s the sister island programme coordinator who executes what has already been approved. He’s a civil servant not the district representative for the sister islands like what do you want him to do lobbby in HOA for projects to be done on sister islands? Even if he does put forward a suggestion for the sister islands it still has to be approved by someone and the fact of the matter is sister islands are not a priority in government of TORTOLA so you still ain making sense in your criticism

    • Black Silk says:

      To SP: You are clearly an ignorant fool. The Sister Island Coordinator is a salaried civil service position just like any other. The holder of the post personally owes you nothing. He did not campaign on any promise and you did not vote for him. He is expressing an opinion which you are free to respectfully disagree with. Otherwise please get off his back and stay off his back and stop posting nonesense.

  2. Light says:

    No the country is too small. The problem is not the need for a politician for each island. The problem is that people will not go to the poles and vote correctly based on a persons passion to make life better for everyone and having the mental capacity to do so.

    This type of talk comes about when we have a failing government where the UK has to create a board to spend monies. That plus the civil service is as its weakest ever.

    We have people who are department heads and permanent secretaries who should not be, who just cant get things done. And all of this contributed to the creation of the recovery board.

    We the people need to wake up.

  3. Hmmm says:

    Absolutely ABSURD!! We have two Jr. Ministers in addition to the 5 Ministers. How has that helped us?

    • captain says:

      @ Hmmmm
      The junior ministers position had to be created because NDP won so many seats ; with so many back benchers they wouldda form their own party inside alreadyand over throw . Doc might be lookin sleepy but Doc aint stupid

      What the sister islands need is a MAYOR who will see to the day to day running of each island ; and some one with “BALLS”not a Political Puppet

    • Not2Sure says:

      I can’t believe that there is a problem that exists for which the best solution is “more politicians”.

  4. true says:

    above answers from Tortola pmsl

  5. Albion says:

    That is just crazy talk. The populations of JVD and Anegada are TINY and yet they should have the same electoral representation as Road Town which has nearly a third of the population of the entire country?

    Plus, we need to pay two more fat legislator salaries so that we can get two more people engineering lucrative Government contracts for their cronies and connections? Thanks, but no thanks.

    I hear a lot of complaining these days from the sister islands about how the BVI doesn’t do much for them. I don’t hear too much talk about what it is that they are doing to help the BVI though.

    • Really? says:

      What they are doing to help the BVI? Lets be honest…before the hurricane at least in the case of Virgin Gorda can you deny the contribution made to the economy? all have their part to play….one hand can’t clap!!!!

    • true says:

      Jost Van Dyke and Anegada as well as Virgin Gorda are the reasons the tourists all come to visit the BVI. So think about the revenue Tortola makes from the yachting industry, its due to the recreation available on the other islands.

      The only time Tortola is mentioned as the BVI in the media and online is when there are robberies, murders, anything good and its just Tola!

  6. My 2 cents says:

    Willock was out front on this but I do not support adding more seats just have 3 at large and turn the fourth into rep for Jvd and anegada

  7. Ning says:

    Maybe this general feeling of neglect has nothing to do with representation but all to do with the fact, that there appears to be no national plan. Each year each district is fighting to get what they can from a very small pie. Remember fees and taxes are relatively low in the BVI compared to other countries. It is the cry in every district but things need to be put into perspective, population size and revenues collected to achieve the things desired for the district. I visited Anegada about 6 or 7 years ago and could not figure out where the people of this district saw neglect, an island of around 200 plus people had a clinic, schools, police station, roads, street lights, water plant, power plant, government subsidies ferry service and the staffing to go along with the provided services. Now is it even possible that government is collecting revenue in taxes and fees from Anegada to sustain these services? Probably not but that does not mean the should not have them, as citizens of the BVI they should plus, plus. This brings me to the argument that if we focused as a nation and not so much on picky, picky districts we just might fare better as a country.

