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‘The VIslander was known for his honesty, integrity & good work ethic’- Dr Angel Smith

- says history shows VIslanders could be trusted especially with money
Dr Angel Smith, Director of Virgin Islands Studies at H. Lavity Stoutt Community College (HLSCC), expressed that history shows that Virgin Islanders were known for their honesty, integrity and good work ethics. Photo: VINO/File
Mr Claude O. Skelton-Cline (left), former managing Director of BVI Port Authority (BVIPA) and social commentator, and Dr Angel Smith (right), Director of Virgin Islands Studies at H. Lavity Stoutt Community College (HLSCC), discussing the history of the Virgin Islands (VI) as it relates to the current Virgin Islands Recovery and Development Agency Act 2018 during the talk show Honestly Speaking on March 27, 2018. Facebook
Mr Claude O. Skelton-Cline (left), former managing Director of BVI Port Authority (BVIPA) and social commentator, and Dr Angel Smith (right), Director of Virgin Islands Studies at H. Lavity Stoutt Community College (HLSCC), discussing the history of the Virgin Islands (VI) as it relates to the current Virgin Islands Recovery and Development Agency Act 2018 during the talk show Honestly Speaking on March 27, 2018. Facebook
Honourable Andrew A. Fahie, Opposition Leader and First District Representative, has continuously stated in the House of Assembly (HoA) that confidence must be restored in the people, to trust the government with the territory’s affairs. Photo: VINO/File
Honourable Andrew A. Fahie, Opposition Leader and First District Representative, has continuously stated in the House of Assembly (HoA) that confidence must be restored in the people, to trust the government with the territory’s affairs. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – “We have to go back and see how our culture was built and then once we go back, we can begin to understand who we are as Virgin Islanders and then we can see where it is eroded and where now we have a problem. We are talking about reconstruction and rebuilding but then we must build on a foundation and that foundation has to be based on our history and culture.”

This is according to Dr Angel Smith, Director of Virgin Islands Studies at H. Lavity Stoutt Community College (HLSCC), who was a guest on Honestly Speaking aired on ZBVI 780 AM on Tuesday, March, 27, 2018 with commentator Mr Claude O. Skelton-Cline, former Managing Director of BVI Ports Authority (BVIPA) and social commentator, connecting the history of the VI with the controversial bill.

Dr Smith pointed out that during the discourse of the Virgin Islands Recovery and Development Agency Act 2018, the minister would make reference to the history of the territory but explained that persons have to be careful when talking about the history, especially the issue of slavery:

He said, “I like the fact that a lot of discussion has been happening over the past few weeks and months and persons are prone to talk about the history and who we are and where we came from. However, we pay little attention to our history and sometimes that information that is presented is a bit distorted. We pick up a little bit of information and we run with it but we don’t take it to what it really means. We need to be careful when we start to evoking the issue of slavery into the discourse now without understanding what it meant at that time and what it meant for our forefathers.”

The lecturer further explained that it is very important for persons to understand themselves and their cultural identity as it can cause issues while noting that around the world you can identify a specific nationally by something that stands out in them.

“Our cultural identity has become something that we have paid little or no attention to. Anywhere you go in the world, you meet a race of persons, you meet persons of a specific nationality, and you can identify them but something that stands out about them. What it is that stands out about Virgin Islanders?” asked the indigenous Virgin Islander.

Honesty, integrity & good work ethic

Meanwhile, Dr Smith indicated that Virgin Islanders were known for their “honesty and integrity” but expressed that he does not know if that still exists now.

Recalling a story from Anegada many years ago where a boat captain was given a list and money to purchase items on St Thomas, it was said when the boat captain returned he would bring back the items and a report of how the money was spent. Dr Smith commented that back then, boat captains would travel and shop for persons on Tortola and the sister islands.

In addition, Dr Smith mentioned that the boat captains would bring back messages in the form of money because at that time there was no money gram or western union and they knew for sure that it was going to be delivered in full.

