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Having reps in British parliament could help the BVI

A sitting of the UK parliament. (Photo by House of Commons)

The UK politicians proposing legislation that would give Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies representation in the British Parliament should not be dismissed.

That’s the position put forward by former legislator, Dr Kedrick Pickering who said those who proposed the legislation are only trying to advance the cause of the BVI and other British Overseas Territories. 

He made the statement after being asked to comment on the Representation of the People, Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories Bill that some UK politicians proposed to the British government earlier this year.

The draft legislation has not been considered by the British government and this means no official decision has been reached on the matter. 

But what the bill proposes is that a total of nine Members of Parliament (MPs) from the Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies should sit in the House of Commons to not only look after their own local needs but to represent their constituents in every respect — the same as other UK MPs do for their constituents.

Don’t dismiss the idea

Speaking on the Honestly Speaking radio show on November 24, Dr Pickering said Virgin Islanders shouldn’t dismiss the idea but should discuss it and see how it could be used to advance the mission of self-determination that the BVI has embarked on.

“It’s a novel idea. It could only help us to discuss it and there may be issues we haven’t thought about. The more we discuss them, we will unravel, it will help to educate us and make us recognize that in the interdependent world in which we live, we might be able to build bridges rather than create separations where they are not necessary,” Dr Pickering explained.

He added that the proponents of the bill are to be considered as “our friends”. Dr Pickering said it would be worthwhile for the BVI and other OTs to form partnerships and have dialogue with these UK politicians in an effort to point out areas of the proposed bill that they agree and disagree with.

“It is their way of saying ‘this is one way we think we can help’. We need to now look at it to see how it can benefit us and then move forward in that direction. It may need some tweaking to be to our advantage rather than dismissing it outright,” Dr Pickering stated.

Autonomy shouldn’t be taken away from OTs

The bill put before the British parliament is being championed by former member of the States of Guernsey, Anthony Webber, and UK MPs John Penrose and Andrew Rosindell.

Webber, one of the proponents of this legislation told the Express news outlet earlier this year: “This is not something which is supposed to be decided by local areas or dependent territories, it is something decided by the UK national parliament. It is the UK Parliament’s responsibility, no one else’s, to bring this about.”

At the same time, those who are championing the law also say autonomy shouldn’t be taken away from OTs and Crown dependencies as it is only fair for these territories to continue governing their own affairs.

Securing a ‘seat at the table’ for BVI in UK parliament

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8 Comments

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  1. battyeboye says:

    interesting.

    But only rarely would the reps have any say given the way politics works.

    also, as a general principle, if you vote on legislation which affects the UK, then the UK is going to expect to vote on legislation which affects you.

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  2. Can’t says:

    Can’t wait to hear of the of “highly educated” Belonger addressing parliament. The laughter should be worth every bit of allowing representation. We have all heard the Foy speak and he be an edumacated math graduate.

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  3. E. Leonard says:

    Most British Overseas Territory Citizens (BOTC) to my knowledge also simultaneously hold UK citizenship that gives them the right to live and work in UK, since 2002. As such, IMO, they should have a voice and representation in parliament and the right to vote for UK Prime Minister.

    However, these rights will require some structural changes. OT residents will/ may be required to pay taxes; of course, with taxes will come services. Freedom of movement, right to abode and right to work among OTs may need some structural adjustments. Rules may need to change that allow UK residents to stand for election in OTs. Some reciprocity may be needed.

    Nonetheless, will Britons see OT residents in far away lands that looks different, speaks differently, have different culture, heritage and customs…..etc as equals? The elephant in the room is racism. As much as it is downplayed, race is a factor and matters in a society that is deeply separate and unequal.

    Some sectors of the society feel entitled to special privileges and deserving of unearned advantages. Equal representation in the House of Commons for OTs will be a heavy lift. Will OT residents get appointed to the House of Lords? Doubt it. Perhaps, the UK can follow what France did with its Overseas Departments. Residents in France’s Overseas Departments are French citizens and can vote for French President, National Assembly, Senate…. etc. Virgin Islanders need to urgently decide their political status. Time is critical, unrecoverable and is money. There is a fierce urgency of now.

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    • @E. Leonard says:

      The UK is a modern multi-cultural democracy. Currently 2 of the three highest political offices are held by persons of colour. It is likely that Boris Johnson’s successor as prime-minister will be Rishi Sunak, the current Chancellor of the Exchequer.

      Yes, there is systemic racism, but it is something which is a “work in progress” but the country as a whole is aware and making progress towards a fairer society. UK is not in the same ball-park as the US in this regard, and we should try to avoid tarring them with the same brush. Cops simply do not go around murdering black people on a daily basis with impunity in the UK as they do in the US. Yes we have significant and troubling problems with racism but not on the same scale.

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      • E. Leonard says:

        Though many of us are uncomfortable talking about race, it is a construct that is significant and influences and impacts every aspect of our lives. The reality is that racism is embedded in the fabric of society. We cannot have a discussion on race without talking about slavery. Slavery give birth to racism, resulting in superiority, supremacy, hierarchy, privilege……etc. Talking about race creates a discomfort, a pretension that all is well and better than thy are, a fragility. It is healthy to exhale and talk about race. Moreover, though both the US and UK may have made progress on race relations, there is still much work to do in improving equality.

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  4. Heckler says:

    We need some representative in our own HOA. The current bunch out for themselves

    Like 6
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  5. Heckler says:

    Yes we on a plantation and they are the overseers

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