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Hon Ronnie W. Skelton launches bid for NDP Presidency

-as Hon Melvin M. Turnbull contests VP slot
Honourable Ronnie W. Skelton has formally announced his bid for Presidency of the NDP. Photo: Provided
Honourable Melvin M. Turnbull (R2), has also announced, he will be vying to be elected Vice President of the NDP. Photo: Provided
Honourable Melvin M. Turnbull (R2), has also announced, he will be vying to be elected Vice President of the NDP. Photo: Provided
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI - Minister for Health and Social Development, Honourable Ronnie W. Skelton (AL), has formally thrown his proverbial ‘hat in the ring,’ to challenge and replace 73 year-old Premier, Dr the Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL), as President of the National Democratic Party (NDP) at the upcoming Delegates’ Convention, on June 23, 2018.

Hon Skelton’s bid for presidency of the party he co-founded represents yet another challenge against the ‘Boss,’ Premier Smith, to lead the NDP into the next general election—constitutionally due in 2019. He launched his bid today Tuesday, June 12, 2018.

It our newsroom’s understanding, that he has the support of Deputy Premier and Minister for Natural Resources and Labour, Dr the Honourable Kedrick D. Pickering (R7), who himself dropped out the race a few days ago.

Who is Skelton?

Hon Skelton, a political veteran who was first elected in 1999 to 2007, lost the 2007 elections but was re- elected again in 2011 to the position he still holds. 

He was the first politician—who was not a Chief Minister or Premier—to serve as Minister of Finance [2003-2007].

He now faces political newcomer, Education and Culture Minister, Honourable Myron V. Walwyn (AL), who is also challenging Premier Smith, for the post of President of the party.

Premier Smith is expected to contest the internal election and defend his Presidency but sources close to the party have told our newsroom, ‘he is being urged, to pull out of the race.’

Mitch wants second place

Meanwhile, as the race heats up ahead of the June 23, 2018 internal elections, Honourable Melvin M. Turnbull (R2), has also announced, he will be vying to be elected Vice President of the NDP.

Our newsroom has also been told by inside sources that Honourable Marlon A. Penn (R8), is also expected to announce his candidacy for the Vice Presidency post, and maybe aligned to Hon Walwyn. 

The NDP Delegates Convention and internal election for office holders, is scheduled for Saturday June 23, 2018.

NDP record, disappointing

Following the 2015 elections that saw a second consecutive term for the NDP, they have been embroiled in a wave of scandals. At least one Minister of Government, Hon Walwyn, is now under investigation into a wall erected around a school.

The Premier is also yet to account for a $7.2M ‘give away’ to an airline in exchange for direct flights between the Virgin Islands and Miami, Florida USA.

To date—Tuesday June 12, 2018—there have been no flights, no plane and no money handed back to the treasury.

The public is also yet to see the audit findings of a Ports Project that came with a $40M overrun in addition to several elected NDP members publicly chiding Premier Smith, over his perceived poor leadership, in addition to calls for him to be stripped of the ‘Ministry of Finance’ portfolio. 

Whatever the outcome on June 23, 2018, the NDP will face the Virgin Islands Party (VIP), with Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) at the helm.

General Election in the VI is constitutionally due by next year but some political pundits are predicting a likely 2018 poll—early elections being lawful under the VI Constitution Order.

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