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Time to discuss ‘Independence’—HoA Speaker Moses

--“I call it Hurricane UK” Alvera Maduro-Caines, says of decision imposing 'public registers'
Speaker of the Virgin Islands’ (VI) House of Assembly, Ms Ingrid A. Moses, (at centre) is flanked (to her right) by colleague Alvera Maduro-Caines during an interview on a radio show, while in the Cayman Islands for the 2018 CPA Conference. Photo: Team of Reporters
Bermuda’s, Thomas C. Famous, who spoke to that country’s experience, with the Cayman Compass. The Bermudian politician—also a Virgin Islands News Online, Columnist—told the Compass that Bermuda’s constitution puts it in a stronger position than other territories when it comes to challenging the UK over beneficial ownership. Photo: VINO/File
Bermuda’s, Thomas C. Famous, who spoke to that country’s experience, with the Cayman Compass. The Bermudian politician—also a Virgin Islands News Online, Columnist—told the Compass that Bermuda’s constitution puts it in a stronger position than other territories when it comes to challenging the UK over beneficial ownership. Photo: VINO/File
“I call it Hurricane UK,” added Alvera Maduro-Caines, another VI politician in attendance at the conference. Photo: VINO/File
“I call it Hurricane UK,” added Alvera Maduro-Caines, another VI politician in attendance at the conference. Photo: VINO/File
GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands –The decision by the United Kingdom (UK), calling on some of its Overseas Territories to establish registers of beneficial ownership, has re-ignited a new wave of independence debates.

The matter was again recently addressed by Speaker of the Virgin Islands’ (VI) House of Assembly, Ms Ingrid A. Moses, while in the Cayman Islands for the a Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Conference held from June 15 – 23, 2018.

Speaking with the Cayman Compass, Ms Moses said the UK law on beneficial ownership was another “direct hit” on the island, and had prompted new discussion on independence.

According to the VI Speaker, independence is a difficult issue in the British Territory, but many now feel it is something that has to be discussed.

“We haven’t had a serious discussion on self-determination but all these matters have come together and that is starting to happen. We have to have a conversation so that persons are not afraid of what they don’t know,” she said.

Hurricane UK

The VI Speaker told the Cayman Compass, the UK had given the VI a $400 million loan, which would have to be repaid, to help with rebuilding after the hurricane.

“Now they are trying to shut down the industry that would have helped us be able to pay it back,” she said.

The VI derives 60 percent of its government income from financial services and the Territory’s Leaders, including Premier, Dr the Honourable D. Orlando Smith, have indicated they will oppose any move toward introducing a public beneficial ownership registry until it becomes a global standard.

Ms Moses reminded the VI Constitution guarantees autonomy on domestic matters and as such was preparing to challenge the order in court.

“I call it Hurricane UK,” added Alvera Maduro-Caines, another VI politician in attendance at the conference.


The Cayman Islands 2018 CPA Conference, also saw participation from neighbouring Bermuda’s, Thomas C. Famous MP, who spoke to that country’s experience, with the Cayman Compass.

The Bermudian politician—also a Virgin Islands News Online, Columnist—told the Compass that Bermuda’s constitution puts it in a stronger position than other territories when it comes to challenging the UK over beneficial ownership.

“We have said no, we are not doing it. We are not going to take orders from England. We will open up our books when everybody else does, when it becomes a global standard. Our constitution is a little bit different to the Cayman Islands. It is 50 years old and provides for self-government. We can’t be governed by Westminster,” he said.


He believes similar leverage is unlikely to be granted to the Cayman Islands before 2020 – the deadline set by the UK for its territories to introduce public beneficial ownership registers or have it imposed on them through an order in council. “Let’s be realistic,” he added.

“If Britain is telling the overseas territories, we want you to open up your books; they are not going to give you a constitution that allows you to say no. They may give it to you afterwards, but not by 2020.”

He warned that even with a stronger constitution, Bermuda would have to fight, potentially through the courts, to defend its right to self-governance.

