Got TIPS or BREAKING NEWS? Please call 1-284-442-8000 or Email ALL news to:newsvino@outlook.com; ads call 1-284-440-6666                               Tune into 90.9FM from 04 September until 12 October for the 2019 Caribbean Premier League: visit www.cbnvirginislands.com for more information: 1 284 340 3461

VI @ mercy of a ‘wobbling political system in a cold place'- Premier Fahie

- said VI has to become self-reliant or will surely die
Premier and Minister of Finance Honourable Andrew A. Fahie (R1), speaking at the Territory Day Celebrations at Central Administration Complex, Tortola on Monday, July 1, 2019 has said the Virgin Islands must begin to move in the direction of being more self-reliant or it will surely die. Photo: Department of Information/File
A section of the audience at Territory Day Celebrations held at Central Administration Complex, Tortola on Monday, July 1, 2019. Photo: VINO
A section of the audience at Territory Day Celebrations held at Central Administration Complex, Tortola on Monday, July 1, 2019. Photo: VINO
The United Kingdom Government of Theresa M. May in May 2019 has said it will not force the British Overseas Territories (OTs) to legalise same-sex marriage but will continue to engage them to ensure their legislation is compliant with their international human rights obligations. Photo: Moneycontrol
The United Kingdom Government of Theresa M. May in May 2019 has said it will not force the British Overseas Territories (OTs) to legalise same-sex marriage but will continue to engage them to ensure their legislation is compliant with their international human rights obligations. Photo: Moneycontrol
Premier of the Virgin Islands Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) believes that day will soon come when the highest offices in the territory can be held and competently managed by its very own people, and not by persons who are unfamiliar with its history, aspirations, culture and religious belief. Photo: VINO/File
Premier of the Virgin Islands Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) believes that day will soon come when the highest offices in the territory can be held and competently managed by its very own people, and not by persons who are unfamiliar with its history, aspirations, culture and religious belief. Photo: VINO/File
WICKHAM’S CAY I, Tortola, VI- The Virgin Islands is at the mercy of “a wobbling political system in a cold place thousands of miles away, where some individuals who have not taken the time to understand the difference between our way of life and theirs’, nor shown us the basic courtesy of asking us about our aspirations, wish to dictate to us how we must live.”

These were the strong and unapologetic words of Premier and Minister of Finance Honourable Andrew A. Fahie (R1) at the Territory Day Celebrations at Central Administration Complex, Tortola on Monday, July 1, 2019 when he spoke about the territory’s relationship with the United Kingdom in a place of unpredictability and the need for the Virgin Islands to unite and become more self-reliant.

According to the Premier, the “political and economic convulsions taking place abroad” put the territory in a serious predicament, and the population must put things in place so that they can stand on their own feet.

Unstable UK political system; Concerns of overreach

Britain’s political system has been thrown into turmoil over Brexit and according to the BBC on February 22, 2018, the uncertainties of Brexit spread far beyond the borders of the UK and continental Europe as decisions made in London and Brussels will have profound consequences for the 250,000 people who live in the UK's 14 Overseas Territories - yet another thread of complexity in the Brexit process.

Added to that, relationship with the mother country was strained with the passing of a UK law seeking to impose public registers of beneficial ownership on Britain’s territories. This is seen as a threat to the financial services.

There have also been concerns with the insisted pressure from the UK on various issues, which regional leaders, including Premier Fahie, view as constitutional overreach from the mother country.

A recent report from a Foreign Affairs Select Committee, which included a number of suggestions including recommendations that the UK government force its territories to adopt same-sex marriage legislation and open discussions on allowing resident UK citizens to vote and stand for election, is also stoking controversy.

Though the current British government says it has no plans to follow through on the report’s recommendations, the uncertainty and instability in UK politics amid a Conservative party leadership battle, division over Brexit and the possibility of a general election, is fuelling concern.

“We cannot depend on anyone to have our backs or to prioritize our needs when that situation explodes. We have no choice but to become more self-reliant. If we do not start moving ourselves forward now, we will surely die,” Fahie said of the current political situation in the UK.

According to the Premier, it is imperative that the people of the Territory unite and forge a common vision of their own, respectful of, but notwithstanding, the present Constitutional relationship.

The Vison for the VI

Honourable Fahie said he envisioned a VI that is “highly productive, safe, and rich in opportunities; where all of our citizens can have meaningful, well-paying jobs in the fields of their choosing. I can see a technology-driven BVI with proper infrastructure and high quality, reliable services. I see a BVI in which our people are happy and prosperous.”

