BVI News

COMMENTARY: Rookie gov’t with fresh ideas not so bad

Alred Frett

By Alred Frett, Contributor

All I am about to say is common knowledge and my words simply serve to refresh your memory. Months ago I cautioned of our traditional propensity to be represented by preachers, doctors and lawyers where, for decades, our Council never existed with at least one of them.

Today it is a virtual miracle that our new parliament appears to have stepped away from that tradition. For better or worse we have left Black History Month and entered March with a brand new government forced to write a new chapter in our history.

Some of us may cry while others laugh but whatever our dispositions, we are all in this together so, whether lamentations or celebrations, our collective focus should be on finding solutions for the problems we face.

Clearly, our people and country became troubled as bravery turn into fear and hope became despair… They saw systems weaken by fragmentation of parties consumed by power struggles and felt the damage being done to the health, education and rights of BVIslanders.

Voters became terrified of what was likely to happen if the government was re-elected to power. Many believed the downhill slide had worsened following the last snap election and most feared that reelecting such a government would condone wrongs and make them feel invincible.

Greed, corruption and mismanagement

This would mean ordinary BV-Islanders would have no opinions, no voices and no hope as greed, corruption and mismanagement of issues would pick up right where they left off.

They left us no other choice but to elect others

Any unchartered waters caused by this election can be considered as being forced on us by the last government so they are at fault if we have a House of Assembly where the Opposition are the ones with 100 percent political experience and the government considered as having only 10 percent.

We never requested this. All we wanted was a government that worked for all of the People. Elections do come with consequences but fear not because the results may prove better than expected.

Replacing the customary two or three members in the Opposition with five, provides inherent checks and balances via the implied threat that two defections from government can instantly change the ruling body.

Rookie gov’t with fresh ideas not so bad

This also means greater consideration will be given to the Opposition. Consequently, having a rookie government with fresh ideas may not be the worst thing to have happened.

Their own value and worth will largely depend on their political ability to recognize bona fide challenges and to listen, reason and learn in order to perform in the People’s best interest.

These Challenges may come from all quarters. Friends and foes, internal and external. Internally, there may be those who think ourselves responsible for the victory and anxious to seek un-endings rewards versus those saddened by defeat and seeking our pound of flesh.

Externally, there may be civil servants and permanent secretaries anxious to boss and mislead ministers even as others including the UK will see them as easy prey to be taken advantage off.

Our list of to-be-dones should be their list of to-be-dones

The technique is to stand firm and avoid being cocky, arrogant or quick to reject guidance. Beware the damage that can result from greed and inexperience.

Thanks to Donald Trump, we can recognize the existence of those of us who condemn without offering solutions and those of us who will shower bad leaders with false praise in order to achieve our own goals.

Please bear in mind that every past government begins with the people’s support and this will continue for as long as leaders do what is right and, in the people’s, best interest.

During such times we stand prepared to help, support and advise wherever necessary for we have no desire to remove and replace just to have this Political Instability repeated over and over again.

Concerns

Our concerns should be their concerns and it is in the best interest of all elected Members that we refresh and repeat these concerns to give them a head start at knowing and solving these problems.

Unfortunately, past Governments insisted on being selectively rejective which not only brought pain and non-progress to our People but eventually resulted in their rejection.

The outstanding list is long and includes but not limited to correcting corrupt healthcare biases and practices of schemes that are not in our people’s best interest, the awarding of medical scholarships without internship assistance which leaves the process incomplete, disastrous educational handicaps including the high school fifth form retardation dilemma, unfairness and injustices affecting Immigration, Labour and work permit practices, injustices placed on the Palmgrove Shopping Centre tenants, traffic issues at the Court House and politicians’ offices, parking lot and exit roads, colonial laws designed to imprison our youth, the trappings of slavery and flags of Denmark and other oppressors that insult our heritage.

Learn your history lest you repeat the downfalls of our parents destiny

Such outstanding matters need urgent attention and I will push on until they are corrected.

Unfortunately, when I speak of Denmark’s cruel participation in Virgin Islands Slavery, many of you seem unaware that Denmark owned the US Virgin Islands then called the Danish West Indies and her slave ships carried over 80,000 African slaves from Ghana to their so-called New World.

Fact is, in the early 1700’s Denmark occupied St John for harvesting sugar, indigo and cotton to enrich Europe but they lacked sufficient labourers so plantation owners imported Danish prisoners as workers.

This failed so their solution was to import slaves from Africa as their free source of labour. It was the maltreatment of these Slaves that led to St John’s slave insurrection of 1733.

Furthermore, even after Denmark claimed to have finally ended Slavery on January 1, 1803, the barbaric practice continued in their Danish West Indies for another four decades.

Slave Masters within the Danish West Indies – now the US Virgin Islands
– made laws that fixed the earnings of freed slaves and blocked them from seeking better wages and work conditions. Hope was lost.

