After the end of World War II, people from the other Leeward Islands began to immigrate to the British Virgin Islands. Many of them lived in the BVI and worked in the USVI for periods of 29 days. That time was later increased to bonds of six months or one year at a time. That was the beginning of major changes in the BVI population. There were few persons from farther afield such as the Bigelows who bought Guana Island for a small sum of money and started the Guana Island Club. As the economic conditions in the BVI improved and tourism began to take root with the opening of Little Dix Resort in 1963 the number of persons immigrating to the BVI increased. In the latter part of the sixties, the BVI was well on its way becoming a permanent diverse society. During the last quarter of the twentieth century and the first quarter of the twenty first century the diversity in the population became a significant factor in every aspect of BVI life.
Diversity includes a range of human influences, traits,, chsracteristics, strengths, interests, abilities, and perspectives. All these together with other values are represented in a wide range of human differences in race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, social groups, physical abilities, religious values, ethical values, national origin, and political beliefs. When I conducted some research in the early nineteen hundred's I discovered that the workforce in the Btitish Virgin Islands represented more than one hundred and twenty nationalities. It is evident that diversity is a permanent characteristic of BVI population. It is therefore important for the well being of the Territory that each person domicile in the Territory should make every effort to learn how to live in harmony in such an environment.
There are many advantages in a diverse population. Among them are:
-generating new ideas,
-gaining new experiences,
-developing new perspectives,
-providing new opportunities for learning,
-opening up new avenues for building a stronger identity,
-creating opportunities for varied and better education,
-achieving better career activities,
-expanding incresed productivity and opportunities for collaboration.
There is no doubt that in striving to incorporate these advantages in our daily activities corporately and individually we will face many challenges some bordering or are disadvantages. Herein lies the challenge to build an inclusive society. Here is a view by another author: " Divrrsity allows for the exploration of these differences in a safe, positive and nurturing environment. It means understanding one another by surpassing simple tolerance to ensure people truly value their differences. This allows us both to embrace and also celebrate the rich dimensions of diversity contained within each individual, and place positive value on diversity in the community and in the workforce."
Martin Luther King jr tells us:"We must learn to live together as brothers and sisters or perish togethet as fools."
Richars Twiss says:"You can't have unity without diversity."
John Wolfgang von Goethe reminds us:"Kindness is the golden chain by which society is bound togrther."
Henry Ford's view:"Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success."
Mother Theresa:"l can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot, together we can do great things."
The bible confirms diversity as a characteristic of our existence.
Matthew 25:15, To one he gave five talents of money to another two talents and to another one talent each according to his ability. Then he went away.
We have different gifts according to the grace given to us. If a man's gift is prophesying let him use it in proportion to his faith."
It was he who give sone to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, some to be pastors, and teachers.
The beauty of the rainbow lies in the harmony of its colours.
- Dr. Charles H. Wheatley