BVI News

Can local politicians capably lead an autonomous BVI?

Culture Minister Dr Natalio Wheatley has said immature leadership is what some residents believe to be a major stumbling block that the territory faces in its quest towards greater autonomy.

He, however, said that belief is a false perception.

Addressing the highly topical subject during the Honestly Speaking radio programme on Thursday, the minister said: “We must advance, we must take a step forward, we cannot stay in place.”

“The United Kingdom has basically taken the position: ‘well, you either go independent now or you stay British’. And the status that we currently have is not one that the United Nations supports — at least it doesn’t support staying in this position. This is a temporary status on our way towards something else,” Dr Wheatley said.

In a subsequent statement to BVI News, the minister explained that based on the United Nations, the BVI’s political status as a territory of the United Kingdom (UK) is not intended to last forever. The territory is supposed to move on to one of three options — Integration, Independence, or Free Association.

Integration is a form of self-determination in which an overseas territory like the BVI integrates/merges with the sovereign state. For example, Puerto Rico could decide to become a state of the USA. 

Integration is said to be the opposite of Independence, which would be a full break-away from the sovereignty to become free from outside control.

On the other hand, Free Association for the territory would effectively mean having a political alliance with the UK that does not come with ‘restrictions’ in how the BVI governs itself.

“Some persons may come to the conclusion that we cannot take a step forward because our leaders are not mature enough and that’s really a misnomer. The only thing that is holding us back exists within our mind. All the blockades and the obstacles exist in our mind for being able to take us a step forward. The arguments that persons bring up when we discuss the topic of more autonomy really has to do with things that are mixed and things that people need to be educated better on,” Dr Wheatley argued.

Leaders have done well

He said, contrary to what is perceived, the leaders of the territory have done well.

“First of all, our leaders have done a hell of a job for the last 70 years. By and large, I think it is amazing from a community of fishermen and farmers, no electricity, you would say for one of the least developed group of islands in the Caribbean just a few decades ago,” the minister stated.

He said, not too long ago, residents of these islands were in a few thousand and struggling to survive. Since then, the BVI has created what he described as world-class financial services. It has also established itself as a tourism destination and generates a per capita income that is higher than many developed countries.

“Persons have great jobs, nice homes — comfortable. You can live on the beach. I mean a wonderful place to live and to work and a lot of that reflect on our leadership,” Dr Wheatley said, adding that this has been achieved without the help of the UK.

He also pointed to the coronavirus and how the territory has handled it so far. He said this is anothe example of good leadership.

Economic standpoint

Meanwhile, Minister Wheatley said persons also hold another false perception.

“There’s this other concept that ‘we need the UK from an economic standpoint’ because if things go belly-up in our economy, the UK will be there to help us. 

And, that has proven to be false! There are many countries that can attest to it. The UK is not the best partner when it comes to supporting them and their economy,” Dr Wheatley stated.

“I heard the late great Ralph O’Neal speak about this — how difficult it is for them to even spend some pennies. For you to justify an expense with the British is really difficult,” he added.

The BVI is currently in the process of reviewing its constitution. This could see the territory becoming more autonomous.

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35 Comments

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  1. Anonymous says:

    YES THEY CAN!

    Like 3
    Dislike 22
    • Its wrong says:

      What I really wants to know how can these jokers approved soccer and not cricket, do any see what’s going on in soccer group hugs plenty cussing split flying on each other that don’t happen . That fool in 7 I guess really do not like cricket. Uncle Ralph we need you . Its wrong to stigma cricket soccer suppose to be the last game approved just stupid and bad mind

  2. Thank you but no thank you says:

    This country has seen the worst cases of corruption by politicians in the history of the Caribbean nations. Please do not pretend that this is all ok! The stability factor is the UK, UK legislation, UK oversight, UK Governor.

    Like 51
    Dislike 2
    • @Thank you but no thank you says:

      “Virgin Islanders must act with an air of equality to, not inferior to others. The colonialists did not see or treat neither slaves nor their descendants as equals. On their supposed ladder of life, they were on the bottom rungs. They came under the guise to civilize and dominate. They convince us that we were to be lead, not lead, and we buy into the nonsense. We tend to put trust and faith in others, not our own. We must stop self-hating.” Drank to much house negro koolaid?

      Like 2
      Dislike 2
    • @ Thank you but thank you says:

      My first comment was not posted so i’ll try again.

