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Should ‘God’ be in a national pledge?

- Virgin Islands now has a national pledge while Social Security enters the housing market
From left: Historian Dr Quincy F. V. Lettsome, Premier Dr The Hon D. Orlando Smith and Pastor Howard Simon recite the Virgin Islands Territorial Pledge at Territory Day celebrations on July 1, 2016. Photo: VINO
From left: Sixth District Representative Hon Alvera Maduro-Caines (left), Doug Wheatley and Edmund G. Maduro. Photo: VINO/File
From left: Sixth District Representative Hon Alvera Maduro-Caines (left), Doug Wheatley and Edmund G. Maduro. Photo: VINO/File
Social commentator Natalio D. Wheatley has labeled the territorial pledge as oxymoronic. Photo: VINO/File
Social commentator Natalio D. Wheatley has labeled the territorial pledge as oxymoronic. Photo: VINO/File
From left: Social Services Minister Ronnie W. Skelton (left) and Managing Director of the Social Security Board, Mrs Antoinette Skelton. The Social Security Board has now entered the housing market in the Virgin Islands. Photo: VINO/File
From left: Social Services Minister Ronnie W. Skelton (left) and Managing Director of the Social Security Board, Mrs Antoinette Skelton. The Social Security Board has now entered the housing market in the Virgin Islands. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- With few residents paying attention to proceedings in the House of Assembly (HoA) because of how low rated the body is following the 2011 elections, many important decisions are made there that can affect generations to come.

However, at the Ninth Sitting of the First Session of the Third House of Assembly held on Thursday, June 23, 2016 the Virgin Islands adopted a national pledge. It was brought to the House by the controversial Education and Culture Minister Hon Myron V. Walwyn, Territorial At Large Member.

God & Pledge

The pledge reads, “I pledge to my country, the Territory of the Virgin Islands, to encourage national pride and dignity, render patriotic service, promote justice for all, be true to God and remain dedicated to these Virgin Islands.”

However, there is a quiet debate developing ‘after the fact’ about whether ‘God’ should have been a part of the pledge in a diverse and modern society with many religions and different beliefs.

Others have asked if it’s a violation of the constitution where individuals are protected from the imposing of any religion in Chapter 2 Sec 9 under the Fundamental Rights and Freedoms.

One Member of the House of Assembly, Hon Alvera Maduro-Caines (R6) told law makers “I see nothing wrong with God being a part of the pledge as we are a Christian and God fearing society.”

A resident from Spy Glass Hill on the western end of Tortola who has lived in the Virgin Islands (VI) for more than 30 years and did not want her name to be used said, “it’s a violation of our rights, the God pledge thing…but as usual no one will have the courage to challenge it in court, and part of the problem is no one pays attention to the Legislature… it has become a joke…”

It seems not many are paying attention to the territorial pledge either, much less the small debate about whether ‘God’ should have been included in it.

Social commentator Edmund G. Maduro didn’t want to hear anything about the pledge altogether, saying it was hypocritical of Hon Walwyn to be wanting to foster national pride when he himself said in the past that the Virgin Islands can no longer make laws to protect locals.

“What national pride he has when he has deliberately said in black and white that they have reached the point now where they cannot make laws and policies to protect our rights. So where is he coming from with this now? We have to stop being idiots.”

Another social commentator, Mr Doug Wheatley said he didn’t get to see the territorial pledge; hence he was unable to comment.

I have to be honest with you I haven’t read the pledge, I don’t know too much about it as I did not attend the Territory Day celebrations [where the pledge was read publicly for the first time],” Mr Wheatly said, noting that he could comment on it at another time.

Pledge oxymoronic

Another social commentator, college lecturer Natalio D. Wheatley said he didn't have a problem with God in the territorial pledge but rather an issue with the pledge aiming to foster national pride as a country when the VI remains a United Kingdom Overseas Territory.

"I don't have a problem with God being included. It is consistent with the history and culture of the Virgin Islands but there is another glaring problem with the pledge. It is the same problem with the other things being done as territorial symbols. It is oxymoronic to refer to a territory as a country."

According to Mr Wheatley, the Virgin Islands has not reconciled its desire for pride in its people with its colonial status.

