Photo Credit: BVI Platinum News
Members of the House of Assembly on Tuesday threw their full support behind the Archives and Records Management Act, 2010 which was piloted by Premier Hon. Ralph T. O´Neal.
The Premier told the House of Assembly that the Bill is not about building roads or paving ghuts and building hospitals, but it´s important as the people of the Virgin Islands become more aware of their history.
"...And realize that it is time and good time to pay attention to our records, our archives and various records of all kind - the constitution and Government and how we have managed to survive."
Like other speakers, Premier O´Neal said that writers want to research and are forced in some cases to use the Methodist or Anglican churches, especially with birth certificates and baptismal certificates. "It is then you find out how important it is to have these documents."
The Premier noted that while it is true that Government does not have money to build an archive building, if persons who are involved in record work become more involved, then the demand will grow for a proper place to preserve the Territory´s records.
The Bill which was termed as noncontroversial, has some 47 clauses.
Premier O´Neal told the House of Assembly that they pushed for the Bill because the VI recognizes that good record keeping is a good national asset. The Premier said that it will assist to select and permanently preserve the Territory´s record of enduring value in whatever format, to ensure that people that need them can have ready access to them.
Meanwhile, the Premier also recalled when he was saddened that the old records which were kept by the Sugar Works Museum were dumped. He said that this happened as the building was being cleaned out. "What a shame," he commented.
At Large Representative, Hon. Vernon Malone said that such legislation has been lacking for a long time and when persons go to do research, they find it difficult to find them in the local context.
Minister for Education and Culture, Hon. Andrew Fahie said that records are very important since 'our' history as a people is very important.
Deputy Premier Hon. Dancia Penn, At Large Representative Hon. Keith Flax and Opposition Leader Dr. Orlando Smith also spoke in support of the Bill.
The House of Assembly is now in recess and will return later this afternoon when members will retire into committee stage to go through the Bill, clause by clause.