During the past three months I have had a great opportunity to see the Territory through the eyes and minds of a reputable cross-section of the people living in this Territory. I am reassured that there are people within the Territory who possess the knowledge, gifts, and graces to manage its affairs effectively and efficiently in the best interest of the people. In some cases this is not happening because we are still trapped within the lingering vestiges of colonial rule, and also trapped within ourselves through fear and crabantics. Our journey of self-determination demands that we free our bodies, minds, and souls from these two entrapments.
We are living in a period when fear is increasingly seasoning and colouring the modus operandi our political leadership and hence weakening the trust the electorate has in it. The leadership seems to despise the roots of its past and is rooted in recency. It was Nicolo Machiavelli who said:
"Whoever wishes to foresee the future must consult the past, for human events ever resemble those of preceding times. This arises from the fact that they are produced by men who ever have been and ever will be animated by the same passions, and thus they necessarily have the same results."
Centuries later the British Ptime Minister, Winston Churchill, said:
"Those that failed to learn from history, are doomed to repeat it."
The U. S. President, Dwight D. Eisenhower also said:
"Together we must learn how to compose difference, not with arms, but with intellect and decent purpose."
It was the B. V. Islander, Hope Stevens, who in 1938 began to stir the awakening of his fellow Virgin Islanders to their potential powers. This awakening led to the 1949 march which was a turning point in B. V. I. History. Today we need voices like Hope Stevens to awaken the electorate about our autonomy, choices, liberty, and free will in order avert any pending doom. We are at a critical juncture on our political journey, our self-determination journey. Let your voices be heard within the boundaries of the law. A new day is dawning at a time when we are losing the genuine B. V. I. optimism to manage our affairs legally and transparently. As a tree sheds its old leaves, so we as B. V. Islanders need to get rid of unproductive elements of the old brain washed attitudes, modes of behaviour, subservient and recessive to life. We need to stand up in the light of the day and defend who we are. I see no reason why we as a people cannot stand tall among other peoples. We need to take our heads out of the sand and use the gifts, graces, talents and abilities with which we are endowed, to play our part in the advancement of the Territory. We have demonstrated the ability and resilience to overcome road blocks that others have thrown in our path to progress. No longer in darkness we are walking, the light is shining on, around, in, and through us. Let us increase its illumination in our endeavours and surpass our past achievements. A new day in managing our lives is dawning and we are summond to battle for the right. Our past shapes our future and our "history is an extension of life. It both enlarges and intensifies the experience of being alive. Our goal is empowerment politically, economically, socially, and spiritually through "difficulties to the stars" guided by the hand of God.
- Dr. Charles H Wheatley