"We are pledging our commitment to the territory of the Virgin Islands while singing God Save The Queen and may she reign over us forever."

Social Security the new landlord

Meanwhile, at the same Sitting of June 23, 2016, it was disclosed that the Social Security Board is not only purchasing land for a new headquarters but will go into the housing market, according to the minister for the subject Hon Ronnie W. Skelton, a Territorial At Large Member.

According to approval granted in the HoA, the Social Security Board intends to invest in the construction of affordable housing units, with a $20 Million start up fund.

This idea was first brought to the people some six (6) years ago by Virgin Islands Party (VIP) senior Opposition Member Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1).

The details of when the housing programme will start and how this will work remain unclear.

Critics of the programme are also asking whether this is yet another case where the Government is competing with locals who have built houses for rent, further keeping with the National Democratic Party’s objective of killing the middle class.

46 Responses to “Should ‘God’ be in a national pledge?”

  • one eye (04/07/2016, 14:10) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Intersting piece
  • ...... (04/07/2016, 14:32) Like (20) Dislike (5) Reply
    This whole thing is a comical. I agree with Sowande though. But having said that... when you make a conscious effort to remove "God" from anything, you will start seeing problems and more problems... If the word God offends you, something is really wrong with you....
    • History (04/07/2016, 21:15) Like (28) Dislike (11) Reply
      Surprised that Sowande didn't have a problem with god being in there, afterall the god they refer to is the same one that condoned the african slave trade which beat the christian belief into our skins. Christianity is cruel and vile religion - just read the book and you will see
  • ....... (04/07/2016, 14:38) Like (13) Dislike (4) Reply
    But to answer the question... does it belong there? Most people aren't true to God I don't know. Pledging to be true while not being true is just as bad or worse than not pledging to God at all. Those of us who do believe can pledge on our own...
    • Hear This (06/07/2016, 10:50) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
      Do all of us spend the US Dollar? Isn't "IN GOD WE TRUST" written on the US Dollar? Who questions that statement? If they want a pledge for the BVI, nothing is wrong with including God in it. God is acknowledged everywhere and even by those who claim not to believe in Him, because He is the reason for our being and He made us all. Other peoples and religions only refer to Him by different names.
  • which one? (04/07/2016, 14:59) Like (15) Dislike (1) Reply
    Which God are we talking about? I Hope it is not the ONE this set of leadings BELIEVE in?
  • Public Alert! (04/07/2016, 15:08) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
    E.T is just one long walking contradiction and a failure to national pride and dignity.
  • wize up (04/07/2016, 15:13) Like (20) Dislike (10) Reply
    I guess Mr. walwyn would rather see a bow tie creator in the constitution but let me make it CLEAR. THE BOWTIE CLUB WILL NOT RULE THIS COUNTRY.

  • SMH (04/07/2016, 15:27) Like (9) Dislike (30) Reply
    Can someone please tell me what myron intention is with this country. He's making a mockery of these beautiful Virgin Islands
  • really ? (04/07/2016, 15:34) Like (14) Dislike (5) Reply
    The literal meaning of the word God : (in Christianity and other MONOTHEISTIC RELIGIONS) the creator and ruler of the universe and source of all moral authority; the supreme being. So, in the literal sense of the word, the pledge can be said by virtually anyone of any religion. Most people need to realize that the word "God" is not designated to Christianity alone.
    • Who amongst us... (04/07/2016, 17:51) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
      Many are called, but few a chosen.

      Who knows the 'Etymology' of the Name God?

      This situation is quite remarkable, since there is such a long history of people arguing and fighting over the name of God, yet we don't even know where the word came from!

