By Horace Mills, BVI News Online Staff
Minister of Education Myron Walwyn yesterday pitched the issue of self-determination among 190 college graduates, telling them not to buy into the cynicism that local people can’t competently manage the affairs of the British Virgin Islands (BVI).
He said people here in the territory, in fact, are the ones best capable of handling the affairs of the BVI.
The minister challenged graduates of the H Lavity Stoutt Community College to take an interest in discussions surrounding the territory’s impending request to the United Kingdom for greater self-determination, which effectively is more power through a review of the Virgin Islands Constitution.
“It seems as though when the topic of self-determination comes up, we find ourselves in a state of paralysis and we allow fear and cynicism to obscure our very good reasoning. We start to say ‘we cannot; we can’t do this; we can’t do that; we don’t have this; we don’t have that’. I say that we must dispense with those thoughts because we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.”
“And I will tell you further that nobody anywhere could take better care of these Virgin Islands than the people who belong to these Virgin Islands,” Walwyn told the gathering yesterday while voters in the Mother Country were busy electing a new government.
He noted that, although decisions made by the new British government will affect the BVI, the people of this territory had no say in the election.
“[Yesterday was] election day in the United Kingdom, and the people of the United Kingdom [voted] for a new government that will make policies and probably laws that will affect our lives here in the Virgin Islands. And we have absolutely no say in it.”
“I ask [you the graduates] the question again this afternoon: what is the purpose of your education? Whatever your response is to my question, I would like to once again congratulate you on reaching this milestone in your life, and I implore you to use this education for the upliftment of our country and for the people who call these islands home,” Walwyn said.
He told the graduating class that successive administrations have been investing heavily in educating BVI belongers, adding that there is no reason to believe enough competent people are not available to run the affairs of the territory.
“Are we trying to say that, after four decades of providing access to tertiary education of our people that we are not sufficiently competent to handle our own affairs? Is this what we are saying? Given the average age of this graduating class, this is a matter that your generation will have to face and you should be prepared for it,” Walwyn continued.
“We must put this education to work for us and to guide us through whatever difficult period that we may be facing as a country and as a people.”
The education minister further stated that the issue of greater self-determination is not the only one that members of the graduating class will have to confront.
“There are many issues graduants that we must address in these Virgin Islands – from issues with financial services and our tourism industry to the need for new industries to be developed, to the issue of greater constitutional autonomy. These are issues that we must talk about,” he trumpeted.
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