      Yourself and many more along your frame of mind are waiting to be placed in chains and into slavery.

      Your and they mentality is an embarrassment to your ancestors and a joy to the offspring of the enslaver…..

      Your statement makes our ancestors spirits, those buried; those that were never buriedand those whose bones still lay on the bottom of oceans, rebel with indignation and sorrow.

      To think that only the UK can keep our nation stable is an insult to your own intelligence, if you are a Black person.

      It id mentalities like your that kept the entire Caribbean region from uniting decades ago, and it is that kind of mentality that will keep Black devided for many more centuries, sadly.

      Like 2
      Dislike 2
    • Its wrong says:

      What I really wants to know how can these jokers approved soccer and not cricket, do any see what’s going on in soccer group hugs plenty cussing split flying on each other that don’t happen . That fool in 7 I guess really do not like cricket. Uncle Ralph we need you . Its wrong to stigma cricket soccer suppose to be the last game approved just stupid and bad mind

  3. Lack maturity says:

    This is not a false perception. For all the monies that have passed through these blessed Virgin Islands, we should be walking and driving on streets of gold, not still with our hand out begging the UK. We are our own worst enemy.

    We do lack the maturity to govern ourselves.

    Like 55
    Dislike 2
  4. Alternative says:

    There is another alternative to independence, integration and free association: sale.

    The UK can just put the BVI on the property market and sell it for the highest price possible.

    Denmark sold STT, STX and STJ to the USA in 1917 and the UK could do the same in 2020.

    Like 14
    Dislike 3
  5. Disinterested says:

    Virgin Islanders must act with an air of equality to, not inferior to others. The colonialists did not see or treat neither slaves nor their descendants as equals. On their supposed ladder of life, they were on the bottom rungs. They came under the guise to civilize and dominate. They convince us that we were to be lead, not lead, and we buy into the nonsense. We tend to put trust and faith in others, not our own. We must stop self-hating.

    The colonialists were/are the most brutal and corrupt people in the world. And in too many instances, they have taught us and we have employed their corrupt ways. Nonetheless, Virgin Islanders have the ability to lead effectively. Virgin Islanders must have the confidence in themselves. The haters just take a hike.

    Like 5
    Dislike 10
    • BuzzBvi says:

      Ha ha. VI worst at treating others as equals. You want to welcome the new masters.

    • Anti Colonialist says:

      I am and have always been anti colonialist but to say they are “the most brutal and corrupt people in the world” is just off the charts.
      It’s like saying the sea is made of earth and clouds are made of cotton. You can say it if you want, but it ain true.
      So, you would rather be ruled by gangsters in the pay of the same Colombian/Venezuelan/Mexican cocaine smugglers who already infest our society?
      You know, the groups who torture and kill family members of people they don’t like? Who control regions with much bigger populations than our little village?
      That’s what happens if we go independent. We become a captured state, ruled by ‘silver or lead’.
      For the sake of innocent lives, justice and fairness, I would take those damn Brits over gangsters – Any. Day.

  6. ?? says:

    WHERE IS THE MONEY!!!!! We bring in $800 Million from FSC alone, every 4 years, every Government term we get just shy of US$1 BILLION DOLLARS and we have been getting this for how long, yet look at us? Blaming the UK for not being able to adequately take care of our people during Hurricanes and COVID. You all have no f***ing shame and that is the problem! Nobody is saying we love the UK and hate BVIslanders, nobody is saying we trust and love the Governor but we don’t trust and love our Premier and Ministers, what we are saying is ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS! The BVI should NOT be in this position financially or otherwise, the records are there to show.

    Like 21
    Dislike 1
    • BuzzBvi says:

      Follow the money. It is not in the VI infrastructure. Where is it?

    • lol says:

      that maths is off

      Like 3
      Dislike 1
    • To ?? says:

      Exaactly my point i’ve been making for over a decade. Where is the higher quality of living based on the public infrastructure that should’ve been in the territory? Majority of people work in or around the tourism market. Where are the Four Season resorts?

      Where is the Expanded Airport the tourist industry needs to utilise so they can bring in more overnight guests? Why isn’t there direct airlinks from Tortola to London in 2020? Why do people have to transit through foreign countries like the USA and Antigua and Barbados to get from London and the rest of Europe to the BVI and TCI when you should be able to connect via Bermuda if you’re going to transit anywhere? It takes too long to get to the BVI with those stops.If y’all care about the development of the BVI on a whole then you’ll see you need direct flights to more than only the USA.You can never tell what can happen in the states and then BVI and TCI and Caymans will be stuck because they’ve been putting all their eggs in one basket for years.

