BVI News

‘I never thought I would march again’ — local activist

Local activist Patsy Lake is a strong supporter of the Decision March, which is a protest of the UK’s controversial ‘public register’ order.

Back in 1968, a young Patsy Lake participated in the momentous Positive Action Movement march, which favourably shaped the history of the British Virgin Islands.

The Noel Lloyd-led march was in protest of a Batehill Company’s unjust development of land in the territory.

“I never thought that I would have to march again,” said Lake, fifty years later. She was speaking to members of the press on Thursday (May 17) at the Sunday Morning Well in Road Town.

Lake will be among key speakers at the upcoming event which is being dubbed the ‘Decision March’. The march is in protest of the UK parliament’s recent order to impose public registers of beneficial ownership on the BVI.

The public register is an amendment to the UK’s Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill, which mandates that Overseas Territories like the BVI reveal the names of ‘secret’ owners of offshore companies registered in the territory.

The march will begin at the Sunday Morning Well, into Fleming Street and Waterfront Drive, then culminate at Government House, where the Governor resides.

The march slated for May 24 and will start at 3:45 pm to facilitate public servants.

Pay no mind to critics

According to Lake, protesters were met with resistance half-a-century ago, and the same is happening now.

“I took part in Wickham’s Cay march against the Wickham’s Cay’s decision and at the time when we were marching, there were those who felt that we were just troublemakers. We are running the investor, and we should not march. And you will always find critics who will always want to discourage you. But this is for the people and the people’s future,” she pleaded.

She said she would not participate in the march if it was politically driven.

“I say to people: I will not take part if it is and National Democratic Party [or] Virgin Islands Party march … Some saying it is a John Cline march. But, I am telling you it is a people’s march. This is a country march. So come out and march.”

March not affected by Governor’s absence

In the meantime, organising committee member Bishop John Cline said the march will happen, despite Governor Augustus Jaspert’s absence from the territory that day.

He said the Governor’s trip abroad was planned prior to the march.

“So, it has nothing to do with being absent for the march. We are marching to the Governor’s House. We are not marching to a person but to an office … The Governor holds a certain office in this country, and that office will be filled by the Deputy Governor who represents the UK,” Bishop Cline said.

He said the planned petition will be served to the Deputy Governor David Archer, Jr who will then give the petition to Governor Jaspert to hand to the UK.

“So, it is not a disappointment for us [but] we would have loved for him to be there.”

Public servants can march too

Zoe Walcot MacMillan, another member of the organising committee, said public servants will be allowed to march.

“Following the meeting with the Deputy Governor, he is supposed to make a statement to civil servants that there will be no penalization of them being able to take part in the march but they have asked that you do that on your own time.”

For persons interested in coming from the sister islands, chartered ferries will be made available.

The local business community, the organising committee, and private ferry owners will collaboratively foot the cost of the ferry service.

Based on reports, response to the event has been “overwhelming”.

Premier Dr D Orlando Smith, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Fahie, Deputy Premier Dr Kedrick Pickering as well as Bishop Cline are some of the confirmed speakers of the march.

Patsy Lake with organiser Bishop John Cline today, May 17.

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  1. Interested says:

    Let’s hope the sewage is not running in the streets when the march is on. It will be a health hazard to have all those people tramping through it and then going back to their homes and offices.

    • Albion says:

      “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty” — Thomas Jefferson.

      The fight for the right to self-determination never ends.

  2. Sam the man says:

    Sad to agree to pressure to March for such a cause, its really not worthy of your participation…don’t be so easily led/pressured – the legislation is simply to deter and prevent money laundering, tax evasion and dirty money and it will happen and spread even to those counties in America that continue to be less than transparent also and remaining hiding places in the UK…..Financial services in the BVI simply needs to evolve more honestly and to be seen to be doing so….not something to March against unless you want to continue the secrecy and corruption…surprising even that some pastors support this – shame on them…people nowhere should get rich on the handling of dirty money and that includes the BVI….

    • To sam the simple man says:

      Pls refrain from commenting if you dont completely understand the bvi financial services business. We are transparent. This has nothing to do with “dirty money”. Its just a tactic to detour business from the BOT’s. The mother land is basically jealous of its adopted children…

      • BVI wake up says:

        So if the financial services industry is already transparent, what’s the issue then?

