What would General Buddhoe think if he could see us now?
It took astounding courage for him to lead the slaves on St. Croix to Frederiksted on July 3, 1848, to seize for themselves the freedom so long denied and delayed.
Would he see in us the same courage?
It took determination for General Buddhoe — a man enslaved from birth on a St. Croix sugar plantation — to accept nothing less than freedom.
Would he see in us the same determination — to accept nothing less than a government that is fair, accountable and transparent?
When General Buddhoe heard Danish Governor-General Peter von Scholten declare “From this day onward, all unfree in the Danish West Indies are today free,” he knew the slaves’ lives had changed. They were no longer someone’s property; they were free people with rights and opportunities and choices.
What would General Buddhoe see today? Would he see us as people using our rights to make choices that affect our lives in a democratic society? Would he be proud and glad about what we’ve done in the 172 years since the emancipation?
General Buddhoe would not know anything about how our Elections System works, but he certainly would know what to do with a ballot. He would know to choose people who can be trusted to work for the people and keep promises.
Do we know?
If we don’t, on Election Day, we should look back to 1848 and make wise choices honoring the courage that freed the people of the Virgin Islands to make those choices.