One day in 1970, I had a conversation with one of the ministers of government who put the business of his homeland above selfish aspirations or desires for power and wealth. In the midst of the conversation he said to me," the moral conscience of the Territory is dying. The things some of my colleagues are doing, I am not indulging in them, therefore I am going to quit politics because I want to save my soul." That encounter was 53 years ago and here we are in 2023 struggling to reconcile the behaviour of our political leaders with the same moral compass-the conscience, a sense of right and wrong- which led that minister to leave the political arena where the moral uprooting was only on the horizon when compared with today. He demonstrated to me in that conversation, that he believed with Smith and Threadgill that conscience is:
" a psychic blend of emotions woven into a fabric of universal values that upholds, promotes, protects, and encourages the spiritual aspirations of the human person's need for self-transcendence over their own ego on the ladder of human evolution."
Today we live within the inner struggle of the conscience of the Virgin Islands which we have designed and developed through our behaviour with one another within our moral and geographical boundaries, as well as our interactions with peoples beyond our boundaries. In these pursuits we realize that truth has no boundaries until it meets falsehood. Smith and Threadgill also said the following about the struggle when truth and falsehood have an encounter:
"Truth is a double-edged sword inflcting pain that strengthens one's conscience with its distractions of false beliefs, and enlightenment, enabling one to see the connection beween all things and the purpose of the universe."
Throughout my life, I have heard various persons in multiple situations say "this person or that person has no conscience."
Usually they are referring to the universal values which constitute the moral code by which they guide their lives. Three of those values which I have perceived in operation during those activities referred to in Wheatake 89 are:
1. Promoting harmony, love, and peace among all forms of life with respect for the rights of each human person to evolve or de-evolve as he or she choses.
2. Increase one's capacity to love until it becomes impossible to hate.
3 Expand your mind as the universe arounds us expands through the encounter of new things, peoples, and situations.
As we strive to inculcate those values in our operations and extend the opportunities to other persons, we experience interactions between our intelligence and our emotions. They are two sides of the same coin and they interact and affect each other in many ways when we try to understand immature behaviour. Our consciences tell us that we are "sinking ships" and if we do not light the load of the unproductive and unnecessary falsehood, and negative emotions we will sink and carry all those on board with us.
This aptly describes the political stuation we are immersed in, if not submerged by today. Our leaders are sinking day by day with the unhealthy and unnecessary loads of patiality, nepotism, favouritism, negligence, secrecy, glamour without glory, and we are unable to jump off the sinking ship. In order to avoid gloom and doom on our journey, we must pushback and do so with a friendly, fair, and firm determination keeping our consciences clean.
I end this Wheatake with my own conviction of what I have observed from the first restored legislative council in 1950 to the present House of Assembly in 2023. Some of our political leaders since the introduction of the ministerial system of government, have been chipping these universal values to fit moulds that fail to sustain excellence through the human persons in every walk of life. In order to address the present political situation, we need to wake up that "sleeping giant of conscience."
We need an effective balance between intelligence, common sense, and emotional stability brewed in truth, guided by the Holy Spirit and the willingness to be our brother and sister's keeper.
- Dr. Charles H. Wheatley