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Smith: UK wants to have greater control

UK has a pattern of intrusion in overseas territories
Smith said on his talk show that there is a clear deliberate decision by the UK that they want to have greater control over the overseas territories, where he refers to it as a pattern of intrusion. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI - Umoja’s host, Cromwell Smith, in reference to the relationship with the United Kingdom (UK) and their Overseas Territories, stated on his talk show that aired on a local rado station last evening, September 6, 2012, that the UK wants to have greater control, and referred to this as a pattern of intrusion.

Mr. Smith, also known as Edju En Ka said, “When we look at the relationship with the Overseas Territories and the United Kingdom, I think we see a pattern… a pattern of intrusion, but certainly we see a clear deliberate decision by the UK to want to have greater control, they call it a relationship but it look like greater control of the Overseas Territories, it is a pattern.” 

In light of this, Mr. Smith added that the jargon the UK is using when referring to its relationship with the Overseas Territories is the ‘re-engagement of the territories’. 

“When you say re-engagement, the implication is that they have allowed things to go on, on its own for too long, so now they have to re-engage. They were engaged before, discontinued their engagement and now they are about to re-engage.” 

Mr. Smith further stated  that if there comes a time when the UK makes a harmful decision that affects the Virgin Islands and its interest, “what are we going to do?” He added, “are we going to go along and bear that harm or will we be prepared to say no? We are not for that, we will go off on our own and form the alliances and try to make it for ourselves like our ancestors did back in the 1800s.” 

In agreement with Mr. Smith, a caller to the show claimed, “the people of the Virgin Islands should know that the United Kingdom is the most corrupt nation in Europe. We should know who we are dealing with, they are pretending that they are so upright, these are corrupt people, and we should never give up our options, we should never give up our control over the economy, we need to be able to stimulate the economy from time to time.” 

Another caller to the show, in support of the conversation, said that the people of the United Kingdom cannot make reference to anything they have done for the people of the Virgin Islands. 

The caller added, “they didn’t help us with education, they didn’t help us to develop our health care system they haven’t done anything for us at all; what you see in these islands we have developed ourselves through hard work.” 

The caller ended by stating, “because things are looking sweet, we have our billion dollars in the economy, they want to get in on the act.” 

In response, Co-Host of the show, Natalio Wheatley aka Sowande Uhuru said, “the caller is absolutely right; I would call on the government and the opposition to unite on this.” 

In reference to a quote made by the Minister for Education and Culture Hon. Myron V. Walwyn, where he said that Mr. Henry Bellingham [former minister of Overseas Territories] was eating out of the Premier’s hand, Sowande Uhuru added, “I think we would discover that the British have been doing this thing for a very long time and I don’t think they feel as though Mr. Bellingham was eating out of anybody’s hand, in fact I would reverse it, because I think the argument that the government put forward, played right into the UK’s hands.”

9 Responses to “Smith: UK wants to have greater control”

  • just a matter of time (07/09/2012, 08:46) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    i agree the BVI is next to be taken over by the UK you wait!
  • BVEye (07/09/2012, 08:55) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply

    While I am neither pro British, nor hung up on BVIslander superiority, I take issue with a couple things your callers said. First, I agree in my view that the UK is deeply corrupt (though anyone who just glance at some other countries in Europe will see that to say UK is the MOST corrupt is just willful stupidness - err .. Greece, Italy, Portugal??).
    One way i feel the UK is deeply corrupt is because it has this separate state within a state called the City of London which has existed for 1000s of years with its own laws and separate rules that mean even the king or queen couldn't tell it what to do. The City is where the money has always been, so no one has ever pushed it around. THAT is deeply corrupt.
    Now, how I take issue with those who say the UK never done anything for us is that - ok, they never build those infrastructure things like schools etc, but what they have done is allow the City of London to make the BVI an outpost of their financial web. The advantage is that they can pretend they have nothing to do with us and still keep some kind of control over us at the same time.
    SO when this financial service industry mysteriously appeared in the BVI in the 1990s and brought trillions of dollars through our door, that wasn't because we BVIslanders had any special skills or aptitude with money, it was because the deeply corrupt UK allowed it/made it happen. We are far enough away, and have our own elected government, so they can say, 'hey, nuttin to do with us' when the dirty money from dictators, drug lords, billionaires and everyday tax dodgers who don't want to contribute to their own society, start flowing through our doors.
    Now, because we have, for example, most of the foreign exchange that enters China coming through some small offices in Road Town, you really think the UK gonna let us do what de heck we want?
    But look at it another way: If we continue with this crazed idea that we are a big nation just waiting to get free from the oppression of slave master Britain, you really think the financial industry will hang around for more than a half second? Nah. Ralphy's friends proud to say they hate the white people. Orlando and friends love the whites but only the ones with billion$ and private jets to shower on them. Nah, finance will flee. Maybe even tourism would flee, too, if we keep up this hatred agenda that getting momentum.
    So it brings us back to the same old question - would we rather live in a screw up, corrupt mess if is WE who screw it up, or a screw up, corrupt BVI that has the UK pulling strings in the background?
    Neither of them aint good at all, but then, when all you think is negative, all you get is negative. I say we turn our thinking around, get wise and strive for a BVI that is NOT screwed up and NOT corrupt.
    We all entitled to dream, right?

