OECS Authority Opposes direct colonial rule for British Virgin Islands

OECS Authority Opposes direct colonial rule for British Virgin Islands

The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) says it concurs with the elected representatives of the people of the British Virgin Islands (BVI), that abolition of Parliament with direct rule from London represents a retrograde step in the evolution of the democratic process.

In a statement today, in reaction to the evolving situation in the British Virgin Islands involving the arrest of Premier Andrew Fahie on alleged drug conspiracy charges, and the release of the UK Government report on the Commission of Inquiry (COI), the OECS rejected the intention of the British Government to impose direct rule on the BVI, noting that its decision is inconsistent with the United Nations Proclamation of Human Rights for countries to be free of colonial rule.

BVI Premier Andrew Fahie who has been arrested on alleged drug conspiracy charges. BVI Premier Andrew Fahie who has been arrested on alleged drug conspiracy charges. The organisation pointed out that “It is clear to us that, in principle, it is ill advised to impose direct colonial rule and the history of such imposition in the Caribbean has never delivered the desired result. The UN Declaration on granting independence to colonial countries and peoples – Resolution 1514 of 1960 is an international commitment to which Britain is itself bound.”

“The historical responsibility for strengthening governance in the BVI must rest on the shoulders of the elected representatives and the people of the BVI themselves. That ultimately will be the guarantee of good governance and full, transparent accountability.

“We strongly urge the British Government to work with and support the elected Parliament in this process of rectification.

“The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) has noted with great concern the Like all persons charged with a criminal offense, Andrew Fahie is entitled to the presumption of innocence, procedural fairness, and a free and a fair trial within a reasonable time.

The OECS for its part, is willing and ready to provide technical and other support required by the BVI as an Associate Member State in addressing the governance issues that need attention.

BVI demonstrators opposing plans to rule the islands from London after arrest of elected leader likened to “colonialism”. | (JTV 55 channel)BVI demonstrators opposing plans to rule the islands from London after arrest of elected leader likened to “colonialism”. | (JTV 55 channel)On Monday, hundreds of demonstrators gathered outside Government House in Tortola, the official residence of governor John Rankin,  after the UK Government report on the Commission of Inquiry led by British judge Sir Gary Hickinbottom into corruption on the islands, recommended they be governed from London for two years.

It is proposed that Governor Rankin, who represents the Queen, should assume the position of premier in place of an elected government official.

However, many BVI residents are resisting this suggestion which has been described as “colonial”, particularly in the context of the region’s history as a former British slave colony, and undemocratic as there are no plans to put the matter to the public.

Protesters blocked traffic outside the governor’s house and chanted slogans such as ‘no to British rule’ and ‘no going back to chains’.

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