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Change of Opposition party leaders in VI, Jamaica, Bermuda & SVG

- Four political party Leaders either will not contest their party's Leadership, have given up power or were voted out within the last two months!
Left: Opposition People's National Party (PNP) President Portia L. Simpson-Miller announced on December 4, 2016 that she will not be seeking re-election next September 2017 as head of her party. Right: Last month, veteran St Vincent and the Grenadines politician Arnhim U. Eustace announced plans to step down as Opposition Leader and Leader of his New Democratic Party (NDP). Photo: Internet Source
Opposition Leader Hon Julian Fraser RA (R3), right, was unseated as Chairman of the Virgin Islands Party (VIP) on November 30, 2016 by First District Representative Hon Andrew A. Fahie, left. Photo: VINO/File
Opposition Leader Hon Julian Fraser RA (R3), right, was unseated as Chairman of the Virgin Islands Party (VIP) on November 30, 2016 by First District Representative Hon Andrew A. Fahie, left. Photo: VINO/File
Left: Bermuda Progressive Labour Party (PLP) Leader Hon Marc A. Bean announced his retirement from politics in November 2016. Right: E. David Burt has since been elected new party boss. Photo: Internet Source
Left: Bermuda Progressive Labour Party (PLP) Leader Hon Marc A. Bean announced his retirement from politics in November 2016. Right: E. David Burt has since been elected new party boss. Photo: Internet Source
Chairman of local political consulting firm Advance Marketing and Professional Services, Mr Julian Willock, said the party leadership changes across the Caribbean are similar but have their differences in the ‘BVI context.’ Photo: VINO/File
Chairman of local political consulting firm Advance Marketing and Professional Services, Mr Julian Willock, said the party leadership changes across the Caribbean are similar but have their differences in the ‘BVI context.’ Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola VI- The main Opposition Virgin Islands Party (VIP) in the overseas Territory of the Virgin Islands (UK) is not alone in ousting its party boss.

In the Westminster system of Government most often once a political party loses a general election the party leader sometimes is expected to surrender power, but can maintain their leadership post if the elected members of the Opposition, party convention or delegates decide to stay with their leader.

However, history has showed most often the losing party bosses will retain their post and become the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament or House of Assembly.

However, within the past two months, four Caribbean countries, Virgin Islands, Jamaica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Bermuda have seen their Opposition Party Chairman or President either voted out as Party Leader, retired from active politics or announce they will not seek another term as the head of the party.

Virgin Islands

Just last week, November 30, 2016 the 45 year old Opposition VIP elected its 4th Leader in Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1), who ousted veteran politician Hon Julian Fraser RA (R3) who is also the Territory's Opposition Leader.

Hon Fahie, who was also elected the same year as Hon Fraser- in 1999 to current- came back to defeat Hon Fraser after Hon Fraser beat him in the 2014 Chairmanship showdown. The post of party Chairman, which is the political head of the party, became vacant in 2014 when former longtime Party Chairman, former Premier, Chief Minister, and Opposition Leader Hon Ralph T. O'Neal OBE decided to retire in 2015 after some 40 years in active politics [1975-2015].

Hon Fraser took the party into a snap election in 2015 where the party was defeated in a landslide, only winning 2 seats out of 13. According to the VIP constitution, after an election if the party loses the party congress must have a vote on the leadership of the party and other executive positions.

Jamaica

Just last evening December 4, 2016 the main Opposition People's National Party (PNP) President Portia L. Simpson-Miller announced that she will not be seeking re-election next September 2017 as head of her party.

The now Opposition Leader and former Prime Minister was addressing party delegates in St Catherine at the party's National Executive Council meeting.

She also said a date will be announced for her departure so to give potential contenders adequate time to organise their presidential campaigns.

Simpson-Miller was elected PNP president on February 25, 2006, beating fellow contenders Drs Peter Phillips, Omar Davies and Karl Blythe.

She has since faced challenges on separate occasions from‎ Phillips and Blythe but prevailed with overwhelmingly wins.
‎She announced yesterday that heaving served the party for more than 40 years, and as President for 10 years it was time for her to make her exit as party leader.

However, she says she is staying on in the short term to help rebuild the party. It is believed that she is being forced out as party boss.

