BVI News

UN told: BVI open to ‘free association’ relationship with UK, not independence

While making it clear that the BVI is not pushing to gain independence, government has announced that the territory is open to considering ‘alternative’ relationships with the UK such as ‘free association’.

In this instance, free association for the territory would effectively mean having a political alliance with the UK that does not come with ‘restrictions’ in how the BVI governs itself.

Special envoy for the VIP government Benito Wheatley mentioned considerations for free association while addressing the United Nation’s Special Committee on Decolonization (C-24) in New York last Thursday, June 27.

Wheatley said: “My purpose for being here today is not to embarrass the United Kingdom … The government still has a responsibility to ensure that the people of the British Virgin Islands are aware of the options available as they think about the territory’s future. There are other options beside independence that must be thought through, such as free association.”

Constitutional review likely next year

He said understanding the options will be particularly important ahead of the territory’s next constitutional review. He said the next review is likely to take place in the year ahead.

“We would welcome the UN sitting as an official observer to the public deliberations involved,” Wheatley said.

He further solicited help from the UN’s C-24 to facilitate an educational campaign on self-determination to educate the local population on what the range of options is for the territory’s future.

“It is in the interest of both the UK and BVI and that the UK and Overseas Territories renew their modern partnership that was predicated on mutual respect and responsibility. The opportunity should not be missed,” he said.

What is C-24

The C-24 is a committee that was established in 1961 to deal with the issues of decolonization. On an annual basis, the committee reviews the territories like the BVI that are not yet independent and make recommendations, organize seminars among others.

Though noting that the relationship between the BVI and the UK has been good, Wheatley said this good rapport does not preclude the BVI from updating the C-24 on the status of that relationship.

“Engagement with the Special Committee is our right, and the United Nations can play a positive role in providing an additional layer of accountability,” he reasoned.

“We have an obligation to update the C-24 on conditions on the ground on the islands and to highlight any areas where assistance is required to support the advancement of the society. We are also obliged to share any important developments in our relationship with the UK, even if this causes a bit of discomfort in some quarters,” Wheatley further said.

ALSO READ: Community meeting report: Residents don’t want independence

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  1. Vi lander says:

    Who is he representing, I never seen nor heard this guy with any sort of consultation nor dialogue with the people of this territory. We live in a democracy not autocracy. The will of the people must be heard on our way forward not some monopolistic views.

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    • Must be says:

      You must be someone from the island. So obviously you wouldn’t know of him. ??

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      • To Must be says:

        VI Lander never said he DIDN’T KNOW of him. Read his post again and take a moment or two to digest and comprehend what was written. eedeeot.

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    • Wow says:

      If you don’t know the man, then you are not a VI Lander.

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      • One Love says:

        All talk of independence as if the B.V.I. can survive were it to do so is such an ignorance. And then to try and come off as of the B.V.I. can dictate terms to Britain. England does not need the B.V.I. and what if they were to decide ok you want to dictate to us well we are giving you independence we don’t need the bother then what.

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      • PROBLEMS says:

        Stupid comment

    • Concerned Citizens Brigade says:

      Do you know what the word “envoy” means? He’s not ruling anything. He has no power. He was appointed by the government that YOU voted for to represent the territory abroad, that’s all.

    • Rubber Duck says:

      If the people of the UK understood the way the government here abuses the relationship they would kick your sorry a**es into touch

      Trust me one day it’s going to happen unless we change our ways.

  2. To Must be says:

    VI Lander never said he DIDN’T KNOW of him. Read his post again and take a moment or two to digest and comprehend what was written. eedeeot.

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  3. E. Leonard says:

    The VI needs to launch a public outreach and education programme on self-determination and hold a national referendum soonest to settle its political status for at least the medium term, attaining some stability as it forges ahead with its continued national growth the development. The principle of self-determination is embodied in Article 1 of the UN charter. Self-determination can include independence (IMO the VI should strengthen and deepen its economic independence before jumping into the deep ocean of political independence), free association…….etc.

    The details of free association are contained in United Nations General Assembly resolution 1541 (XV) Principle VI. There are currently several smaller countries that are associated with larger countries, eg, Cook Islands with New Zealand, Marshall Islands with US, Federated States of Micronesia with US, Palau with US, Kiribati with Australia and New Zealand, Monaco with France, Vatican City Switzerland and Italy……..etc. And prior to attaining independence from the UK, St. Vincent, St. Lucia, Antigua, Grenada, Dominica and St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla (Anguilla separated before independence) had Associated Statehood status with the UK.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Who is going to read any of what you wrote. The ones being let out of school with a 50% pass rate? You want self determination? You have to be able to spell the word first.

