This year’s annual Territory Day celebrations will focus on the importance of being a Virgin Islander in a year when the Territory will go through a constitutional review.
The celebrations are being held under the theme, “The March Toward Greater Autonomy: Shaping Collective Pride”, and will also focus on what it was to be a Virgin Islander during such hardships as the lack of local governance in the 1940’s.
Minister for Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Fisheries and Agriculture, Dr. the Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley, said that the Territory must seize the opportunity to understand its own situation in light of the current global protests.
“When we speak of autonomy and a movement toward strengthening governance and ensuring deeper democracy, we must also consider what it will take to be autonomous in our minds – emancipated mentally,” Honourable Wheatley said.
This year marks 70 years since the reestablishment of the Legislative Council now known as the House of Assembly, when Virgin Islanders regained their power to govern their own affairs. This achievement of regaining power came with the togetherness of the people.
Director of Culture, Dr. Katherine Smith, shared that in order to progress, the entire village is needed and that it is necessary to move forward collectively.
“It is true that each generation of Virgin Islanders has moved the Territory forward. What will the contribution at this time be? It is important to understand the exact nature of our struggle and to be strong in our shared identity as Virgin Islanders – independent in mind and spirit yet working together as one” Dr. Smith said.
Territory Day 2020 will be commemorated with a virtual ceremony on Facebook on the Government’s Facebook page @BVIGovernment on June 29 at 10:00 a.m.
Official records in the 1960s referred to the Virgin Islands as a Territory and in 1978, the Public Holiday Act was amended, replacing Colony Day with Territory Day. Today, as part of the improved relationship with the United Kingdom, the British Virgin Islands is now referred to as a British Overseas Territory.