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LETTER: The march was a circus, not a protest

Drummers lead a massive crowd of protestors during the Decision March on May 24.

Dear Editor,

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.

Yours Truly,
Invested Citizen

Copyright 2018 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

55 Comments

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  1. Real Reason says:

    I thought the real reason was to protest our government wasting so much of our money on projects like BVI airways?

  2. Not2Sure says:

    I am not sure how many protest marches the letter writer has been on, but this one felt quite normal to me. The orgnanisers pre-prepared T-shirts, had placards ready, had a truck to lead with someone to MC to cheer the crowd, and coordinated with the police to avoid civic disruption. That is how it is usually done these days in civilised countries. If you attended any one of dozens of political protests in the UK over the past 10 years, then that is what you would have seen.

    Throwing Molotov cocktails and burning tyres at a demonstration is a rare thing these days, and that is more characteristic of a spontaneous riot than a planned protest march. I, for one, am glad that we can express our feelings on political issues in a civilised manner, but still expressing the depth of our feelings.

    • D Vanterpool says:

      When I was in England in the 90s I went on a few marches and none of them had children in them, given a break from school by the government to join in. This wasn’t a serious march with a defined agenda. It was just letting off steam and moaning about the English who actually helped us a lot after Irma and Maria.

  3. old man says:

    Dear Sir
    if you have a march in the caribbean and you dont have a band, people are going to burn something. Seriously, anything three people or more has to have music

  4. T-man says:

    The editorial written was by a COWARD.
    What is your name and where are you from?
    You offered nothing but yellowed striped tripe!
    who ever you are YOURE A COWARD!

    • @ T-man says:

      you are the real coward…why didnt you post your real name in your comment??!! i support what the invested citizen said. there’s no need to share the real name of the article writer as that person echoes the sentiments of the majority populace (if we are really truthful with ourselves)…and there’s no need for the article’s author to be victimised.

    • Ganja says:

      Thats so funny! “T Man complain about someone not using him name.

  5. I FROM HERE says:

    I got to agree with this person , I witness the march and I have never seen one done in this fashion.

  6. Citizen says:

    Agree Completely, the march was taken as a celebratory event and not a protest as it was intended to be.

  7. Reality says:

    Seems like the writer of this letter has some beef with the organizer/s of the march….

  8. Wendy says:

    The March was different things to different people and if you are a clown then it was a circus, If you are a coon then it was a threatening and offending rebuttal to the colonizers.
    Africans given their temparament and culture are the embodiment of music,it is what has sustained them through numerous holacausts past and present. Music song and dance are their weapons,their Gods,their e v e r y t h I n g.
    Be it sickness health, harvests ,death, funerals, births,war and conflicts, music song and dance is their weapons or their sustenance, Calypso and Calypsonians….research the history. Africans are not not the contributors of guns germ warfare, HARP, atomic weaponry to name a few,for conflict resolution.
    Music song and dance as a means of expression by the descendants of slave can only be wrong to those on the wrong side.

    • Albion says:

      I can see why the letter writer wants to remain anonymous. In BVI we have a culture of tearing down anyone who tries to make a positive contribution.

      The organisers of the march tried to make an engaging political process, and they get nothing but criticism.

      But even their critics are afraid to do so publicly because they don’t want to get criticised.

      No one will stand up in public and identify themselves as supporting the UK’s attempt to unilaterally impose laws on the BVI. But people are very happy to criticise from the shadows.

  9. Sam the man says:

    I said afterwards the march was a circus and a waste of time so I’d agree with the circus bit of the article . I don’t agree at all that our Premier is providing strong leadership on this matter of compliance with the public register… In fact quite the opposite he is weal, lame and actually doesn’t seem to have a clue….he contradicted himself shortly after the legislation was past saying don’t worry everyone we’ve been expecting this and have planned for years ! Yeah right ? Soon afterwards it was a complete “U” turn randomly firing out messages of defiance like a rabbit in headlights! But then we knew he’d have to fall into line with the person who’s really in charge and wears the trousers at home! Ha Ha ….

    • Eartha says:

      Whether or not there was preparation does not change the fact about its unfairness, arbitrariness and its breach of constitution and human rights. Premier has reiterated time and again that compliance will be given if and when it becomes a global requirement.
      His forthright response to the UK demonstrates good leadership in my opinion.

      • Kit says:

        It’s not unfair, arbitrary, nor a breach of constitution and human rights since we signed the constitution that allows it! The constitution is an agreement that says what is in it IS fair.