Noting that VIslanders can achieve anything they set their minds to, the Premier said the people of the Territory must awaken and unleash their innovative capacity.

“We need to transform ourselves into a knowledge-based society so that we can develop new productive industries and extract greater value from our existing economic engines. We must become competitive in the global business world."

“We must dare to dream bigger. We must ignore the voices that keep telling us we must think small. We must stop majoring in the minor and step back and appreciate the broader picture and its potentials to launch us into new horizons,” he said.

The Premier told the gathering that the time has come to identify and develop new industries and new investment opportunities so that the Territory’s economy can be diversified, and to increase the revenues from existing industries.

He noted that on several occasions after the abolition of slavery in 1834 the VI’s economy was abandoned by non-VIslanders who could not see easy profit. The most recent occasion, he said, was in the 1960’s with the dissolution of the Leeward Islands Federation. Those persons, he said, felt the VI could amount to nothing more than a bird sanctuary, and thus they packed up and left.

He added that the freed slaves and their descendants were given the hills to live and work because the terrain was difficult and there was no access to a wharf and flat lands. However, he added, the resolute independent spirit of the Virgin Islander was such that our ancestors used the timber from the hills to start the boating industry which allowed them to fish and to trade with our neighbours. From that, other economic opportunities such as sailing, tourism and financial services were created.

VI can be managed by its own people

Premier Fahie said the words of late legislator Hon Delores Christopher, who was one of the honourees in this year’s Territory Day celebrations, must not be forgotten: “It was the people of the Virgin Islands who banded together, shoulder to shoulder, and built this Territory with their sweat and tears, therefore if needs be, we can build it again.”

“I believe that we have a lot of untapped talent in the BVI. I believe that the day can soon come when the highest offices in the Territory can be held and competently managed by our very own people, and not by persons who are unfamiliar with our history, aspirations, culture and religious belief,” he said.

The Premier said he has full confidence in the people of the Territory to transform the economy of the VI and he is committed to making this happen.

6 Responses to “VI @ mercy of a ‘wobbling political system in a cold place'- Premier Fahie”

  • cw (05/07/2019, 13:09) Like (37) Dislike (1) Reply
    foy you on point
    • Yo (05/07/2019, 16:46) Like (1) Dislike (7) Reply
      independence, will solve our problem, but we too scared, so we take wha we get, simple!
  • wize up (05/07/2019, 17:18) Like (6) Dislike (5) Reply
    where was the United Kingdom: following the dissolution of cotton picking days and cane cutting days the United Kingdom left this territory on life support; as a matter of fact from 1975 our territory was ask to see about its own financial stability: because of prudent political leadership and the steadfastness of VI People this British Virgin Islands blossom and went from strength to
    Strength: come 2019, simply because of what we have accomplished in the global financially market the UK trying to get systematical with our territory.....
    • Help came (06/07/2019, 07:20) Like (3) Dislike (4) Reply
      Well, History aside, I was more than thankful when, four days after Irma devastated the Islands, the Royal Marines were here to help.
  • and (05/07/2019, 22:34) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Not to mention conniving politicians who thought it nothing to dig our eyes out of our heads along the way.
  • Charley Rose (06/07/2019, 05:49) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    I thank God for Hon. Andrew Fahie. He is a tough talking Premier and the British must respect him, after all he was elected by the people to lead this country. The subject of self determination should be a topical issue in every corner of the territory. From in the schools, churches and the community. We should hear the views of the people on the way forward.

    The once Bird sanctuary has become a prosperous place. When the Europeans see the progress that is taking place here and the people are so happy, it leaves them astonish. We do not get any help from Britain and we have built this country on our own, thus we do not need them to dictate how we are living. We should not permit them to impose their way of life on us even if it means that we will have to do without some basic essentials.


Create a comment


Create a comment

Disclaimer: Virgin Islands News Online (VINO) welcomes your thoughts, feedback, views, bloggs and opinions. However, by posting a blogg you are agreeing to post comments or bloggs that are relevant to the topic, and that are not defamatory, liable, obscene, racist, abusive, sexist, anti-Semitic, threatening, hateful or an invasion of privacy. Violators may be excluded permanently from making contributions. Please view our declaimer above this article. We thank you in advance for complying with VINO's policy.

Weather


Follow Us On

Disclaimer: All comments posted on Virgin Islands News Online (VINO) are the sole views and opinions of the commentators and or bloggers and do not in anyway represent the views and opinions of the Board of Directors, Management and Staff of Virgin Islands News Online and its parent company.