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Who are we?

- 'too old to be intimidated'
Donald E. de Castro. Photo: VINO/File
Donald E. de Castro

We hear Politicians, Ministers of Religion, business owners and many other persons refer to this Territory as a Christian community. Those of us that read the bible have read the conversation between Jesus and his disciples when he asked them; who do people say I am? and after they answered him; he asked them; who do you say I am? This territory is now at a junction in its history (and has been for some time) where many people are asking, who are we?

Because of the fact that our history was never taught in school for many years ( and very little is being taught now) many persons were born, educated, lived, contributed to this territory and died never knew the name of their homeland. This is also true for many who are still alive, those who chose to live and work among us and to the hundreds of thousands of visitors that visit us yearly. How many of you reading this article honestly, sincerely and truthfully believe that our people are being respected by those who knowingly, willfully and intentionally refuse to take action to have this corrected?

I can remember when I was going to school and after school not only growing up but being raised by your parents and others that cared about you and the community in which everyone lived, you were told when you know better you do better. Virgin Islanders was a respected and respectful, hardworking, honest, reliable, dependable people; a people of integrity and pride, a united people and a strong “Christian” community. With so many people from so many countries who are Christians, non-Christians and non-believers the question of who we are is now relevant.

Respect: As children, we were taught to greet others politely and with respect, like good morning, good afternoon and good night. We were taught to address the older folks as Mr, Mrs, or Miss; while many still use these as respect today, it is now more a formality than respect. 

Hardworking: Virgin Islanders were a hardworking people, those before me and those I grew up with and knew whether in town or from out of town. Those of us that remember market days, export days and the building of homes. It was hard work in farming as we had no machinery, it was hard work fishing as they only had sailing boats or rowing boats; outboard motors came later. It was hard work in export and import especially in the loading and unloading of cargo as most of this was done by manpower. As employers they worked had to give their customers good merchandise and good service. As employees they worked had to do their job to the best of their ability.

Honesty: In the early days of my life, we had no commercial banks in this territory and there were two of many issues that we had to deal with, importation and exportation. These required the sending of thousands of dollars each week to St Thomas. I say this because while we imported a large number of products from some of the islands most of the imports came from the US and St Thomas. Because we had no banks here the business owners here were required to make payments by Bank Draft at the time. Having to do this required the merchants giving cash money to the captain of whatever boat was going to St. Thomas to pick up their shipment to make payment at the bank, collect the documents and then proceed to the West Indian Company Dock to collect all shipments. In regards to Antigua and St. Kitts, in many instances, the captains would be given cash to purchase the items for the business owners and I never one day heard anyone said they were ever cheated or robbed. 

Dependable: Virgin Islanders were dependable; if they told you they were going to do something, they did; unlike today where we have all kinds of communication and people make all kinds of promises yet you never ever hear from them in many instances.

Integrity and Morals: These two are closely related and I find that there is such a large percentage of people, especially many politicians and influential persons have no idea the importance of these. I suggest they read the book, “Against the tide” by Noel Brown, an Irish Politician.

Pride: While pride can be either positive or negative, we had pride in the way we loved one another, we kept the Territory, our homes, our town and our villages, the way we interacted with each other and the way we worked together so those who came to live among us and visitors admired and respected us.

United: We were a united people and two examples of that were when Dolph Faulkner, Glanville Fonseca and Carlton de Castro were able to organize the 1949 March and Walter de Castro and Noel with others organized the Positive Action Movement in the 1960s. Today because of the modern-day politicians and political parties we now have a very decisive people. Today it is all about “what’s in it for ME?”. It’s I and Me, no longer WE and US.

And what has made the situation in this territory worst is that many of us don’t know the name of the territory and many of those who do know “don’t give a damn”. Yet, all of those that do not care about our name went to great length in many instances to find some unique names for their own children and businesses. Until the UK changes our name it’s, The Virgin Islands and we are Virgin Islanders.

2 Responses to “Who are we?”

  • keeping it a billion (08/05/2018, 14:18) Like (10) Dislike (1) Reply
    Good piece. Our foundation has been compromised.
  • guy hill (09/05/2018, 01:59) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    When a person acts knowingly, wilfully and intentionally, they satisfy three "culpable" mental states. Seize the time. Guilty as charge.


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