A continuing commitment to fight against slavery

Continuing inhumanity made working on Danish Plantations extremely difficult so 1838, when British West Indian Slaves were emancipated many more freed Slaves left the Danish Islands for better conditions.

However, not all escaped and the continuing abusive treatment of freed Slaves at their new location on St Croix, caused Mary Thomas to burn down several Danish Plantations in 1878.

NB: The 1840’s exodus included freed slaves escaping from St John for nearby Tortola. I may have descended from these resistors because ‘Frett’, as a name given to rebellious slaves remains the only BVI indigenous name.

At the same time, it is also possible that Danish Prisoners became Slave Masters and followed us to the BVI to continue their practice of Racism and Oppression. We should never forget our Ancestors were kept in Slavery by lack of Knowledge and although we may never know all there is, we should try to learn as much as we can.

The Internet and Vernon Pickering’s Book are sources of Denmark’s slavery in the West Indies and should become familiar to our elected leaders – perhaps teaching this in Schools could prevent 21st century slavery.

Copyright 2020 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

23 Comments

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  1. E. Leonard says:

    AC, good read! Author George Santayana: Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. Former British PM Winston Churchill in an address to the House of Commons slightly changed the foregoing quote: Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it.

    The term Vigilate on the BVI coat of arms means “be vigilant. Millennials, Generation Z……etc must be vigilant. In addition to Vernon Pickering book, the University of College London (UCL) study—-Britain Colonial Shame: Slave -Owners given huge payouts after abolition is a good read.

    The only people that did not benefit from slavery was slaves and their descendants. The UCL study shows that some 3000 slave owning British families(the families of some prominent Britons were compensated) were compensated (reparation) approximately £20M after abolition. Today’s £20M equivalent is approx £17bn; it was approx 40% of treasury expenditure in 1833-34.

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    • @E. Leonard & A. Frett says:

      Yes, slavery was a brutal, dehumanizing……act but physical slavery for British Caribbean colonies was abolished in 1834 so why continue to dwell on it. No one who participated in slavery is alive and cannot make amends for it. Seemed like the descendants of slave owners and others who were not around are being burdened. The territory has bigger issues to worry about, does it not? Let’s discuss so that the healing and forgiveness can continue.

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      • @@E. Leonard & A. Frett says:

        First, it is minds like yours, if you are Black, that makes it impossible for Black people to get ahead. And, if you are white, statements such as those are used to defer psychological guilt and to create a frame of mind in which a sense of no responsibility is of no matter, when in fact it is.

        When one has inherited supreme wealth, class preferences, because of that wealth, personal,societal and world privileges off of the backs, hands, lives and deaths of millions of souls, who were never paid a penny in return, to then write the evil you just wrote is uncut blasphemy, insultative and a desiccation of those Black souls now our ancestors.

        You want us to get over it? pay us what is owned. All of the Jews, Japanese, Chinese and Indians were paid. Why shall we not be?

        The Jews were some of the greatest business people in the business of the enslavement my people for profit along with many others.

        So they must go with their existence after having built enormous wealth off of humans, blood, sweat, tears and death. Today, they and others essentially controls the US and the world economy, but we must forget the past and move on. There is still a need for death squads, concentration camps and firing squads it appears.

        Well there are remembrance ceremonies for the victims of the holocaust, a direct karmic result of the involvement in the slave business, and not even you will ever say or write and ask them to forget. So why must we?

        We shall never forget, because if we forget, the devils will, who now . are enjoying the fruits of their ancestors horrors will be back to commit the same inhumane atrocities all over again upon us.

        Lastly, since we must forget and move on, have every benefactor of those who have left wealth for their offspring, who are alive right now, to give all that wealth to Black people and Black nations.

        Next time there is a need for such a response, it will be a fully academic.

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        • wow says:

          What a mixture of factual error, hate and prejudice!I am sorry that you feel so victimized, even as one of the more privileged members of this society.

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        • Bobthebuilder says:

          Think you might want to consult an academic next timer. The casually racist anti-semitism significantly undermines any point you are trying to make.

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    • Facts says:

      The Bottom Line is this government don’t have a clue what they are doing.