    • two little girls (07/09/2012, 22:37) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      well saw ayo do not fuss doc smith will have the UK eating out of his hands again!!!! old fool Myron as he has not a clude!!!!
  • well meh boy (07/09/2012, 10:30) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Well with people like Vanterpool around I am greatful to the UK being around to reign in his folly! To those who say the UK has done nothing for us, I recall hem buying back Wickams Cay for us. Yes the UK may want more power, but it is our fault for not standing up to our politicians and saying NO! Yes, even I am guilty of that. And I agree with BVIEYE. Imagine where an independent VI would be with the Minister Grasshopper (Mark Vanity) on the loose, that would hardly be independence for we would be dependent on who ever he chose to sell us out to!
  • Not2Sure (07/09/2012, 12:16) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    The pattern of history suggests that Cromwell Smith is wrong. If you go back to the 1930s the British Empire spanned a quarter of the global. Over the last 80 years they have given independence to every country that ever asked for it. They have given explicit undertakings that they would give independence to any remaining Dependent Territory which asks for it. That seems pretty inconsistent with Mr Smith's opinion that the British are desperate to take control.

    I also have a slightly hard time believing the British are all corrupt. If you look at the Corruptions Index published by Transparency International ( it indicates that the UK is actually one of the least corrupt countries in the world. Sadly it does not provide a rating for the BVI, because I would love to know what they think about some of the recent practices of the BVI Government.
  • kkk (07/09/2012, 15:54) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    This topic again?!
  • my opinion (07/09/2012, 17:35) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    its there country
  • E. Leonard (08/09/2012, 06:27) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    As the alleged pattern of UK intrusion is examined, it may be worthwhile to take a cursory look at the British Empire. The British Empire was one of largest empires in the world. At one point it had ~458M people under its umbrella. And at its peak this population equated 20% of the world's population and covered~ 13M square miles, 25% of world area. It was not a stretch to assert that sun never set over the British Empire. Britain's expansive reach, control and influence across the globe from Europe to North America to South and Central America to Asia to the Caribbean brought Britain tremdous wealth. However, consistent with the decolonisation movement among European nations after WWII, Britain give independence to most countries that comprises the British Empire. In the Caribbean, Jamaica was the first to be granted independence on 06 August 1962. Moreover, Hong Kong was returned to China in 1997 and the UK currently has 14 OTs and several crown dependencies; the BVI(VI) is one of the 14 OTs.

    The people of VI like all other people across the globe has the right to self-determination. They have the right to freely choose their sovereignty and political status. The big question for Virgin Islanders to decide is if at this point independence is in their best interest. They must ascertain if the benefits of independence outweigh the costs. Nonetheless, it is reasonable expect that as long as the VI and other OTs remain under the UK's umbrella that it will exert some influence over their internal affairs. The influence may be a function of the management by exception principle, i.e. territories that are demonstrating effective governance will be left alone; whereas, those that are not will undergo some hand holding. What value does the UK provide the VI?

    Within the past 140 years the VI has undergone several political status changes. From 1871-1956 it was Presidency within the Leeward Islands: 1956-1960 part of Leeward Islands; 1960-1967 Colony; 1967-1982 Self-governing Colony; 1983-2002 Dependent Territory and 2002-present Overseas Territory. Since the early 1970's, the Vi has been self-supporting. Tourism and financial services, the twin towers of the economy, has enabled it to possess one of the highest standard of living and quality of life in the Caribbean region. It has a~$1B GDP and a per capital income of $38K. And what is the UK's contribution to the economic growth and development of the territory? Though the UK does not provide direct support, its indirect support is critical to the success of the economic twin towers, especially the financial sector. Being an OT of the UK reassures companies that there is rule of law, coupled with stability, and that there investment will be secured and that the VI is a relative safe locale to conduct business. Moreover, it is also noteworthy that the UK is responsible for foreign affairs and defence.

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