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      • Diaspora says:

        Ouch! A low blow below the belt, a body slam….etc, is it? Is this tough love or something else? Nonetheless, education must be the foundation for and of the way forward. Dr. Charles Wheatley hot off the press book: Voices and Vision of Education Heroes , Leaders, and Elders : captures 275 years of education in the BVI. And as noted there is still a long way to go. It is a good read.

    • RealPol says:

      Ok. So what will be the referendum choices, ie, remaining an OT with additional autonomy similar to Bermuda, crown dependency, independence, associated statehood……etc?

  4. CW says:

    Free Association? The BVI would screw up even brewing coffee if it wasn’t overseen by the UK. LOOK AT STRUPE STORM RECOVERY.

    The only reason you lot put down a prison break was the Royal Marines. You can’t govern, make any kind of progress, or have any sort of economy because BVI act like children. Always arguing for SELFISH REASONS AND IGNORE COMMON GOOD.

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    • To cw says:

      The royal marines were a joke. Met one after the storm and he was clue less what emergency food was, the kind you just add water to. They had helicopters and did not have the emergency know how, how to air drop supplies and food to neighbourhoods. The other helicopters were sight seeing.
      All you ever do is come on here and complain about locals and may be your shrink has not told you this but 100 percent of your problems would be solved if you just decide you had enough and move.

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      • PROBLEMS says:

        CW might not be from the B.V.I. but I am and unless you are over 60 I have been here way longer than you. So to criticize someone for disagreeing with you is pure stupidity.

        State your point and move on. Accept different opinions.

        I for one don’t believe in independence or free association.

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      • SAM says:

        @To CW. sounds like you was one of the looters that got stopped from stealing ! sour grapes I thinks

    • PROBLEMS says:

      Totally agree. And because of purely delfidh readpn they push independence. I hope those with sense and there enough of us to vote down independent or free association

  5. true says:

    Can someone answer this question.

    What does the BVI give the UK?

    Once you find the answer ask what the UK GIVES THE BVI?

    Then figure it out wether its worth the trade off or not, just remember its hurricane season and if all the OTs go independent then there will be no more Royal Navy to help.

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    • Quiet Warrior says:

      Great Britain didn’t battle the Dutch, French, Spanish……etc. to take full control of and colonized the VI since 1672 for no reason. They didn’t do it to protect the VI and its people. It was to expand its growing West Indian (Caribbean) empire ( Britannia rules waves and the sun never set on the Commonwealth). It raped the VI and other regional countries of their resources, ie, sugar, cotton……etc.

      With the depletion iof resources, dropping sugar, hurricanes, revolts, Emancipation…. etc, it decided to cut and run, declaring that the VI was all of a sudden an impoverished place and was only good as a bird sanctuary..

      Per General, former US Secretary of State and Chaiman of the Joint Chiefs Collin Powell, if you broke it, you own it. Well, it doesn’t own the BVI, for it has the right to self determination but until the VI pursue another path she is your (UK) responsibility.

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    • PROBLEMS says:

      Well stated point. Britain gains nothing by having the B.V.I. the B.V.I. as you sted contributes nothing to England. These people act like they can dictate to England. All England has to say is go your own way. We dont need you. What then

  6. Gandalf says:

    Be careful what you wish for as regards the United Nations! The grass may seem greener, but look seriously before you leap into the arms of the U.N.

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  7. 10 Generation VIslander says:

    Proud of our Foreign Affairs Minister. Keep working for US. Minister Wheatley. Yes Minister of Foreign Affairs.

  8. UK says:

    Every year the royal navy run behind the hurricanes to give assistance and 2017 was no different. The marines and the UK police got your unruly behinds back in order. The UK spent and gave you millions.

    The power system was restored by the UK money (little known fact) and the replacement equipment had to come in daily from off island because anything stored on island was stolen. The biggest problem in restoring power was the poor condition of the infastructure because money that had been allocated for upgrades and repairs over the years had been stolen and the work was never done. The on island store of essential equipment was EMPTY !

    Same with the water supply.

    For months after irma British army engineers have been on island trying to sort out the mess with the ports because of the lack of respect for the resources by the locals. The commercial ports could not brig in supplies quickly because of the state they are in. The commercial Ports are a dumping ground that is choking the supply chain. and the port is just a meal ticket for bribery and corruption.

    These comments re just a snap shot of the mess BVI is in due to BVI people. So tell you what BVI you want to go it alone !!!!

    Bye Bye BVI and good luck and good riddance !!!

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    • Replier says:

      UK did what it did for the BVI and other OT’s that were affected by the hurricanes because they were obligated to do it!

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    • not to mention.. says:

      the huge amounts of FREE assistance that was turned away by the government, to the hardship of the BVI people…

  9. E Scott says:

    The UK has only one reason to be interested in BVI.

    Question : Where is the capitol of England ?

    Answer : In the off sure accounts of the top 1%

    Simples !!!!!!

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  10. TBS says:

    Well done, Mr. Wheatley! Let the discussions begin.

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