      Where are the affordable homes program that should be in these OTs? Why should an OTs resident need to relocate to the Mainland UK from Bermuda,TCI or BVI or any other OT in order to obtain an affordable home? Those same programs should be extended to all territories. Why is the cost of using the internet so many times more expensive than your counterpaths on the mainland? Why are the road quality times better out here?Cost of Rent way higher and no unemployment benefits?

      Nobody is saying that the isolation of the territories aren’t taken into account for the higher prices but times higher than in the offshore parts of the nation is unacceptable.

      The same benefits that someone from Reading,Bristol or Belfast can get in their parts of their towns should be extended to all parts of the country whether territories or Mainland.

      No territory have an elected MP in the House of Commons so valued programs aren’t being extended to their home territories as they should.

      Lobby around Whitehall and together get the neccessary mechanisms put into place so we can raise the standard of living in all territories and get the super high cost of living down so all OTs residents can benefit, be more prosperous and feel extra comfortable in their homes.

      We need to move as one nation with as much local autonomy in every territory as you possibly can get from the UK Government and them supporting you in all areas. China is already threatening and causing loads of problems for the UK and the USA.

  7. Anonymous says:

    They should be able to lead an Autonomous BVI if the proper systems are put in place. They need to review the type of governance that’s in place in the Canary Islands. Britain is set up similarly to Spain where there are devolved regions and territories within the nation.

    Look at the Azores and the Canary Islands and you’ll find your perfect example on how to position the new relationship with the UK Government.

    Like 4
    Dislike 1
  8. reality says:

    Independence would mean all crown property must be purchased, think about it.
    The revenue for the government comes from FS this would cease to excist as you are no longer linked to the security of the UK.
    All the money the billions in revenue where ahs it all gone the UK hasn’t taken any monies.
    Police service no longer trained by the UK and ran by a locals, what happens when family get into trouble, it already happens.
    Power corrupts all, this is a problem with a population of 35,000.
    Can the BVI be independent , yes it can but as the FS leave the shores and property prices would plummet most property with mortgage would be lost to the banks, tourisim would still come and now being taken over by big resorts with money going into a few hands. The outer islands would be left on their own, so perhaps there is always a plus!

    Like 9
    Dislike 4
  9. YesIF says:

    Here is a list of some of what I would need to support independence.

    1.Currency-guarantee, what current/valuation etc.

    2.Debt/Capital Expenditure-Management tied to Revenue at a specific ratio, requiring a public vote.
    3.Independent Audit system free from govt influence

    4.Immigration Policy needing public mandate.

  10. Anonymous says:

    There are way bigger issues than just debates of currencies and such to establish a new country. The Millitary is the number one topic of discussion for any country because help ensure the safety of everything and everyone within that jurisdiction at all times.

    Where would any OT or places like Curaçao or Guadeloupe obtain funds from to have a Defense Budget of 100 to 200 times their actual economic budget? Without a Defense Budget that large, it’s a waste of money and time to think you’ll be safe in this new era that we’re entering. You can be your own country but that will be at your own risk.

    These people who think a thriving economy alone will keep any country in good hands are only dreaming.

    Look even at the sort of budget a country needs for Disaster Management. Your Disaster Preparedness Budget can’t be big enough just incase the worst happen.
    Plus, the Diplomatic strength and connection across the world that BVI and other OTs utilise,where would the money for that come from?

    The ability for young adults to go to universities in GB at the same rate as anyone else across the nation, where would the parents obtain funds to send their kids to universities at those rates?
    Your ability to travel across most of the world visa free,that will be lost.

    The cost of living in the OTs are way to high. If they are within the UK fully, with all the local autonomy they can have and they are within the UK Common Market, it mean the cost of many imports and exports, phone calls, internet, shipping,flights,etc will be times cheaper than they are now.Our phone and internet plans here are 5 times cheaper than the cleapest package being offered in the BVI.

    Basically, everything you can think of can be delivered to your house here expect your Doctor or a Night Club. We don’t really need to leave our homes for anything.Those services can be extended to the islands as well.

    All that will be addressed if you’re within the UK Common Market.Within the Common Market, flights from London Gatwick and Manchester will be domestic flights so ofcourse they’ll be cheaper. All territories with proper airports will only prosper with closer links to the Mainland.