In response, Mr Skelton-Cline recalled that it was Honourable Andrew A. Fahie (R1), Opposition Leader and First District Representative, who emphasised that confidence must be restored in the people, to trust the government with the territory’s affairs.

“That is important because that is the breach that is taking place in every sector of our lives. We accuse each other of all kind of stuff and the Opposition Leader said that is part of the confidence that is going to have to be restored."

“Virgin Islanders appreciated hard work”

Dr Smith, during the talk show, dispelled the statement that VIslanders are “lazy and don’t want to work”, while indicating that history shows VIslanders during the enslavement system “appreciated hard work”.

“We have a lot of discussions today about Virgin Islanders don’t want to work, they lazy and all that is not true. The Virgin Islands developed, even to enslavement, a system where they appreciated hard work. The Virgin Islanders know the importance of hard work," Dr Smith stated.

17 Responses to “‘The VIslander was known for his honesty, integrity & good work ethic’- Dr Angel Smith”

  • That i knew full well (29/03/2018, 10:55) Like (8) Dislike (1) Reply
    That almost all the other islands embrassed for real.So often you may asked where is such and such a person and you were told they are now living in the virgin islands not really the USVI but the British ones and how they are now different or transformed.Many have loved and followed your way of life that you may think they are originally from there. It is also because of some influences the BVI have grown and we have to be reminded of some of the negative ones also that plague us too. It is upon these traditions we should use to go forward and we have to also accept /reject the new editions of life also.The BVI is gonna rebounce once again little is much while God is in it and He sure gonna see us thru.
  • Beautiful souls arise (29/03/2018, 11:09) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    Our "deepseeded roots" are being eroded with the worthless "frillozoties" of the worldly "minds" and today we are dying at the roots. We are soo blinded by instant gratification and quick money that we find ourselves today, willing to sell our souls and compromise our basic values and common sense for these frills. It is most appreciated when we hear a "being" amongst us who seems ascended above the "doo-doo" and articulated enough to clearly explain our failure to vision our future if we ourselves do not look in our mirrors and acknowledge that- our failure to change ourselves: mentally, spiritually, physically, and psychological will (not may) destroy us from the inside-out, regardless of how much illusionary progress we think we are making materially. Signing out until...carry on.
  • Lovin it. (29/03/2018, 11:19) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    A moment of reflection. We must go back to move forward. The root-causes must be addressed and eradicated. We must know our history to know thyself and what we stood for- true, true, true.
  • True (29/03/2018, 11:29) Like (17) Dislike (1) Reply
    I grew up having grand parents in my life and this article is true. If my sister and I were sent out, we had to walk together, greet each passerby. When we made out purchase we had to ensure correct change was given. Once we returned we had to explain our experience going and at the store and the return walk back. As an adult I now dread growing older here in this new BVI. Its all all about the love of money.
  • look look me come from (29/03/2018, 11:31) Like (5) Dislike (11) Reply
    hell yes we are entitled
    • pat (29/03/2018, 12:01) Like (3) Dislike (2) Reply
      respect, honesty, loyalty, integrity are won, earned and shown by example at home.
      No one is "entitled" without humility, empathy and good values. What makes you think you deserve something without
      working for it or earning it? you kicking back and expecting something?
      • TO PAT (30/03/2018, 07:18) Like (5) Dislike (2) Reply
        When you go to someone house you ought to act the part of VISITOR not as a person with equal rights. And if the owner decides that you are acting out of place he has a right to get upset, state his entitlement and rights, and chuck you out if need be.
        You see the thing with the pats in the BVI is You may have been welcomed into, adopted into, married into, had children in, benefitted significantly from the government and even gotten citizenship (which by the way can be taken away) and by these things you feel that the owner of the house must lap he tail and shut up but you fail to understand that you can never replace someone for their birth rite.
        You people are eternally out of place EXCEPT OF COURSE when you are defending your birth rite in your country!
        Smhhhh
    • jannet (29/03/2018, 12:27) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      I AGREE AND MAKE NO APOLGY
  • Sloop (29/03/2018, 11:56) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    History also shows that the BVI was known for its quality boat building yet "someone" has only recently disposed of the last remaining original VI sloop. Who would do such a ting?
  • Google (29/03/2018, 12:31) Like (6) Dislike (4) Reply
    Where is all this nonsense coming from about mot being trusted with money. If the BVI Govt wasnt trusted with money the UK wouldnt be underwriting 400mil for us to spend, they would have come in to deal with the recovery directly and there is nothing we could have done if they wanted to do that. So many drumming up nonsense because they dont like what the Premier did but none of it makes sense.
  • Truism (29/03/2018, 14:12) Like (5) Dislike (1) Reply
    You are so right Dr. Smith.
  • So true (29/03/2018, 15:20) Like (21) Dislike (1) Reply
    Thank you, Angel. It is not a secret, the first 'workaholics' I know are BVIslanders. But it is true also, that we are looking at what "was" as opposed to what now "is". The culture has changed. "Development" brought many things that the BVIslander didn't bargain for, or factor in.
    1. Influx of immigrants...this created a situation where the BVIslander saw opportunity to 'exploit' others with rental houseing, cheap labour, and taking advantage of women who came here to make a better life for themselves. Too many families messed up because of "outside" affairs...also, marriages of convenience. It is a bitter pill, but the social fabric changed, and it affected the whole balance. Too many disenfranchised youths...lack of family stability...identity crisis about who Belong and who not belong.