        • HiKit says:

          I do not have a copy of the Constitution nor have I read it. I have heard though, from reliable and legal source that there is an agreement between UK and BVi which was breached.
          I will await a clarification of this issue by the Courts.
          I am aware though that a legal agreement does not forfeit a colonizing and imperialistic entity their selfentitlement to do as they please regarding the economy of developing countries.
          This is what makes them “great”.

    • Out here says:

      Haha..ha.. Just a few shots .. But he can take it..

  10. The Way it Is says:

    I saw a little of the March from Horse Path. And heard the male voice on the Microphone cheering on the protesters. I couldn’t help but wondered if that was a protest or festive event. There was no somber mood in it. There was no seriousness but the large turn out.. Yes from afar it looked like a march, but upon examination it was a festive event. The organizers did their best but the one on the Microphone was over zealous. I have seen many protesters on CNN all over the world and none resembled this self serving episode.
    This was a self serving affair shrouded in the guise of”county”
    Think about it for a moment… Look at all those rented buildings that the Trust Companies are renting. If they were to be vacated because of the Public Register law, who would occupy them? How would the mortgages be paid? The bank will take most of them and the landlords will feel what we the “small man” have been feeling all along. That’s it! It’s all about a vested selfish interest.
    The horse has already left the Stable and we close the gate!!

    I AM A BV ISLANDER!!!

    • Hah says:

      @The way it is, So with your limited intellectual capacity you were only able to muster that landlords will be affected? Do you not realize the hundreds of employees that will also lose their jobs. Some of those same employees are “small men” as well. Government revenue will be affected not only due to loss of revenue that comes directly from financial services but loss of revenue from work permits, income tax and social security as well. Unemployment affects the economy. Any large scale closure of offices could possibly collapse NHI as there will not be enough contributions to keep it functioning as it was intended. The individuals that lose their jobs have rents to pay, loans to pay, food to buy etc. The employment opportunities are already shrinking as government has been considering downsizing for years so where will they go? What a lot of these comments have shown lately is a lack of common sense and critical thinking for some individuals hopefully it is just a few that keep blogging repeatedly.

      • Deeper thought says:

        I agree 1000%. If thats the only thing “The Way it Is” sees, then that inidividual is NOT a BVIslander, just being an @$$ and trying to fool “itself”.

  11. Sunshine says:

    The March was orderly and about what’s important to the BVI. The only circus element was from him talking nonsense about divorcing from the UK. One thing we don’t need is to say goodbye to the uk, they provide more help than the government admits and going alone would be a disaster. You also have to remember this wasn’t the UK government pushing this through, it was the opposition party that did this and the queen is duty bound to sign it into law after its passed through the House of Lords. We need to see the facts straight before being a sheep and following the loudest and anger fueled voices. It was only 8 months ago that the UK jumped to our aid whilst our leader fled to the US.

  12. To The Editor says:

    INVESTED CITIZEN you found faults in the march, now please give a solution because that is what we need. Why don’t you come up with something that you think would make the UK listen and share that since you feel what was done was so insignificant!!!! We are so sick of people like you who always find faults and complaining and not giving solutions.

    • Solution says:

      The need and solution is obvious. The need is highlighted by the fact that our ministers are poorly educated and lack the experience to fairly govern our country. They are incapable of finding solutions to current problems and they have abdicated our rights to independence by their reliance on others to solve the crisis we faced following Irma. The solution is simple. We are a small country with great natural resources. Our future is in tourism. We need to reorient the country towards this. We need to start with a big plan that addresses regional transportation issues, re-educating BVIslanders to be friendly and welcoming, dramatically reducing the size of the government, and striving towards being the most daughter after tourist destination in the world!

      • Wendy says:

        Tourism is not a solid future. It is a destructive industry on land and on sea and should be a limited source of our revenue. Agriculture,fishing and industries in the electronic field….. “re educating BVIslanders to be friendly and welcoming”…as in subservient docile and obedient?…you infer that they were like that at some point. Did this discontinue when they were freed and became self sufficient and educated? Uh oh..Time to re educate hah. You can kiss my sore foot but no thanks…BVIslanders are not by nature servants or prostitutes, They are indeed friendly and welcoming but only when sincere.

