The following is commentary by Charles H. Wheatley

The British Virgin Islands has been experiencing an imbalance in the ethnic and racial relations for the past half century. This imbalance is the result of a growing transformative diversity. It has been changing societal values as it modifies the older monocultural society into one with multicultural characteristics. Some of the changes which have been taking place are reflected in personnel who control marine operations which reflect the transformative diversity which has infiltrated the entire society.

The long established B. V. I. families have gradually been losing control of British Virgin Islands waters and retiring to the land, reflected in the demise of the Tortola Boat. The mantle of control has been taken over by newer families who have settled recently and in most cases, not of African descent, the largest racial group within the Territory.

This racial and ethnic imbalance, a cultural factor, invaded the ‘managed intimacy’ which B. V. Islanders have known for generations. The personnel relationships which influenced decision-making in public and private institutions and organizations have been modified by new influences brought in by personnel with different cultural, ethnic, and educational backgrounds.

The transformative diversity is responsible for such changes. It separates old friends and relatives, breaks up families, and modifies the societal order and values. The British Virgin Islands society is now faced with the challenges of managing these imbalances in and disharmonies of the established values on a new course, where they can contribute to the internal integration of the Territory. This approach should apply to ethnic, racial, economic, religious, educational integration. Such an approach calls for the understanding of diversity in these various segments of human endeavors. It justifies a new approach to education, incorporating the multicultural and diverse characteristics of life in the Territory. The future success of the British Virgin Islands as a developing Territory in the twenty-first century lies in the skillfulness in turning this transformative diversity into a rainbow tapestry.