      I Dare anyone to present the Knowledge!
    • insulting (04/07/2016, 21:19) Like (5) Dislike (2) Reply
      To have the word god in there is insulting to those of us that understand that all of these "gods" are made up. There is no such thing so lets take this nonsense out
  • fair game (04/07/2016, 15:38) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
    Let the general public decide. Publish all 36 participants renditions of the pledge and let the voting begin.
  • Hmm (04/07/2016, 16:14) Like (6) Dislike (6) Reply
    God should be in everything. If you don't have god in nothing things cant work at all. Time will tell with the nonsense that's going on.
  • Babylon is Fallin (04/07/2016, 16:50) Like (11) Dislike (1) Reply
    We always give credit to the designers of the Lavish clothes we wear and the makers of the fancy cars we drive and we see how they benefit from the focus of our praises, only to produce in abundance with the time and energy we spend (money)the same things which destroy us. We over indulge in everything with no true purpose for man. Somewhere in there we pretend to believe we have a soul that sits in our body and we give no praise to who or whatever is responsible for our consciousness.... even the animals we supposed to have dominion over follow a universal law that maintains order and peace...... But that deceptive intelligence is making all evil fair seeming..... That prticular practice is commonly found in the world of business, that extra dollar will always make somebody reconsider righteous ways.
  • church (04/07/2016, 17:33) Like (4) Dislike (3) Reply
    In god we trust
    • YES! (04/07/2016, 18:49) Like (5) Dislike (3) Reply
      @church- That U.S. Greenback! Period! Praises to Thy Almighty Dollar!
  • John (04/07/2016, 17:36) Like (8) Dislike (2) Reply
    I don't see any reason for any pledge at all. Virgin Islanders do not need a foreigner to tell them anything about pride. When he came here he met a proud and dignified people. Walwyn and the NDP are totally devoid of any meaningful ideas. He is the only one who needs to be in 6th form.
  • YES GOD (04/07/2016, 17:37) Like (11) Dislike (6) Reply
    In response to the question, yes God should be in the Territorial Pledge. It is His grace that has brought us safe thus far and His grace that will lead us on. For those who have come to live among us and have a problem with God being in our territorial pledge, they have a choice. They can take the next plane and leave the Territory. When you are in Rome, you should do as the Romans do. We will not dishonor the God of our forefathers who has blessed this Territory by bowing to those who do not understand or know from whence we came. It is God's guidance that we need continually so let us pledge to be true to Him.
    • atheist (04/07/2016, 23:17) Like (3) Dislike (3) Reply
      Thats your belief, but it doesnt make it right, nor should it be thrust on anyone else
  • vincyman (04/07/2016, 17:41) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
    HONESTLY i don't see nothing wrong with the word GOD in it,if y'all SAY here is Christian/religious community..if it was specific like Jehovah GOD/ALLAH ETC then it would've violate ppl right who aint associate with religion..and the MAN FROM Spy Glass Hill on the western end of Tortola, WHY HIDE FROM SOME SOMETHING U BELIEVE IN BE A MAN AND UR MAN TO IT..
  • Truth (04/07/2016, 18:10) Like (7) Dislike (6) Reply
    Who woke you up this morning; who give you air to breathe;who made you, the animals, birds and fish. It sure wasn't man but God. I pledge allegiance to Him and no other. Without Him we are of no use to ourselves or any other.

    If it isn't God who else will it be. May God be glorified in the Virgin Islands.
    • @ truth (04/07/2016, 23:19) Like (8) Dislike (4) Reply
      Educate yourself, you sound so foolish and have no idea what you talking about. #Sheeple
  • 911 (04/07/2016, 18:28) Like (15) Dislike (1) Reply
    What about them pledging not to thief we money
  • foxy (04/07/2016, 18:54) Like (3) Dislike (2) Reply
    God is good keep him in
  • street man (04/07/2016, 19:08) Like (5) Dislike (1) Reply
    dem tekin we SS $$$ to do all kind ah shit wid
  • island girl (04/07/2016, 20:01) Like (7) Dislike (4) Reply
    It's been there all this time, why remove it? Are we trying to be like the United States? Next they are going to take God out of the schools. Or have they already done that? We do not need to be like the americans. They only call on God when something bad happens and forgets about him soon after. Taken God out of everything is why our little islands are going down hill.
  • Son of the Spoil (04/07/2016, 20:15) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    These ("deeds") politicians always throwing up smoke screens to distract from their incompetence. The word "God" can simply connote a higher being not necessarily the Trinitarian Christian God. Hence the only ones who should be offended by this should be the Atheists.

