Using Haiti as an example of why the BVI should not seek independence from the UK at this junction, government minister Vincent Wheatley said residents should be clear about what the territory is seeking to obtain through a constitutional review.
Speaking in the House of Assembly where legislators are still debating whether to conduct the review, Wheatley said the BVI wants greater ‘self-governance’ and not ‘independence’.
“They are two different things because independence is a very dangerous thing,” Wheatley said.
“Take, for example, Haiti. Haiti was the first freed black colony in the western hemisphere, and when they got independence, it wasn’t free. They had to pay something like $21 billion to France for their freedom. It came at a high cost, and it is important for persons to listen and understand we are not talking here about independence but self-government, we must be careful in making that distinction. Independence is a different kettle of fish. What we are trying to achieve here is more autonomy,” he further argued.
Young people this involves you too
In the meantime, Junior Tourism Minister Sharie de Castro used her time on the House of Assembly’s floor to call on the younger generation to participate in the discussion.
She said: “The reality is their future depends heavily on the changes that we make today and necessitates the urgency of a thorough review of our present constitution.”
“Therefore young people, let us make this our duty to engage in this process and to ensure that our ideas, our ideals, and desires are represented in this document because for the next 10 years, it is going to determine our role in the next phase of our development as a people and as a territory,” she stated.
The debate continues today.
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