Dear Commissioner of Inquiry,
As touching as this commission of inquiry might be, what do you see? What do you understand is taking place? Let me give you my observations. This inquiry is an exercise in the pot calling the kettle-bottom black while both are cooking on open wood fires.
Another Bible analogy puts it like this: Take the plank out of your own eye, and you will be able to see to take the speck of dirt out of someone else’s eye. In other words, the commission of inquiry is hypocritical.
There is another proverb well known in the West Indies: One who lives in a glass house should not throw stones at other people’s glass houses. This inquiry is doing exactly that.
Let me bring you up to speed on Virgin Islands manners. Respect breeds respect. You are sent here to inquire about corruption among our leaders. But, Sir Gary Hickinbottom, we here in the VI had the best teacher: Great Britain.
Let me update you. My schooling began when I was age 5. The Methodist Church was the one who paid for the first five years of my schooling. Where was Great Britain when I stood in the sun squinting and singing, “Britannia, rule the waves”?
The other two years of my schooling took place in a building built by the women of the Anegada community from the proceeds of selling sugar cakes, coconut tarts and such things. That wooden building is now a sleeping place to animals.
We learned neglect and corruption from the best: Great Britain. There is a very real possibility that your employers sent you on this mission to search and destroy when the answer and conclusion are already in the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.
We know why you are here, so let me spell it out for you. It is not to find out if corruption and mismanagement are taking place. I believe it is to mark out a scrumptious living and future for the white families that Britain wants to send here to give them a better future at our expense.
We know the history of Great Britain: of her leaving Europe and going to Africa and raping it of its gold, silver, diamonds and other minerals. Black people who opposed her often were killed. Britain taught leaders like South Africa Prime Minister P.W. Botha to subjugate the blacks by killing them and jailing leaders like Nelson Mandela. For saying that he would take back freedom by any means necessary, Mr. Mandela was jailed for 27 years.
After Britain abolished slavery in 1834, the British government paid whites to compensate them for the formerly enslaved people who had been considered their property. To do so, the government incurred a debt that was not fully repaid by British taxpayers until 2015.
Mr. Chairman, are you examining such history as part of your mission? My advice is to include the reparations issue in your inquiry. Don’t black people need to be paid for white people abusing their ancestors as property? Remember, Great Britain, chickens will come home to roost in 2021.
Mr. Chairman, are you on God’s radar? Be careful what you do, for God does not bear the sword in vain, and what flesh and blood creature can withstand him?
Another historical wrong concerns Anegada, where I live. In 1967, then-Administrator Martin Staveley — who was picked by Britain for the job — signed a lease turning over most of Anegada to a British developer, with the exception of an area known as The Village, about half of which is submerged through the hurricane season. Mr. Commissioner, tell your boss that we marched then, and we will march now for our freedom.
In my younger years, I taught a Sunday school class, and one of the songs we sang went like this: “Sow truth if thou the truth wouldst reap; who sows the false shall reap the vain; sound and erect thy judgment keep; from hollow words and deeds refrain.”
Life is a schoolroom. One can choose what they want to learn depending on their parents. Most choose the tiring trade. It pays high dividends at both ends: What you sow you will reap.
For the tenure of her rule, Britain prepared her territories to be a subservient people. After demanding independence with the support of the United Nations, many were but loose on the sea of nationhood without a paddle. Shameful.
Mr. Commissioner, please tell your bosses that the people of the VI know the fix is in. We have watchers watching for us. You do not seem them, but they are seeing you.
I wish it were possible to have an audience with you.