As a people with a heritage of caring for one another, we should always be willing to take the best of our achievements and endeavors and to improve on them for the benefit of all. Too many of us seize the opportunity when empowered to take retrograde steps because the achievements were not under our watch. It is time to graduate from that school of thought. In the next four Wheatakes I will be reflecting on some qualities of dynamic progressive leadership. Today’s Wheatake is an introduction to this group of Wheatakes under the title “Broken Tiller.”

“Today’s leaders carry the responsibility for tomorrow’s generations.”

(Lutz Meschke).

In my profession we used to claim and respect the privilege of “educating our masters.” Both of these statements imply a responsible approach to leadership as a steward of the future of the people under your leadership as well as those unborn. This was the philosophy of our pioneer political leaders during the pre-ministerial governments. You only have to examine the attitudes, behaviors, and actions of a few of those political leaders to understand what I am speaking about. When H.R. Penn attended the Conference for closer political union between the Leeward and Windward Islands in St. Kitts in 1947, he was looking ahead at the future political status of his country, the British Virgin Islands and he successfully got the Conference to pass a resolution that the Legislative Council in the British Virgin Islands should be reinstated after 48 years of suspension. This was a step in the direction of gaining greater political freedom, power, and authority in the future. He was looking at the generations who were not yet born. His stand on this issue defeated the Commissioner’s opposition to the move and three years later the Legislative Council was restored. That was only the beginning because only men with the stipulated amount of property and twenty-one years of age could vote in that first election. Where were the women? His fight for universal adult suffrage in 1953 was another milestone and that was followed by the introduction of the district system in 1954 the genesis of what we have today. That election gave the elected members the first majority in the history of the Legislative Council-the elected representatives outnumbered the nominated and official representatives. Those two categories do not exist in the Legislative Assembly in 2022. As a member for Trade and Production (the forerunner of minister) he initiated and led the charge in the establishment of Little Dix Resort on Virgin Gorda. My aim is not to enumerate the accomplishments of H. R. Penn as worthy as they are, but to justify that he was dedicated to serving his generation and all the generations that follow fearlessly, faithfully, and altruistically. He truly understood that his leadership was responsible for “tomorrow’s generations.”

This reflection does not allow me to comment on the other leaders during the pre-ministerial period, like Glanville Fonseca, Leslie Malone, Ivan Dawson, and H. Lavity Stoutt. I have only mentioned those who held the position of “Member” in the Legislative Council.

Those leaders listened to their constituents. I know for sure many of them made sacrifices to meet with the people who empowered their representatives to lead them. They were not motivated by the power, prestige, or payment which accompanied the opportunity to serve their people. They worked from their hearts for the hearts of their people. In the following four Wheatakes, I will discuss some of the leadership qualities which enabled them to face the headwinds and the turbulence of the pre-ministerial governments. Some of them started out on the ministerial journey but Ministerial Government changed their character. I can recall Hon Ivan Dawson saying to me, quite earnestly, “I have to leave politics because I want to save my soul. The things politicians are beginning to do; I do not want to be associated with them.” I have never forgotten the effect that encounter left on me. Today amidst all we hear and witness, I believe there is hope for similar leaders. It is because of that hope I write these Wheatakes in general and the following four in particular.