By Sonje Greenidge
Updated 12:56 PM AST, Thu May 12, 2022
(PLTM) - At least one of the organizers of the public demonstrations against direct United Kingdom (UK) rule has expressed mixed views about newly established National Unity Party Government led by Dr. Natalio Wheatley.
Sam Henry, who opposes the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) recommendation to temporarily and partially suspend the constitution, explained that he embraced the government’s attempt to preserve the principles of self-governance and to portray a unified approach to governance.
He also stated that the National Unity Government has also demonstrated that Members of the House of Assembly (HoA) were dedicated to addressing the issues highlighted in the CoI report.
“It is a start to show that we are serious about running our own democracy. Regardless, it is the only fighting chance we have, so I support it,” he revealed.
However, he stated that he was not completely satisfied with the newly constructed Government on the basis that it was not an organic solution designed by the people of the Virgin Islands.
When asked if he was reassured by the new Dr. Wheatley-led government, Henry noted that he did not think it was an indication that direct rule by the United Kingdom would not be imposed, and he thinks that the possibility still lingered.
“The National Unity Government is a puppet government. But it is up to the United Kingdom to decide why the viable plan that we put forward to deal with our concerns is not acceptable,” he told BVI Platinum News.
He added, “Organic is when you have the soil, you dig the hole, you plant the seed, and you water it and wait for it to grow. That was not an organic situation, that was a forced situation."
He also chastised UK government officials for strategically planning months in advance in relation to their response based on the CoI report.
In the contrast, Henry pointed out that the Virgin Islands Government had only been afforded three days to act, following meetings with Governor John Rankin and Minister for Overseas Territories, the Rt. Hon. Amanda Milling.
Henry, who is one of the leaders of the “We the People VI” movement, noted that the rationale behind Wednesday's demonstration against direct UK rule was to remind persons around the world who are in solidarity against the UK's imposition proposed by the CoI report that Virgin Islanders were still actively protesting against the outlined recommendation.
The protest was staged in front of the Governor's house. Some participants held large portraits of former Ministers such as Hon. Terrance B Lettsome and Hon. H. L. Stoutt. Amberly Crabbe, who is also a coordinator for the event and a key faces of the movement, supported some of the claims posed by Henry.
"While it is quiet and a lot doesn’t seem to be happening, there is a lot happening behind the scenes. We are aware that our government is operating under duress. A lot of the decisions being made, they are being forced to make. And the UK is indirectly forcing they rule, and we the people will not stand for it,” Crabbe stated.
She also explained that she was not discouraged by the absence of government officials at the protest because she explained that she understood that the current politically context means that they are currently constrained.
“I know there is a lot of things they can’t say to us publicly and I know there is a lot they can’t participate in at this moment, so it doesn’t discourage me any bit,” she confidently stated.
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