        • @Wendy says:

          @Wendy, put-lease! It IS possible to maintain your integrity while being friendly to outsiders, customers, visitors and those in your country paying your bills.
          I think what the blogger means about ‘re-education’ is we need to re-educate so we don’t come across so nasty. Not that we should somehow learn to be servile and oppressed again!
          You tangle subservience with the ability to be a decent host, seeing the best in people who come to your place, and holding your head up while also treating them with respect – AND doing the sensible thing to feed yourself and family.
          Plus, you can learn a lot from visitors if you’re willing to engage with them as equal but different children of God.
          BVIslanders have a GIANT arrogance issue. Pride is more important than anything here. To us, the world is not made up of God’s children. It is full of “Them” (bad) and “Us”(best).
          Other Caribbean islands offer great tourism products and services without being painted clowns or downtrodden victims. Likewise many BVIslanders in the hospitality trade are real good with tourists, well loved (and tipped) for their excellent skills and simple decency – WITHOUT looking like slaves or permanent victims of their ancestral past.
          If your integrity is truly intact and you are comfortable with yourself, you don’t get hung up on protecting your pride. If not, then boosting your pride is all you care about. Which one are we?
          I know many will say this is blasphemy and it ignores our terrible past but it does not have to. Our past should not be a security blanket that protects us from confronting the urgent issues of the real world today. We need to start making smart decisions and being a good, kind, intelligent set of people – now, in this time that we live – so we can secure a positive present, and decent FUTURE.
          Once we start doing that, there will be even more to be proud of.

  13. Longshanks says:

    Perhaps you should anonymously erect a billboard.

  14. Anonymous says:

    To the writer of the editorial, I agree with some of what you are saying in terms of the atmosphere/tone of the March not being sufficiently solemn/somber. I am also 100 percent in agreement with your sentiments about what Dr Pickering had to say. Whether or not it was intended or came out ‘in the heat of the moment’, it was completely and utterly ir————— and in————. There is a saying “don’t let your mouth be in motion before your brain is in gear.’ That wisdom applies here. I wish that you had signed your name to your letter though. Signing ‘Invested Citizen’ is nonsense. If you believe in your convictions then stand by them by signing your name instead of hiding behind an alias. If nothing else it would have allowed me to come and shake your hand as much of what you said makes sense.

  15. We are different says:

    To those saying that the march was festive and not somber, I believe the Tourist Board used to have a slogan that we are different but not for everyone. What is it we have to be somber about? We have a God and it is in him we trust not the UK. They will not have our heads bowed and our eyes lowered. So forget that!! There were a lot of persons who put their courage out in public on last week. Until the writer of that letter can do that and not hide behind a blog like that clown they are suggesting the march was, I would not even dignify that letter with a comment, except to say that they can continue to be coward. In a few years, I hope they have the courage those marchers had to show their faces.

    • Trellis dread says:

      Nobody said the march was a clown, they said it was a circus. How can you moan about someone not signing their name then not sign your own thoughts on this?

  16. @Sam the Man says:

    Let’s revisit your feelings in two years and then five years. Its a very premature statement and not forward looking. Wait to question! These things are movements. They are not overnight results oriented.

    • Sam the man says:

      We won’t to wait 2 – 5 years as the good Dr will be retired off – there’s plenty waiting in the wings and he won’t be a hard act to follow and a v disappointing legacy of failure and ineptness

  17. Cudjo says:

    Pardon me but PRIOR to the signing of this mandate, our Premier and our Oppostion leader, decked out in their Eurocentric finery, their modulated voices of intellectual persuasion,OBE eed and surgical MD eed and Teaching certified were seated before the scriptors of weaponry in a futile attempt to change the hearts and minds of the heartless and devious minds. Neither our Premier’s obvious DNA of caucasian heritage golden glow highlighted against his european tailored white dress shirt nor the Christian taught by the Oppressors leanings of the Opposition could sway the decision.
    Back home now after the guilty verdict of non dependency and self sufficiency with dates of execution is handed down, the hapless inhabitants, descendants of slaves, are accused of nonredemption because they beat their drums they sing and dance to alert the international community to their unjust and arbitrary demise at the hands of the imperialistic actions of the UK.

    Well Sah. Hit the canefields Burn this mother down is how I am a feeling jus now.

  18. Eartha says:

    Whether or not there was preparation does not change the fact about its unfairness, arbitrariness and its breach of constitution and human rights. Premier has reiterated time and again that compliance will be given if and when it becomes a global requirement.
    His forthright response to the UK demonstrates good leadership in my opinion.

