BVI News

We first need to calculate the cost of independence

Dr Kedrick Pickering

Although he agrees the BVI is mature enough to discuss independence from the UK, former NDP legislator Dr Kedrick Pickering said the territory needs to first determine exactly what it would take to pursue such a move.

He said the best approach to determine this cost would be to establish a committee to look into the matter. Dr Pickering said the establishment of this committee was one of the decisions made during the 2007 constitutional review process.

But he said both NDP and VIP governments have “dropped the ball” on this important issue.

“Coming out of the unfinished business of 2007 was the fact that a committee was supposed to have been established [and] that was to be charged with the responsibility of looking at the cost of going into independence,” said Dr Pickering who was a panellist at a roundtable talk on constitutional reform at the H Lavity Stoutt Community College on November 8.

He said after this cost is determined, the government can then facilitate a referendum to give the public the chance to state their views on independence.

“We should have been at the point where we are actually ready for a referendum on the issue and we’ve lost the momentum on that,” Dr Pickering stated.

He added that proper consultations with the public must be held before the BVI approaches the UK with hopes of being independent.

“In today’s world, I don’t think we will get to the point of formal negotiation with the United Kingdom government if public participation is minimal. They’re going to rightfully ask you ‘whose views are you representing?'” Dr Pickering said.

The matter of independence versus more political autonomy is a hotly debated issue in the political and public domains of the BVI.

Since taking office, Premier Andrew Fahie has been preaching that the BVI must take serious steps towards independence, which he says is in the territory’s future, “whether we like it or not”.

However, the public is divided on the issue as some believe independence is overdue while others express a lack of trust in the ability of local politicians to govern the BVI.

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  1. Send help says:

    When would these politicians not understand that the people are more fearful of them than of the British Government? Most of them cannot be trusted with a can of paint. They are vindictive when you don’t support them. They lie like the devil while calling God’s name. They do things to make sure their cronies are full of money. They take kickbacks. Should I say more? Are these politicians tone deaf or am I crazy?

    Like 79
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    • Eagle Eye says:

      Spot on! Politicians’ perspective is skewed. I don’t know why they continuously push this BVI vs UK narrative to further aid in the independence talk. We, the locals don not trust you. It is that simple.

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    • they tone deaf says:

      …you aint crazy

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    • Seriously says:

      The politicians and for that matter the people cannot turn on a light switch without help. Just take a look at the reopening plan by your elected top officials. The plan, poorly copied from other islands and still can’t be implemented. A task as simple as reopening for Tourism cannot be accomplished yet you believe that the Territory is mature enough to implement independence. I say go ahead as we all watch you fall on your face and go running to the Chinese to save you. Start ordering “mandarine” from Rosetta Stone. The new official language of the BVI and the yuan the new currency.

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    • Yes says:

      Talk de ting!

  2. Belonger says:

    Dr. Pickering, we don’t need any committee to tell us that we are not ready.
    All we need to do is look at the pros and the cons. How would going independent make us a stronger more stable country? As,far as I can see it would only satisfy our ego – nothing else and I don’t know how that would help to put food on our table.
    And lastly before I go how many BVILanders would be willing to give up their U.K passport?

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  3. SMH says:

    Cost, its too high

    Greater self determination, yes

    but indepedance no way

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  4. Picko says:

    If the People have a say . I am voting NO! This place will only get worst under an independent gov who will have to answer to no one. The corruption and stealing of gov funds will only get worst. I say hell NO!

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  5. Voices of the People says:

    Dr. Pickering set Skelton-Cline straight and it was riveting to watch.

    Skelton-Cline is exhausting and is set on independence for self-gain. You cannot utter a word that would put the Government in a bad light in Skelton-Cline’s eyes. When Dr. Pickering spoke about the Constitution protecting the people against Government, Skelton-Cline was quick to disagree but it was good to see the moderator reinstating Dr. Pickering statement. Skelton-Cline has tunnel vision…Government’s puppet.

    Another thing, I hope the Complaints Commission finally is put to use. Too much backlog that was neither acknowledged nor addressed with pressing issues.

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  6. Forward ever Backward never says:

    Committee to explore the Independence of BVI from the UK? Wtf Pickering talking about? With the UK oversight we were stripped almost naked by both NDP and VIP governments. Can you imagine if either one of them were a law unto themselves? Give us the people a vote on the question and I will bet my life that the answer will be an Emphatic No. So we don’t need a committee. Btw where did you come out? Please excuse yourself.

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  7. straight talki says:

    The best thing Dr. Pickering could do for the country is stay out of the government. He served for 20 year and I can’t think of what he has done. Do the country a favor.

