A People's Historical Journey to Self Determination & Decolonization

The Ay Ay Islands, (f.k.a.) The Danish West Indies, (n.k.a.) Virgin Islands of the United States

Status Referendum of 1993


In 1988 the Virgin Island Legislature established a Commission on Status and Federal Relations charged with the responsibility of educating the public on various political status options. These options were:

  1. Status Quo (remaining an Unincorporated Territory)
  2. Statehood (incorporation, or integration with the United States)
  3. Free Association (a transitional status model for a U.S.-administered territory that will not be integrated into the U.S. federal political union)
  4. Independence (going it alone)
  5. Commonwealth (a potential relationship between the United States and the Virgin Islands in which Virgin Islands is given special rights and privileges)

In 1989, Hurricane Hugo postponed the referendum on the political status of the USVI until 1993.  The Status referendum was held in September 1993, but the electorate, comprising a very large minority of persons born outside of the Virgin Islands of the United States, was largely uninterested in the status question. Voter turnout for the 1993 referendum was poor (27.5%)resulting in the (80%) majority voting for status quo (remaining an Unincorporated Territory).

100 years of being a territory, V. I. political leaders have been almost universally silent on the question. Political Status Options:

  1. Statehood/integration into the U.S.
  2. Sovereignty as an independent state or freely associated state
  3. Autonomy as an unincorporated territory or the status quo as of 2017