Our forebears persevered under colonial oppression and fought for their freedom and freedom for generations unborn. One writer defined that colonial control as follows:
"Colonialism is the massive fog that has clouded our imaginations regarding who we could be, excised our memories of who we once were, and numbed our understanding of our current existence."
Waziyatawin. The most damaging colonial fog that has overshadowed British Virgin Islanders was the Federatòn of the Leeward Islands 1871-1956. For eighty-five years our forebears turned and twisted, toiled and sweat, laughed and wept, danced and mourned, saw sunrise and sunset, felt dew and rain, heard thunder and saw lightning, experienced earthquakes, tsunamis,and hurricanes, fought drought and floods as they persevered under the influence of that colonial fog. They were forced to carve out new paths of existence or live on the crumbs from the colonial table which they abhorred. In 1902 the fog grew thicker when the legislative counci was suspended signalling that life would go on for another forty-eight years without the benefit of elected representation as was the case in the other presidencies. It was designed to cloud the minds of our forebears who were denied a secondary education which was tsken for granted in the other islands for seventy-seven of the eighty-five years under the fog. That did not daunt the spirit of our forebears. It sharpened their wits and developed their uncanny insights into new strategies, and new approaches to overcome. Like Helen Keller, they realized "a bend in the road is not the end of the road unless you failed to turn." They turned physically, intellectually, morally, economically, and spiritually over time looking upward everyday. They realized that ""success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice, and most of all love of what you are doing or learning to do." Pele.
They never settled for short cuts and the easy ways.
The fog began to drift away during the mid twentieth century when B. V. Islanders united to tear down the pillars supporting the social, political, educational, and economic oppression which was designed to stifle their creative imagination. The fog drifted enough to permit the return of the legislative council, but B. V. Islandrrs continued to persevere under colonial pressure to achieve internal self- government in 1967. During those yesrs they have been enlightened that"colonislism in its harshest forms is not only exploitation of new nations by old, of dark skin by light, or the subjugation of the weak by the powerful, of the many by the few, of the governed who have given no consent to be governed, whatever...their class, their colour." John F. Kennedy. The fog has returned with the southwest winds of CoI. Our axe head has fallen off as the CoI tree spreads its branches. However, "failure is only the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently," Henry Ford.
Cry my beloved country and let your tears water the seeds that have been sown and are yet to germinate.
- Dr. Charles H. Wheatley