BVI News

Aspiring citizens should be required to take a written test

BVI News photo

While suggesting that the BVI’s openness to immigrants is contributing to cultural erosion, local attorney Patricia Archibald-Bowers said aspiring citizens should be required to take a written test to prove they know indigenous BVI culture.

She said this is one way to ensure the territory’s culture is preserved.

Archibald-Bowers made the suggestions when she appeared as a panellist at a roundtable talk on constitutional reform at the H Lavity Stoutt Community College on November 8.

She mentioned that the BVI could follow the footsteps of the United States which currently requires aspiring citizens to sit a written test.

“We’re a very welcoming country — the British Virgin Islands — and we have become more welcoming to the detriment of our culture. I believe that if you come into somebody’s home you conform and it is the same as if you come into the Virgin Islands you conform to our culture,” Archibald-Bowers argued.

“When I was growing up, stores didn’t open on Sundays. We didn’t sell frocks and panties and those things on a Sunday. Doors were shut. That was not our culture and the BVIslander was not the one that broke it and we allowed it. We have allowed certain things to drift in and the question is now, ‘how do we pull it back’?” Bowers said.

She said along with the test for citizenship, the BVI could also make inclusions within its constitution which set the framework for defining the BVI’s culture.

“Then we now have to look at what we put into the constitution as far as, what is BVI culture? Is it that we have a commission that determines these are the cultural norms of the Virgin Islands? Do you realise that the BVIslander is one of the few citizens of the Caribbean that does not go to live in another country? That says something about our culture, it’s a good culture. We need to protect the BVIslander and I really don’t apologise for it” Archibald-Bowers said.

Pickering disagrees

In commenting on the ways that the BVI constitution can help to preserve its culture, former legislator Dr Kedrick Pickering said the BVI should strive to embrace multiculturalism.

“The BVI, whether we like it or not, will have to embrace multiculturalism. One of the things I remember growing up was that every house had a little safe. In that safe there used to be one or two cups. What were they for? In case somebody stops by you could give them a cup of water to drink. We are a very welcoming people, that is the culture of the BVI I remember, we were warm. How do we embody that as a part of our cultural identity is a question I think we need to grapple with,” Pickering explained.


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  1. Lol says:

    I wonder if people from the 7th happy they exchanged Picko for Wheatley?

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    • Written says:

      A written test to see if they know “indigenous BVI culture”. Hmmm. Maybe the test should be given to the Belongers first to see if they pass. First, let’s start with the word indigenous. The meaning is as follows

      “originating or occurring naturally in a particular place; native.”

      As we can see from the definition above, none of the Belongers are indigenous thus you have no right to require anything of people that want to become citizens. You do however fit the definition of squatters

      “a person who unlawfully occupies an uninhabited building or unused land.”

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      • these people kill me says:

        Don’t use the term island people usually. But this post is definitely from one who has hatred for bvislanders

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        • @these says:

          Truth hurts huh? Try and educate yourself. A mind is a terrible thing to waste. Seems like a lot of waste among the Belonger

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      • Lia says:

        Written, what does that make you?

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      • Very wrong @Patricia. says:

        Firstly many bonafide bvislanders are dual citizens of the USA so your comments about bvislanders living in another country are not only incorrect but absurd. Second there is nothing about establishing a proper route which would come with the necessary competent test to establish a method/route to citizenship. This isn’t new and has been spoken about ages ago. Just put it in place.

    • Here says:

      Here is some BVI history that is always neglected but truthful. When the slave traders brought slaves to the Caribbean, they went from island to island selling. The fact is that the BVI was the last stop of the route. Thus, the slaves that were brought to the BVI were the ones that were not wanted on other islands. Sooo, the proud inhabitants of the BVI were the ones that no one wanted, the bottom of the barrel, the worthless ones. Perhaps this is why the BVIslanders look down on the people of other islands. Just part of BVI history and culture that perhaps should be taught and on the citizenship exam.

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  2. They do says:

    Before you get any status here, immigration gives you a multiple choice test.

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    • Yes they do... says:

      …but whether you pass it or not you still get the status as long as you pay the fee.

