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The Virgin Islands & the US Virgin Islands

- Do you know the difference?
Donald E. de Castro says there is no such place as the 'British Virgin Islands'
By Donald E. de Castro

This article was first published by activist Donald deCastro on May 21, 2007 when he first began the call for the Territory to be called by its constitutional name, the Virgin Islands. Since then, several businesses and even the public sector has begun using the Virgin Islands instead of the British Virgin Islands.

Please see below full article and a renewed call by Mr. deCastro for those who are yet to recognise the Territory by its correct name to begin doing so.

It is embarrassing, shameful, disgraceful and totally unacceptable that so many thousands of students from these two Territories graduate from high schools, colleges and universities along with those persons that come here to work or just visit do not know the difference, between the Virgin Islands and the US Virgin Islands.

If you would listen to our leaders, our politicians, educators, governor, attorney general, the news media and the Tourist Board as they refer to this Territory and if you are a true Virgin Islander you should be embarrassed.

It has been accepted over the years that Columbus discovered these islands on his second voyage in 1493. It is said that when he discovered these islands they reminded him of St. Ursula and her eleven thousand Virgins, so he called them ‘Las Once Mil Virgines’.

These islands changed hands many times over the years and when it was all over Denmark ended up with one group and Great Britain ended up with the others in 1672. Denmark called their group the Danish West Indies. In 1917 the United States bought them from Denmark and renamed them the US Virgin Islands. .

These islands (The Virgin Islands) remain under direct rule of Britain, and then became a Presidency of the Colony of the Leeward Islands partly ruled by Antigua. On July1st, 1956 we became the Colony of the Virgin Islands and this began some form of autonomy. Then July 1st 1978 the Virgin Islands were referred to as a Territory as the result of progress generally. So while the US Virgin Islands celebrate the US Independence on July 4th, the Virgin Islands celebrate July 1st as colony/territory day, when this community of islands obtained colonial status from Britain in 1956. However, to our leaders and others it is just another holiday.

As the years moved on since the Virgin Islands constitution was given in 1956, there have been several constitutional amendments to improve the quality of life of the citizens and residents of this Territory. At the time of this writing we are going through more amendments, and in none of these amendments were there ever changes made to the name of this country. Yes, I forgot to mention that Britain continued to call her group The Virgin Islands. So for the benefit of those of you that do not know, there is no such place as the “British Virgin Islands”.

I spoke to the president of the HLSCC, Dr. O’Neal and he assured me that, there is a program in place to teach the students that there is no such place as the British Virgin Islands. The former Deputy Governor, Dancia Penn, QC who was also a former Attorney General tried to make it clear on several occasions. However, there seems to be evidence that maybe they are not emphasizing this enough in either the high schools or the primary schools. In addition, there are only a handful of us who are proud of our country and are very much concerned. It is about time the people should become aware and know the proper name of the country in which they live.

I spoke to one lawyer and he supports my concern. However, he said to me it is a matter of money. A member of the tourist board also told me this indirectly. These two comments are telling me that our only concern should be the DOLLAR. I am very sorry but we should be more concern about the generations to come and not let the DOLLAR be the death of our SOULS and the lost of our HOME.

I now appeal to the educators, news media, leaders, politicians, our courts and all other concern persons to educate our people in both groups of islands. You are always hearing discussions about why we are not teaching the history of our country in our schools so why not begin by teaching them about their country of birth.

Talking about the courts it was brought to my attention by an attorney that was doing some work for me. This attorney had written the name “British Virgin Islands” on one of my documents and I asked to have it removed. I was the told that that was the practice here. However, the same attorney told me that at one time there was a judge here from Barbados who made it clear that, there was no such place. So why are the other judges, magistrates and the attorney general permitting it? And why is the speaker of the house permitting it in the Legislature?

At one time I went to St.Thomas and on the entry card it calls for place of birth and of course, I put the Virgin Islands as I always do. The immigration officer that was admitting me kept asking, where I was born and I kept on repeating the same thing, The Virgin Islands. I then tried to give her the history: she got mad and sent me through.

And for those of you that may not know, the next time you see one of our passport, on the inside front cover it reads, “The Governor of the Virgin Islands” and nowhere in our passport you will see, “British Virgin Islands.”
Let us be proud to be Virgin Islanders and not something we are not. We are not British. Only those persons who have now obtained British passports are British Citizens. And these persons are not interested in their country; they are only interested in their personal selves so that the may travel to the US. They are only assisting the British Government to eventually take back our country from us. Maybe not in my lifetime but as soon as enough persons become British Citizens. Only time will tell. Remember we were never British Citizens, but at one time like the former British West Indies we were called British Subjects.

While those persons born in the US Virgin Islands are US Citizens and are covered by the US Constitution, we that are born here in the Virgin Islands are citizens of an Overseas Territory of Britain similar to Bermuda, Montserrat, Anguilla, The Cayman Islands and the Turks & Caicos Islands. Each one of these groups of islands has its own constitution.

I was born in The Virgin Islands and my son was born in the US Virgin Islands. KNOW THE DIFFERENCE.