    I am more interested in proper accountability for public funds.
  • Net Speak (04/07/2016, 20:31) Like (12) Dislike (7) Reply
    GOD should be first mentioned not last.
  • God Fearing (04/07/2016, 20:45) Like (8) Dislike (3) Reply
    Continue on this path and remove God. The nation and people who forget God is doomed.
  • Overly ambitious Man? (04/07/2016, 21:16) Like (6) Dislike (1) Reply
    National Pride? Territory? Country? Get your stuff together Mister Man.
  • Eh? (04/07/2016, 21:19) Like (5) Dislike (1) Reply
    As for me and my house, we will praise the Lord.
  • Is this the same GOD? (04/07/2016, 21:25) Like (4) Dislike (2) Reply
    Is this the same God who we ask to save Our Gracious Queen, the same God who we summon when the hurricane winds bear down on us? The same God who sends rain and sun on Spy Glass hill and the rest of these Beautiful Virgin Islands? Just asking.
  • Just wondering (04/07/2016, 21:30) Like (4) Dislike (1) Reply
    To Spy Glass Hill Resident. If you go to a restaurant and they have many items on the menu, what would you order, the ones you do not like/eat or the ones you like/eat? This is our restaurant. It does not matter how long you have been patronizing it.
  • Gods Child (04/07/2016, 22:27) Like (4) Dislike (1) Reply
    U could say god save the queen but being true to god is a problem smh
  • BRAD BOYNES (04/07/2016, 22:29) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    The pledge should read dedicated to God and true to the Virgin Islands. Im not reciting that neither are my children. Thats Myron pledge. You have to live a life that reflects pledges. There are people who were doing and are doing what this pledge is trying to resonate but the government still railroad them in employment and promotion.
  • glen blyden (04/07/2016, 22:47) Like (2) Dislike (3) Reply

    "A resident from Spy Glass Hill on the western end of Tortola who has lived in the Virgin Islands (VI) for more than 30 years and did not want her name to be used said, “it’s a violation of our rights, the God pledge thing…but as usual no one will have the courage to challenge it in court, and part of the problem is no one pays attention to the Legislature… it has become a joke…"
    why dont this person stop hiding behind blogs and challenge it in court. If not, go sit down and keep your trap shut.I dont care how long you live here. It goes to show that you coward is not of here.

    People like this are dangerous to this country. Reap the benefits but
  • VG (05/07/2016, 00:15) Like (7) Dislike (4) Reply
    Take it out myron
  • Spok (05/07/2016, 04:14) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    Why are these people interfering with the people social security pension fund without their permission? We already have the Jausha Smith building. Do they want to erase history and use their name on a new building? Are they positive they will recover the people pension with good interest? Who will be making the money for the concrete? Open your eyes and see what is happening. This looks like a slippery slope with special interest. We have enough of the Chineese actions here.Thisisdictatorship in this place.
  • god is good (05/07/2016, 09:59) Like (0) Dislike (2) Reply
    If you forget God, Satan will rule.Many of us practise Christianity, Muslim,etc. even Churchanity or nonity but in everything we must give thanks and try as much to live life to the fullest bearing in mind the many virtue that exist to help us along and to live peacefully loving all those around us evry where we go.
  • Queen Mary (05/07/2016, 10:50) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    If we are to be considered progressive and democratic,then God should not be in a national pledge. We are no longer a monolithic and Christian group. God could be Lucifer or worse. It is unfortunate but progress in modern times robs the soul. Each of us knows our heart Ommitting the word God is not a declaration that we are ommitting praise and trust to the Divine.
  • christian (05/07/2016, 15:58) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    I hope those who believe God should not be included in our national pledge take a long hard look at America and how it has been made to suffer after it decided to remove it from theirs. God's judgement is on America and many of the EU counties that push homosexuality and same sex marriage etc. Just saying. We as a Christian society should never be afraid or shamed to honour God for His glory less we find ourselved subject to more of His wrath.
  • who (05/07/2016, 19:34) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    These Virgin Islands were created by GOD not man. It is God why you are blessed to live here so long and we didn't ask you to leave so just behave your self. Living here is not your rights its a privilege. Let me tell you its the hands of God on these virgin islands and its because of his mercies we are still here living on them so you better watch your mouth talking foolishness. GOD GOD GOD GOD let it stick in your head
  • NHI (06/07/2016, 17:16) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
    if we want it it and it in already leave it in we not America they take god out of everything an look at them now this country was a god faring people stand on what we practice who don't like it don't go to general assemble America say in god we trust and yet remove him from school

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