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Independence a dangerous thing; VI seeking more autonomy - Hon Wheatley

- calls for clear distinction between the two
Constitutional reform in the Virgin Islands is aimed at better self-governance and not independence according to Minister for Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration, Hon Vincent O. Wheatley (R9) who called independence a danger with regards to the VI. Photo: VINO/File
One outspoken Pastor and 'Honestly Speaking' social commentator, Claude O. Skelton-Cline had said that by 2027, the Virgin Islands should be out of the cusps of the United Kingdom (UK) and on its path towards independence. Photo: VINO/File
One outspoken Pastor and 'Honestly Speaking' social commentator, Claude O. Skelton-Cline had said that by 2027, the Virgin Islands should be out of the cusps of the United Kingdom (UK) and on its path towards independence. Photo: VINO/File
DUFF'S BOTTOM, Tortola, VI - Constitutional reform in the Virgin Islands (VI) is aimed at better self-governance and not independence, according to Minister for Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration, Hon Vincent O. Wheatley (R9) who called independence a danger to the VI.

Hon Wheatley was speaking at Monday's July 27, 2020, 13th Sitting of the Second session of the Fourth House of Assembly (HoA) during the debate of the motion for VI's overdue constitutional reform. 

"We shouldn't confuse self-government with independence, there are two very different things," he told the House. 

"Because Independence is a very dangerous thing... if you look at independent countries or the countries that were colonised at first, but became independent afterwards, they found it wasn't what they had bargained for," he said. 

Freedom comes at a cost 

Referencing Haiti, Hon Wheatley underscored that although they were the first black colony in the western hemisphere to be free, that freedom came at a cost which was some $21B indebted to France. 

'So it's very important that persons listen and understand, we're not talking here about independence," he said. 

However, at least one outspoken Pastor and 'Honestly Speaking' social commentator, Claude O. Skelton-Cline had said that by 2027, the Virgin Islands should be out of the cusps of the United Kingdom (UK) and on its path towards independence. 

"By August 1st of 2027, I believe and I am working towards us becoming an independent country," Skelton-Cline declared. 

Hon Wheatley said Independence for the Territory would be a 'different kettle of fish,' and nothing that what the VI is trying to achieve is more autonomy and internal self-governance.

14 Responses to “Independence a dangerous thing; VI seeking more autonomy - Hon Wheatley”

  • Well Well (29/07/2020, 10:03) Like (16) Dislike (3) Reply
    Ayo keep Harrasing UK y’all gone get something you’ll regret
  • asking for a friend (29/07/2020, 10:04) Like (4) Dislike (13) Reply
    Is he a Uncle Tom or what?
  • (29/07/2020, 10:08) Like (12) Dislike (4) Reply
    What independence ? I dare the BVI to try it! I dare you to.
    • Lil (29/07/2020, 11:23) Like (5) Dislike (10) Reply

      Bvi Government want to go independence to be in charge and thief all the money?

  • i from here (29/07/2020, 10:44) Like (3) Dislike (17) Reply
    Independence is a must so stop the noise
    • ok (30/07/2020, 09:56) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Tell us then what we going live off of.. .what do we sell/make that can profit us??
  • FearRunDeep (29/07/2020, 10:48) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    France enslaved and then economically enslaved Haiti and that is the rational we used for why we should remain tied to such an evil. Educated the people as to why it maybe difficult to seek independence.....say to the people, we may not have the means to print/value funds. we may no longer be allowed to spend the US Dollar, the economic system is design to keep certain nations wealthy and other poor. Trade may not fairly express how all currencies are valued. Isn't it fact that EC countries function like the France African countries, where our masters required for you to be independent you must pay.
  • Interesting. (29/07/2020, 11:46) Like (5) Dislike (2) Reply


    Ah Mr. Minister can you please tell us the difference? It is like saying I live under my parents roof. I am grown but I don't want them to tell me what to do.

    Additionally Skeleton Cline is saying independence and you are actually saying don't listen to Cline we want self governance. Who is really speaking on the behalf of the government. I was under the impression the Skeleton had the ear of the Hon Premier. Can some says who is it that have the Hon Premier's ear.

    Cline is saying independence by a given date. The Hon Minister is saying independence is dangerous who should we believe. I responded to the article by Mr Cline and vino refuse to publish it. Don't know if it is because I asked who elected Skeleton to speak on the behalf of the people or maybe because i called him an attention seeking ****.

