Some individuals may not want to acknowledge that there are ties which bind the United Kingdom and the Virgin Islands, and I think I can understand why that would be so. The way we see ourselves as a people depends on the cultural and historical contexts in which we grow up, and different groups of people living in the VI today would have experienced vastly different contexts.

Therefore, I do not expect everyone living in the VI to understand what I mean when I say that there are ties which bind the UK and the VI. But given the situation in which we find ourselves — with this commission of inquiry being a threat to those ties — I think it is worthwhile to explain.

In some ways, the ties that bind the UK and the VI are intangible. These ties are somewhat similar to the psychological and spiritual bonds which develop between parent and child. Then children become adults and grow into maturity, charting their own course and setting up their own households without any disruption to the psychological and spiritual bonds between them and their parents. In like manner, “peoples” evolve and follow their natural inclination to exercise the God-given right to choose their own destiny, without the need for acrimony. This is the way it has been and that is the way it should remain, from the perspective of a core of the VI community.

I expect that there are many who, through no fault of their own, are unable to appreciate this perspective, because the context in which it was born is not a part of their experience. Yet those persons have the opportunity to influence the outcome of a commission of inquiry which could fundamentally change the way that the UK and the VI relate to one another. I believe that it would be worthwhile for Virgin Islanders to share that experience, if they think that it is in their interest to maintain a tenable relationship with the UK.