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      • Lacy says:

        LOL. In other countries you had better pass any test given.

        I think there should be more than a test given. The territory is so small, the list should be published before and not after.

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    • true says:

      yes its already there and this is newsand these atre the people on this commitee chatting about things they know nothing about. Also the cupsinsafe in from other islands not BVI

    • Two Times says:

      I took the written test for my residency, and another, different written test, for my belongership. How many do we need?

      Like 12
      • ReX FeRaL says:

        A citizenship test will be different from a Residence and Belongers test, but they give you the status if you pass or not so it seems obsolete in a sense. Lots of people who are granted status only apply to get it stop payment of immigration fees. No real love for the British Virgin Islands.

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        • How says:

          How is it different. They ask you about places, the culture and past politicians what more do you want. I guest the learned lady did no know this was being done.

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        • SB says:

          A citizenship test would be the responsibility of the U.K., not the BVI. There are no “BVI citizens,” only British citizens.

  3. vision says:

    only to consider,not to approved immeditly

  4. Confused says:

    I already thought this (a written exam) was a requirement?

  5. kim says:

    Dr pickering is an e***t does any of the other caribbean countries take our culture and inter twine them in their cultire, our culture is unique and at has to be preserved pickering we can appreciate their culture but does they appreciate our bvi culture the down island people always calling it down. The bvi culture has to stay our n0 1 issue and do not let it fall. as bvi landers we have a thing about us and we have to raise our standars to promote and preserve what is sacred to us so doctor pickering go a side with your multi ractial multi cultural talk. Be proud of what you were born and raised on. bvi proud stop putting the other islands thing into our culture they donot put theirs in our culture we have to hold the rope at this point now.

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    • Lucian says:

      @Kim, no other island or islands weren’t want to incorporate BVI cultures into theirs because they are either outdated, blood crawling, or make you sick,that is, you people make cake using brown sugar, and the openly and rampant imbreeding, have you seen the amount of special needs/ retarded kids in this Territory? Some of it are localized, the nasty racist behavior of most local BVISLANDERS are a turnoff, but expats as we’re called also know that is been handed down from your fore bearers, the hate is not enough that is passed down? Welcoming my a$$.

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  6. OMG says:

    Does this person actually know what planet they are on? Quoted from the article as follows “ Do you realise that the BVIslander is one of the few citizens of the Caribbean that does not go to live in another country? ”. Does she realize the large percentage of Belongers that drop their babies in Puerto Rico and St Thomas to gain US citizenship? Does she know the number who go to the US for welfare and school and never come back. Take this woman a book so she can learn and stop spouting bulls**t. There is no indigenous BVI culture. There are no indigenous BVI people.

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  7. Are you sure? says:

    “We’re a very welcoming country”

    Ask all the expats who are currently locked out if that’s the case…

    Oh, and selling panties on Sunday…. it’s 2020 mate. Take a ride in the time machine and come to our age. Or please ditch your smartphone, playstation, internet, electricity and everything as well.

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    • You are not sure, says:

      Are the expats who are locked out of the BVI in their home country? Wow, are they so opposed to being in their own country/want to get back to this little island that has so much hatred/venom for them? That does not make any sense. Are you sure they want to come back to this bad BVI?

      • Wow says:

        Classic example. If they live here, this is their home where all of their things are and their jobs and friends, children’s school etc. Greedy Belongers (including lawmakers and Labour/immigration) denigrating expats don’t seem to have the mental capacity to understand that when people move their lives here, it means they do not have an alternative parallel existence in other places. No home, not necessarily any family to stay with. You want the wealth that expats bring to finance and tourism but you don’t want to accommodate simply having a normal life. You restrict the ability to build a home, school the children and so many other things, and for what? Restrictions just mean that the expats are less settled and spend less of their money here compared to say Cayman where people can buy or build a home, lead a normal life, where they pay handsomely and pass a test at ten years to get permanent residency and continue to contribute to the community they are living in and building up. Here, our amenities are getting fewer and fewer and our third world infrastructure crumbles. All because people have a Donald Trump view of anyone who is “foreign” – as if our elected leaders don’t have DR, anguillian, Cuban etc heritage themselves. As if that’s important. You all jumped in cars beeping horns when Obama got elected but you’d never let a second gen immigrant near any elected office here. The hypocrisy stinks.

