Referendum on independence would fail – Malone
Carvin Malone, who served as president of the Virgin Islands Party (VIP) for 17 years, said citizens would vote against the territory seeking independence from the United Kingdom if a referendum is held.
According to him, citizens of the British Virgin Islands don’t think local politicians can properly manage the territory’s affairs on their own.
“You would not get a majority of people saying that we should go independent,” Malone asserted.
“The reason why you are not going to get a majority of people saying this is that they don’t feel leadership – I am not just saying the current [leadership]; I am saying that residents don’t feel that you have the proper level of transparency; they don’t feel we have the proper level of accountability – and governance is wanting.”
Malone, in the meantime, reasoned that citizens should shoulder some of the blame for poor governance.
“I am not gonna blame one person [for poor governance] because, at the end of the day, they stepped to the plate. If they are not being held accountable by the voters – by the people of the country, then the people have to understand that they too have a particular responsibility to hold leadership accountable,” Malone continued.
“The time has come for us Virgin Islanders – those who qualify to hold office, those who are able to, those who are prepared to, to come forward. I spoke about the proverbial banana tree – people hiding behind it because they wanna protect something. They wanna protect their jobs, they wanna protect the scholarship they might get, they wanna protect the contract they might get and so forth.”
Malone also noted that there have been a number of constitutional advancements over the years, effectively putting more power in the hands of local politicians. He doesn’t think the United Kingdom would be reluctant to surrender more power conditionally.
“We have had a number of advancements done in other years – easier advancements [than independence] and so forth. And the invitation is out there; the British have always said, if you want to take the next step, well take it to the people and let’s go…”
“The pathway to constitutional advancement should not be hindered – should not be blocked by the actions of leaders, because it is the people’s decision. The residents, voters, people of the Virgin Islands must decide what is the next step,” Malone further said last evening during the ‘Honestly Speaking’ television programme hosted by Claude Skelton Cline.
The National Democratic Party government, which is headed by Premier Dr D Orlando Smith, recently promised to gauge the people’s perspectives as the territory gears up to approach the United Kingdom for more power.
Members of the government – including Premier Smith and social development minister Ronnie Skelton – have claimed that the territory progresses each time the United Kingdom surrenders some of its power to local politicians.
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