  8. Diplomat says:

    Undoubtedly, the sister islands have always been treated as step children, second class citizens, lower social class, outposts, poor representations…….etc. However, in regards to representation, with improved telecommunications, computer technology and transportation, the VI needs fewer elected representatives, not more. The VI, a small, 36 island (15 inhabited), and a 59 square mile territory with an approximate 30,000 population, has 13 elected representatives that comprises of 9 districts and 4 at large representatives.

    Further, Tortola, the largest island in the chain, has 8 of 9 district seats; Jost Van Dyke is included in the 2nd District. Anegada and Virgin Gorda, sister islands, has the the other seat. And adding two more reps. to an already bloated HOA is over kill.

    Tortola hosts Road Town the VI capital city, along with being the territory seat of government. Additionally, it is the prime business, financial and entertainment centre; most of the approx 30,000 resides on Tortola (22 square miles, approx 25K population), Anegada (2nd largest island, 15 square miles, approx population 300), Virgin Gorda (3rd largest island, 8 square miles, approx population 4000) and Jost Van Dyke (4th largest island, 3 square miles, approx population 300). One rep for a few hundred people. No diss intended. Just keeping it real.

    Moreover, what the sister islands needs is more effective representation; they should not be treated as outposts and should commensurately receive their fair share of resources and services. The Premier, Deputy Premier, district representative and at large members can ensure this happens. Additionally, local councils can be established on the 3 largest sister islands. In regards to Tortola, some of the current 8 districts can be combined. For example, the 7th (Long Look) and 8th (East End) districts can be combined. Really, does EE and LK need to be separate districts? Other districts need to be reviewed and adjusted as needed. Further, it can have part time local/village councils. Will changes be welcome?

    Resistance to change is the norm. Frederick Douglass says: Power concedes nothing without demand. It never did and it never will.” Translation. People with power does not normally give up power; the govern must normally demand it. Should we expect politicians to embrace reducing, not increasing, the number of districts and at large members? 15 members for approx 30,000 residents. Really!

    • RealPol says:

      @Diplomat, real talk. 15 Reps in HOA. Geez sum bred! With a small population this is over representation.

    • nalyd says:

      The council’s are an excellent idea which was suggested before. We need more representation but not political representation. For that to work effectively though, we need to modify our HOA structure to ensure that there is a specific time for each island’s concerns and status updates to be heard, which will be voiced by the district representative. We have to be disciplined in order to make this happen;that’s what we lack.

  9. Sam the Man says:

    I thought M was already representing Jost Van Dyke ? How come they not feeling the love? M has had plenty of photo shoots there!

  10. scam says:

    VG is better off on its own

  11. two cents says:

    Why not give Anegada and Jost Van Dyke their own Representative? At least they would be taken seriously. Reduce the four at-large to two and give them each their own Rep.

  12. CW says:

    Lots of experts I see hahahahaha. Good luck BVI, you certainly need it this year.

  13. YES!!! says:

    Yes, we need our own representative, especially in Anegada. Can you imagine someone from Western Tortola representing Eastern end of Tortola???? That is exactly what is happening to the Sister Islands. Specifically, Anegada’s vote does not matter in the election. If everyone in Anegeda voted for the same person, and all of Virgin Gorda votes for someone else, then whoever Virgin Gorda votes for wins and has to represents Anegada, although Anegada didn’t vote them. Please change this. It is time!!!

  14. Julia you know who it is says:

    NONSENSE. The problem is lazy representatives. why a small territory like BVI should three representatives for three small tiny islands… smh…

  15. Quiet Storm says:

    A 1×2 59 sqm, 30,000 population territory wants 15 elected represensatives. Really, this is pure self serving nonsense. This is a self serving interest being pushed by a few. Sure, it is a good job if you can get it. But at the territory’s cost? Here is a news flash. The territory is small and no amount of pretending and positive thinking cannot make it large. We cannot behave like big countries so let’s reasoned and live within our means. Grandmother use to say do not put your hat higher than you can reach it, do not push your head where your body cannot pass, do not live like the XXX for you don’t know how they geh dem suddin……etc

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