Mrs Simpson-Miller served as Prime Minister of Jamaica from March 2006 to September 2007 and then again from 2012-2016.

St Vincent & the Grenadines

In an unexpected move last month, veteran St Vincent and the Grenadines politician Arnhim U. Eustace announced plans to step down as Opposition Leader and Leader of his New Democratic Party (NDP).

Eustace, a 72-year-old economist who took over the leadership of the NDP in 2001 from former Prime Minister Sir James Fitz-Allen Mitchell, told his colleagues at the party’s Central Committee meeting that it was time to pass on the baton to someone else, after more than 16 years at the helm. The former party boss signalled he was fully prepared to support his successor.

However, he plans to continue as Member of Parliament (MP) for East Kingston, the constituency he has represented for 18 years on the main island of St Vincent.

Party members praised and thanked Mr Eustace for his outstanding contribution to the party and to the country and pledged to host a special event to honour his long and dedicated service.

Eustace, who served as Prime Minister in October 2000 for just about five months before his NDP was defeated in the 2001 general election by the Hon Ralph E. Gonsalves-led United Labour Party, has enjoyed a mixed political career.

The NDP has lost three general elections under his leadership, though he successfully increased the party’s performance, narrowing the margin of defeat to just one seat in the December 2015 general election in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

The NDP held an extraordinary convention meeting last month on November 18, 2016 and voted to replace the party boss Mr Eustace, with Dr Godwin L. Friday as the new party Leader. Dr Friday, a lawyer and four-term Member of Parliament, was also sworn in as Leader of the Opposition a few days later.

Bermuda

The British Overseas Territory of Bermuda also witnessed a shakeup in its main Opposition Party in the House of Assembly just last month.

Following the last election in 2012 that saw then party Leader and former Premier Paula A. Cox of the then ruling Bermuda Progressive Labour Party (PLP) losing her own seat and the election, the party elected a new party Leader in that of Hon Marc A. Bean.

However, just last month there was a coup in the Opposition against party boss Mr Bean when Opposition Members were publicly undermining him because of his leadership style.

Bean, 42, who had been party leader since the PLP (almost four years as Leader) was ousted from power at the last general election in December 2012, sparked surprise when he announced his retirement from politics last month. He had been on medical leave since suffering a stroke in March 2016.

Divisions in the party became highly public last December when seven MPs left Bean’s shadow Opposition cabinet. But when he announced his retirement, Bean said his “conscience is clear”.

Once he resigned, his Deputy Leader E. David Burt, along with another PLP Member of parliament Dennis Lister, contested the party leadership. Burt polled 39 votes to his opponent Dennis Lister’s 35 at a special PLP delegates’ meeting just last month.

Hon Burt, the new PLP Leader, pledged to unify the party.

After his victory, Burt told the media he was “gratified and humbled” by the trust put in him. He was sworn in shortly as the new Opposition Leader in the British Overseas Territory. In his speech to delegates, Burt, the son of a Bermudian father and Jamaican mother, stressed the importance of unity for the party to succeed, along with maturity and patience.

Lister, seen as a party moderate, told delegates “the fight is not in this room. The fight is to kick the OBA (One Bermuda Alliance) out.”

The next general election is due in just over a year’s time.

Meanwhile, there was more party upheaval last month over the coup against former Leader Mr Bean when the PLP’s Senate Leader Marc G. Daniels resigned from the Upper House, citing “subterfuge and deceit” against Bean.

It followed the posting of a hard-hitting statement on Daniels’ social media site, which accused rebel opposition MPs, along with Burt, of engaging in concerted “deceit” against Bean.

Daniels railed against dissenters within the PLP ranks, ranging from the leaking of details to the media and what he termed a campaign to depose the former leader.

Daniels, a lawyer, expressed shock at Bean’s resignation and how he was treated by party delegates and the Opposition.

How does this relate to the VI?

In an invited comment from Julian Willock, the Chairman of Advance Marketing and Professional Services, a local political consulting firm, he told our newsroom in a telephone interview this morning that “the party leadership changes are similar but have their differences in the BVI context.”

In the case of Jamaica and St Vincent and the Grenadines, both Mrs Simpson-Miller and Mr Eustace got a chance to serve as Prime Minister. However, in the St Vincent’s case, Mr Eustace as the Party and Opposition Leader took his party to three consecutive defeats “so there was a compelling case to replace him and enough time to see that he was the problem.”

