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VI needed new direction but not forced upon by UK Gov't– Willock

-says weakness of the CoI reform process is that the people of the territory were not brought along in the process
Former Speaker of the Virgin Islands House of Assembly (HoA) Julian Willock says while he welcomes reform and a new direction in the VI, that reform must not be forced upon the people and the local government by the United Kingdom (UK) Government. Photo: GIS/File
The former speaker said the VI people have also said to the government and Premier, Dr the Hon Natalio D. Wheatley (R7) that the ‘we’ the people must also be involved in the happenings and process, however, that did not happen from the beginning. Photo: GIS/Facebook
The former speaker said the VI people have also said to the government and Premier, Dr the Hon Natalio D. Wheatley (R7) that the ‘we’ the people must also be involved in the happenings and process, however, that did not happen from the beginning. Photo: GIS/Facebook
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – Former Speaker of the Virgin Islands House of Assembly (HoA) Julian Willock says while he welcomes reform and a new direction in the VI, that reform must not be forced upon the people and the local government by the United Kingdom (UK) Government.

The former Speaker was at the time a guest on the Bermuda radio talk show, "Motion to Adjourn - Territories Talk' on Thursday, October 13, 2022.

Most of the recommendations good - Willock 

“My position is, that most of the recommendations that were made are good… we definitely needed a new direction, we definitely needed to do things differently in terms of policy… in terms of making sure that all our I’s are dotted and T’s are crossed.”

“But in a partnership, it cannot be forced upon you. We must do this reform because they are right for us to do, not because we are at the barrel of a gun and someone is forcing us to do them,” he added.

The former speaker said the VI people have also said to the government and Premier, Dr the Hon Natalio D. Wheatley (R7) that the ‘we’ the people must also be involved in the happenings and process, however, that did not happen from the beginning.

“They are critics who are saying that it was unfortunate and wrong for the Premier to sign off on all the recommendations without coming back to the people… but in a democracy, it goes both ways, you must consult your people, you must get your people along because when there is tension, you’re going to need your people to be there with you,” he added.

Weakness in CoI Reform process 

He added, however, that one weakness of the reform process is that the people were not brought along in the process.

Mr Willock underscored that while reform is good and change is hard, he does respects the partnership with the UK, “But it must be a partnership based on mutual respect, based on that we are all human, we are all striving for the same thing… and good governance does that mean that only the political class must get all the pressure.”

He said that the Governor, H.E. John J. Rankin, CMG, too must be pressured to be proactive in good governance so that all in the VI will be under the same law and this will lead to the strengthening of the local democracy.

18 Responses to “VI needed new direction but not forced upon by UK Gov't– Willock”

  • hmmm (15/10/2022, 14:40) Like (3) Dislike (20) Reply
    HAve to say the former Speaker has been very objective with his analysis of the situation
  • Kez (15/10/2022, 15:29) Like (14) Dislike (0) Reply
    it will be a challenge to find all 13 persons who have a bright future for our people and all those who have made BVI home: that thing u call money in conjunction with a political position have disrupted the development on this place:

    We need political people that have the interest of the people: make sure we have fully functional sewage systems: stable running streets water: smooth public highways: higher education systems for our children:

    I understand the system because we can not help your own people but can quickly hand out a few million to an outside company(for whatever reason
  • Native Senior Citizen of the British Virgin Islands. (15/10/2022, 15:32) Like (1) Dislike (2) Reply
    Former Speaker of the House, Mr. Julian Willock, I am in agreement with you that the VI need new direction.
    If we humbly ourselves, and recognized each other human rights, then no other nation, not even the UK, will be justified in their mind to feel that it has any tight to force their werght on us as it please them. But for as long as our political leaders believe, and continue practicing unjust domanance over the employer, the people, the UK's help is welcome. Mine opinion.

    Thank you Mr. Julian Willock for your clear and fair position on this issue. Respect.
  • ccc (15/10/2022, 15:33) Like (4) Dislike (18) Reply
    Hats off to Julian he on point yall
  • okay (15/10/2022, 16:01) Like (7) Dislike (2) Reply
    Must say not a fan of him but I have to agree with his points. he running? If so with who? And why? Bigger question....are we having elections or not?
  • Phhit fire (15/10/2022, 16:11) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
    Listen to the message not the messenger
  • The premeir we need (15/10/2022, 16:17) Like (2) Dislike (10) Reply
    Willock you are right again.
    • All of you answer. (09/11/2022, 13:40) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Name 3 significant development the BVI has made in the past 20 yrs in a billion dollar annual economy. ? Time to stop making excuses for our people failures. They have failed. And failed badly. Seems like they are good at wasting money..More Rental property year by year. I can go on and on ...Nothing to show...I was hoping we would have a "BVI Tower at Port Purcell" after acquiring that land so long ago Owned by the BVI. It's shameful.
  • E. Leonard (15/10/2022, 19:22) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
    The [British] Virgin Islands (VI) stumbled badly as it was forging ahead in its growth and development campaign, pursuing a higher level of self-determination with greater rights, freedom, democracy, etc, enjoyed by other people elsewhere. Consequently, it (people) must chart a new path, a new direction. However, the people, the stakeholders, must be a paramount player in the chart room, the plot room, where the new path is being charted. Whatever plan is proposed the people must be engaged, involved, and contribute to the discussions on the define goals and objectives, briefed on opportunities and challenges face, weigh on the choices for the territory’s future, briefed on the costs and benefits, and engaged on the decision making.

