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Independent countries can't be free if rest of region is not- Dr June Soomer

- said independent countries in region should help the VI to achieve its independence
Chair of The UWI Open Campus Council and former Secretary General of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) Dr June Soomer has questioned why the Virgin Islands (VI) is not independent despite having achieved much on its own. Photo: GIS/File
'We cannot truly be free as a people coming out of enslavement. If the people, the rest of the region, and the people who surround us are not also free,' She said on the November 10, 2022, edition of Territories Talk. Photo: Facebook
'We cannot truly be free as a people coming out of enslavement. If the people, the rest of the region, and the people who surround us are not also free,' She said on the November 10, 2022, edition of Territories Talk. Photo: Facebook
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI - Chair of The UWI Open Campus Council and former Secretary General of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) Dr June Soomer has questioned why the Virgin Islands (VI) is not independent despite having achieved much on its own.

“We cannot truly be free as a people coming out of enslavement if the people, the rest of the region and the people who surround us, are not also free,” Dr Soomer said on the November 10, 2022, edition of Territories Talk.

Dr Soomer, who is also working on the National Sustainable Development Plan for the Virgins Islands, said when independence movements evolved in the Caribbean, it was a collaboration and this should be the order.

“We held each other's hands as we went along. So people like Errol Barrow from Barbados was very much in tune with bringing the countries from the OECS along the independence path.

“But we seem to have stopped in that process of decolonisation and making the region free. We seem to have said ok, we are independent, so let us move on with our business."

C'bean should move OTs to full decolonization - Dr Soomer 

Dr Soomer added that the independent Caribbean region should instead be moving with the OTs towards full decolonisation, given they have the opportunity at the United Nations to do that.

“Let us lobby the independent countries, you have to start speaking for yourself…  I am in the Virgin Islands right now and I understand that this country is a country that has been funding its own budget from the 1970s,” she said. 

“We are doing things for ourselves. I say we, because I grew up every summer since I was 14 in the Virgin Islands. So  I'm in love with this country also, and I understand that independent thinking of this country in bringing itself from being designated a bird sanctuary to where it is today with a thriving tourist industry, [a] thriving financial services industry. Why isn't it independent?” the St Lucia national questioned.

Dr Soomer added that questions like that should spark conversations as it pertains to the consciousness as a people. “I think that while you are still trying to bring yourself together, we have a role in the decolonising process that we have not assumed as independent territories, that we need to step forward away from our comfort zone right now and assist you in moving forward,” she added.

29 Responses to “Independent countries can't be free if rest of region is not- Dr June Soomer”

  • WEW (15/11/2022, 14:15) Like (35) Dislike (11) Reply
    You're right. The BVI can too be just like Haiti
    • lol (15/11/2022, 15:20) Like (26) Dislike (1) Reply
      Exactly! Any of them clamouring for decolonization of Puerto Rico and USVI? All this wailing because successive BVI Governments and their corruption have wasted of given away the BVI children's birthright and the UK pulled the plug
    • Josiahsbay (15/11/2022, 18:02) Like (24) Dislike (4) Reply
      @WEW: Do you know the history of Haiti? Haiti is where it's at principally because of military threats and a forced freedom debt initiated by France. The US also bullied Haiti by failing to recognize them as an independent country with continual and consistent interference.
    • Frew (17/11/2022, 10:18) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Never heard of this person.
  • ok (15/11/2022, 15:46) Like (1) Dislike (2) Reply
    When BVI get independent to VI after that you might loss the waiver to USA because no caricom countries have a waiver , plus all caricom countries get nationals here .
    • Josiahsbay (15/11/2022, 18:07) Like (3) Dislike (2) Reply
      We might keep the waiver and negotiate for a better association with the US that's also possible.
      • resident (15/11/2022, 19:40) Like (2) Dislike (4) Reply
        Fahie and Maynard can put a good word in for us; I expect we'll be snapped up!
  • Does UK care? (15/11/2022, 16:24) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
    After the new constitution is completed we will know if the UK care for our children
  • Funny (15/11/2022, 16:51) Like (21) Dislike (25) Reply
    and go down the drain like all the other "independents" in the region have you seen the state of Roseau after 35yrs of independence , also Haiti and the crime levels in TT SVG and all the other independents that all clamour to come to the BVI, this lady does not live in reality.
    • hmm! (16/11/2022, 11:00) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      thought is me alone independent land child that is seeing this here, let them go ahead without dotting their I's and crossing their T's. go right ahead, another skerrit , ralph, fidel, papa doc, and the list goes on they want. Jealousy does kill kamem! when the time comes they will run just like others if they do not check themselves out properly. Stop making these people come run mouth when they fully know better. People love singing for their supper which they have a right to, still pointing to the top part of the statement. hmm!
  • Loosemouth (15/11/2022, 17:47) Like (31) Dislike (2) Reply
    I am surprised by the verbal recklessness that comes out of the mouth of persons who should be educated. Is this a contest? You just get in front of a microphone and say things just because it's a popular topic and it may make you feel important. I am for self-determination. I am for independence but we are behaving as if it is something you could just wake up and change. Let me say this, as soon as we become independent our financial services will change for many reasons. One single issue in the financial market could plunge us into economical woes. One so-called virus or a hurricane could ruin our Tourism Industry. Can we then rely on the other independent countries in the region? Or should we become like them running to China or Taiwan to help us out?
  • History (15/11/2022, 18:30) Like (18) Dislike (7) Reply
    I’m not clear on what she thinks the BVI has achieved on its own, besides participating in narco trafficking.
    • @History (15/11/2022, 21:50) Like (8) Dislike (5) Reply
      Every country in the world deal with narcotics amd have bean long before the BVI. It is you large country people who introduce it to the BVI.
    • @History (16/11/2022, 11:46) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
      It has achieved your jealous, ungrateful, parasite feeding off its economic resources. Go home and feed of that!
  • Really (15/11/2022, 18:38) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Independent countries: "Watch us"
  • Majority (15/11/2022, 19:47) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    of the Eastern Caribbean islands are aligned with European countries and NOT seeking independence. This lady needs to drop down from the clouds and visit these various islands then their mother countries in Europe soon.
  • Yes to UK (15/11/2022, 21:00) Like (16) Dislike (1) Reply
    Woman you need to stay out of the BVI business, the independent islands are no better off than us in fact I think we are much better than most of you who are independent.
  • Thomas Famous (15/11/2022, 21:14) Like (9) Dislike (5) Reply
    You all need some history lessons.