Simpson-Miller served as Prime Minister two times, taking her party to victory in the 2012 election but again losing earlier this year, “so it was hard for her to loose in the party congress as she had built up some loyalties, she was in a position to give out rewards, she had something to show, she was given a chance”, Mr Willock said.

In the VI’s case, the new VIP Chairman Hon Fraser faced one election, after becoming the party boss in 2014 and the general election was 2015 which was lost “so he had nothing to show and the delegates and Hon Fahie were impatient, not wanting to give him another chance.”

When Hon Ralph T. O’Neal was the Chairman he won two elections like Mrs Simpson-Miller “so it would have been hard to remove him if he had wanted to continue. He was able to build up party loyalty and give rewards”.

While the VIP Congress “has spoken and that must always be respected,” according to the former Permanent Secretary Willock, the question becomes “if the VIP does not win the next general elections with Mr Fahie as the Leader would the VIP Congress want to get rid of him after the next election?"

Mr Willock pointed to the fallout in Bermuda after they got rid of the Opposition and Party Leader Mr Bean, “but remember when you are out of power and in Opposition most often it becomes more challenging to keep the troops together but time heals most divisions and once the goal remains to form the next government then Opposition parties, including the VIP, will come together and unite…there is no other way to win,” according to Mr Willock.

25 Responses to “Change of Opposition party leaders in VI, Jamaica, Bermuda & SVG”

  • paul (05/12/2016, 12:14) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    very very interesting piece VINO...
    • Liat 521 (05/12/2016, 22:00) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Nuff respect to Mama P for serving the party and the country for 40 years. God bless always!
  • vincy (05/12/2016, 12:29) Like (11) Dislike (9) Reply
    Mr. Willock is a real intellectual I love how he explains things
  • island man (05/12/2016, 12:50) Like (16) Dislike (3) Reply
    I do not care what changes are made by Oppositions once they get rid of those Oppressive governments in St. Vincent, The BVI and Bermuda!!!!!
    • wize up (05/12/2016, 13:25) Like (15) Dislike (1) Reply
      @ island man: down pressers is a better word to describe BVI; don't know much about political affairs elsewhere: but the most important thing(we need change)
  • Hope. (05/12/2016, 13:13) Like (18) Dislike (4) Reply
    Hope the changes bring Change.
  • Interesting read (05/12/2016, 13:26) Like (13) Dislike (6) Reply
    Willock, good political analysis I must say.
    • wize up (05/12/2016, 14:39) Like (8) Dislike (2) Reply
      @ interesting read: trying to get the young-blood to join the political arena preferably VIP....with the changing of the guard I will jump ship(voted NDP all-the-way in 2015)
    • @ interesting read (05/12/2016, 22:14) Like (7) Dislike (1) Reply
      JW critic is so refreshing!!!!
      Hope the voters are watching how polished and professional Willock approaches business. It is such a welcomed change.
  • Yes (05/12/2016, 13:58) Like (4) Dislike (2) Reply
    was that rigged too?
  • Roll Model. (05/12/2016, 16:33) Like (6) Dislike (1) Reply
    Honestly as much as younger is the way to go. It Scarey. Young people are all about money, money, self, material stuff... They maybe we'll worst than the old...The world has change. Long time people use to be look up on as good roll models base on the good they do.. Now it's about what you have...
  • Caribbean man (05/12/2016, 16:47) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Eustace moved his party from 3 seats and in 2010 and again 2015 won 7 of the 15 seats, I think it is unfair to brand him the problem within his party! Otherwise, the article is excellent. With all the DRAMA playing out VIP will win NDP 10-3 next election.
    • Your Predictions a bit off (05/12/2016, 19:09) Like (5) Dislike (1) Reply
      Your predictions are a bit off, the NDP may or may not lose the next elections and let me explain a bit, all over the world when it comes to governments' first two years are a bit slow, like here it's fours years so within the third year the government starts doing a bit and then in the four year give out bribes and money the same happens down the island but in this instances governments have five years so within the first three years government does as they wish and the fourth year start coming around and then the fifth year. It out votes.
      Do you know what the problem here is, those who hold the power, the voters allow $500 during an election to cloud their mind so basically a politician buys you off for $100-125 per year and stay in office keeping you subjected to poverty. A government should be judge based on their entire term and voted in if they person well out of they did folly, how forgetful is the mind of a man when it really counts.
      To address your predictions ( in the 8)if marlon continues to do as he is doing he has another two terms, (in the 2nd) Mitch will soon be a force to reckon with, ( in the 4th) if mark continues to perform in the fourth and continues to use his supermarket is assisting the down trodden and poor he is unmovable, at large say what you want about Myron he is making the bold moves that has to be made butbis unpopular in the education Industry and once he continues he will be unmovable, (in the 3rd) if Julian Does watch himself that seat will be gone, other than those seats the NdP either has to spread the wealth again in the fourth year or else they will be seating on the sidelines
      • BetFred (06/12/2016, 13:13) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        @Your Predictions a bit off - Some good points; others I differ on. Marlon is shaky and any reputable, fresh and innovative candidate would be able to knock him off his perch. Mitch is somewhat safe, but if the country votes along party lines he may be a one term rep. As for D4 - this is WIDE open for anyone to come in and knock-out that utter waste of time and nothing but pure lip-service of a rep there now. By his own actions and lack of regard for anyone with conflicting ideas or points of view placed the entire BVI in distress. As for 'helping the poor' check see where most departments are shopping from - OneMart and by giving away ham (cancer) does not mean he 'cares' - just another business ploy to get your dwindling dollars. The MEC minister has made a mockery of our secondary and tertiary education system and the professionals see and know this - along with dubious deals (HSA collections contract, mind-boggling cost of a block wall on the flat, HOA catering etc.) I see him as a loose canon and am patiently awaiting what the Cuban will do if he is unsuccessful in his bid to become party leader/Premier. "Spread the wealth in year 4'..you stated but what 'wealth' are you referring to? Petty contract gone, treasury late on payments, no increments for those whom worked hard for it, rising cost of living, rising utilities, rising taxes and costs of Gov. services, so tell me whom will benefit and from what? Maybe, just maybe this time a coalition Gov. might be the best answer to take us off the reef.
  • ausar (05/12/2016, 18:07) Like (4) Dislike (2) Reply
    I think this is the change we needed for progress of this party. I am an NDP supporter, but I think that with Andy at the helm, my party will have true challenge for the next election