    The events earlier in the year, ie, CoI, and some alleged bad behavior by some senior public officials ,exposed major structural and catastrophic failures in the governing process. As such, there is much debate on the Why, Why, Why, Why, and Why. That debate is healthy. But the past cannot be undone. The focus now must be on finding the root cause of the catastrophic failures (5 Why process can be a useful tool), develop plan of actions and milestones to prevent and/or minimize future failures. It is instructive to note that failures are inevitable (many subscribe to theory that if you are not failing, you are not actively doing). Countries, organizations, institutions, agencies, people, individuals, etc failed. In a twisted way, there are positive outcomes to failures. When failure occurs, we must lean forward and fail forward, ie, learn from the failures and capitalize on the failures. The UK has and has had failures; the VI has and has had failures. The difference is that the UK is a developed country and its people are allowed to determined how its failures are addressed. On the other hand, the Vi is in a different situation. Under the old (present) colonial structure, it is an Overseas Territory (OT) of the UK whereby the UK as the Administering Power under the UN charter has unilateral power over it. It (VI) is listed as self-governing but that is a mirage. Its constitution is a dependency model with the governor, the de facto head of state) having a) retain power, b) assigned responsibilities, c)reserve powers, and d) assent power. A single commissioner of a CoI wields great power and influence in recommending the suspension of constitution of the VI. Would the constitution of Wales, Scotland, or Northern Island be suspended on the recommendation of a single commissioner, though they are an integral part of the UK? The VI has few devolve powers and the few that are devolved are easily reversible, ie, suspending the constitution. The UK touts that it and OTs are one family. However, words are not what but the actions of words are what matters.

    Moreover, the confluence of the release of the CoI, and the arrest of senior public officials put the VI government in a disadvantaged and awkward position. It was in prisoner’s dilemma, a major concept in game theory, situation. As noted earlier, the UK has unilateral power over the VI. So I will take a WAG from afar that the government had to move with skill and alacrity to avoid the VI constitution being suspended. Virgin Islanders on the ground at the 30’ level are in a better position to assess the pros and cons of the government’s decision. Nonetheless, by an order in council, the constitution was still suspended but is being held in abeyance. It is being held over the VI and its people like the Sword of Damocles.

    The VI needs a codified 10-, 20-, or 30-year comprehensive plan (national development plan. The plan should set forth goals, objectives, strategies, tactics, and execution plans. Change will require all Virgin Islanders hand on deck, working collectively, cooperatively and collaboratively for positive change. In 1968-69, when Anguilla fought to secede from the Associated Statehood of St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla, Anguillians came out all hands on deck.
    • Eagle and Buffalo (16/10/2022, 10:23) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
      @E. Leonard, you are advocating that the people must be actively engaged in charting a new course for the BVI. I agree wholeheartedly with that premise. However, what you give little attention to was that the people must shoulder the responsibility for the BVI colossal failure. The politicians are representatives of the people. They are not absolute decision makers; the true power rests with the people. In successive VIP and NDP administrations, the people lost focus , lost their sight or pretended to be blinded to wrong doings and poor performance so long as it personably benefited them. And as a result the, the BVI ran hard aground; it is beached on the reef. Some of the same people who are pretending to be stunned by what happened, have all the theories on why the BVI is in its current state, and have the panacea for solving the BVI problems—-UK suspending the constitution and imposing direct rule—-were silent as lambs, as church mouses. They are still silent as lambs, church mouses, and disengaged, hoping that other BVIslanders would step forward and advocate for change and hoping that the UK take over and instill full colonial rule. We seem to be happiest when the colonialists have their thumb on the scale on all BVI actions, buying into the false premise that Blacks are a defective human specie whose role is servile. How many governors sat comfortably by at Mount Olympus enjoying the fruits of BVI taxpayers labour as the UK enjoyed the fruit of Slaves labour and did nothing while Road Town crumbled? How many governors give annual throne speeches celebrating that all was well in the BVI? When was Jaspert last throne speech? How many governors chaired Cabinet meeting? Where is the responsibility and accountability for the governors? Silly question, for they are part of the UK’s good old boys club. We’re not they all given immunity during Hickinbottom’s one-sided, findings predetermined CoI? Now, the door is ajar that a few good old gals can squeeze thru. My fellow Virgin Islanders better awake from their slumber and come in from the darkness into the light of the 21st Century. Jump out of the little red wagon, hitch yourselves to it and start pulling. Do that or the BVI will remain hard aground. Good points bro!

      [Let us be led by eagles, not careen off the cliff like buffaloes]
    • @E. Leonard (16/10/2022, 13:34) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      @E. Leonard, you gone soft. You are provided cover for the supposed Unity Government not meeting with the people before selling out the country. You big shots are one and the same always s….g on the lil man. But Harry say you would hear. Election coming soon though.
  • All I would say for now (15/10/2022, 20:20) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
  • Annoncer (15/10/2022, 20:44) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    Most people would agree with you esteemed on this because we seem bent on destroying on going backwards. What you said makes sense and it’s the only way to save us
  • But… (16/10/2022, 07:21) Like (6) Dislike (1) Reply
    If the COI had not been called would ANYONE inside the government be singing this tune?…. NO…. They would have been carrying on as normal. Treating the BVI as if they alone own it and they can take what they want when they want….. we all know it.
  • Interested (16/10/2022, 07:23) Like (7) Dislike (1) Reply
    I hear what he is saying, but we left the UK no choice by our own actions
  • Say it again! (16/10/2022, 10:23) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Your puppet master!
  • BUSY BEE (16/10/2022, 11:33) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    Barrel of a gun? Seriously!?!
    Thank goodness for oversight! Left to certain individuals, no change would ever happen and the kleptocrats would only continue to enrich themselves while ever more deeply entrenching themselves, eventually to earn the sobriquet "Oligarch"!
  • cay (16/10/2022, 16:47) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Willock sound good but once he gets in he will become just like all of them

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