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    • @ straight talki says:



  8. jay says:

    What’s the criteria used to determine that we are
    “mature” enough? If we can’t figure out how to make the BVI a better place to live WITH the support ($) of the throne, how do we expect to do so without it?
    Let’s start with reducing the cost of living (PRIORITY NUMERO ONE); actually regulating the telecommunications industry so that consumers at MINIMUM receive what they pay for; opening up the BVI to the online market so business owners can actually digitize without running through illegal hoops; putting outstanding legislation in place to support our health and social development sectors so that vulnerable populations can be protected and cared for; improving the engineering of ALL public roads to improve traffic flow and save us money on car parts; … I can go on and on and on. What is this OBSESSION with independence about????? What are we truly getting out of that besides bragging rights? Even if you form a committee, once the committee puts this motion to the public – trust me – they will hear a resounding NO!

  9. england says:

    who get pickering to speak om that subjext he does not know s*** on that matter rather than talking hgh s**t, people who delt with the constituion should have been allow to speak om the com sriution so that people could have had a fair amd down to earth history about the constitution. please remember that there are persons who came alomg after the constitution was put im place, Whom ever organise the seminar it was a good idea but you have to get your favts correct when you are going to talk to people. some thing that eas said on skelton show was not 100percent correct you need to check sources and nest time get peope who knows the history the constitution any way it was a good try continue to educate the people about the rights of people and what is owed to them.

  10. Phoenix says:

    We can’t make a move until policies are in place that guarantee 100% transparency from all government officials and offices.

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    • Phoenix says:

      Wow….people downvote a call for government transparency (and accountability) before independence ????? That is NOT okay.

  11. SMI says:


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  12. BVISLANDER says:

    Independence with what? The $&it out we A$$? What do we have to compete with, bigger islands catching hell since they went independent, what we going to trade a morbidly obese nation? SMFH.

  13. No nonsense says:

    1st thing is when you calculate the amount of OUR money you wasted in the sheep beach and return it to the treasury then we will be willing to go from there!!

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  14. E. Leonard says:

    The VI, a non-self-governing territory, under UN charter(Chapter XI, Articles 73 & 74) is entitled to pursue self-determination that include independence. If independence is the choice, it must be a win-win for the VI. The decision making in pursuing independence must be strategic, tactical and operational. The process in pursuing independence must be SMART(Specific Measurable Achievable Relevant and Timely). It must entail a SWOT (Strength Weakness Opportunities and Threats) analysis. . It must entail a cost-benefit analysis with an outcome that must leans heavily on benefits.

    Moreover, the above action items completed, a referendum should be held so that citizens can vote For or Against independence. However, the VI cannot make the same mistake as the UK who set the bar too low to exit the EU, IMO; the UK’s bar was a simple majority; the decision to exit the EU passed by less than 52% of the votes cast. The VI should set its bar for pursuing independence at 60% or greater.

    Political independence is a sense of national pride, progress and sovereignty. Colonialism and its twin neocolonialism have overstayed their welcome. Yet charting a new course by pursuing independence must be approach with caution. Independence cannot be based on emotions; it must be based on cold hard facts and realities. Many of the VI’s larger regional sister countries are independent. And the VI should benchmark these regional countries to avoid their shortcomings.

    The realities are that the VI is a small(59 square miles spread over 36 islands, cays, islets and rocks) territory that is resource-poor, disaster-prone, highly susceptible to external economic and environmental shocks among other disadvantages. Covid-19 exposed the weakness and vulnerability of the fragile VI service-base economy.

    From my vantage point, the VI should pursue a stronger measure economic independence before launching into political independence. It lacks the resources to develop either a primary economy(agriculture, fishing, mining, energy, precious metals, forestry) or a secondary economy (manufacturing). Its economy is service-based with tourism and financial services being the mainstay of its economy. They are labeled as its economic twin-pillars. It needs to diversify its economy, ie, knowledge-based economy, blue economy(fishing, aquaculture, biotechnology, energy), back office operations, medical tourism, transshipment centre(entrepôt), small manufacturing ……..etc.

  15. Patriotic bvi says:

    I am in agreement you guys,you cannot trust this government.andrew fahie and his so call c******ed friend claude skelton cline is secretly trying to go behind people back to force the bvi to go independent.

  16. Lol says:

    Here cant manage its affair without great surport so independence will kill here.

  17. Wow says:

    Nowhere close. European reparations wouldn’t come close to the amount of government money looted in the past 50 years here. Look at the state of the infrastructure development we haven’t done in three years since Irma. Our government system is broken down. Needs new faces and good people.