    All the other benefits and other opportunities that are available overhere will be extended to the OTs over time if they are fully apart of this country but the Independent route won’t benefit anyone.

    Even the banking system here is more advance than the USA or in Canada so it’s times better than in any Overseas Territories. That too can be extented to the OTs so they can have cutting edge banking systems.

    The health Care system, available to everyone(Universal Health Care) even with a glitch or 2, we don’t have to worry if we can see our health care GP here. Some OTs have similar systems but all can have it.

    It’s soo easy to establish a business here if you have the qualifications or the passion to do it.
    Britain, whether people in the OTs know or not, it’s the land of endless opportunities. OT businesses need to plug in properly and they’ll see the benefits of doing business out here.
    Of almost 200 countries, UK mainland has the 5th largest economy in the world.It will always remain top ten even in this China Era. OTs need closer links with here.

    London is the financial center of the entire planet. This is where BVI,Caymans and Bermuda,etc need to seek closer ties with than they do already.

    Like 5
    Dislike 2
  11. BVI Nationalist says:

    As a nationalist I am ashamed to say that we have not reached the level of political maturity to Govern ourselves. There is too much a sense of entitlement which breeds corruption. It’s disheartening to say this but it’s the truth.

    Like 12
    Dislike 1
  12. Anonymous says:

    We may have some learning and growing to do yet. We have only been at it for 184 years. But to suggest that we can’t lead ourselves is to suggest we lack confidence in ourselves, we need the white man to lead us, because Black people can’t.

    That is a slave and house negro mentaility that is sickenning to its core. And, sadly, Tola still a majority house nrgroes walking around.

    Like 1
    Dislike 2
  13. MENTAL SLAVERY says:

    Mental slavery is the worst form of Slavery. It gives you the illusion of freedom, makes you trust, love and defend your oppressor while making an enemy of those who are trying to free you or open your eyes.

  14. Anonymous says:

    The territory can and will do very well being an (Autonomous Island Territory) within the United Kingdom the same way that (Azores) and (Canary Islands) are within Spain and (Madeira) is within Portugal.

    They are all far away from their mainlands,prone to hurricanes and other disasters, isolated with unique cultures, small,higher cost of living because of their distant offshore with no major manufacturing industries to supply all their consumer needs.

    There are strengths in being insular though as in the cases of any pandemics:you can easily lockdown the territory from the rest of the nation and the world for that matter.

    You can have proper shipping connections to the Mainland and have goods ship in on a regular basis so you can even supply to the rest of the Caribbean insted of them having to get everything directly from Great Britain themselves. The OTs can supply some of what they’ll need and as such: many new and exisiting businesses will begin to florish and as such more jobs security and a more sustanable economy.

    Those items will be shipped in tarriff free to the Overseas Territories because you’ll be within the UK fully and be inside the British Common Market with a constant supply of whatever you already get from the USA because the UK have everything like the USA but they’ll be shipped in tax free with all the savings being attached to shipments.All shipments will be domestic shipments as opposed to those that currently come in from the USA and Japan which are bothforeign countries.

    The way the Autonomous Government will get that missing tax will be from the businesses that will be created from that new industry or other ways.The Overseas Territories in the Caribbean are in the right locations to supply their neighbours easily and on a regular basis.That is a new industry(Logistics Offshore Hubs of the UK Mainland) many of the OTs can invest in.

    With investments into the TB Lettsome Airport, direct flights can be flown in often so wheather there’s an issue within the US or not,OTs can be garanteed there’ll always be guests in their Villas,ABNB and hotels all time of every year except if a storm is approaching.
    They mentioned about Cruises begining from the BVI and have tourists flown in from London in order to get onto their cruises.Tourist visiting the BVI from London will be more willing to visit knowing they can jump across to St John and St Thomas for the day for whatever reason.

    That will be profitable and sustanable for decades to come. For one, the OTs in the Caribbean are sunny all year,they are small islands,beautiful and have warm ocean,beautiful beaches, so extending the airport for those purposes listed above is like a no brainer really.The new airport development will sustain itself because there’ll be a physical infrastructure to always expand on and your Marketing funds will see high Returns On Investment(ROI).