  2. Michele says:

    Good article

  3. Being Human says:

    Interesting read!!! It is ironic that the concept of reparation for the descendants of African slaves is viewed by some as “burdening” the descendants of former slave owners, a form of racism,and even as encouraging a dependency syndrome among African Caribbean people. It is none of those things. We do not seek reparation in the context of “a handout from Europe.” Rather, we seek reparation in two specific interrelated forms. Firstly, we do so in the context of repairing the dehumanized psyche of our people maimed through a history of slavery and institutionalized policies of racism still being orchestrated by the descendants of former slave owners. Secondly, it is a call for the descendants of slave owners to be supportive of policies that help to reverse such racist policies – which includes financing projects aimed at correcting the damage inflicted on African Caribbean people.By the way, Europe still benefits from the atrocities of slavery and colonialism. Therefore, it is not a “burden” per se but a moral and social obligation. In this regard, reparation is not an act of racism, but an act of counter-racism. It baffles me why those of us opposed to reparation in the context of African Caribbean subjects, underscore the policy of reparation for the Jewish community which holds Germany morally and socially accountable. I support reparation for the Jews. I also support reparation for African Caribbean peoples. I am not being racist but fair. By the way, we do not expect Europe to heal our people in a psychological, cultural and spiritual sense. We will do that for ourselves. We do not subscribe to the dependency syndrome imposed by European colonialism. Rather, we seek through the struggle of reparation to reverse that wholesale form of dependency. However, we are also legally entitled to economic and social forms of redress for not only what was done to us during slavery, but for the global seizure of assets owned by our ancestors now under the control of contemporary Europe. We aim through equality to rid the world of racism.

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    • Rubber Duck says:

      The vast vast majority of white folk never owned a slave or had any connection with slavery. At the time of African Caribbean slavery in the 17th and 18th centuries the majority of poor whites lived in conditions not a lot better than the slaves themselves did. And 99% of whites were poor and disenfranchised and thus had no say in the making of laws.
      And whites in places such as Ireland and Russia were essentially slaves themselves.

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      • Reality says:

        I agree Rubber Duck but we don’t hear much about that as a free meal ticket is just so attractive, time for us all to move on and cease bleating on about the past looking for non-entitled pay outs, lets take responsibility for our future and make the best of the freedom and opportunities our ancestors never had, learning lessons from the past so that the mistakes don’t re-occur ….

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        • RealPol says:

          @Reality, the African diaspora from Bahamas to Jamaica to Guyana to Barbados to Trinidad and Tobago is not looking for a free meal ticket. It is not asking for a check to be written to each member of the Diaspora. However, what it is asking for is to be made whore for the abuse and exploitation of its ancestors, slaves. Britain permitted the abuse, dehumanizing and exploitation of slaves by slave owners. It compensated the slave owners for their supposed lost of property but cut cast aside slaves and their descendants, treating them like crap. Were the Indians, Japanese, Jews………etc looking for a free meal ticket? Take offense to the insulting of the diaspora, lumping cocobey pun top ah yaws. It is quite easy for the priviledged and beneficiaries of slave exploitation to just flippingly quip to say just move on, is it not?

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          • RealPol says:

            Correction…… whole instead of who…e.

          • True colours says:

            Sad to see that Reality is right Realpol – “free meal ticket” means compensation….just not expressed as blatantly as you have done! Time to stop begging for money and make your own future/destiny – you are free you know? so stop harbouring offence/bitterness etc and move on….channel your energy positively rather than continuing to fester with wrongs that occurred long before we were born, lessons to be learnt for sure but its embarrassing that people like you just try and justify asking for money/compensation all the time….

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        • Quiet Storm says:

          Rubber Duck, cry me a river of tears. You don’t appear to believe that slavery was a dehumanizing act and that reparations paid to make amends to salve descendants. Many erroneously believe that slave descendants are out for a free meal. In fact all descendants want is to be treated in the same manner as Jews, Japanese, Indians……etc. Are you supportive of reparation?

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      • Quiet Warrior says:

        @Rubber Duck, many Whites may not have been slave owners but many were and got wealthy from abusing and dehumanizing Slaves and exploiting their labour. Many descendants of slave owners, ie, David Cameron…….etc benefitted and are still benefiting from exploited slave labour. Let’s not forget the genocide and rape. What hypocrisy! Slaves were considered property ( not even human) yet at nights the Slave owners wined themselves into the Slave quarters and rape the African queens.

        At Emancipation (many White abolitionists advocated for Emancipation), Slaves were tun loose with just the mere rags on their backs, shoeless, pennyless (farthingless)…..etc. However, as the University of London study by Dr. Draper indicated, some 3000 Slave owning families in Britain and in the colonies were compensated by the British Treasury for lost of their property/chattel.

        Further, as the study also indicated, the British Treasury earmarked £20,000,000 to compensate the Slave owners. But to date, neither Slaves nor their descendants have received even a farthing. Most decent and reasonable people will think this behaviour is unfair and exploitive. It projects the mistaken belief and arrogant attitude that Whites are superior to Blacks and Black lives and feelings matter little.

        Wonder how some of us go through life and sleep peacefully at night? Surely, the millions of abused and dehumanized Slaves are restless. The right thing needs to be done so that they can rest peacefully.