“If Britain really wants us to open the books, they are not going to back off. We will have to fight and say our constitution doesn’t allow it, but that is still going to be their desire.”

Mr Famous believes Bermuda and other Overseas Territories will ultimately have to push for independence if they want to control their own destinies.

Total Sovereignty

“I personally feel Bermuda is heading towards total sovereignty because the UK will, in one way or another, continue to impose its will on us,” he said.

Though independence is a stated long-term goal of Mr Famous’s party, the Progressive Labour Party, the island’s Premier David Burt has indicated it is not on the immediate agenda.

Mr Famous said the population was still split on the issue, but he believes more people are beginning to question the relationship with the UK

“People realize the days of being dictated to by England need to come to an end,” he added.

VI Discontent, Protests, Boycott

The Cayman Compass reported a similar atmosphere of discontent fermenting in the VI, where residents boycotted the Queen’s Birthday celebrations in a show of protest against the UK

Many were already unhappy at the level of support they received from the UK in the aftermath of hurricanes Irma and Maria last year.

The UK decision itself also saw resident’s taking to the street by the thousands in what was the VI’s largest protest demonstration in its history.

Close to 5,000 persons took to the streets in Road Town, Tortola, on May 24, 2018, to protest the move by the UK Government.

A petition has since been handed over to the UK Government through its Representative in the Territory.

The demonstration was held in wake of the UK House of Commons and House of Lords supporting the amendment to the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill, demanding that only Overseas Territories located in the Caribbean operate registers of beneficial ownership.

The Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill, has since received the Royal Assent and became an Act on May 23, 2018.

The VI Government says it will only comply when the standard becomes a global one.


25 Responses to “Time to discuss ‘Independence’—HoA Speaker Moses”

  • ausar (26/06/2018, 10:09) Like (28) Dislike (5) Reply
    Sadly, I'm afraid that my people are not ready for this and are not interested!
  • one eye (26/06/2018, 11:34) Like (3) Dislike (3) Reply
    look out myrun candidate for the 6th
  • Rubber Duck (26/06/2018, 11:41) Like (30) Dislike (4) Reply
    imagine independence with she and funny man in charge. they want to kill we HELL NO HELL NO HELL NO
    • crazy (26/06/2018, 20:22) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
      This is craziness what the hell TORTOLA have to go INDENDANT only fools will consider that at this time people that is some thing we will to protest if this place go independent we will be better off dead. PEOPLE take a good look at this place and tell me if we can go that root set of ///// ///.
  • native (26/06/2018, 11:45) Like (13) Dislike (1) Reply
    You all Hell bent on Self Determination ; has BVI joined with other O T and present a UNIFIED case to the UK about this open registry “effects” on ALL inhabitians oc these Tertitories ?
    Let BVI government keep the people informed as to what is happening and how it is being daalt with . Not after the fact “ bvi proverb” shut d door after d horse bolt
  • Indy who? (26/06/2018, 12:18) Like (31) Dislike (0) Reply
    Independent so we can NEVER EVER produce audited financial records of government spending?!?! Y’all must be friggin’ nuts! So these corrupt politicians who go in broke and somehow manage to become enriched during their time - no sah!! Then ayo going use what currency? The EC$..? Dreamers who want to protect their self interests are calling for independence but the vast majority know the REAL truth in the matter - we are just NOT ready!
  • home (26/06/2018, 12:57) Like (2) Dislike (28) Reply
    get out from under UK now
  • wize up (26/06/2018, 12:58) Like (37) Dislike (0) Reply
    I find it amazing that the few who managed to fill their pockets during their term in governmental office have this haste for independents: the people of this territory have to be consulted on the matter or matters involving independence: let us go to the poles and vote for or against this subject: if we have such unacceptably under the current governmental system can you imagine what this place will be like under independence where these guys makes their own rules and policies..... the majority must rule not just the privileged few(let the people of this territory choose independence or not.....)
  • Law Abiding citizen (26/06/2018, 13:29) Like (12) Dislike (1) Reply
    Are you crazy?!
    • rewrsdffds (26/06/2018, 15:59) Like (3) Dislike (4) Reply
      The bvi is the only islands asking for independace innthe caribbean. Good luck. Green cards anyone? Dont say it cant happen either noone throught trump would get has morons out there.
  • guy hill (26/06/2018, 13:58) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
    Ok. At what cost? That should be paramount in the discussion.
    • E. Leonard (27/06/2018, 10:09) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      @Guy Hill, undoubtedly, the decision to pursue independence narrows to a cost-benefit analysis.