  8. two cents says:

    Persons from non-English speaking countries should be made to pass a basic English test as one of the requirements for a work permit.

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  9. Haha says:

    Belongers don’t even know about their own history/ culture but new citizens have to ?! What a joke. This is one of the few places on the planet that still openly discriminate against anyone who isn’t “born here” . Sickening. At least Pickering is on the right track with his statement.

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    • Stupes says:

      They don’t have to because they are at home.

      • hello says:

        So basically you would end up having expats teaching Islanders about their history simply because they would have been imposed a test. That would not serve locals in my opinion – Wake up people most Islanders do not know about BVI history, which if far less rich than that of surrounding islands.

  10. Well says:

    I’m 99.9 percent sure your not even 100% indigenous. I think you have a point though, however the world is changing, we can’t compare 50 or 60 years ago to today. Your talking about store WOW, this is the 21st century we can have 24 hr. store online. 75 year olds can whatapp, facebook and facetime online, and people should be able to shop online on SUNDAY if they want to. We are in an innovative time, why be left behind.

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    • Ignorant Blogger says:

      She did not say you cannot shop online. She said that shops did not open on Sundays. I remember that I could not play outside on Sundays until after church/Sunday School. Sunday was a day of reverence. Now all businesses opening 24/7. And to top it off, they vex when churches have open air services or when church services run long.

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      • Sundays says:

        Times are changing …. unless you want to also remember using donkeys for transport and not having tourism nor financial industry income?

      • BVISLANDER says:

        @ignorant blogger, that is because your fellow church members ain’t saved, not even close, they don’t have an ounce of Santification in them, most people on this island are just plain church goers, who dtand outside the church as soon as they are dismissed gossiping about other members or the latest scandals and gossip.
        Lots of things needs to be change in Territory and we have to start with self before us local try to spill our pillage on the entire village.

    • Business Hours says:

      Controlling business hours per type of business is something you do by law … not by a test on culture.

  11. Lol says:

    The so call Island people know more about the culture. One day I smartly try to test a local and they couldn’t come with the answer lol. They don’t even know the name of the airport in Anegada. Some don’t know the Holidays so they need to be taught the culture too.

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  12. Listen for Yourself says:

    And I guess BVI News forgot to mention that the lawyer said her father was from St. Kitts and she was married to an Antiguan. Sometimes it is better to listen for yourself.

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  13. Interest Paid? says:

    I here still waiting on my refund of $1500 still

  14. Mr.Gage says:

    Where is Archibals-Bowers getting her facts from? She said, “do you realise that the BVIslander is one of the few citizens of the Caribbean that does not go to live in another Country”, so what does that make America? A city? Remember some time back Premier Fahie was pleading to the droves of BVIlanders in the States to come back home to reclaim their birthright.

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  15. Bold and Honest says:

    I appreciate people who speak their truth. I may not agree with what the lawyer says but at least she’s being bold and honest. Too many times politicians and pundits speak out the side of their mouth in order to be comfortable. And believe you me, she’s only saying what many BVI Islanders think and believe. I’m a “down island” woman married to one of them. Think about it. How would you feel being the minority in your own house and those coming in telling you how to run it? It’s a conversation to be had and there is nothing comfortable about it.

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  16. Indigenous Culture says:

    Happy to do a test on Indigenous Culture….. I do hear the Arawaks were quite advanced for their time….

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  17. Local girl says:

    Is she an indigenous BVI? There’s no such thing as pure breaded locals anymore, back then our great grandparents used to make cakes with brown sugar, imbreeding was rampant and being openly racist against our own black skinned people from other islands were and still is the norm for some, who wants to live on a society like that? We are yoo advance and educated to be living in the 50’s and 60’s, who wants to live like a damn Stepford wife in yodays society with our piece of paper?
    Lastly remember we cannot develop the BVI alone, these people from other islands came here paying rent, taxes helping us develop our island, all I afked is for us yo be respectful of each other and live as one, my VP in the US looks like me and because she is a brown girl in the ring so lets say sing tha song instead of our foolish crap.

