As Election Day approaches, this Virgin Islands resident pleads with the voting and nonvoting public to exercise patience, civility and cordiality throughout the whole electoral process through the voting on Monday.
He has always stated that the VI possesses an awesome and free democratic model: arguably among the fairest democracies anywhere on earth, despite the allegations of voter bribery.
In a micro community, a VI general election — held about every 48 months — can be compared to a colourful and vibrant festival. It is a unique and special affair that is at the core of VI governance.
Elections in the VI are a fiesta and a carnival. Everyone is involved in the excitement, from the child riding a bicycle on the street to the parents at home who are voting for polar opposite candidates, to the music and jousting of campaigns.
Now, the behaviours of a number of “activists” — and most sides are guilty — is not part of VI culture. Behaviours such as damaging poster boards and making slanderous statements should stop immediately.
A great man told this writer the other day that after Monday a tiny community will still have to live together, no matter who wins and who loses. That is a simple fact.
Meanwhile, Brexit remains a great unspoken in the overseas territories. Were these islands French or Dutch, Virgin islanders could have voted whether or not to stay in the European Union. Dutch and French islanders in the Caribbean are considered equal with Dutchmen and Frenchmen resident in the Netherlands and France.
However, as the recent controversy about whether or not Gibraltar — an OT allowed to vote on Brexit — is a colony shows that Brexit has pulled off the Emperor’s clothes.
The OTs have a lot of catching up to do before they reach the constitutional status of Dutch and French West Indians.
The fact is that after Brexit — if Brexit indeed happens — Virgin Islanders holding UK/EU passports will no longer be citizens of Europe. Their status will diminish in international affairs.
And Virgin Islanders were not given any say on whether or not they wanted to leave the EU.
Residents of Her Majesty’s islands in the sea were not given the choice — as Gibraltar was — whether to stay in Europe. Whether that is fair is left for the Virgin Islander and belonger to decide.
No more UK?
In any event, if Brexit does indeed happen, the UK for all intents and purposes may cease to exist within a decade. Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales may decide to apply to join the EU, and leave the union. Scotland and Northern Ireland are overwhelmingly “Remain in Europe.” Wales is now clearly “Remain in Europe.” Where will that leave the overseas territories?
Brexit is headed towards four possible endings:
- A no-deal Brexit, which means leaving Europe without any deal or agreement, is unlikely, as the UK Parliament is unlikely to accept that disaster.
- A soft Brexit, which means the UK remains in the EU’s Customs Union, further means the UK will have to take the bitter syrup of following EU rules without any say in EU policymaking.
- A delayed Brexit appears very likely as UK Parliamentarians wake up to the madness that is Brexit.
- A second referendum is the most logical solution in a Brexit that defies logic.
‘Can of worms’
The tragedy of the can of worms former UK Prime Minister David Cameron opened by offering the Brexit referendum in 2016 is the unleashing of hardened and implacable positions on Europe among UK citizens — divisions that were always kept well covered in a boiling pot. The referendum of 2016 simply pulled off the lid and allowed the pot to boil over.
The problem is that whatever position the UK, and UK leaders, take on Brexit, the matter will continue to cause tension, division and disagreement for decades to come.
Brexit may well be the swan song of the UK.
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