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‘We don’t want to be a Singapore or a Hong Kong’- Doug Wheatley

- said the Territory needs a development plan that will once again put VIslanders first
February 3rd, 2018 | Tags: unique love Doug Wheatley BVI Have Your Say Singapore
Road Town, the capital of the Virgin Islands. The Territory should not strive to be a Singapore or a Hong Kong, but remain unique, says retired civil servant and talk show host, Mr Doug Wheatley. Photo: VINO
Talk show host Mr Doug Wheatley has said the Territory needs a development plan that will once again put VIslanders first. Photo: VINO/File
Talk show host Mr Doug Wheatley has said the Territory needs a development plan that will once again put VIslanders first. Photo: VINO/File
It was in January 2016 that Minister for Education and Culture Hon Myron V. Walwyn (AL) had controversially stated that Government can no longer write laws to ‘fully protect locals.’ Photo: VINO/File
It was in January 2016 that Minister for Education and Culture Hon Myron V. Walwyn (AL) had controversially stated that Government can no longer write laws to ‘fully protect locals.’ Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- Retired civil servant and respected talk show host Mr Doug Wheatley recently recalled that the Virgin Islands did not have a lot of money in the 1950s and 60s but there were lots of love among the people and things were going well, “and people were not hungry because we used to share. That happiness continued into the 70s.”

He added that from 1950 to 1960 legislators seemed to care a great deal about the people of the VI and they were easily accessible. “…and they seemed to be genuinely interested in the affairs of the people.

“There was no attempt by the elected officials at the time to try and transform the BVI. The BVI was a unique Territory and the people were also unique,” Mr Wheatley recalled on his show, BVI Have Your Say, aired on CBN 90.9 FM Radio on January 31, 2018.

But, according to the veteran commentator, the Virgin Islands has reached a stage where persons have said “the fact that you are a born British Virgin Islander does not give you any special rights and when jobs are available you have to compete with the world, and if other people from the world are better than you are at that time then they will get the job.”

It was in January 2016 that Minister for Education and Culture Hon Myron V. Walwyn (AL) had said that Government can no longer write laws to “fully protect locals.”

"In today’s society, our Governments cannot write laws and implement policies to completely protect our local population like we did years ago. There are many occasions where we wish we could do more to protect opportunities for our people, but the world doesn’t work that way anymore," Hon Walwyn had told senior staff of his Ministry.

Put Virgin Islanders first

Mr Wheatley said this needs to be fixed and the opportunity to do so presents itself now with the recovery and development plan being put together by Government.

He opined that the recovery and development plan should once again put the people from the Virgin Islands at the centre of activities, “that they will become paramount, their interest will become paramount in the country, and that is what we have to be working towards and we need a development plan that will deliver that sort of thing to us.

“We don’t want to be a Singapore, we don’t want to be a Hong Kong, we just want to be, and some people would prefer me say the Virgin Islands, but I will say we will be the British Virgin Islands as we used to be, living in harmony with each other, looking out for each other all the way along.”

Back to prayers & hymns

Mr Wheatley; however, added that the VI should consider bringing back some of the things that helped the people in the early days.

“For example, when I went to school we sang hymns and opened with prayers, and no one can tell me that was a bad thing. It was a good thing and it helped a lot of us.

“But trying to make your country into something else isn’t what we want and it would be unfair of us to burden the next generation and the generation after that with a different kind of BVI,” Mr Wheatley stated.

13 Responses to “‘We don’t want to be a Singapore or a Hong Kong’- Doug Wheatley”

  • clock (03/02/2018, 11:20) Like (28) Dislike (2) Reply
    Indeed, the good old days. Sadly long gone because whatever vision there was has been corrupted by the love of money and power at the expense of those less fortunate.
  • MY OPINION (03/02/2018, 11:44) Like (29) Dislike (0) Reply
    I agree with your sentiments. However keep in mind that many BV Islanders birth their children in the US. Those children are proud to tell you I not from I from the US. (I was a teacher). The children born here from Expat parents are proud to say they are bvislanders. We all were raised with the Methodist children's hymns. However not many children attend Methodist churches anymore. Those hymns are not sung in most Pentecostal churches where most children attend these days. Prayers are still being done though. It is sad the way that the old customs are slowly fading but it is not just a BVI thing it's a whole Caribbean thing. We are exposed to a lot of American influences. We would wish for the old days to come back but alas it's one of the price you pay for progress. We are indeed a very small world and we must compete in order to survive. And that includes accepting Expat workers who will be bringing their own customs. It's the Dept of Culture and our responsibility to ensure that at least our traditions are passed on to the next generation. What would they do with it is a next question.
  • Political Observer (PO) (03/02/2018, 12:08) Like (21) Dislike (1) Reply
    Whatever one says about Trump and Trumpism and his jingoistic tone and racist rants his America first and make America great again may have a somewhat relative good ring tone. Some may think that i’m off my rockers. But if making America great again means putting Americans first what is wrong with that. Similarly, BVI Strong should mean putting Virgin Islanders first. Putiing Virgin Islanders first does not mean just putting Virgin Islanders in position because they were born in the VI. VI should train and educate Virgin Islanders to effectively serve in any position in the VI from Premier to an unskilled labourer. Qualified Virgin Islanders should come first provided their demands are fair and reasonable.