I would love to hear your comments positive or negative. You can contact me at Tel/Fax 284 494 4629, email or write Donald E. de Castro P. O. Box 3440, Road Town, Tortola

Virgin Islands, VG1110

17 Responses to “The Virgin Islands & the US Virgin Islands”

  • Well Sah (21/05/2012, 08:59) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    No one know this place just as the Virgin Islands. It has always been the BVI please stop trying to confuse people with this foolishness.
    • George Herman (21/05/2012, 14:41) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      No Sur! Donald is right for a change. It might not be too Virgin any more, but it sure is not British. This is an excellent reminder and concept by Mr. Decastro. We sell all the good land to the Outsiders, but we should at least be left with the correct name. The Virgin Islands!
      • i wish ya'll would read your history or talk to the old folk! (21/05/2012, 22:58) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        he still wrong! there is a reason we distinguish the territories one under the USA and the other under ENGLAND when then say the Virgin Islands they still distinguish with either British or UK the American part was won by the USA from the Danish so i wish ya'll would stop its for paper work reasons! USVI- american BVI or should i say UKVI- British!
        • Comment (22/05/2012, 12:46) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
          I really don't care about this issue...However, when St. John, St. Thomas and St. Croix were purchases by North America. These islands where not called the Virgin Islands at the time of purchase. They were called (St. John, St. Thomas and St. Croix). So we are entitled to be called the ‘Virgin Islands’ because this was our name from the past...but really ‘Who Cares’ what they wish to call themselves. It's just a name!
  • Lead by example (21/05/2012, 09:26) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Well brother man if u feel so disheartened by it then you should denounced your British Citizenship and announce and print the evidence for all to see. Show your support and support your sentiment for all to see. Lead by example and stop the lip service. The ball is in ur court!
  • ccc (21/05/2012, 09:41) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    he still wid tis???? yaaawn
  • Mack69 (21/05/2012, 11:29) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Well, well, well...someone has a lot of time on his hands. From your history, they were all Virgin Islands to start with. The US ot some and called them "US Virgin Islands". So what's the big deal with the "British Virgin Islands" What's the big deal? If you are so hung up on your identity, why are you using the US currency instead of a Virgin Islands currncy? And for a man who is so serious about your history and a self-proclaimed intelectual, it is sad that you are still talking about Columbus discovering the islands... he invaded the islands and captured it for his queen from the inhabitants who were already here. Get a life and talk about things that really matter.
  • it for real (21/05/2012, 13:15) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    but Donald you should know they do not care about locals how they going care about our correct name???
  • Uhhuh (21/05/2012, 14:43) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Oh well, this could be a battle between those who wish to change everything – all the established place names of these islands –which have been confirmed from long time ago, whether intentionally or not; and those who would like to see the identity of our place names remain intact. Those who should know better about the names of places in this Territory have been confusing them for years, and now not many really care. So what are we to do.
  • George Herman (21/05/2012, 14:45) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    I forget to mention. Ras Uhuru (RIP) tried to teach us this lesson years ago. Ras Uhuru was one of the most knowlegeable Virgin Islanders back in the day. Please take the "British" out of our name. We love the Queen, but lord, this is the Virgin Islands.
  • good to great (21/05/2012, 15:35) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    It is well known that the government both VIP and NDP does not care a hick about indigenous B V Islanders so I keep asking why beat a dead horse. It will be even worst under an NDP government as the sell out of our birth rights started under the VIP and now it can only speed up under the NDP who was elected to protect the interest of And they hope to stay in power because half of dem from the islands and if you look at where their wives/husband are from St. Vincent, Jamaica, Nevis, Anguilla ect, you will see that they believe their ticket to power is to protect the island people so in other words locals are not needed as they are a minority.....I feel for you all locals so stop while you ahead and see if you could get some chums off the table before it’s too late!!! So the issue of our real name does not matter in the end Mr. decastro
  • bbc (22/05/2012, 06:31) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Yes d tell them we are the vi all the way!
  • Well Sah (22/05/2012, 15:22) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Which side made the name Virgin Islands popular worldwide. Was it the US or British Virgins. I think it was the US side because they have been in the tourist business much longer than the BVI marketing St Thomas, St John and St Croix as the Virgin Islands. Remember the BVI is marketing as nature little secret. Why it this??? Ask yourself this question. Now that it is cool to be the Virgin Islands, the BVI want to claim it as solely their right. Go ahead and claim the same VI and make sure that in all of the tourist advertisement and brochures it is mention as such and see if the USVI will not going benefit greatly from this foolish arguement. If D think that simple saying the Virgin Islands and USVI would make a clear distinction in people mind who want to visit, he is sadly mistaking. What a ting!
  • Well Sah (22/05/2012, 15:24) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Until you become a independent Nation, you are the British Virgin Islands. live with it.
  • pain (22/05/2012, 18:07) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    good piece Donald I do not care what a man say!
  • club house (22/05/2012, 21:58) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Why this man is keep beating a dead horse with this topic???? Can this feed my 7 children????

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