Winston Churchill is credited with the following quote. “A lady came up to me one day and said, ‘Sir! You are drunk,’ to which I replied, ‘I am drunk today, madam, and tomorrow I shall be sober, but you will still be ugly.’”
Listening to the morning news, I heard what happened recently in the Cayman Islands. After the Cayman legislature rejected a bill to legalise same-sex partnerships following an appeals court finding that the existing Marriage Law was unconstitutional, the governor used his reserve powers to pass the bill anyway. Then the UK reversed course on an earlier plan to abolish the governor’s constitutional power to enact legislation in that manner.
After hearing that, I started to reflect on the current state of the relationship between the UK and the Virgin Islands. And as I reflected, Mr. Churchill’s quote came to mind, because I see a clear case of drunkenness and ugliness. I am convinced that this matter should be addressed, not just by the government of the day, but by the citizenry of the VI. There is an obligation which falls to the responsibility of those among us who can bring to bear sober, calm and responsible reflection, based on the historical and cultural contexts which shape our perceptions.
I am old enough to know from personal experience that the Virgin Islanders who built the territory from the 1940s through the early 1960s demonstrated a degree of self-determination unrelated to the political status imposed by the administering power of the UK. This self-determination was made possible by the native intelligence and creativity which is born from the need to do for yourself in the face of hardship, and the need to solve your own problems with your own mental resources and the help of a merciful and faithful God.
However, I am still young enough to bring to bear a degree of critical analysis which recognises truth, and I am not one to run away from the truth. We in the VI have allowed the irresponsible governments of the last decade to squander the favour of God as we became drunk with power and arrogance, and we have attracted the negative attention of the UK.
I believe it would be true to say that their benign neglect of the early decades favoured the VI far more than their questionable attention of today.
The irresponsible government of the last decade and the arrogance which the UK finds unforgiveable brought on us the infamous Protocols for Effective Financial Management in 2012. After Hurricane Irma, the fishing expedition by the finance committee of the UK government produced a lot of information for them, because we are not afraid of truth. That strengthened the hand of the UK and justified the Recovery and Development Agency.
So, the people recognised their responsibility to safeguard the legacy of our forefathers, gained with blood, sweat and tears, and they elected a Joshua generation of leaders committed to reclaiming the promise of independent thought and creative effort.
Now it is a new day and we are sober. The performance of the newly elected government makes it clear that we are committed to a new path. What more does the UK require of us?