Congratulations to our newly elected members in the Virgin Islands House of Assembly, and God’s blessings throughout your term.
The campaigning was quite short. As a result, many candidates did not have much time to analyse and prepare, and they fell short on presentation.
Typically, the few candidates who make an impact in the campaigns but ultimately are not successful are sidelined for four years. I would suggest that Premier Andrew Fahie and his members evaluate those candidates and use them to assist regardless of affiliation.
As a people, we boast about our forefathers’ success, but we have taught a generation prejudiced behaviour, which has caused Virgin Islanders to diminish. Now we question what has the VI come to? But in reality, in order to return to our roots as a people, we must change our mindsets politically, socially and spiritually.
The new government must not get caught up in passion and pampering like the previous government did, but concentrate on the needs of the territory and its people. The power given to you should be extended to others.
Locally, we are behind in many areas. We have to discuss population control and the immigration of expatriates for domestic jobs. We thank God for those who have come in the earlier years, but we carry on a slave mentality. History shows that Virgin Islanders have dominated jobs before at all levels. The current mentality has caused a breakdown in our culture and conflict among our people.
We share the same attractions as our Caribbean neighbours, but their leaders are making greater strides to sustain their countries. We have to make sure our offspring are placed in society, so I would suggest that the new government work to raise the standard of certain jobs and declare them professional careers.
Furthermore, the Labour Department needs to revamp itself as a work agency with assigned agents labeled and numbered. This would give jobseekers access to their choice of job preference. The following areas need to be brought up to speed soonest with no major spending.
- The ambulance service should be improved across Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada and Jost Van Dyke.
- A basic army should be in place, in part to assist with maintenance for the islands and 24/7 emergency services.
- Aviation training should be provided, preferably for helicopters and firefighting aircraft.
- An animal control department is needed 24/7 with the use of protective gear, and adequate laws need to be in place for barking dogs, stray animals and so on.
- Our athletes should be supported as long as they adhere to rules and discipline. Our young people cannot play sports forever without advancing.
- A separate live-in facility should be staffed with sufficient manpower to care for the homeless and the mentally ill, as the present system is insufficient.
- Technology for farming and fishing should be upgraded.
Tourism, education, crime
As for the tourism product, a small factory or factories should be established for our local pastries, drinks and sweets.
Education must return to its traditional values as first priority. Advanced college education can be done at home with proper scheduling and the importation of the necessary equipment.
In addition, when it comes to law and order, the government, security forces and business community should have a more close-knit relationship, which will involve strategic planning. The VI has become a playground for crime. Certain offences committed by expatriates should be handed over to the Immigration Department for automatic deportation, instead of ending up in court. Such offences should include disturbances, threats, domestic abuse without major damage or death, overdue rent, fights and petty thievery. We cannot afford to have an overloaded jail in the VI.
As I prepare this article, I can think of a couple of unnecessary offences, one of which could have caused death or injury. The offenders should not be left to abuse their privileges and become a burden to government. More solid information needs to be collected at immigration from arriving guests, such as police records and proof of place of stay.
House of Assembly
Thirteen members in the HOA is not enough with a growing society in the VI. The government must train its people, and the people must train themselves. We have depended on those stalwarts who has gone forward in the 1970s through the mid 1990s and brought the VI to a level. After that we should have started shifting our mindsets toward ensuring that those who have become prominent people in the society collaborate their intelligence and become the investors, consultants and so on. This would have led to independent talks a long time ago.
Instead they are repeatedly given positions that do not move a society. Our civil service, which is the driving force in our society, must not only want to be known as qualified people, but must perform like qualified people. Currently, some take pleasure in being stumbling blocks.
As we progress, I advise the premier and government at large to utilise the natural intelligence of the people in the system. This is where the money is generated. We should be in control of our own destiny, take a piece of the world and leave what we have. We must restore peace and Godly practice among ourselves. This is the spirit of the VI.
— JACQUELINE WHEATLEY