Both Premier Dr. the Hon. D Orlando Smith, and former Premier Hon. Ralph T. O’Neal spoke of the significance of the annual Territory Day celebrations and expressed hope that the observance will remain a feature on the Virgin Islands calendar.
Hon. Smith announced that the celebration was created during his administration and opined that the event is an annual reminder of the Virgin Islands story. Premier Smith said: “I continue to be pleased that Territory Day is a permanent celebration on our calendar of events. This is an important decision that my government made in 2013, and we did so because a people without an understanding of how they came to be will be forced to imagine and create a history for themselves. And we cannot afford that, knowing the rich history of our Virgin Islands, which was transformed from a place thriving on slavery and the colonial presence, and advanced to become a Territory that saw the end of both.”
Premier Smith told persons at the event that he is happy Territory Day continues to be part of the BVI’s annual calendar of events since it was conceptualized in 2013.
Hon. O’Neal likened the Territory Day celebrations to the independence day events of other countries and announced that the annual observance should continue: “I hope that this Territorial Day would be continued. In the United States the Fourth of July is a big thing in that country …we must keep this celebration going. It means a lot to us, it means that we are able to almost govern ourselves… We must continue to keep it going and steadfast,” Hon. O’Neal stated.