Politics is not new and Minister for Education and Culture, Hon. Myron Walwyn is urging all to be careful that they are not too caught up in party politics. The Minister made the comment during the Territory Day event that was held at the Noel Lloyd Positive Actions Movement Park on June 30.
During the celebration and reflections of the Territory’s accomplishments, Hon. Walwyn warned against persons becoming too political, and told the gathering to recall politicians of past days who despite party affiliation placed the Territory first: “Our history tells us that we had various political parties even in those days. Men and women with different ideas of how to solve a problem, but those men and women I say again, were for country first. We solved our problems in a direct but congenial way.”
Hon. Walwyn explained that things have changed drastically and at times this may undermine territorial interest: “Today it seems as though you are NDP, VIP, PPP or whoever will organise a new set of Ps first, and then a Virgin Islander second. It seems at times that our support for certain initiatives are tied to which political party advances the idea. Even in cases where the initiative is in the best interest of the country and its people.”
The Minister of Education and Culture therefore pleaded for an end to the party way of thinking: “I beg our community and our political leaders that we should not get so tied up with the manifestos that we support, that we forget to support the very country we seek to lead. If one group comes with an idea, let us not move so far away from that congenial culture of debate and problem solving that has worked so well for us in the past. We should look at the ways our previous leaders resolved differences and found opportunities to work together to advance this country. That is the political culture from whence we’ve come,” he said.
Hon. Walwyn announced that Virgin Islanders were a people who knew how to solve their problems by speaking to each other, and opined that this too has changed. “We are a small Territory, so we all knew each other. Whenever there was an issue that we were concerned about, we could have easily found someone who was in authority or in their office where we could discuss our concerns or any matter that was affecting the country and even offer help to solve those matters.”
However, the Legislator announced that all is not lost and said that he gets hope every time he observes politicians’ such as Leader of the Opposition, Hon Ralph T. O’Neal: “I have hope in the Virgin Islands when I see a statesman such as Hon Ralph T. O’Neal who has served the people of the Virgin Islands his entire life confronting the Government on issues he is concerned about on one day, and the next day supporting the same Government on issues his experience tells him will move this country forward. That is exemplary leadership and comes from a man who has lived and understands the political culture of these Virgin Islands.”
“It remains important for all Virgin Islanders to firmly understand our history; to firmly know of our political leadership, our achievements and our trials. I believe in this knowledge it will help us make more informed choices at all levels and it will give us a clearer sense of what is needed to move this country forward.”