As an invested resident of these beautiful Virgin Islands, I am deeply troubled by the events of May 24, which organisers have called the Decision March. I feel duty-bound to say the entire thing came off as a big circus.
I was there for the march and I felt like I was at a carnival instead of a protest. The organisers hired a marching band of drummers, people were dancing and being merry, and let’s not forget the truck blasting music to get protestors ‘in the mood’, I suppose.
I felt like I was at one of our annual Rise & Shine tramps; minus the body paint and vulgar behaviour.
Yes, it made for a great spectacle and the pictures and footage from the march were impressive. But how can we expect the United Kingdom to take us seriously if we can’t even take ourselves seriously?
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying we should have blocked the roads with burning tyres and old appliances, nor am I saying we should have started a civil unrest. But, what we demonstrated last Thursday was just an utter joke.
Let’s be honest with ourselves for a moment. How has interrupting government, schools, and local businesses for a fraction of a day to march through our own streets impacted the United Kingdom?
We are not in 1968 and this is not the Positive Action Movement! Let’s not get confused; now and then comprise two different set of circumstances.
The Decision March was nothing but a happy distraction from our hurricane-ravaged lives. Even worse, it was an unfortunate distraction from hurricane recovery and preparation efforts.
The sophistication and level of organisation put into this march only tells me that a significant amount of money was pumped into it — money which, I’m sure, could have been invested to put us closer to being ready for the upcoming hurricane season that starts on Friday.
I would also like to highlight the statements from our Deputy Premier at the march — ‘We want a divorce. We are declaring war’.
Sir, do you believe those were prudent or even responsible words to say at this time?
The UK might be unfazed by the march but I believe they still watch and listen. So, let’s not make rash statements because whatever we do next will affect the rest our lives forever.
Let me put on record that I believe the BVI is rightfully defending itself, its people, and its rights and this so-called public registers controversy need to be aggressively addressed.
However, it should be addressed strategically and with diplomacy.
I must say, I do support the Premier’s statement that the BVI should not and will not comply until it becomes a global standard. That was assertive and that was a good demonstration of strong leadership. I am absolutely sure the UK got that message and, certainly, a ‘Decision March’ did NOT buttress that assertion.
Based on what I’ve observed so far, I suggest that we allow our Premier to do the rest of the talking for us on this matter. No more overzealous radio appearances or public statements from ‘others’ unless it is vetted and approved.
The Premier has shown that he is capable of saying the things that need to be said in a strategic way and at a strategic time. Let’s leave him to it. All that is left for him and his team to do is follow through, and that is what the BVI needs.
Finally, I must applaud the Premier for bringing the Opposition Leader into the fold on this matter. Of course, the Opposition Leader should also be commended for accepting the invitation because, certainly, the BVI does not need to be fighting a war with itself while it tackles this public registers nonsense.
If you ask me, history will remember this momentous truce between Government and the Opposition; not the circus we call the Decision March.
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