Opposition Leader Andrew Fahie has suggested Friday’s march against local government saw a low turnout because would-be protesters feared retaliation from the National Democratic Party (NDP) government and/or its supporters.
Fewer than 100 persons turned out for the protest, which began at the Sunday Morning Well and culminated outside Premier Dr D Orlando Smith’s office at the Central Administration Complex in Road Town.
“I am not surprised by the crowd because, in the BVI, we have to understand that it’s a very small community and whenever you have to stand up against what would be termed as the ‘higher-archy’ in the country, you are opening yourself and your family towards victimisation, towards vindication, and nothing that is nice,” Fahie told journalists at the event on June 8.
But, the Opposition Leader said despite the miserable turnout, ‘a lot of heart’ was put into the protest.
He said he believed the protest would still yield results. He further said, historically, few ‘great’ accomplishments began with large crowds.
He said that reality has been the status quo “from the bible days to any historical event that made a difference”.
“Even with Noel Lloyd. He started [the Positive Action Movement of 1968] himself. It was when everyone understood what was happening they chimed in,” Fahie said.
Fahie, Opposition member Julian Fraser, and Deputy Premier Dr Kedrick Pickering were the only legislators present at the event.
And while giving remarks, Dr Pickering said Premier Smith was on official business in Asia. However, Dr Pickering said he plans to relay the concerns of protestors to Premier Smith.
The handful of protestors had marched the streets of Road Town calling for greater accountability and better governance from the NDP administration.
Among the speakers at the protest were Virgin Gorda resident Shereen Flax, outspoken resident Sam Henry, and political aspirant Julian Willock, among others.
Floyd ‘Heritage’ Burnett organised the protest following the May 24 Decision March against the United Kingdom.
Friday’s anti-government protest has been dubbed ‘The People’s March’.
Below are scenes captured at the march:
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