Well, sir! Whoever said that the more things change the more they remain the same was right on the money. But that doesn’t mean I can’t hope. For a brief moment, I thought we were about to turn a corner, but, sadly, I am back to square one.

As a general rule, we have not yet learned that there are things in our human existence that are bigger than party politics. That has led to the dilemma which we now face in these Virgin Islands, and I have had to conclude that if there is anything worse than party politics, it is party politics in a small two-by-four territory.

In the VI, we face a dilemma with many dimensions. To begin with, the British government put into place a Nationality Act which was probably suitable for its own socio-political purposes but did not take into account the peculiar circumstances of the VI. Initially, the average Virgin Islander was not even aware of the possible implications for them, but now they have some idea. That’s a whole other discussion.

Secondly, the local government came up with the belongers legislation, which, from a civil and political perspective, was intended to counter some of the ambiguities and complexities created by the Nationality Act. It may have seemed to serve a useful purpose at the time, but with hindsight it was at least short-sighted. That again is a discussion all by itself.

2007 Constitution

But the real kicker was the 2007 Constitution Order, drafted and finalised locally and approved by the British government. There was not enough representation on the commission by persons knowledgeable about such matters. And importantly, there was no consultation with the people after the final draft was completed. Shame on the local and the British governments! I can only conclude that the British government did not care one way or the other about the kind of confusion that was being created in the civil and political future of the VI. That is the biggest discussion of all.

When you put the whole thing together, it is clear to see that the chickens have come home to roost and they have created a social, civil and political mess. And who is in a position to clean up this mess? There is hardly a person who can look dispassionately at the historical facts and come to a logical conclusion. Just about everybody has a reason to feel aggrieved. Some have lost what they had and feel disenfranchised. Others feel that they haven’t got enough and want more. Hidden agendas have been exposed. You can’t trust your family. You can’t trust your friend. You can’t trust your neighbour. What a mess! Only the love of God can handle this!