        • Sam the man says:

          Slam dunk BVI wake up ….exactly what’s the issue then! Nothing to do with greed or turning a blind eye or whining about why should we comply when others haven’t had to yet!

          • smith says:

            To Sam the man and bvi wake up !!both of you need to wake up..if your house roof have a leak then you would take off the whole roof all need to think, it’s not about dirty money

        • Janice says:

          Global elites want to their piece of the pie.

    • Faith says:

      You mean that the owners of the plane will be released in 2020?
      You mean the 81 million at the Pier Park will have owners?
      I can’t wait for 2020.

    • Albion says:

      I am guessing that you don’t work in the industry. Accordingly, I expect you are not familiar with BVI AML/KYC rules (which are considerably stronger than the UK rules). I assume you are also not familiar with the BVI’s automatic exchange of information (AEIO) in tax matters. Nor are you probably aware of the existing systems from providing beneficial ownership information on request to UK law enforcement authorities within one hour of request under the BOSS system.

      I would further guess that you are not closely familiar with the debate around this subject. You may not know, for example, that the UK law enforcement authorities have themselves expressed a preference for private registers (like we already have) rather than public registers (which have been demonstrated to be so ineffective in the UK). Similarly HMRC in the UK have expressed no support for public registers.

      There is a good reason why the UK Government tried hard to avert this situation (and may yet still succeed in doing so in the House of Lords). This amendment was brought by an opposition backbencher for purely political reasons to score points with an ignorant electorate.

      British people love the image of tax havens as shady places where money is laundered. It is easy for politicians to pander to that. But it is miles from the true position which I have tried to briefly outline above.

      I expect UK people to be ignorant of these issues. But it is very sad when I read about BVI people who are similarly ignorant. This is your country’s main industry. Take the time to learn a little bit about it before you comment.

      But what is not controversial, and what is not in dispute, is that after giving us the right to legislative self-determination, this law purports to peel that back unilaterally and against our wishes. Whether you believe in public registers of beneficial ownership or not, everyone should be opposed to the universal reappropriation of constitutional powers which had been lawfully devolved to us.

    • Janice says:

      You’re wrong. This is the US and UK and other global elites trying to hurt the BVI.

    • Billfargo says:

      What is clean money? Sam is not a simple man! Sam is a stupid man!

  3. Bam says:

    Sam this lady has a whole lot of sense much more than you, Your myopic programmed rhetoric is almost laughable but comes closer to being pathetic.

    • Bam says:

      It’s just sad to see people being manipulated by folk for their own agenda I respect this lady of course but thanks to people like you she won’t be told the real reason for the legislation….and hood——-d by the colonial/racist card – all quite tiresome really as its nothing to do with that….if Bishop Cline demands you March I’d have thought anybody with —– would not be associated with it…..

  4. Special Agent A. says:

    You see Sam??? Not only do I agree with you but also we are currently investigating the share a these politicians and their families have in not only the pier park but also these private accounts that this same financial service is protecting. The Madam Prime Minister was talking directly to them and their dirty money they have stolen from the people tax paying dollars. All this information will become public and they want the young innocent youths who don’t know to walk with them to protect their corrupt interest.

    What is in the dark will come to light. You all have been protected for too long. The public will see who the corrupt ones are. You have till 2020 to transfer that account elsewhere but we will still find out.

  5. IslandGirl says:

    I guess all the so-called business leaders, government officals and the “b———-” are worried that their dirty dealings will come to light. The BVI and transparency definitely aren’t synonymous. I guess the financial services didn’t have a strategy, which is shortsighted considering this has been coming for quite some time. But again, the BVI and vision/planning isn’t exactly synonymous either.

