The British Virgin Islands needs to negotiate a better relationship with the United Kingdom Government.
This is the position shared by the former Deputy Premier Dr. Kedrick Pickering who urged the population to get behind the elected officials in their fight to prevent the territory’s Constitution from being suspended.
He said, “We cannot continue the relationship that we have with the United Kingdom the way it is. I am not here to tell anybody about independence. I’m not here to tell anybody the BVI needs to go independent, far from it, but we need to change the status of our relationship with the United Kingdom.”
“Of course we need greater self-government, but I’ve attended any number of United Nations meetings on this whole constitutional process as it affects the overseas countries and territories and we have the ability here in the BVI, we have enough educated people in this country to be able and sit negotiate with the United Kingdom Government a way forward that suits us. Not that suits other people,” he added.
Tokelau a prime example of great negotiating
Pointing to a prime example, Dr. Pickering highlighted the relationship between New Zealand and its overseas territory Tokelau.
He said the overseas territory negotiated a relationship with their motherland that has been beneficial for both countries.
“The United Nations have demonstrated a way in which they have said there’s a country in the Pacific region. It is a dependant of New Zealand, it’s called Tokelau for those of you who are willing to go and read, they said that it is a good example of how the overseas countries in the world today can negotiate a better relationship with their administrative power. That’s the terminology that they use. Tokelau has a special relationship with New Zealand and New Zealand takes care as such things as their defence and external affairs where necessary but Tokelau the country has negotiated that relationship with New Zealand and it works for them. So we should be able to be mature enough to be able to negotiate a relationship with the United Kingdom that suits our needs,” he explained.
Constitution will be suspended in the night
Dr. Pickering who has announced his candidacy for the upcoming General Elections also warned the BVI public that if the territory’s Constitution is suspended, it will occur when the majority of the country is asleep.
He said, “If the United Kingdom Government suspends our Constitution it is going to happen when we are asleep. Some people misinterpret that to mean that they’re doing something nefarious or they’re doing something under the cover. No, they’re not going to be doing anything under the cover. 9 o’clock in the United Kingdom is 4 a.m here. The working day starts at 9 a.m. Anything decision-wise that they make would come to be presented when the work day start. We will be fast asleep and when we wake up, we will then hear the news. It will come to us that our Constitution is suspended.”
Detrimental consequences if Constitution is suspended
The Territorial At Large candidate further warned residents not to allow the BVI to get to that stage, as it will have some detrimental consequences that will affect the entire population of the territory.
“So i’m warning us as a people that we should not fall asleep for that to happen because when it happens, there’s precious little we can do. We can get up and make noise, but Turks and Caicos had their constitution suspended for years. A number of people have been charged in Turks and Caicos and all until now and their cases have not been brought before the courts. So what is happening to our country right now, all of us need to be mindful. Do not think that it is happening to some other people. If this country goes any further down, all of us are going to suffer. It is not going to happen to one or two, that is the mistake that we are making in this country. We need to get behind our elected officials and support in whatever way we can to ensure that the things that they have signed on to, that we tried our best to ensure that we hold our end of the bargain,” Dr. Pickering stated.