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Statement from the Vice-Chancellor

Hands off the BVI

The UWI Regional Headquarters, Jamaica. Saturday, May 7, 2022—The following statement is issued by Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice-Chancellor of The University of the West Indies.

The University of the West Indies (The UWI) joins with CARICOM in calling on Britain to retreat from stated political calls to subvert and subordinate the sovereignty of the people of the Virgin Islands. This is the second occasion in recent weeks in which we have called for respect of the national rights of a community; having done so following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. We are committed to the decolonization of the Caribbean and deplore the persistence of colonial rule of the people in the region.

The regional UWI insists, therefore, that its member community, the Virgin Islands, be given the full opportunity and autonomy to resolve its immediate domestic challenges. We are confident that it will do so within an enabling Caribbean framework without injurious imperial aggression emanating from London.

All the people of the region have fought with all means available to craft a democratic culture in the face of fierce opposition from Britain. They have been murdered, imprisoned, and racially denigrated in the quest for freedom, justice and democracy. Britain has no authority, moral or otherwise, to teach democracy lessons in the Caribbean, insisting as it does on dominating the people who are seeking Reparatory Justice for centuries of colonial brutality and continuing imperial rule.

The region is proud of the initiative by the Ruling Party and Opposition to come together to form a national consensus government. This is the spirit that forms the core of the independence sensibility now rooted in the region. It is precisely this consciousness that will enable the community to resolve whatever governance challenges are arising from the tragic, debilitating, recent events. It is also true that it is persistent British colonial rule of the community that distorts quality indigenous development and constitutes the framework in which international financial malfeasance seeks haven in these islands. Britain has created this wicket on which the game being played is not West Indian cricket.

The UWI stands ready to facilitate the national strategy of the Virgin Islands, its stakeholder, to maintain and enhance its sovereignty. It also stands ready to assist Britain in curing itself from the persistent impulse and cultural addiction to dominate the people of this region by imperial edict.