This Wheatake is a continuation of Wheatake 36. The following is the text of the petition delivered to His Hon. the Commissioner, John Augustus Cockburn Cruickshank on November 24, 1949.
We the people of the British Virgin Islands, theoretically a free people by reason of the fact that we are supposed to be British subjects and citizens of the British Empire, are today in numbers assembled as a Demonstration of Protest against certain conditions under which we have hitherto been forced to live. Our history since the beginning of this century has been one long tale of political oppression by a government and not constitutionally "of the people" nor "by the people" at least should have been a government "for the people." But the events throughout the decades that are past, and are especially the events of the latter part of this present decade, that is to say, the mismanagement of our public affairs during your tenure of office as Commissioner, have forced upon us the conclusion that we are governed for the benefit of a certain few, and as a consequence, government instead of being for the people has been against the people.
One of the purpose of this demonstration today is for us to try to achieve a measure of political freedom for ourselves and the generations of the future. Our aim is, that we, the politically enslaved people of the British Virgin Islands, should henceforth be free British subjects in truth and deed. We refuse any longer to be the virtual slaves of a government in which a few officials call the tune while we, the taxpayers, pay the piper. We refuse to go on paying our taxes and revenues for others to spend and to waste as they see fit, others who have no regard for us and our public needs and no interest in us nor our welfare. Since we are always to pay the piper, we are resolved in the future ourselves to call the tune. We are imbued with a desire to decide our local affairs ourselves. We have outgrown that undesirable stage where one official, or an official clique, makes decisions for us -decisions which usually prove to be in favour of officialdom and with which we are compelled to abide. We are seeking for the privilege of deciding how our monies are to be spent and what shall be our presidential laws and policies. We are disgusted and weary of the oppression of the years. We are ashamed and indignant over the matter, that though the people of the British Virgin Islands belong to a democratic British Empire, we are, in fact, afflicted and saddled with a form of government akin to dictatorship. We are engaged in a great struggle, we assuredly do not stand alone-IN GOD WE TRUST.
As a christian population we feel that Almighty God is by our side, is behind and before us. He is able by guidance to help us, His people through, as he has helped others through in the past.
Standing by our side is the balance of British Virgin Islanders who are resident in the United States and its possessions.TODAY WE ARE MARCHING TOWARDS FREEDOM. And will continue to march until the freedom to us has been secured. We shall no longer remain contented with conditions as they are. We have endured, and endured, until our powers of endurance have failed us. We are to be freed from the yoke we have been carrying. We are asking for freedom. We are seeking freedom. WE DEMAND FREEDOM.
- Dr. Charles H. Wheatley