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Former deputy premier launches campaign

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Last week former Deputy Premier Dr. Kedrick Pickering announced his intention to contest an at-large seat in next year’s general election.

During a rally last Thursday at The Stickett in Long Look, where about two dozen people gathered to listen, Dr. Pickering said he plans to run as an independent candidate.

“I’m here tonight because I have a burning in my spirit and I understand what is going on around us,” he said. “It is one of the most interesting and probably the most difficult times that I’ve seen in the country in my adult life. We are dealing with some big issues.”

During his talk, he touched on the Commission of Inquiry, the pandemic, education, and rising prices due to supply-chain issues.

“The issues we have to deal with with the United Kingdom are very real,” he said. “We’re still in the throes of the pandemic and the post-pandemic world. We have to live with how it has affected us, what it has done to our children, what it has done to the education that our children have gotten or not gotten, and how that affects our community.”

He urged the public to think about ways the territory can change its business practices, attitudes and approaches. Under these ideas, he said, his banner is “Time to Reset.”

“As a physician and someone who deals with these issues every day, nothing starts when you start to complain about it. It’s been going on for a long time. By the time it starts to manifest in your body, it has already taken root,” he said. “Invariably, the consequences and the end results are sometimes dramatic even to death. Let us not take for granted the issues we’re facing right now that they are simple and that they will blow off. They’re going to have long-term and far-reaching effects on us as people.”

Dr. Pickering served as the Seventh District representative for 20 years starting in 1999, when he was elected under the fledgling National Democratic Party. During that time, he held ministerial roles for three terms under NDP-led governments, and he served as deputy premier from 2011 to 2019.

After the NDP fractured following the retirement of founding leader Dr. Orlando Smith shortly before the 2019 election, Dr. Pickering left the party to run as an independent candidate that year.

However, he lost in a close contest to Virgin Islands Party candidate Dr. Natalio “Sowande” Wheatley, who is now premier.

“Ultimately, I will support someone in this district who is fresh, full of energy and can take on the issues in this district,” Dr. Pickering said during his rally. “But I know that I have the knowledge, experience and expertise to help navigate this country.”

Dr. Pickering added that the next election “has to be held somewhere before the 24th of May” next year.

“The only way we won’t have an election is if the British government suspends our Constitution,” he said. “I don’t think any of us wants to see that happen. It will be incumbent upon all of us to demonstrate every single day and tell the British government that we’re capable of running our own affairs.”

Premier

During a press conference on Friday afternoon, Dr. Wheatley fielded questions about the upcoming elections and said that they will definitely happen.

“I’m not sure why there’s some uncertainty about whether there will be elections,” he said. “The elections will be constitutionally due in 2023.”

Dr. Wheatley also said that he plans to run for re-election in his district.

“Anyone who wants to serve the Virgin Islands and they want to make a positive change for the territory, it’s their democratic right to run for a district or at large,” he added. “I’m also going to exercise my democratic right because of course I would have a lot more that I would want to contribute to the people.”

In the midst of the COI reform process — with a cross-party government in power that includes ministers from three parties — political parties have not yet begun campaigning as they typically do starting several months before elections.



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BVI

Fahie steps down, resigns his seat

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Almost seven months after former Premier Andrew Fahie was arrested in Florida and accused of conspiring to smuggle cocaine into the United States, he resigned his First District seat and said he had retired from politics as of last Thursday.

The announcement came five days before he was facing likely removal for missing too many HOA meetings without leave from Speaker of the House Corine George-Massicote.

During an HOA meeting last Thursday, Ms. George-Massicote read aloud a letter from Mr. Fahie that marked his first public statement since his April 28 arrest.

In the letter, the former premier did not mention the charges against him or apologise for his actions, but he wrote that “the bright and prosperous future of the modern-day Virgin Islands” requires a “laser” focus on unity rather than discord.

“Allow God time to do what only He does best with time, which is to be the only true and fair judge while healing all wounds,” wrote the ex-premier, who is under house arrest in Miami pending a trial scheduled for next year. “As the journey continues, our Virgin Islands must approach a future head-on, because the future is coming with or without our permission.”

Mr. Fahie also referenced the vision of the territory’s foreparents, the difficulties the territory faced during the Covid-19 pandemic, and the importance of being prepared for the challenges ahead.

HOA rules

If Mr. Fahie had not resigned, he likely would have lost his seat on Tuesday under rules that require elected HOA members to vacate their seat if absent for more than three consecutive sittings without the speaker’s leave.

In July, Ms. George-Massicote said she would not excuse any further absences from the HOA because of Mr. Fahie’s inability to attend due to his house arrest. A new sitting started on Tuesday.

