Territorial At large Representative, Honourable Carvin Malone is rallying for more discussions on the matter of developing a National Strategic Development Plan for the British Virgin Islands.
Malone’s call comes amid great contention on some of the implementations that have resulted from the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry Report.
Some of these implementations have been criticised in the House of Assembly and elsewhere as a threat to the democratic rights of Virgin Islanders and the territory’s path to self-governance and self-determination.
Malone, who was speaking as a guest of the “Honestly Speaking” radio show recently, said the situation at hand is a tale too common to the territory, as the BVI is often fighting against imposed measures when it should instead be in a position to fight in defense of its own agenda.
He said, “We are busy for years, since I know myself… having to be reactive, having to fight every cause. Fight against the particular white paper, fight against what we reckon did not best describe us. So I got to thinking well when would we develop an agenda for the BVI that we can fight for”, he said.
Would be best to develop own agenda
Malone argued that it would be in the best socio-economic and political interests of the people for the territory to develop its own agenda rather than attempting to fit onto or adjust a development plan given to it by external authorities.
He said this will also allow decision-makers to build the framework from the bottom up in a manner best fitted to the society, as opposed to a top-down approach.
“What we’re looking at in terms of a bottoms-up framework/agenda. Too long and too often we look in terms of a decision being made on the top and then we have to try and see how it fits in the bottom,” he stated.
The National Strategic Development Plan, he explained, will be a master plan of what the territory hopes to accomplish and how it intends to get there.
Malone stressed that the task at hand is not a re-invention of the wheel but instead a continuation of a path that the territory has long been traveling. He added that as such, it will utilise a number of documents gathered over the BVI’s history, including the COI Report.
He believes that one of the most important aspects of the process will be avid discussions with stakeholders including the citizenry to ensure that everyone can understand what needs to be done.
“My particular task I have taken is to get all of the pieces necessary and we have a lot of the pieces already… and get the population engaged so that we can develop the framework necessary for the decisions we need to make”, he said.