    2. Where BVIslanders used to own the economy, they now have to share it with outside investors who are also on the exploitation mission....The banks, Insurance companies, Telecomunication companies....the all play a part in changing the culture of the BVI.

    3. Too many churches that are not making any positive difference in society. The churches exist mainly to grow membership and collect money....a lot of immigrants make up the churches because they see it as a way to get ahead in the BVI. Pastors can help them, other church members help them get good goverment jobs, etc. Everybody working the system....no wonder nobody can be trusted anymore.

    4. Locals outnumbers 3 to 1...BVIslanders don't feel they have any firstplace status in their country anymore.

    Dr. Angel Smith, what do you propose to fix this problem. You mention returning to former glory of good work ethics...but how. BVIslanders need to repent and turn to God for real, not just support church tradition. Only God can heal this land. Give the leaders a new mindset to make godly decisions and behave like civilized, god-fearing men. There is hope as long they don't let "VI Pride" get in their way.
  • suggestion (29/03/2018, 16:26) Like (5) Dislike (3) Reply
    How about we bring back a culture of trying and a culture of learning?
    These are what will take us into the future. Not too much looking back and saying all the hard work done by our forefathers so now just here to collect.
    Humbleness in the face of our small island status in a giant global system. We need to learn how we can thrive in it, and teach our children to learn and try hard.
  • contamination (29/03/2018, 17:10) Like (7) Dislike (14) Reply
    We were compromised by the outsiders
  • ausar (30/03/2018, 11:41) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
    Perhaps such pronouncements were true once upon a time.

    In today's society, the acqusition of land and more land, the pursuit of money and luxuries have destroyed such myths

    Too bad the millenials will never experience the attributes that once constituted a Virgin Islander(United Kingdom)!
  • Well said (30/03/2018, 15:10) Like (4) Dislike (1) Reply
    Dr.Smith thank you for reminding us who we are. Too many persons want to come to the BVI and tell us who we are.
  • Mountain Dove (02/04/2018, 11:08) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    As a young man in the bvi you've touched on all things troubling to me.....as well as evoking such comments from concerned bvislanders. You should run for ministry of education and culture because you teach vi history and are rooted in it. THE PEOPLE NEED YOU TO TEACH AND REMIND US ALL OF WHO WE ARE!!!!


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