    Congrats, Hon. Fahie!!
    • wize up (05/12/2016, 21:53) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
      @ ausar: you need to jump ship come 2019 so when next you go to the polls VIP all the way(i dont have any white envelope, things tight under this regime)..i done jump ship and you have that right as well, so execise that right(see you at the next VIP camp meeting)
  • Jamdown (05/12/2016, 21:55) Like (1) Dislike (2) Reply
    All the best Portia Simpson-Miller, you have served the PNP. And for that, the party is glad and thankful.
  • speechless (05/12/2016, 21:59) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    all four changes were Long overdue, but better late than never. I consider this the best service the four has done for their countries, and I say this with no political bent.
  • weed (05/12/2016, 22:15) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    good to see a regional headline for a change.
  • rattie (05/12/2016, 22:20) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Huge difference in leadership styles.
  • Six n one half dozen the Next. (06/12/2016, 05:23) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    We cannot continue with these two for sure. Health and Agriculture must go.. I really hope the next government will fix NHI and Agriculture...judging from the last 15 yrs. NDP is bad... VIP is scarey..Like we the people trapped between a Rock and a hard place with these two parties... Time to take this thing serious people. Things can get better but we The people have to make good decisions or its going to get worse..
    .

  • Only SKN (06/12/2016, 11:09) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    But it seems as if the people of SKN dont want to get rid of Dougie and Parry and get some fresh faces and young people as head of the opposition.As I was observing I thought the people would have chosen Drew or Konris or even try a female Marcella and in Nevis Nisbett or someone else. Too often they the leaders used folks to keep them there especially during party elections for one reason or the other and most are obligated to do so because they feel they are indebted to them.It is through that individual I got my house, land,etc so I have to keep them there even if my son or daughter or family member is opposing that person. We need to come away from or liberate ourselves from that mental slavery and help make our country a better place for not now but time to come.
  • judge (08/12/2016, 10:23) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Man even a Frazer led party can beat NDP now


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