(BVI PLATINUM) – All elected officials deserve to be hanged to death like Arthur William Hodge, over the deadlock of accepting $400M in loan guarantee from the United Kingdom (UK). Hodge was a slave owner of the BVI, who was hung in May 1811.
This call was made by Hon. Mark Vanterpool, Minister of Communications and Works, in an emotional plea during the debate of the Virgin Islands Recovery and Development Agency Act, 2018 on Friday night, May 23.
He asked the majority of legislators who are against the agency, “what is wrong with us?”
“I am not going back in slavery…The Arthur Hodge situation is right here. You don’t help the people and we are going to get hang. You are (backbenchers) laughing, you think I joking? It ain’t no joke; we here talking nonsense, the people will hang us. We are going to be the Arthur Hodges if we don’t help our people,” he said.
The Minister continued, “They need to hang us if we here talking stupidness about not taking the money…I am just telling you that if you don’t fix it you are going to get hang…because we here talking, talking and the people suffering, suffering and we don’t want to help.”
He told the House of Assembly that he agrees that there are issues and concerns with the Agency, some of which he also shares.
“But the first premise that I must stand on is that we need help. I am anxious to have that help and I will support this agency if that is the way we are going to get help; so that we can help our people to be able to get back on their feet.”
The Fourth District Representative said that it seems as if they have deteriorated into philosophical and historical arguments on the matter.
“It’s all good to bring some perspective into it, but at the end of the day our job, our responsibility is to find somewhere to help our people and get the country back on its feet…I don’t know what we are pretending, but I know from the bottom of my heart that we need help in the Virgin Islands right now.”
He further said, “Not tomorrow, not next year, not ten years from now. My people we need help right now in the Virgin Islands. No, no we do not need philosophy now, history lessons now, we need help. Let’s stop playing biggity.”
Hon. Vanterpool asked what will he tell his people who are in need; “that we refused $400M?”
“I ain’t going up through Long Bush, Lower Estate and Huntums Ghut, and when the people look me in my face and ask for help, I ain’t going to tell them philosophically the British want to give us help…but we didn’t take it. Nonsense.”
“Nobody can take away my dignity, but I know when the time comes for help, to ask for help and that time is now,” he stated.
He told his colleagues that all who are rejecting the bill ought not to come to him about the need to fix roads and sewerage.
“Nobody don’t come tell me fix the roads; fix the sewerage; fix the water; I want water in Sea Cows Bay; I want roads in East End; roads in Carrot Bay. Yes, I agree with you, but don’t come telling me that and you here refusing money. Who you talking to man, I stupid or something?”
Hon. Vanterpool stressed, “We have in excess of $400M in our hands to help our people and we have become philosophical about it; we have become political about it; we have become historical about it and the people are out there wanting, wanting.”
Meanwhile, Hon. Vanterpool also shed tears when he recalled how Hon. Andrew Fahie, Opposition Leader fought for his people following the storm.
“I watched that man…And he hasn’t stopped,” Hon. Vanterpool said in tears.
The Minister said, “There are a lot of problems with people in this territory as a result of Irma and Maria, and it will continue to reveal itself if we don’t get up and give some atmosphere of hope.”
Hon. Vanterpool will continue with his contribution to the debate when the House resumes today.