Protesters Call For Referendum

Esther Durand, Journalist
November 23, 2021 8:02 am AST
Esther Durand, Journalist | November 23, 2021 8:02 am AST
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(Photo Credit: Esther Durand/BVI Platinum News)
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(Photo Credit: Esther Durand/BVI Platinum News)

The British Virgin Islands Civic Action-led protesters have called on the Hon. Andrew Fahie led administration to facilitate a referendum so that the people would decide on the political future of the Territory.

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According to one of the organizers of the march Cindy Rosan-Jones, “Our Premier is on a trip to the UK, this past week he has had interviews with the press in the UK and he has spoken about us moving towards independence.”

She asked the other protesters: “Do we want independence?”

“No!” they replied.

“What do we want?” she asked them, to which they replied: “A referendum!”

She then stated that: “We are not looking at independence at the moment under the structure that are on, under the leadership that we are under.”

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The March commenced adjacent to the Governor’s House and ended outside the HoA building in Road Town on Monday, November 22.

British Press Story

The interview in question was done by City A.M, a British publication in a story published on Sunday, November 21, titled “British Virgin Islands denies reports that it is ‘laying the groundwork’ for an independence referendum.”

In the story, the publication said “The British Virgin Islands (BVI) have pushed back against reports that it is gearing up for a referendum to remove the Queen as head of state amid supposed corruption of the UK government.”

It continued: “A move for independence would make the BVI a republic and allegedly comes as the UK Commission of Inquiry examines allegations that island officials cashed in on the British taxpayer following hurricane relief.”

It also quoted a spokesperson for the BVI who was not named, stating that the territory is not actively laying groundwork for constitutional independence but rather was seeking “greater independence” in the most broad sense.

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Photo Credit: Esther Durand/BVI Platinum News
The publication also quoted Premier and Minister for Finance Hon. Fahie who reportedly told The Telegraph: “When it comes to that next move of self-determination, that has to be the decision and the action of the people of the Virgin Islands. Because as one of our older politicians who has since died used to say, and I quote him, ‘the voice of the people is the voice of God’.”

In the meantime, speaking to another British Publication, The Guardian, the Premier has also said the ongoing Commission of Inquiry (CoI), which is nearing its conclusion, has so far found no evidence of corruption.

“The key to any country is its reputation, but so far, and thank God for that, there is no evidence provided in the CoI showing that the BVI is corrupt. We have provided them with over 200,000 papers,” the Premier told The Guardian during his ongoing visit to London.

Faced by claims made by the previous Governor Gus Jaspert that senior figures were involved in drug-running, he said: “I find that statement very irresponsible. It is clear from the inquiry there is no evidence to back up what he is saying, and it would be interesting to see if he would be willing to say that outside the protection of the inquiry as a private citizen. In saying that, he did not bear in mind the reputation of the BVI, families, the economy.”

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