    Is there a divide In this promising government. Still think someone needs to tell the man of the cloth, don't know which cloth, to go sit down.

    I can not say that i am not in agreement with the Hon Premier that BVI don't have someone who possess the intelligence to be Governor. But who is capable of being an independent thinker to hold the high office. Beside the immediate past premier i honestly can not think of another person.

    "Opposition circles insist on distinguishing between independence and self-determination. This was provoked by recent remarks made by Basic Law Committee chairman Li Fei who said that both amounted to the same thing and breached the Basic Law."
  • No one (29/07/2020, 13:56) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    Last time I checked, no one elected Claude Skelton Cline so you'll don't sit back and give people the impression that he's representing the government. If he's an adviser he should be speaking to the government.
  • ReX FeRal (29/07/2020, 16:48) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Vincent please.
  • E. Leonard (29/07/2020, 17:30) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    The VI is a non-self-governing territory and under UN charter it is entitled to self-determination. Nonetheless, though the VI is entitled to self-determination, in my view, the VI needs to pursue relative economic independence before political independence.

    Currently, the VI is partially internal self-governing, sharing governing responsibilities with the Crown. The Crown is responsible for external affairs, defense, internal security, RVIPF, judicial, civil service, and jail (partial); local government, remainder. Of course, the Crown has significant reserved powers. The VI must pursue more autonomy.

    Moreover, still trying to process independence being dangerous. The Hon V. Wheatley has to expand more on this.
  • VI person (30/07/2020, 17:06) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    In what areas are the Caribbean OTs trying to seek more power or responsibilties locally? You have powers to build proper roads, schools, Airports, Social Housing,etc. Why is there no programme for social housing in 2020? If there then why isn't there a wide roll out of affordable homes for VIslanders to obtain within their first five years after getting their first job after graduating the 12th grade? Where are the proper roads and airports to connect to Europe and beyond to help enhance the BVI tourism market? It takes too long to travel to and from the BVI. Yes,you can have more powers devolve to the territorial govt but it will cost more budget wise.

    The BVI have lots of intelligent people but in order to enhance into the future properly, you'll need stronger ties to the mainland.It will strengthen your economy much more and also remaining with Britain will protect you from the likes of foreign world powers that will exploit the territory in negative ways.

    Independence was a topic of the 1960s and 1970s.In the way the world is today and will be in the future, it's way more complex to deal with. Doesn't make sense putting our investments within the terrtory at risk of going alone after leaving the backing and security of being apart of Britain.It's way to risky. It will shake the core of the economy even if you don't wish to believe.

    You can't look at Independence from a sentimental point of view only.There isn't any proberble cause to want to leave the safety and security of one of the largest powers in the world to jump head first into all the uncertainty that being an independent country will bring.
    I'm a proud VIslander but I'm not for leaving the security of being British and going it alone.
  • waste (30/07/2020, 20:13) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    For sure he did not waste his little money he worked for as a bus boy, his parents little that they had or the remainder of what Government invested in him. THIS MAN is no fool don't take him for granted.
  • VI person (01/08/2020, 19:31) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    I wonder if many people in the OTs know that their economies that they have helped built is backed by the Bank Of England the same as the regional economies of Wales and the rest of Great Britain?

    As difficult as it may seem at times getting valid points across with certain members of the UKG, the Overseas Territories and the rest of this country is secured by the mechanisms that's in place already. There won't be no secure mechanisms in place to secure any territory that sever ties with this country. The same thing will be for the Defense Force that wouldn't be in place to safeguard the residents,visitors or the economy of any territory that choose to go swimming into the unknown.

    Territories need to be within the nation fully,elect and send MPs to sit in the UK Government Parliament to put forward their cases on a daily basis and also be treated as equal constituiencies as the rest of the UK.

    Apply for more Autonomy but also seek closer links to London so you can continue to have secure economies and a more safe way of life in your hometowns.

    You can look into how (Madeira) is governed while being an overseas region of Portugal and also the (Azores) and (Canary Islands) regions of Spain in the Atlantic Ocean.Those three island regions are isolated and are all islanders while having lots of the same issues are any OT of Britain. They overall governing structure are great examples for offshore territories to use as examples on how to go while creating any new relationship with the mainland.


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