  19. Liddy says:

    I quite agree with the writer. It was not what I expected.

  20. Queen Mary says:

    Whether the march was or the march wasn’t as deemed by the losers on the wayside or the spooks sitting by the door, guess what.
    There was a march.
    There was a March.

    Organized and executed with precision in a short time frame in all the midst of the disarray from two hurricanes an unstoppable fire and discouragement from those not yet Woke

    There was a March, a peaceful without incident March of thousands of people.
    Congratulations BVI, a March done well,very well.

  21. Peep says:

    None of this has been covered by the press in the UK. If you ask your average Joe on the street in the UK he wouldn’t have a clue that this is happening. The March was also not shown on the news in the UK. This is very sad. So BVI Islanders really need to think of a better way to get this problem out there and made public in the UK. Someone should make contact with the press here to get this in people’s minds and make them understand why this is so important to the BVI. Maybe then there will be more of a chance of getting this law repealed or at least stirring up awareness.

    • Different day, same action says:

      What you just said was no different to the marches of long ago. Most people in England were not aware nor did they care. In fact, communication back then was extremely limited but change resulted, so what is your point again?

  22. Reese says:

    Perhaps because it was peaceful and orderly.
    We have to accept that such behaviour exhibited by certain demographics are not newsworthy.
    Consider the enormous press coverage given to the looters and the escaped prisoners after the hurricane.
    The lack of coverage is not unexpected, The BVi is known and respected for its low-key and respectability.
    This does not mean that there is unawareness where awareness matters and that hushing it would be a given. This was a first attempt,
    Forging ahead with legal action and pursuing independence would and should be pursued. I think there is a good chance for success which is the most important.

  23. The Nation #1 says:

    I agree with the writer…what the Ministers and leaders say publicly should be first vetted and approved….Kedrick’s speech was a care— utterance of words if you ask me…This thing was planned almost a month in advance and you tell me that the Deputy Premier could not have planned his words better…people normally write speeches for such an event…they didn’t March the afternoon of the vote…they marched nearly 4 weeks later…c’mon people… whose pockets did all the money for the t-shirts and placards, and sound system and band go into? Marchers don’t hire sound systems…they are donated to the cause by those who express firm resolve in the cause…
    I love that Patsy showed respect to the Queen…

  24. Really says:

    I opened this article to read and searched for the author first. Since there was no author, I refuse to read the article because it would make no sense without an author. If you are too coward to identify yourself, shut up and let the people that are not afraid speak. Get out of the way please. Coward.

  25. Nonsense says:

    So there is a proper way to march now? WTF? It’s always easy to sit on the sidelines and find and angle to complain about s**t regardless of what it is. People came out in numbers for different reasons but mainly because of the affect this decision may have on our finances. Some people who spoke became passionate and made statements that were not in line with what most people marched for but so what, they’re entitled to their freedom of speech. Some people have sour grapes because of some of the folks that were involved in planning the march and that’s just childish and typical BVI ‘moo moo’ behavior. These people planned their march, spent their money, organized it in a way they saw fit and they got big results. If you want to march for some other cause then why not do the same? Am I missing something?

  26. Sam the man says:

    The March was poorly attended, shambolic, ridiculous weak speeches and to be honest instantly forgettable – It summed up the No Direction Party pretty well!

  27. Law says:

    With all the crime and unsolved murders plaguing the BVI. Why hasn’t the gov’t done anything about that? Why haven’t people gone out and protest for gov’t to change the laws on gun violence and the laws.

  28. A March for independence says:

    The government only want to make sure the people is still with them

  29. Fool me not says:

    The most peculiar thing was two main organizers were so called Christians but they bring out jam band. Just saying. Nobody could take them seriously.

  30. Rubber Duck says:

    Surely a much more effective way to get attention in Britain and elsewhere , would be for all the ministers ( of state and religion) to publicly burn their British passports.

    • Sinky says:

      Er… How would that get attention? They would just not be allowed to travel anywhere. On second thoughts that may be an advantage to us as they wouldn’t screw up as much.

    • @RubberDuck says:

      You and some others,including the UK would like that
      Our Government Ministers in concert and publicly commtting a criminal act.
      Saying no to injustice.seeking freedom from a functioning imperialistic and colonial power in a peaceful manner is not the way the natives should conduct themselves.

  31. Say What says:

    My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Some of your destruction is near.

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