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  18. Yes says:

    I totally agree. A few years ago I was in the front of a dollar bus in St Thomas and the Hispanic female driver had a tape on studying American history as she said she was preparing for naturalization.

  19. stop says:

    stop bringing these stories to let these island people mouths loose. I tired of hearing their disgruntled backsides.

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  20. Mosiah says:

    We are welcoming, but that doesn’t mean we have to give up our values or our culture. And we can’t expect others ppl to respect it more than we do ourselves. Also we can’t be like Trump and want time to move back to the 1940’s. Times & ppl change. Keep up.

  21. History or Alternative Facts? says:

    The ones who are very, very quick to point out that BVIslanders are not “indigenous” to these islands, but are often refered to as squatters, will never admit that their ancestors are responsible for the complete dessimation, slaughter and extermination of entire races of people from these islands.

    But they they sit up in their segregated communities squatting on lands that are not their referring to other human beings as squatters. The irony of such hate and mentality.

    How can one be a squatter when one was kidnapped,[and don’t bring that falsehood that Africans were sold by Africans as a lame rebuttal, as, as, 99% of the Africans that left Africa in ship holes were kidnapped by gun point, and the 10% were laoned out as servants in the beginning before the trade started.]

    They were chained, brought millions of miles across the Atlantic, slaved for free for four hundred years, and after slavery had lost its lustre, they were were left to fend for themselselves with not as much as a crumb of bread? Hence, four hundred years is enough time to make anyone an indigenous native one would think.

    Some folk really have selective historical recollections and alternative facts as their narrative posting points.

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  22. Anonymous says:

    The Caribs and Arawaks did not sprout out of the ground or fell from the sky as rain upon these islands.

    Indeed, they traversed the oceans and settled where they found the resources to sustain them. That is why European voyagers seeking riches came across them and subsequently labelled them “indigenous” people.

    If that theor is to hold water, then Columbus and all of the sudsequent colonizers who traversed the oceans, landed on a particular piece of land and stayed can be referred to as “indigenous” also.

  23. Ting to talk says:

    She has the ghut to come up a foolish example like in the 21st century ” when she was growing up store don’t sell panties on sundays. She is really c***y.

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  24. Choops says:

    Bunch of f**t.

  25. Hey says:

    Your dad did not do a test. Why bothers have to

  26. Local girl says:

    She is right, they didn’t opened on Sundays because they were not as smart and opened minded as we are today, life wasn’t as expensive as it is today,they did not sell panties and frocks. Instead they sold bingobags, bloomers, draws and moomoo’s that you can still find in Walmart.
    Someone please tell that lady that things and time changes, The locals don’t even know their own culture yet you want to come forcing on others? We are a progressive people who know that things and time changes.

  27. Secret Bear says:

    This woman is several sandwiches short of a picnic. What the **** does taking some test have to do with selling panties? Potential BVI belongers already are required to take a test. Any “citizenship” test would be given by the U.K., not the BVI. This woman has no business expressing her opinion on the constitution or demanding a test when she herself clearly has no idea how her own territory works.

  28. 1500$ says:

    How many locals *** rob of their banco popular loan payments. *** should hush.

  29. Seriously says:

    What does this woman mean when she says that aBVILander is one of the few people who does not live in another man’s country?
    I guess she doesn’t see all these BVILanders with dual citizenship as BVILanders and that includes her own children.
    Where were her children born and where do they live?
    Lastly,if you want others to adopt your culture, you yourself have to show some pride in your culture.
    Sad to say but not many BVILanders, especially the younger ones know much about their history and their culture. There are many expats who value and promote BVI culture.

  30. Marvin says:

    Then make it 5 years like the USA

  31. hello says:

    So basically you would end up having expats teaching Islanders about their history simply because they would have been imposed a test. That would not serve locals in my opinion – Wake up people most Islanders do not know about BVI history, which if far less rich than that of surrounding islands.

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