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Sunday, Nov 27, 2022

OECS condemns a ‘UK takeover’ of VI

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As the people of the Virgin Islands (VI) begin to mobilise to demonstrate to the United Kingdom (UK) that they are not in favour of any direct rule as recommended in the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) Report, the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) has made it known that it stands with the people of the VI in rejecting direct rule by the UK.

According to the CoI Report, serious dishonesty may have taken place in Government and by Members of the House of Assembly (HoA) over recent years and recommended a temporary partial suspension of the constitution. This means that there would be neither ministers of government nor elected representatives and the VI would be run by the Governor.

VI Gov’t & people rejecting UK takeover


Acting Premier Dr the Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley (R7) has said the recommendations in the CoI Report could be implemented without the need for suspension of the legislature and constitution, and has called for a mutual partnership with the UK.

The people of the VI; however, have also been making their objection to possible direct rule known, via various platforms, including meetings and public demonstrations. Such as demonstration was held outside Government House today, May 2, 2022, where approximately 300 persons turned up at short notice. More demonstrations will be held over the next few days.

Direct colonial rule by UK has never worked well- OECS


The OECS also said it has noted the position taken by the duly elected Government of the VI which, while welcoming the recommendations arising from the Inquiry, rejects the intention of the British Government to impose direct rule on the VI.

“It is clear to us that, in principle, it is a bad idea to impose direct colonial rule and the history of such imposition in the Caribbean has never delivered the desired result.”

UK ‘bound’ by UN Declaration


The OECS said it concurs with the elected representatives of the people of the VI that abolition of Parliament with direct rule from London represents a retrograde step in the evolution of the democratic process that is inconsistent with the United Nations Proclamation of Human Rights to be free of colonial rule.

“The UN Declaration on granting independence to colonial countries and peoples - Resolution 1514 of 1960 is an international commitment to which Britain is itself bound.”

OECS urges UK to respect wishes of VI people


According to the OECS statement, the historical responsibility for strengthening governance in the VI must rest on the shoulders of the elected representatives and the people of the VI themselves. “That ultimately will be the guarantee of good governance and full, transparent accountability.

“We strongly urge the British Government to work with and support the elected Parliament in this process of rectification.”

The OECS also said it is willing and ready to provide technical and other support required by the VI as an Associate Member State in addressing the governance issues that need attention.

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