Opposition Leader Andrew Fahie has used his emancipation message this year to continue his call for good governance and transparency in the British Virgin Islands.
And in a statement not specifically directed to a particular person or group, Fahie also encouraged prudence as it relates economic spending.
“We must recommit ourselves to the concept of ‘living within our means’,” he said.
“We must recommit ourselves to the highest form of decency and civility. And as a Christian nation, we must recommit ourselves to Christ-like actions and behaviours. When we recommit ourselves and we join in the emancipation celebrations from year-to-year and from generation to generation, we will know that we are free.”
Below is the opposition leader’s full emancipation message for 2018:
It is with great pleasure that I greet my people and residents of the Virgin Islands. Greetings are also extended to all visitors and returning guests who have joined us as we celebrate Festival 2018 in the Virgin Islands.
Lest we forget, it was last year, 2017, those festival celebrations were met with torrential rains and followed by hurricanes Irma and Maria.
Thanks to the resilience of our people, the local, regional and international donors and volunteers and especially the hard-working team of the BVI Electricity Corporation, whom I firmly believe need an extra honorarium for their hard work – thanks to all of them, we are finally beginning to see the light.
We have travelled far, but we must agree that for most of us there is still a distance to travel. So why are we here? Why are we celebrating in 2018?
The true meaning of Festival for us is a time when we celebrate our emancipation from the slavery of bondage. Our forefathers, through their sweat and toil, demanded and earned their freedom from bondage, and today we celebrate in remembrance of their accomplishments.
It is for this reason, not only during this year’s festival activities and in the month of August but at all times, we should model our thoughts, words and actions in a manner that shows our gratitude to our ancestors for the freedom that they prayed and worked so hard to make a reality.
It is Marcus Garvey who is quoted as saying: “A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.”
Knowledge of history and culture enlarges our human experience and increases our self-awareness by creating a link with our forefathers. Without some understanding of our roots and our place in the flow of history, we cannot fully understand our own personal opinions, prejudices and emotional reactions. A knowledge of history is the only answer.
Although we have grown comfortable into believing otherwise, the reality is that there exists a minimum of five basic types of slavery in the world today, namely; debt bondage; sexual slavery, forced labour, chattel slavery and mental slavery. As a people, we must understand that each form of slavery has its origin and each its own set of consequences.
As a territory and as a people, while we celebrate and make our celebration the most meaningful, we must recommit to avoiding the pitfalls of all forms of slavery.
We must recommit ourselves to the fullest form of accountability, transparency and good governance. We must recommit ourselves to the concept of “living within our means”. We must recommit ourselves to the highest form of decency and civility. And as a Christian nation, we must recommit ourselves to Christ-like actions and behaviours.
When we recommit ourselves and we join in the emancipation celebrations from year to year and from generation to generation, we will know that we are free — free in deeds, free in words and free in actions.
As the First District Representative, as the Chairman of the Virgin Islands Party and as the Leader of the Opposition, I wish everyone a safe, educational and enjoyable 2018 festival celebration.
We are free; praise the Lord, we are free! Happy Emancipation. Enjoy!
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