By Fitsroy Randall, BVI News Staff
Opposition Leader Julian Fraser has called on the Constitutional Review Committee to create a new section in the Virgin Islands Constitution that establishes a category for natives of the Virgin Islands who would obtain reparations from the UK.
Speaking at the opening of Emancipation Festival celebrations last night, the Third District representative said he wanted people to remember one word – repairs – when they left the site of the festival last night.
“I don’t want you to forget that one word. I want you to let your children know this word because it means everything for the future of the Virgin Islands. Before I leave you that word, I want to tell you this,” Fraser said.
The Leader of the Opposition noted that the UK government had finished repaying a loan it used to pay plantation masters at the time of emancipation and mentioned it was time for them to get a new loan to pay for repairs.
“Reparations will come to the people of the Virgin Islands who would be here to get them and I want the new revision of the constitution to reflect that. In this new revision of the constitution, we will create a new section in the constitution and establish a new category of people in the Virgin Islands called natives of the Virgin Islands. These natives of the Virgin Islands would be called DOVIS (descendants of the slaves of the Virgin Islands) and they would be compensated by this reparation for what we have been emancipated from, ”added the leader of the opposition.
Fraser targets COI
The lead legislator also spoke candidly about the recent commission of inquiry and the implications surrounding the recommendations made by Commissioner Sir Gary Hickenbottom.
“As late as 2021, January to be exact. A commissioner was appointed to make a commission of inquiry and exactly 16 months later this commissioner submitted a report to the governor. In this report, the governor received a recommendation to suspend parts of our constitution and impose self-government on our country,” Fraser said.
“I want you who go dancing on Monday in August to understand what is going on in this place. We have a fight on our hands, and we are going to fight it together and we are going to win. Because, as I said in the House of Assembly the other day, the Order in Council has already been passed. It’s just waiting for the Governor to sign and I told them the Governor is aware because he didn’t sign it. He is here today, and I say the same thing,” proclaimed the dean of lawmakers.
Fraser said people shouldn’t take emancipation lightly. He said it’s been happening for 188 years and now it’s clear at this point in the territory’s development what can happen. He said that the territory is made of strong people.
“I want to wish you a happy emancipation, I want to wish you a safe emancipation, I want to wish you joy and happiness during this time and I want to wish the Festivals and Fairs Committee all the best and I want them to ensure that the pitfalls encountered by the former Committee of Festivals and Fairs, they avoid them and make the festivals and fairs of this year exemplary and very different from all those that we had before. “, did he declare.
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