    The Brits never left any Caribbean colony in pristine conditions pre independence

    Lack of Schools
    Lack of Hospitals
    Lack of Roads

    Up until the 1990s (post independence) most of these islands were still agricultural economies. It was post independence that they transformed themselves into tourism and financial service meccas.

    Please do some research. They were not better off under The Crown.
    • ermmm.... (15/11/2022, 21:55) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
      Dominica... do your own research
      • :) (16/11/2022, 11:17) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
        Being a Dominican I can tell you, Though, afterwards, a lot of businesses evolved, factories, agriculture strived, things were going well. development and jobs were there. After some time when the independency and power went to the leaders heads things became brown and independency turned into dependency. Watch yourselves BVI, when stepping into Independency. You see we warning you all left, right, and center; ok!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You all keep asking why we leaving and coming (though all didnt come for the same reasons), I guess because the economy was monitored and it being so help to push you all in the right direction seeing that self reliance is something that you all want to show. Though power and greed did still push its head, just imagine if it wasn't monitored. People go to where stability looks ok. If that isn't standard and becomes shaky in the name of Independence, they same way people left there homelands, is the same way you all will leave you all own in the name of stability, watch you all selves please. hmm!
  • Well Well (16/11/2022, 02:13) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    Never hear them clambering for independence of St Martin, ABC Islands or Martinique.
  • @junesoomer (16/11/2022, 18:54) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    The UK is NOT preventing the VI from becoming independent. The VI can do so anytime. The UK made the BOTs a part of the UK. The Dutch, French and US did the same with their Caribbean territories. Why aren’t you advocating for their independence too? The same countries that broke up the Federation in 1962 because they could not agree on a capital, prime minister and joint administration of a single state of multiple islands will offer nothing to help the VI but empty words.
    Look at Indonesia and Philippines, two of the largest island archipelagos each ruled as a single country, each with islands much bigger than most of the Caribbean islands. They did it, but not the selfish, insular former British Caribbean.
    The VI will choose its own path forward in iits own time and one it’s own terms. Stay out of their business and mind yours.
    • Undercover Observer (17/11/2022, 21:29) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      @@junesoomer, “ The UK made the BOTs a part of the UK.” No, the BOTs are not integral part of the U.K. if they were, anyone wanting to breakaway would have to secede from the UK. The British Empire was vast but not a single former territory was integrated into the U.K.
  • @ @ history (16/11/2022, 22:38) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Yeah U right , all these outsiders only spoiling we holy virgin islanders in our holy land / he'll mo we are going to fight back , even if it takes sitting in the streets especially since we got hung , drugs and a tiny bit of killings once in a while / accidental of course / corruption unheard of , so we ,( R - ight ????
  • Mustang (17/11/2022, 16:45) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    The Anglophone Caribbean is not one sovereign country; it would ideal and in the best interest of the Region’s people if the countries were united but they are not. They are widely disperse and discrete units. As the good Doc statement is rather interesting:”We cannot truly be free as a people coming out of enslavement if the people, the rest of the region and the people who surround us, are not also free,” Dr Soomer said on the November 10, 2022, edition of Territories Talk. Indeed, people in independent countries can be free, even though some its regional brethren may be still fighting for their freedom. Yes, free countries can support non-free countries fight for their freedom. Independence is a big step and countries must be prepared and ready for independence. Having the right to pursue self-determination is one thing but being prepared and ready is yet another thing. The people have to decide if the BVI is ready for and want independence. To date, the people have not been given that choice.


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