The nonsensical ranting that formed bones of contention relating to the possibility that Minister for Education and Culture, Hon. Myron Walwyn could become the Premier of the Territory were tackled in a spicy NDP radio program aired on 1 October.
Since the June appointment of Hon. Walwyn as the new Chairman of the National Democratic Party (NDP) there have been informal discussions about his eligibility as Premier of the Territory because both of his parents were not Virgin Islanders.
The matter was addressed at length during the call-in programme after it was raised by a resident who said he was disheartened to hear what was being said about Hon. Walwyn and his nationality.
In response the NDP Chairman said: “I have heard the comments, I have been hearing them almost every election I think it is a bit more so in its numbers because I am now the Chairman of the National Democratic Party. I hear the comments, they are very unfortunate comments to make especially at a time when the country is facing a difficult period.”
Hon. Walwyn said that he is even more troubled by the fact that even members of the NDP feel that he should not be allowed to lead because of his heritage. He said, “I have seen some of it even within my own Party, where I have now been elected the Chairman of the Party and you have seen some behaviour and heard things from persons who you expected better of; and you have seen the conduct of them and I must tell that, that is extremely troubling to me.”
The Education Minister in tackling the subject noted that the BVI comprises of a number of nationalities and was built by many persons from various origins: “I know that a significant number of persons from the Caribbean and other parts of the world came to the Virgin Islands in the 60s, 70s and 80s to build the country. This country was built by many hands. Many persons who left where they were from and came to live among us.”
“In the early 1960s when my parents moved here the road to West End was being constructed at the time, my family has been here for 50 years. I was born here on the 22 February 1972 at Peebles Hospital. I have made my contributions, my parents are both deceased,” he added.
As it relates to his right to lead, Hon. Walwyn noted that the Constitution is clear on the matter and he also opined that the matter of his parents nationality should not apply since he is the one seeking office, not them: “They (parents) were not born here, I was born here, they are not running — I am. I am the person who is coming to you and saying to you that I want to work for you, I have worked hard for you over the last eight years and I want to do that again.”
Divisive, biased. & delirious nonsense
The NDP Leader further suggested that the issues being raised about his nationality are politically motivated. “I find it troubling when you hear persons who want to lead the country go out and say those things. I saw an email that was going around from the major, main opposition Virgin Islands Party with even their very leader’s name in it claiming that they are going to go as far as the Privy Council and so forth if I sit as the Premier of the country and I must say honestly that is even more troubling to me,” he pointed out.
He said that the subject needs to be put to rest as there are more pressing matters that need to be attended to. “The conversation has to be how can we get together to build this country to surpass its former glory. That is what the conversation needs to be not any form of division.”
Who seeds wind shall harvest storm
Hon. Walwyn added that the next Premier of the Territory needs to be someone who can bridge the divide. “The Leader of these Virgin Islands where we are now must be a unifying person. They must be a unifying force because that is where the BVI is now. It is made up of so many different nationalities and we have to bring all our people together. Those who were born here…those who are Belongers, those who come to reside and work with us…”
“We have one thing in common all of us the love for these Virgin Islands and that should be the only thing that keep us together.”
One commentator told The Island Sun: “The Hebrew prophet Hosea (chapter VIII, v. 7, of his book) said that those who do harm will receive greater damage than the one they inflicted: Who seeds wind shall harvest storm. Remember!!”
Quite a number of BVI leaders of the past had parents or at least one of the parents that were not BV Islanders; elected members of the 1950s included a British gentleman and a medical doctor from Montserrat – both very popular.