    Days gone by Virgin Islanders survived by the “Village” structure and mantra——it takes a village to raise a child. In the Village, each one teach one ( learning a trade back in the day) and everyone looked out for each other. They had no choice, for the UK bolted away labeling the Islands as a poverty stricken and desolate place that was only good as a bird sanctuary. The people eeked out a living through subsistence agriculture and communal farming. The shift to a service-based economy started in the mid 60s. Tourism green shots started in the 60s; financial services, 80s. These two industries are the twin pilars of the economy. They position the territory to having one of the highest quality of life and standard of living in the region; its capita per income is $34K.

    The service-based economy inflated our egos and blew up the Village. Now, it is each man or woman for his or herself, harming our way of life. It seems as if the Village has to be burn down to the ground for the VI to find its way back. Another issue that is ruining the BVI is political patronage. We are totally dependent on government for everything; the politicians are not totally to blame; they are doing what the electorate wants. Finally, we may not want to be either Singapore or Hong Kong but we can benchmark/emulate their economic success. Both are Asian tigers; they are small yet economic power houses. They are not a BRIC(Brazil, Russia, India and China) but are on the move.
    • dog (03/02/2018, 12:53) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
      competing against these bigger economies (with more land and cater to the bigger world/ which don't have the cultural history which we are losing) are not necessarily the model to follow. We cannot compete with them. While we can contribute on some level, we are losing our own identity and not building sustainability that will support local population or economy. I agree with Mr Wheatley. But it is also difficult when BVI has become a centre for financial services. There will always be that outside influence. All the more important that local programmes be put in place to help strengthen our citizens and remember that tourists want to see authentic culture. They can see Americanized and Hong-Kong influences everywhere else. There are also problems with Chinese workers slated for the Airport etc.
      Labour? housing? healthcare and infrastructure? It is a drain.
  • Liat 521 (03/02/2018, 12:23) Like (7) Dislike (3) Reply
    what he said make sense
  • Sister Sadie (03/02/2018, 14:06) Like (10) Dislike (5) Reply
    To PO
    You can't equate Trump' s "Make America Great Again" with BVI. He meant make it white again, a time when Blacks were treated less than human and were lynched,raped and murdered by respectable Christian white men.
    • Flatbush USA (03/02/2018, 15:23) Like (16) Dislike (0) Reply
      I do agree that our people should be given the opportunity beyond all others to succeed in their own land. How ever the question remains are they willing to take up that responsibility? Living aboard has opened my eyes to a lot. For instance, if you are running a business and you are looking for certain qualification to fill a post. Lets say two persons applyied a BVI Islander without the needed qualification and an outsider more suitable for the post. For the success of that business,would you give it to the local person based only on the fact that he/she is indigenous to the territory? . That is why I will always encourage us to get an education. Goi to school, go to college go to university if you can. Study the job market. See what is in demand and make yourself marketable. The time will come and is probably on us when being "from here" will not qualify us to work in our own land. Frightening but a reality.
  • @Sister Sadie (03/02/2018, 16:48) Like (0) Dislike (3) Reply
    Are you also saying they raped black men too? Hahaha LOL.
  • jack (03/02/2018, 21:03) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
    some have the luxury of running a country and being accountable to the taxpayers for the results of the systems that we are elected to run...
  • Asia Calling (04/02/2018, 01:12) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Don't worry, No chance of becoming Hong Kong or Singapore. Why not try for the moon. Just think the financial advantage of becoming the leading and only offshore centre on the moon. No need for a new airport runway. Self build rockets could be next big thing!
  • At it again (04/02/2018, 11:17) Like (4) Dislike (2) Reply
    Yall at this foolishness again and condemning expats. Taking us out of the picture completely when we work our asses off to build a country that we chose to live in and and love. When yall people run to the usa and collect their passport and come back bvi and call yall self bvi islanders. Stop the crap
  • wish (04/02/2018, 11:24) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    doug we all wish for a kinder, gentler time - but the world has changed.

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