This week I read a commentary about the Commission of Inquiry in the Beacon’s Aug. 26 edition, which was captioned “COI seen to bring checks, balances.” As someone who dabbled in politics briefly, I cannot let this commentary pass without a response, even though I would have liked to ignore it for the sake of peace.

This is why I believe that if this COI accomplishes nothing else, it would have created a lot of unnecessary confusion. I just wish that they would go home and clean up their own backyard and leave us to clean up our own. They don’t have any greater moral authority than we do, and because I choose not to address it at this point in time, it doesn’t mean that I am ignorant of it.

But that aside, I need to address this commentary. The writer contextualises his comments with a thinly veiled accusation of corruption among powerful people.

“Absolute power corrupts absolutely,” he stated.

Then he made an illogical leap in asserting that people who are powerful (and by extension, corrupt) cannot be humble. He added that he knows only one politician in the Virgin Islands who at present qualifies to escape his label of “corrupt” and not “humble.”

Moreover, with his story of a well-known man who became a leader, he reaches back into the past to accuse a particular politician and his “predecessors” (though I believe he meant “successors”).


‘Upset and offended’

Clearly, the writer hasn’t been here long enough to speak with authority on such matters, and as a former politician (not elected), I claim the right to be upset and offended. The writer is out of step, out of line, and positively very much out of place. I was 4 years old when the legislature was restored in 1950, and I grew up learning about politicians who met the “high mark of integrity and virtue.”

It is true that when I returned from my studies abroad in the mid-1980s, I noticed some disturbing trends in the territory. The population had doubled and the seeds for socio-political dysfunction were being sown. What caused these changes is anybody’s guess, but I think that the writer of the offensive commentary needs to ask himself some questions. Who changed? Was it the politicians or the people? He may not be in the position to answer that question unless he was here in the 1950s when it all started.