  • lordie (26/06/2018, 14:26) Like (34) Dislike (5) Reply
    They are in a rush for independence because the UK is about to open the book on these corrupt politicians who received millions from outside investors and money laundering millionaires and billionaires to hide their funds or let me say it in the attorney who like to be in thing, privatize their funds from their country's governments so they can't pay their equal share of taxes.

    NDP must and will go!
  • BVI Be Aware (26/06/2018, 15:04) Like (19) Dislike (0) Reply
    Definitely, the people of the BVI are not ready for Independence and must not allow the NDP to force us down this path. What does the people of the BVI stand to gain going independent under this regime, that has spent the Territory's funds wrecklessly, and refused to answer legitimate questions on accountability in the HoA? If the UK wants us to go independent from under their jurisdiction, then they also need to speak with us as a people and give us viable options as to how they will assist us, where we will still need assistance - not a sink or swim option. As a people we have to think for ourselves and prepare our questions for whoever comes to us with their speeches, not be gullible to just fall for the first "pie in the sky" lie. Be vigilant BVI!
  • Myo (26/06/2018, 17:23) Like (10) Dislike (21) Reply
    Why are some of us hell bent on Brest feeding when there is no milk? U.K. cut us off since 1976. Do you not all understand we have been supporting ourselves ever since. The only thing the U.K. give us money for was to build a jail. That's how little they think of us. All persons are saying is that we must enter talks about independence. No one has ever said we are going to jump into it because everyone know independent is not a one year development. It takes years before it can materialize. The things we are suppose to be afraid of, we are not. Next thing the U.K. will be telling us how many children we could have and how many cars we can own.. like you all want to go back to slavery but I will not be going there with you all. People open your eyes and see what the U.K. is trying to do. Take us back to a place where our fathers fought so hard to get us from. When they shut down our financial services, how are we to pay for our homes,? how are we to support our children?do you realize how many of our people work in this sector? Do you all think the government manufacture money? 60% of our income comes from financial services. Some of us really jokey..wake up people.
    • Wrong (27/06/2018, 03:40) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      The bvi has been self sufficient since then that why the u.k dosent have to give us aide our gdp per capita is 42,000 while the u.k own is 38,000. Monserratt still gets aide probally anguilla if some of the caribbean island if they didnt go independan they would still be getting aide
  • Exhale (26/06/2018, 18:03) Like (5) Dislike (7) Reply
    Plainly the word ‘discuss’ is mentioned by the Hon Speaker. I read nowhere in this article her saying we are going independent full speed ahead. Obviously there ought to be a discussion on independence, the pros and cons, and the people be included from the beginning. It could be a vote of Yes or No!

