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UK Oversight Steadies An Unruly Vessel

by Dickson Igwe
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Resident columnist Dickson Igwe

Wise residents fully understand that UK oversight of the Virgin Islands is required at this time. Complete culture change towards an honest society is the singular route to self-determination for the territory. Until then, UK oversight is necessary for the Virgin Islands

Observation of the House of Assembly of February 21 2023 and the proceeding back and forth of the Virgin Islands Media made this resident ponder. It was as if the Commission of inquiry into Virgin Islands Governance never happened, and nothing learned from the trauma.

There was even a hint at justification for some of the financial iniquities over contracts and such in past years. There appeared to be an attempt to taper over the seriousness of allegations made by the Public Commission. Treating as mere distraction, matters of gross financial misconduct is a culture of politicians.

There was evisceration and avoidance of key matters of the recommendations for governance reform in debates.

The preceding is unacceptable and risky. Why? Because it could trigger the suspension of the Virgin Islands Constitution by the Privy Council. The Privy Council is the final court of appeal in the UK and Overseas Territories, further serving the Commonwealth.

Reform is most critical at this time. There can be no ‘’foot dragging.’’ Obfuscation is dangerous for the territory in its quest to avoid UK intervention. The avoidance of direct UK intervention in the form of constitutional suspension required swift and nimble footwork by the Virgin Islands Premier and his Advisers.

Now the erstwhile Prime Minister of Barbados is an avid student and observer of the past: a brilliant intellectual. Her pontifications on slavery, colonialism, and imperialism, coupled with a deep sense of injustice offer her deep respect in the southern hemisphere. The irony is that her assertions are very commonplace, especially in black postcolonial society.

The tendency to blame every evil in black majority societies such as these Virgin Islands on colonialism and racism is a very common ‘’malarkey.’’ It is meaningless talk leading nowhere. These continuous ‘’sermons’’ on an ugly past are in essence an excuse: a useful crutch. Colonialism and racism are the convenient bogeyman and scapegoat for a lack of integrity and dishonest governance in these countries.

The irony is that while black societies rage over supposed injustices committed over one hundred years ago, northern white majority states pursue honest governance and science, that alone lead to social prosperity.

Northern free societies are relatively honest and transparent in spite of incidences of corruption that also handicaps at intervals. The issue of honesty and corruption is one of degree. Most societies contain corruption in one form or another. The problem with black societies is the far greater degree of dishonesty inherent in the culture.

Colonialism has become a mask: a Band-Aid to cover corruption and poor governance. However, modern postcolonial countries sink or swim on the quality of governance they possess, and on their social and economic cultures.

Honest cultures prosper because taxpayer cash is spent on the needs of those societies and not on ‘’schemes’’ that benefit the governing elite. Worse still, stolen outright from national treasuries. Systemic dishonesty is expensive and ultimately disastrous: a country like Nigeria offers the best example.

When we all understand- resident and native alike- the reality that honesty is the best policy, then we see the light at the end of the tunnel in terms of social and economic development: El Dorado. Developed societies learned this fact the hard way. Developing states in Africa and the Caribbean are still learning.

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Dickson Igwe

Dickson Igwe

Dickson Igwe is an education official in the Virgin Islands. He is also a national sea safety instructor. He writes a national column across media and has authored a story book on the Caribbean: ‘The Adventures of a West Indian Villager’. Dickson is focused on economics articles, and he believes economics holds the answer to the full economic and social development of the Caribbean. He is of both West African and Caribbean heritage. Dickson is married with one son.


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