The present discomfort and nervousness with United Kingdom indirect rule of the Virgin Islands is a very necessary wake-up call for the territory.
We all know that the grandstanding and theatrics of various VI politicians in response to the UK Cabinet’s subtle but clear interventions in the territory’s affairs is just that: theatrics. The recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry must happen in the time given by the governor, or the territory will experience direct UK rule. It is that simple.
It is best we get on with what the commission recommends, or the discomfort with UK intervention will be an extended reality.
Politicians are a proud lot, and eating humble pie is not in their DNA — especially after experiencing the mirage of power for decades. Having the rug of power pulled from under is a shock to any system.
‘Autopilot to disaster’
For years, the territory was on autopilot to disaster. Suspicion of nepotism, victimisation, corruption, entitlement, mismanagement, criminal misconduct and toxic secrecy were a present and poisonous silhouette hovering over the land. These suspicions were a bad genie kept in check inside Aladdin’s lamp.
However, poor diplomacy, miscalculation and allegations of criminal misconduct at the highest levels of government were the raisons d’être for a COI into allegations of criminal misconduct in government. The genie was out of the bottle.
The arrest of the territory’s premier and another high-level official on allegations of conspiring to use the territory as a base for drug smuggling into the United States was the main trigger that put all the preceding allegations and suspicions into one box. The COI laid out the genie on the operating table for thorough examination.
It was an excellent reason for intervention by the governor, who after all is tasked with final oversight of the territory.
I hope that the VI and its people will benefit from this experience in getting the territory’s governance overhauled and establishing a structure that will prevent impunity and criminal behaviour by high-level officials in the future.
We should all view the COI and its recommendations as a blessing. Because that is exactly what it is.
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