23-year career

Mr. Fahie’s resignation marks the end of a 23-year career in politics.

He was first elected to the First District seat in 1999 at age 28, and he held it without interruption until his resignation last Thursday.

During that time, he served as health, education and welfare minister from 2000 to 2003 and education and culture minister from 2007 to 2011.

He was appointed premier in 2019 after leading the Virgin Islands Party to a sweeping victory in that year’s general election.

Ousted

However, HOA members ousted him from the premiership a week after his arrest, and he was replaced by his deputy, Dr. Natalio “Sowande” Wheatley, under the current National Unity Government.



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BVI

Expo spreads word about diabetes

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Foot care, medication management, and mental health were among the topics covered by a panel of healthcare experts during the Living Well with Type II Diabetes Expo on Nov. 17 at the St. Mary’s Church Hall on Virgin Gorda.

The BVI Health Services Authority organised the evening session — which was also available virtually to residents on other islands — both for people with type two diabetes and for others who wished to learn ways to reduce their risk of develop- ing the disease.

Several speakers took the podium during a series of interactive presentations that incorporated techniques designed to engage attendees, including multiple-choice questions and discussions of case studies.

BVIHSA Medical Officer Dr. Shana Kay Fraser explained how to define diabetes and identify its early signs and symptoms. She also stressed the importance of early action in preventing the disease.

Mental health therapist Kya Huggins McKenzie spoke about tools for managing stress, among other topics.

Dr. Calisa Cruickshank offered tips for blood sugar testing, such as where to inject insulin, how to use a blood sugar monitor, and how to treat hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia.

Dr. Jamal Wintz, a clinical pharmacist at the BVIHSA, explained diabetes medication. Resident nutritionist Anthonia Mathews taught attendees how to count carbohydrates and offered tips to help diabetics balance their diet to control their blood sugar.

Later, attendees got on their feet for some physical activity with Raynecia Simmons of Razor Fitness.

Attendees received raffle tickets at the door for a prize-giving at the end of the expo. Free informational handouts were distributed as well.

The expo also included blood sugar and blood pressure screening, a mental health station, and a nutrition centre.

Attendees thanked the BVIHSA for organising the event.



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History & culture of the eastern Caribbean islands

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The Eastern Caribbean is a region that includes a number of small island nations and territories in the Caribbean Sea. These islands have a rich history and culture that have been shaped by a variety of influences, including African, Caribbean, European, and indigenous peoples.

The first inhabitants of the Eastern Caribbean were indigenous peoples who migrated to the region thousands of years ago. These people included the Arawaks, Caribs, and Tainos, who were skilled farmers, fishermen, and craftsmen.

The first European explorers to reach the Eastern Caribbean were the Spanish, who arrived in the region in the late 15th century. The Spanish claimed the islands for their own and began to establish settlements, plantations, and mines. However, they were soon challenged by the English, French, and Dutch, who also wanted to control the region.

The Eastern Caribbean became a battleground for these European powers, who fought over control of the islands for more than two centuries. The islands were eventually divided among the European powers, with the English, French, and Dutch each controlling a number of islands.

During this period, the islands became a melting pot of cultures, with African slaves brought to the region to work on the plantations, and Europeans, Africans, and indigenous peoples mixing and intermingling. This led to the development of a unique culture and identity for the Eastern Caribbean, which is still evident today.

Today, the Eastern Caribbean is a diverse and vibrant region with a rich history and culture. The islands are known for their beautiful beaches, stunning natural scenery, and vibrant music and dance traditions. The region also has a thriving tourism industry, with many visitors coming to the islands to experience the unique culture and beauty of the Eastern Caribbean.

In addition to its rich history and culture, the Eastern Caribbean is also known for its natural beauty. The islands are home to a variety of landscapes, including white sandy beaches, lush rainforests, and mountains. The region is also home to a number of protected areas and national parks, which are home to a wide variety of flora and fauna, including many species that are found nowhere else in the world.

The Eastern Caribbean is also an important economic region, with many of the islands relying on tourism as a major source of income. The region is also known for its production of spices, particularly nutmeg, which is one of the main exports of the region. In addition, the islands are home to a number of small-scale industries, including fishing, agriculture, and manufacturing.

The Eastern Caribbean is also a popular destination for sailors, with many of the islands offering excellent sailing conditions and a number of marinas and yacht clubs. The region is also home to a number of major sailing events, including the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers and the Caribbean 600 race.

Overall, the Eastern Caribbean is a fascinating and diverse region with a rich history, culture, and natural beauty. The islands offer a wide range of activities and attractions for visitors to enjoy, from relaxing on beautiful beaches to exploring the region’s vibrant culture and history.

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