On the heels of concluding talks in the Virgin Islands with the government and heads of civic organisations, the people of the Virgin Islands will be having a second demonstration against direct rule by the UK.
Reasons for a second demonstration:
- The matter isn’t settled regarding the decision for the UK to take direct rule of the Virgin Islands, it is set to be debated in the House of Commons this week.
- In this 21st century, decisions to suspend the Constitution of a people and imposing direct rule is unnecessary, draconian, and colonial at its core.
- We do not trust the UK and they do not understand us as a people. There is a huge lack of cultural competence (Some of the immediate recommendations in the COI report, further highlight this lack of understanding)
- The manner in which minister Milling arrived and conducted business with us was disingenuous, and it is evident to us as a people that the new Unity Government is operating under duress.
- A hostile takeover of our country was attempted last week. The decision of the UK to immediately release the results of the COI report the day after the arrest of the premier was an orchestrated attempt to overthrow the government. (It was a deliberate attempt to destabilise the country to provide the opportunity for the institution of direct rule). We recognised it and we stand against it.
- The legislation used to conduct the COI was passed in 1880 and made no provision to accommodate the inclusion of the people. There was a lack of transparency, and the Commissioner lacked cultural competence. We were told the investigation was Independent, yet the Governor (representing the UK) who also served as a witness was previewed to the report well over a month before the people of the Virgin Islands. To this day we have no idea what Sir Gary Hickinbottom, turned over to the Governor. Further, we had no opportunity to review the report as the almost 1000-page report was released to us on Friday 29 April around midday, and by Monday 2 May at 10:00 am minister Amanda Milling was already on the ground convening her first meeting, ready to negotiate the recommendations.
- We were and are being lied to by the UK and we do not trust them. Reflective on the destabilisation taking place in London right now, We The People of the Virgin Islands do not wish to have these actions in our territory.
- The COI which focused on Governance did not examine any of the areas under the Governor’s responsibility, which includes the police, public service, and national security. The systematic concerns were ignored, and it is evident that the systems across government failed to support policy implementation. These systems are the responsibility of the Governor. This failure has occurred over the tenure of successive UK-appointed Governors.
It is for these reasons and more, We The People of the Virgin Islands stand unified against the imposition of direct rule and the suspension of our democratic rights by the UK.
We the People of the Virgin Islands