Owing to the highly publicised Commission of Inquiry and the arrest of the former premier on drug trafficking allegations, the Virgin Islands will be under the global microscope for many years.
The territory’s status as an offshore financial services haven has always created detractors ranging from transparency advocates and journalists to writers in the world press who believe offshore jurisdictions enable crooked tyrants, dodgy characters and money laundering.
The new National Unity Government has its work cut out for it. Whether the forming of the government and its promise to implement the COI recommendations will stop the United Kingdom from suspending the Constitution and establishing direct rule for at least two years is unclear.
The UK Cabinet will be watching this new government very closely. Any sign of reneging on its plans for full implementation of the COI recommendations will invite UK direct rule.
A look at the online comment boards reveals there are many in the land who prefer direct rule to the present status quo. For all the very public assertions on colonialism and racism, most residents are aware of how terrible governance has been in recent years.
Any referendum on independence here will most probably reveal that the overwhelming majority of residents are happy with UK oversight.
Indeed, there is nothing to assure any resident that the present political class has the vision or capability to rule the territory honestly and effectively at this time.
For all the chatter about self-determination, recent behaviours by leaders of the territory in terms of their honesty and management of the affairs of the land have been discouraging.
Political leaders have lost the confidence of the public. There is no longer any trust in the leadership of the territory. This is indeed a sad affair. Can the new premier — an honest man, in this writer’s opinion — make things right? That is the million-dollar question.
Many residents who love this territory want the National Unity Government to succeed. However, can the new government truly implement the recommendations of the COI swiftly and effectively, and save the land from direct rule? Time will tell.
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