    Can we please start behaving like rational human beings, and not so emotionally deranged?!
    • @Exhale (27/06/2018, 08:32) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
      Own up to the reality in the BVI at this time - the NDP does not consult with the people. We only hear about decisions made, which will seriously affect the people after said decisions were made.
  • The TRUTH (26/06/2018, 19:59) Like (1) Dislike (4) Reply
    The people are was done by design so that we may be kept in perpetual servitude. What amazes me is how hard some of us fight to remain this way...but then again that's what being deranged is.
  • Eagle Eye (27/06/2018, 00:25) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    somebody tell Alvera to drive Purcell Estate main road please,then make a comment on the news.
  • Pay attention! (27/06/2018, 03:36) Like (13) Dislike (1) Reply
    I dont think most people understand what indpendance truly means. Yes the U.K may have over reached but we will need to work with them to sort something out. If we go down the path to independance 1. We lose our british citizenship along with our U.K passports and our BVI passports also (bvi passports are british passports and are property of her majesty read the inside). We would have to get our very own unique passports. 2. We lose our visa free acess to SXM, Puerto Rico, U.S.A, U.S.V.I etc. Aint no more trips to those places unless you go Barbados or where ever and hope it gets through for a fee. 3. The financial services if its still ok might totally fail as there is no sure security for investors to be sure that their money will be secure its because of American dollars and British security that things have been ok so far. 4. We might lose the ability to use dollars that was a negotiation between the U.K and the U.S that allows us to use it ask why no other caribbean island uses it. 5. Economy there is nothing here that the bvi makes or could even compete on a regional or global scale. Establishing trade links would be tough. Which other island this size in the world can compete globally? Wages will drop as only tourism would then support us which is not guarenteed as other caribbean islands and the world we compete with. 6. Protection we would need to pay for protection every caribbean island does. We think that would do this for national pride and getting from under the colonizers but then go to uncle same for green cards. Ask yourselves why so much down island people maybe 50% of our population are here. Ask why America, Canada and the U.K are filled with down island people. This is'nt being white washed or what other word you want to describe me but I don't think you guys understand what this would mean. Ask the USVI, St.maartin, puerto rico if they would go independant none of them would...they know better. Read this link all who criticize
    • Pay attention! (27/06/2018, 07:22) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
      Have a read yourselves fellow virgin islanders at what indepenance did. Be proud virgin islanders but dont let that over inflate your heads and not realize what type of dog eat dog world we live in and the size of the virgin islands. We may need a constuitional change or whatever but independance will be the destruction of the bvi. Even on a caribbean scale the vi is small imagine comparing it to countries several thousands of times bigger. Jamaica which is almost 100× the size of the vi and the other islands dozens of times way bigger than the vi regret independance. Things to think about along with getting black listed. If you think that this is a race thing then you need to look at the world on a bigger scale see how things works instead of being trapped inside of a 59 sq mile bubble the bvi is smaller than st.croix. less people than st.thomas thats an accurate idea to think about.
  • Barbs (27/06/2018, 10:17) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    @Pay Attention
    I've been saying the same thing for years now. Independence is a very serious thing and as small country we need to the think this through and through. Don't be like our other Caribbean brothers and sisters and haste to independence because we don't like being told what to do. Before we start with this look at them carefully, look at the their pitfalls and a succession so we can chart the right course if we do go that route. What happen is to many of us continue to allow persons who only think of themselves and their wants and needs in the right now right here and not for the future to lead us astray. These persons should not be allowed to chart the course for an entire nation. Also look at Jamaica, Trinidad and Guyana, three of the largest and mineral rich countries but over 2 million citizens from each country live outside of them. That is 2 million each. And if you look around you would realize that more citizens from these independent nations live in dependent countries and smaller one at that that even citizens of the said country. To me this says a lot about their choice for independence and I have friend from some who have personally said to me they think they took independence to early.
    What I suggest is we lobby for a seat at the table in the House Assembly in the UK similar to that of those in the US Territories. Let pool our resources together and make a case as to why we should be seated in the house. Independence should not be our only option.
  • TinyWiny (17/07/2018, 11:38) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Agree with those people pointing out what an INSANE idea it is to go independence.
    BVIslanders have this crazy idea that the BVI is something like the wider world. But we forget that we are absolutely tiny in real world terms. To get all pride-filled and start strutting around like a big-man insulted - it's madnes and all based on delusion from oversize BVI ego.
    By standards of any country in the world we are the size of a small suburb or village. Think about it like this - almost all the voters are related to each other or a member of government or civil service. In other words, loyalties are more powerful than principles because someone is your relative and you won't let the family name get stained. Or look at the fact that we only have one high school, so everyone in the whole civil service, politics and local community - they all went to the same school! We are a small village and even though we might have the pride of a large continent, let us not forget that in the wider world, our chances of prospering and our grandchildren prospering, are tiny.

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