  18. Musa says:

    Who keep the bvi out of the black list ?ndp and I am hopeful the vip can do the same.

  19. Eagle and Buffalo says:

    Agree with Dr. Pickering that an ad hoc committee should be commissioned to explore the cost and benefit of independence. E. Leonard you laid out a play book for the march towards independence. In regards to independence, most children are eager to leave the nest but before taking that giant leap they have to be prepared. Well, so too must the BVI be prepared for independence. Is the the BVI prepared?

    [let’s lead like eagles, not careen off the cliff like buffaloes]

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  20. Tafari Zharr says:

    A year ago today ..,

    In memoriam

    Member Emeritus, OBE

    A Requiem, Written for This Day,
    For This Hour, And That Hour They Inter Him

    By Tafari Zharr.

    [Breathe In]
    Oh, Virgin Islanders

    His Days Were Numbered
    Thirty-One Thousand, Three Hundred Seventy- Seven (31,377)
    And You Held on To Him Thirty Days More
    Monday Till Wednesday
    Picture-Perfect, Statesman, Procession:
    Showered with Adulation Three (3) Days
    Before They’d Later [Privately] Inter Him
    Jack, It’s Hard to Believe RTO Is Gone

    Oh, Virgin Islanders

    Oh, It’s Up to You Now
    Left to Be Seen What You’ll Do
    With What He Advanced
    Oh, Of Freedoms Be Neither Sleep nor Still
    Oh, Great Man, Groomed to Become More Than an Island
    Oh, Whose Days Are No Longer, And Nights Are No More
    Oh, Whose Profound Legacy—Virgin Islanders: Simply
    He Did It, Get Up, Go, and Grow

    Oh, Virgin Islanders

    Oh, Approbations: Left by Him for You
    A Great Blue Print Of Life
    Oh, For His Period, Strong, Reconstruction Efforts, Sing Sweeter, Newer, Lullabies
    Oh, For His Hopes of Economic Equity and Security
    Be Neither Blind nor Distilled
    Oh, For Our Stability and Preservation Make Homes
    Not Houses, Polished, High on Hills

    Oh, Virgin Islanders

    Oh, For His Ambitions Traded for Yours
    Oh, For Her Hopes Prorogued for Yours
    Oh, For Their Futures Deferred for Yours
    Oh, For His Promises Fragmented for Yours

    Oh, Virgin Islanders

    His Love Has Been Your Affairs
    Oh, For His Aberration for Virgin Gorda
    Oh, For A Romanticism with Tortola
    Oh, For A Proclivity for Anegada
    Oh, For His Political Life, A Sac-ri-fice?

    Oh, Virgin Islanders,

    Oh, But for His Earlier Excitement in The Vicinage
    You Might Never
    You Might Never Have
    You Might Never Have Had
    Your Treasured, Highly Acclaimed, and Colossal Rising Son!

    [Repeat: Breathe In, hold it, Breathe Out].

    Oh, Virgin Islanders

    His Days Were Numbered:
    Thirty-One Thousand, Three Hundred Seventy-Seven (31,377)
    And You Held on To Him Thirty (30) Days More
    Monday Till Wednesday
    Picture-Perfect, Statesman, Procession:
    Showered with Adulation Three (3) Days
    Before They’d Later [Privately] Inter Him
    Jack, It’s Hard to Believe RTO Is Gone

    And Alongside Him Came the Turtle Dove
    Inviting Him Home

    [Breathe Out]:

    May the Honorable Ralph Tedford O’Neal, OBE, Member Emeritus, Rest In Peace

    All Right Reserved. Copyright © 2019. Tafari Zharr.

  21. Patriotic bvi says:

    Remember guys we need our own curreany.we cannot continue to spend the yankee dollars.our passport value would drop like most other islands,we would visa to travel to the usa.

  22. Patriotic bvi says:

    Most islands that went independent now need visa to travel to the usa.and economically they have to turn to china for help.and also sell passport to attract foreign investments.guys,the cost of independence are very high.we would have to join caricom,we would also have to change our immigration system.we would have to open our borders to others caricom nationals which is call free travel movement where they can live and work hassle free.guys breaking from the uk.we would still need a powerful country to rely on.and most likely it would china.are wr ready for this?I shure not.

  23. Patriotic bvi says:

    Do not ever fall for andrew fahie’s and claude stratigy.

  24. Bvi says:

    Andrew fahie has been l***g to we the people about he is not picking fight with yhe governor.and that’s exactly what he is doing.he and claude cline.they trying veverything it take to annoy the uk,so they can get fed up and say ok go on all you own.guys we cannot dit here and be stupid.

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