The term “the silent majority” is much used by politicians who attempt to identify where the mass of voters and other residents sit on any matter.

Commentary and activism are great for freedom and democracy. However, the people with the power to decide on the important matters that affect a country or territory are the mass of residents, who may or may not have the vote but who are the ultimately the key players in a democracy.

To their own detriment, Virgin Islands natives often fail to understand that even non-voters and expatriate residents have the right to help decide the direction of the territory. After all, they reside here, pay taxes, and contribute to the development of the territory as much as native Virgin Islanders.

Therefore, leaders ignore the silent majority at their peril. These folk may not shout the loudest. But the silent majority are the residents who silently decide where to place their votes at election time; who drive the decisions of purchasing managers of large stores; who are critical to church offerings; and who operate the hospitals, the construction sites, the marinas and hotels, the police force, the prison service, the key agencies of state, and much more.

The wise politician understands that the support of the silent majority of natives and non-natives alike is crucial to his power, and the unwise leader creates a barrier between himself and key elements of the silent majority.

‘Indirect rule’

For all the angst in the territory over the fact of indirect rule by the United Kingdom, the UK Cabinet fully understands that the silent majority in the VI is very happy with the status quo. If it were not, there would be no indirect rule at present — even after the years of maladministration and criminal misconduct by elements in the land who should have known better.

The silent majority are the power that enable the big decisions, not the vocal minority who are very important but who never really are in charge when the tyre hits the road.

If there is one lesson to learn from all the recent shouting and bawling against the status quo, it is this reality: If the silent majority is not behind those cries, then these commentators, activists and journalists are simply wasting their time and energy in any attempt to change the status quo.


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