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UN Ambassador calls out UK’s unwillingness to decolonise VI

UN Ambassador calls out UK’s unwillingness to decolonise VI

Dr Walton A. Webson, an Antiguan diplomat and Ambassador to the United Nations has called out the lack of respect from the United Kingdom (UK) Government towards the territory of the Virgin Islands (VI) regarding the mutual respect that the territories should share.

Addressing the UN on June 14, 2021, Dr Webson told the UN delegation during a substantive session with the UN Special Committee on Decolonisation (C-24 Session) that the disrespect from the UK comes even as the VI is being considered a ‘low hanging fruit’ for decolonisation.

Ending Colonialism


Dr Webson, who is also chairman of the Alliance of Small Island States, noted, “The British Virgin Islands remains one of the possible… what we determine as low hanging fruits in this process to seek countries to assist in removing and transitioning from colonialism to full self-determination,” he said.

“Madam Chair we are concerned with the recent matters that would suggest that the Government of the United Kingdom does not always fully respect the principles of self-governance, self-determination and the boundaries agreed upon with the long-standing arrangement between the United Kingdom Government and the Island Nation of the British Virgin Islands,” he said.

Dr Webson comment’s come as the UK has been accused of seeking to hinder VI’s progress to full independence in favour of a UK Global Agenda as outlined in their ‘“Global Britain and the British Overseas Territories: Resetting the relationship: Government response to the Committee’s Fifteenth Report,” February 2019 publication.

Concerns over the relationship between the UK and VI has also been raised by local media and political pundits who said there are suspicions that a hastily called Commission of Inquiry (CoI) by former embattled Governor, Augustus J.U. Jaspert is also a plan of the UK to take control of the territory and impose its policies. Bishop John I. Cline in photo.


UK Global agenda


According to the document, “It is time for all OTs to legalise same-sex marriage and for the UK Government to do more than simply support it in... It must be prepared to step in, as it did in 2001 when an Order in Council decriminalised homosexuality in OTs that had refused to do so.”

Another recommendation that has far-reaching consequences is removing belongership status and its equivalents. It said these provisions are wrong and is calling for UK residents to have voting rights and for them to be allowed to run for office in Overseas Territories.

“While we recognise that the OTs are small communities with unique cultural identities, we do not accept that there is any justification to deny legally-resident British Overseas Territory and UK citizens the right to vote and to hold elected office,” it said.

Caricom also indicated that heads of Government were dismayed at the manner in which the CoI was established with no consultation, or prior communication, between the UK government and the duly-elected government of the British Virgin Islands.


More Concerns over UK relationship with VI


Concerns over the relationship between the UK and VI has also been raised by local media and political pundits who said there are suspicions that a hastily called Commission of Inquiry (CoI) by the former embattled Governor, Augustus J.U. Jaspert, is also a plan of the UK to take control of the territory and impose its policies.

With regard to the same CoI, CARICOM in a statement on February 26, 2021, said, “Heads of Government are cognisant of the disquiet that has arisen among the people of the British Virgin Islands about the establishment of the COI.”

Caricom also indicated that heads of Government were dismayed at the manner in which the CoI was established, with no consultation, or prior communication, between the UK government and the duly-elected government of the Virgin Islands.

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