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  4. Marilyn says:

    Two Great Minds speaking TRUTH. If your Ancestors are from this SOIL you too will recognize and understand what these two great men have the strength of speak about your History their history. Please accept the TRUTH for a change. Yes it should be thought in the SCHOOLS for a BETTER UNDERSTANDING to put PRIDE in Their BONES as BVI Stands FIRM for their FUTURE. BVI STRONG 4/EVER
    YES – I to know that a HISTORICAL BVI MUESUME IS A MUST TO TELL IT’S STORY TO THE WORLD !!!

  5. Quiet Warrior says:

    Boi it look like ah yu tear the scab off and blew the lid off of the slave trade triangle and slavery. Clearly, time has not blurred the memory nor dimmed vision nor erased the consciousness of this real human tragedy. Avoiding talking about the trajedy does not erase the occurrence of tragedy. It was real.

    The slavery issue is unresolved. Other mistreated and abused groups, ie, Jews, Japanese, Indians…..etc have been apologized to and made whole somewhat for their( recipients/descendants) pain, suffering and abuse.

    Meanwhile Slaves are restless in their final resting places,ie, Atlantic Ocean, unmarked graves…..etc waiting for an apology for their dehumanizing treatment and for their descendants to be made whole. Making whole is not issuing a check to each descendant. Free slave labour made many slaves owners wealthy and slave descendants should share equitably in the wealth that their ancestors labour produced. For starters, how about the Governor coming to the HOA and issuing ( if one was not done already) an apology on behalf of the crown.

    Further, the British government supposedly authorized and appropriated £20M to compensate slave owners for the loss of their PROPERTY so it sure can do the same to make slave descendants whole. This rant may make many queasy and uncomfortable but the truth and facts hurt. Trying to sweep this human trajedy under the rug does not wipe out its existence. The history taught in school was white washed and didn’t poor justice to this issue, ie, the War of Roses, the 100 Year War, Henry VIII escapes…..etc.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    Keep on fighting warriors. The war has just begun, but we will be victorious, no matter how long the struggle last. Victory is ours. It is already been written.

    Upwards always this mighty Black race!

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    • RealPol says:

      Roger, 10-4! These warriors are not rebels without a cause. This is a real cause. Keep on agitating and advocating for what is right, warriors. Follow in the footsteps of Noel Lloyd and PAM, Dolph Faulkner and the Great 1949 marchers….etc. Clearly, there is much pent up frustrations about slavery and the failure to make Slave descendants whole. Clearly, it was right to make Indians, Japanese, Jews….etc whole but when it comes to the descendants of Slaves who gives a rat’s a…s. The negative effects of slavery are still with us, ie, self hating, crab-in-a- bucket syndrome, dependency ( political patronage is rampant), too much dependence on government, preferring others over our own……etc.

  7. Quiet Storm says:

    Advancing the call for Carribean Reparation:

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  8. THE TRUTH says:

    Reading some of this s-*t makes me angry. It seems like some bloggers just want to flaunt their intellect and are totally clueless about the real situation.Today we are still under the yoke of bondage. Whereas plantation slavery might have been abolished, as a people we are still very much the victims of mental slavery which is just as bad or worse. For as long as we continue to recognize the image of a white man as our deity our minds will remain in bondage. I am not advocating hate or violence just stating a fact that I am pretty sure our colonial masters are themselves aware of.
    The only true liberation will come when we can see ourselves through the eyes of African Consciousness and the greatness and glory of our people. This is the only real path to true freedom. As long as we can be kept in this Jesus Christ Lord and Savior brainwash, we can spout all the intellectual crap that we have been programmed to. All it is, same s**t different day.

  9. Disinterested says:

    Undoubtedly, it look as if the issue of slavery and reparation had some pent up frustration. However, it look as if the dam has broken on the issue.

    One one side, the descendants of Slaves rightly believe that they should be made whole for their ancestors force investment in slavery. And also that they should be made whole as the Jews, Indians and Japanese were.

    On the other hand, the descendants of slave owners are saying that they were not around and involved in Slavery and should not be burdened with making the descendants of Slaves whole. True, they may not have been around or involved in Slavery but many benefited and are still benefitting from slavery. Many descendants of slave owners have condemned slavery but too many remain silent on the issue and they are guilty along with the slave owners.

    Government permitted slave owners to enslave slaves working, abusing and dehumanizing them to their untimely graves without just compensation for their forced labour. This is about equality and equity, for the government (British) compensated the slave owners who passed the wealth on to their descendants so it should do the same for the descendants of slaves. Two group of people with one being treated unequally is wrong. Reparation is doing the right thing. Notice that the prolific and frequent bloggers are not touching this issue with a 10 metre poll. The church mouse silence is deafening and speaks volume. The slavery conditioning was effective. Wow!

  10. RealPol says:

    @True Colors, your response is truly Trumpion, twisting what was said to create alternative facts. Where in my comments did I ask for money slave descendants? What I asserted was for the descendants to be made whole. Being made does not specifically mean that one receive cash. But why even bother to explain any further.

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