  6. Reality says:

    March for what? that rich people/companies continue to have a means to launder money, avoid paying taxes, siphon dirty money secretly all so the Government continues to earn big bucks from taxes allowing them to do so? – not exactly a worthy cause is it unless you are the B—-?…says a lot about h– and the easily led that will do as — beckons….If I was you I’d avoid it as it will be such bad publicity for the BVI and will send a v bad message worldwide…remember what was said recently in the Uk press “there is no good reason to get rich off the back of dirty money” – do not fear or fight against transparency – “if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear” – anon

  7. BVI proud says:

    As to the march being politically motivated of course it is….we all know that. I won’t be on it because I do not want to be associated with the NDP or B—– —- – I confess I Don’t know all about the financial industry but I do know that the BVI has a bad reputation after the Panama report – the passed legislation will be imposed whether we like it or not as it is intended to reduce money laundering and tax avoidance to v needy countries including Africa. I would rather stand for replacing this totally inept government than this …but follow your concience- if the BVI’s financial bodies had nothing to hide why the sudden backlash?

  8. Don't do it says:

    You marched before for something honourable – but tbis is not worthy of your participation. Those that choose to March are duped by the N– and dodgy —— into supporting their refusal to comply with financial openness- it’s simply a March to proclaim a message of ” leave us alone we can do what we want in terms of levels of transparency because we Don’t’t mind getting wealthy from dirty money” which isn’t a cause I’d want to be associated with ….however when money is concerned that’s when people compromise their morals and that’s a big problem for all N– members bar none….Hi

  9. These ignorant islanders!! says:

    Making Beneficial ownership public will not… i repeat… WILL NOT release who benefitted from underhanded payouts for the peir park, bvi airway etc. So pls refrain from commenting if you dont understand financial services. The financial services sector is the bread and cheese of this territory. We are not hidig dirty money. We are giving ppl privacy that they rightly deserve. Would you want the world to know how muh money you make? I think not!

    • Reality says:

      you are the ignorant one thinking that we are duped by repeated protestations that there is nothing to hide and the BVI financial sector is whiter than white – it isn’t – fact ; read the Panama report and how many mentions of BVI companies there are – this legislation is londg overdue and was planned years ago so the government has been expecting it and done F…k all about it….so go and march for all the waste of time that will be…

  10. RAS Uhuru says:

    March for the Sewerage and effluent daily polluting our undeniably 1st class road-network. Hope ayo marching down Main St. cause if another Bellagio fountain erupts during the march ayo get what the duck got…..oops! March for the toxins down on the Western side of the island.

    March against the blatant nepotism & croynisim on all levels in the BVI. March for the dilapidated conditions of the schools where the next generation are being robbed of quality education 8 months on with a half-day matriculation that benefits no one – students nor educators. March for the lack of adequate facilities for Cutoms and Immigration workers. March for the wanton financial waste over the past 20 years! March against the total disregard for the CITIZENS of this country.

    For all the espoused benefits of FS (in its current form) to rehear shores the tangible is not evidenced anywhere apart from the largesse by the 1% whom directly benefit. The touted Arbitration Centre – how’s that working out financially for us? March for the exorbitant fees for internet and the horrible service!

    So many damn things to protest but none of these issues have any real value to the organizers of this so-called march.

  11. well, well well says:

    I don’t know how it could be more of a Politically Motivated march! REEKS of Politics. There you go with that word “transparency” again! Why are you NOT marching against the fire and poisoning people? Why are you NOT marching against the woeful Sewer situation that has been happening for donkey’s years in the freakin Capital no less. Why was there no protest against the $8 million taken from the East End Sewer project and put in the now empty Pier Park. Why are you NOT marching for water? Why are you not marching for HUMAN rights and necessities?

  12. Sam the man says:

    Whoever goes on this stupid political march on Sunday clearly doesn’t get how corrupt and dis functional the BVI has become a crooked ——– snaps — fingers and — blind followers obey – so pathetic and sad…

  13. Longshanks says:

    Perhaps March for a government which abides by rule of law and doesn’t interfere with decisions of relevant authorities by way of personal favour… like approving C———- House.

  14. No trust says:

    Can’t trust ——- ——-.

  15. Leadership? says:

    You know what….like I said this UK fiasco is a symptom and not the source. God has continually called this nation to national repentance since last year. Where are we church when a ——– is leading a secular March…and God’s call is still not answered. Let that chosen man or woman of God arise.

  16. Rubber Duck says:

    Lets march against hurricanes.

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