Virgin Islands, US
Like the other islands in the Caribbean, these were also originally inhabited by the Cariber and Arawak people. The islands did not possess more gold than its residents used as jewelry, and the islands did not immediately arouse covetousness among the colonial powers. Nevertheless, the massacre of the locals began as early as Columbus’s first visit in 1493, and by the second half of the 16th century the entire original population had been eradicated.
The western part of the archipelago was sought after by other countries as the Spaniards left the area. It was the Danes who in the 18th century ended up empowering the islands. They organized plantation operations. First of sugar cane and then cotton. To this end, African slaves were imported, and during the economic “glare” period of the islands there were 40,000 slaves.
During Abraham Lincoln’s second presidency, the United States made attempts to acquire the islands – either by purchase or occupation. But it was not until after World War I that the United States aimed to consolidate its hegemony in the Caribbean and decided to buy. Denmark received $ 25 million for the islands. The United States got the islands and their residents in the form of 26,000 former slaves. The transfer took place in 1917.
From the takeover of the islands, the United States implemented a series of successive changes in their administration – from the application of Danish case law to the new law passed in 1969. Residents were given the right to elect a governor, a deputy governor and a representative to the United States Congress – without vote. At the same time, residents were given the right to participate in elections in the United States. In 1981, a constitutional proposal was rejected by a referendum where the voting turnout reached only 50%. In December 1984, the UN General Assembly stated that the islands have the right to self-government and that the people should have the right to decide whether the country should be independent or continue as an associate to the United States.
The economy is completely dependent on the United States. It is largely based on Ameranda Hess Corporation’s oil refinery at St. Croix. The refinery is the world’s largest of its kind and processes 700,000 barrels of oil daily. The company’s influence on local politics is significant, as it employs 1,300 employees, has an additional 1,700 contract staff and also covers the islands’ energy consumption. At the same time, however, the main source of revenue is the thriving tourism industry.
A referendum was scheduled in November 1989 to determine the future of the country, but it had to be postponed when the area was ravaged by Hurricane Hugo in September. Acc. Official records show that 80% of the buildings were destroyed. The disaster triggered looting and general chaos. Armed gangs ravaged and members of the police and National Guard also took part in the looting. The United States sent 1,000 soldiers to the islands, but when they arrived, the looting had ceased, according to. the locals were no longer much to steal.
The United States government declared the disaster zone area and released $ 500 million in humanitarian aid. But the devastation ran up to over $ 1 billion. The subsequent rebuilding reduced unemployment for a period of time – especially in the construction industry.
An aluminum oxide manufacturing plant was closed in 1985, but in 1989 it was acquired by an international commodity group. The plant had an annual capacity of 700,000 tonnes and the first shipments in the direction of the USA and Europe took place in 1990.
Alexander A. Farrelly had been governor since 1987, and was replaced in 1995 by Roy L. Schneider. The November 1998 election was won by Charles Turnbull, who got 58.9% of the vote against Schneider’s 41.1%. In the Senate election, Turnbull’s Democratic Party got 6 seats, Republicans 2 and ICM 1. Independent candidates sat on another 6 of those seats.
In November 1999, Hurricane Lenny ravaged the islands. It cost 4 people the life of St. Croix and serious material damage.
In March 2000, Judge Ive Swan brought charges against former Governor Schneider and other high-ranking officials for fraud, forgery and abuse of credibility during his administration.
The US Virgin Islands are among the 16 areas in the world that remain colonies. In May 2004, the UN launched a campaign for the self-determination and equality of the peoples. But neither the British nor the North American Virgin Islands have shown an interest in independence. They believe it can reduce their lucrative tourism industry and cost them duty-free access to the North American market. The islands receive around DKK 2 million annually. tourists – almost everyone from the United States. They are responsible for most traffic accidents on the islands as they are inexperienced with left-hand traffic.
In 2006, the government declared that it wanted to increase its budget discipline, support private sector building projects and improve tourist infrastructure. In addition, the biggest challenges were reducing crime and protecting the environment.
In June 2007, the United States passed a law that gave the islands greater power over tax revenue. The new law replaced a 1936 one that tied the governor’s hands and feet to the use of financial resources.
Since 1954, the US Virgin Islands has implemented 5 constitutional conventions. At the 2009 Convention, a constitutional proposal was drafted, however rejected by the United States Congress in 2010. At the same time, Congress called for the Convention to meet again to discuss the criticisms Congress and Obama had of the Constitution. The Convention met again in October 2012, but failed to draft a revised draft constitution by the deadline of October 31.
A U.S. Virgin Islands court is currently processing a case on the islands’ lack of democracy. According to the plaintiffs, the racism of the racially segregated North American Congress in 1917 was due to the fact that the predominantly African-American majority of the islands were not entitled to any representation in the United States Congress.
Until February 2012, Hovensa was the oil refinery on St. Petersburg. Croix is one of the world’s largest and accounted for 20% of Virgin Islands GDP. But Hovensa was closed and has since thrown the islands into deep economic crisis.
In August 2016, the UN Special Committee on Decolonization recommended the UN General Assembly to contribute to the decolonization of the Virgin Islands and to help the island population determine their future political status. The Committee called on the General Assembly to head an “awareness” campaign to assist the people in understanding their indispensable right to democracy and self-determination, as well as to gain a better understanding of the possibilities for self-determination.
In spring 2017, Denmark celebrated the centenary of the sale of the Danish-West Indies to the United States. However, it did not trigger either a Danish excuse for hundreds of years of slavery or compensation for hundreds of years of plundering, which financed the king’s and bourgeois lavish buildings in Copenhagen and North Zealand. In the discourse of the Danish state, it was sad centuries that were “hard for both slaves and slave owners”. Despite hundreds of years of cruel oppression, the state and its citizenship were still unwilling to stand up and abandon the horrific system they had enacted.
Category 5 Hurricane Maria struck in September 2017 Croix, where it caused enormous havoc. Nearly 900 people were subsequently evacuated from the island. The colony was already in deep economic crisis with a public debt of US $ 2 billion.