    If the OT of the BVI and others are plugged in properly to the Mainland and have control of how things are operate locally then it’s a win for all sides. You’ll still have a strong Financial Industry, A stronger and more sustanable Tourism Industry and also can be apart of the UK Offshore Logistic Industry to serve the wider Caribbean and even some parts of Latin America.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Being an (Autonomous Island Region) or Territory of a nation means you the people and territorial government that’s located there will run, operate or however you wish to term it; the Virgin Islanders will be operating their local affairs abit more than they’re doing right now but with added cushioning from programs being extended from the UK Government’s areas of expertise.Does anyone in any OT ever stop and try to figure out how things really work for their home territories beyond their local shores?

    How is it you can travel around the world visa free? That’s because Britain as awhole have the trading power, very strong economy in which it trickle down to the strength of the overall purchasing parity of this nation.Countries know it’s a win for them to do business with Britain so ofcouse visa free access is given to us globally.They also have that clout as a member within the UN,G-7, the EU,Nato. They have the strong diplomatic reach globally and have the industries and expertise,universities,etc what other countries need for their citizens so visa free access is reciprocal.

    The OTs have strong local economies in which you built but the strength of your local economies rest on the wide spreaded reach of the power of Britain.You think China is going to only consider your local expertise while doing financial business with you in Hong Kong? They respect Britain on awhole and see the BVI as part of Britain and as such, they know quality must be coming out of the OTs of BVI or Caymans,Bermuda,Jersey,etc.

    I’ve read history from the evolution of the early humans in the Kenyan and Malawi regions of Eastern African before they got to their true heights of consciousness in that area where Present day Ethiopia, Eritrea,etc is today.

    This has nothing to do with race or denomination,sex or creed. This is simply ensuring all OTs and Crown Dependencies evolve in the proper way to ensure their safety, security and economic prosperity in this 21st century.

    You guys are still basing many things on the Imperial Britain from back in the 18th,19th and early 20th century. This isn’t the Old Imperial Britain nor is it the USA empire’s century anymore. The 21st century belongs to China and that (Silk Road World Order) they’re currently building.
    They will offer economic opportunities to small and larger countries but they will take you over if you don’t agree to their terms.

    Britain, USA,African Continent and others will have their hands full with the new China ( Asia Continent) (along with Russia backing them up), being the major Super Power. Do you see any chance of surviving if they show up on the Caribbean’s door step if you are without the(D-10 Alliance) on your side? They(China) can be 100 miles off of Antigua sending threats for 3 months. Will any small country be able to prepare anything to hold them off even for 10 minutes? That’s what you need to think about.

    It isn’t possible to afford such Millitary protection on your own in the next 100 years.Their(China) Millitaries will be soo advance that they will be fighting other countries even in Space. Many countries are all currently building Space Millitary sections to their Defense Force.

    Independence in the 21st century isn’t feasiable for the Southern ststes in Brazil or for e.g Texas in the USA. How can it be feasible for somewhere so small with little to no resourses in the middle of the ocean?

    D-10 Alliance(UK,USA,Canada, Australia, other EU countries)

  16. Anonymous says:

    Does anyone ever wonder why the world refer to the Overseas Territories as Tax Havens? I used to wonder the same thing because I know everyone in the BVI pay taxes.

    That tax haven label refers to Corporations being allowed to be registered in a 0% tax jurisdiction. Even 5 to 10% corporate tax would’ve been better than none at all.They don’t do business there but they are based there on paper so it would’ve been good to collect something. That tax loophole should be addressed in the near future as it’s revenues that can used to invest in infrastructure and other important areas.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Slavery in the 17th century was better because tey knew they were slaves.

    21st century slaves don’t even they are slaves. That is a horrible mental state to be in, and the majority of comments on this thread reflect that, sadly.

  18. This says:

    thread is a demonstation of weak minded and spinelss people,

  19. Anonymous says:

    Would being an independent country exempt BVI or any existing country from the laws and regulations they have problems with from the macro environment today? Would you be shielded from having to impliment any new regulations that will be the new norm of any industry that you may wish to do business in? Using physical, emotional or mental slavery like those are new terms are the scapegoat terms to distract everyone else from reality as it is.

    Independence won’t shield any current OT from having to abide by any of the existing, new or future regulations of the Financial Industry or any other industry in any shape or form.
    Independence is not a viable solution in this complex way of doing things in the 21st century where it relates to doing business with the rest of the world

    You can have your independent way of thinking but to think any existing or future country will be excluded from having to sign up to new treatries is like living inside a fantasy world. It’s neither practical nor will it be reality.

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