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Premier publicly scolds his deputy, as NDP internal rifts deepen

Premier and Minister of Finance Dr the Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL), publicly embarrassed Deputy Premier and Minister for Natural Rescues and Labour Dr the Honourable Kedrick D. Pickering (R7), for statements made on May 24, 2018, that that Virgin Islands (VI) is declaring war with the United Kingdom (UK). Photo: VINO/File
Health and Social Development Minister Hon Ronnie W. Skelton (AL) and Minister for Communications and Works Hon Mark H. Vanterpool (R4), were also scolded by Premier Smith for statements publicly made. Photo: VINO/File
Health and Social Development Minister Hon Ronnie W. Skelton (AL) and Minister for Communications and Works Hon Mark H. Vanterpool (R4), were also scolded by Premier Smith for statements publicly made. Photo: VINO/File
 The three cellular service and internet service providers in the Virgin Islands are (top to bottom): Flow, CCT Global Communications and Digicel. Photo: VINO/File
The three cellular service and internet service providers in the Virgin Islands are (top to bottom): Flow, CCT Global Communications and Digicel. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI - Premier and Minister of Finance, Dr the Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL), has yet again publicly scolded and distanced himself from statements made by his subordinates—the third such instance in recent months—this time, taking aim at his Deputy Premier and Minister for Natural Resources and Labour, Dr the Honourable Kedrick D. Pickering (R7).

Premier Smith, at a news conference on Wednesday, May 30, 2018, disputed claims made by Dr Pickering during the ‘Decision Day March,’ where he suggested the VI had “declared open war on the UK with respect to this sanction and Anti-Money Laundering Amendment Bill.”


His ‘Boss’ on Wednesday, May 30, 2018, however, when asked about Hon. Pickering’s comments at the march of May 24, 2018, said pointedly, “there is no battle going on between the BVI and the UK.”

This, in direct contradiction to Minister Pickering’s statements to the almost 5,000 residents that marched in protest of the decision by the UK, making mandatory, public registers for beneficial owners of businesses registered in the jurisdiction.

Premier Smith during his engagement with reporters, in fact, doubled down in blasting his deputy, saying Dr Pickering was speaking for himself and not his Government.

 “Any statements made [by speakers] were giving their personal opinion, and they are not mine,” he said. 

Pressed further by reporters at the news conference, the National Democratic Party (NDP) Leader effectively ‘tossed his deputy under the bus’ saying, “Dr Pickering as the Deputy Premier would tell you that he was speaking, giving his own opinion, not of the government of the day.”

According to Premier Smith, “he (Dr Pickering) is entitled to his own opinion which is fine”.  

NDP Rifts

Dr Smith has in recent months, publicly scolded Ministers over pronouncements they have made.

Only recently during the House of Assembly’s debate on the Recovery Agency Bill, Health and Social Development Minister Hon. Ronnie W. Skelton (AL), claimed, “…because we were hit by the two hurricanes all of a sudden they see an opportunity to take advantage of our vulnerabilities; Instead of trying to help us, all of these rules are coming now – what we should do, and what we can’t do … If they don’t want to help us, they need to tell us they don’t want to help us.”

Dr Smith subsequently, speaking to ZBVI’s Zan Lewis, rubbished this, saying “I like to state categorically that I disassociate myself from those statements.” He claimed instead, “that the UK government has been very helpful to us after the hurricanes,” Premier Smith said.

On Thursday, May 24, 2018, at a march supported by thousands of BVI residents protesting the amendments to a bill passed by the United Kingdom Parliament, Dr Pickering told marchers gathered at the Governor’s office that “we need to ensure that we understand the real issue and where we stand here today.” He continued “…we have declared open war on the UK with respect to this Sanction and Anti-Money Laundering Amendment Bill; we have declared war because we do not agree. So, we have to be prepared to fight.”

Lightening Rod

The VI Deputy Premier was on Tuesday, May 29, 2018, called on, to shed light on his lightening rod statements during the broadcast of the popular radio programme, ‘Honestly Speaking.’

Host, Mr Claude O. Skelton-Cline sought to query the ‘declared war’ statement, in addition to Dr Pickering's position that, “essentially we were filing for a divorce because what the U.K. parliament have done by passing the Sanctions Anti-Money Laundering Bill, thereby forcing us to create a public beneficial ownership registry, will destroy our way of living as we know it” He said, “…the words I used were very intentional, and there should be no sugar coating of what has taken place.”  According to Dr Pickering, he saw “no evidence or reasons to believe that the UK will reverse their decision and I believe the U.K. is wrong.”

Telecommunications Carrier

Communications and Works Minister Hon Mark H. Vanterpool (R4) was also publicly reprimanded by Premier Dr Smith, when he threatened Telecommunications companies in the Territory with the addition of another carrier if they did not improve their services. Premier Smith subsequently slammed the idea, telling the public—at a press conference in fact—to ignore Hon Vanterpool  and that “no decision has been made to get another carrier as his government agrees with the decision made years ago that the market can only take three carries” another contradiction to one of his ministers.

A social commentator noted, “It is clear that Premier Smith is heading a divided government; while they continue to fight amongst themselves, these Virgin Islands continue to lose ground.”


17 Responses to “Premier publicly scolds his deputy, as NDP internal rifts deepen ”

  • Lawdamerci (02/06/2018, 16:22) Like (27) Dislike (8) Reply
    NDP has hit an all time low. Why don’t they just dissolve and call for new election and get it overwith? How much more can we take of this spectacle?
    • Stop It (03/06/2018, 10:12) Like (15) Dislike (11) Reply
      The Media is spinning this wheel to sell hits. People can have different views and opinions without being at war.
  • Welsah. (02/06/2018, 16:36) Like (18) Dislike (9) Reply
    Looks like the National Diminishing Party (NDP) gig is up.
  • ??? (02/06/2018, 16:40) Like (14) Dislike (20) Reply
    All out civil war? This is almost as bad as We-IP...
  • stubborn (02/06/2018, 16:42) Like (30) Dislike (14) Reply
    Orlando, it’s time for your party to dismantle.
  • lawd have mercy (02/06/2018, 16:50) Like (20) Dislike (1) Reply
    Serious food for thought. The man is showing them who in charge. Surely he is not prepared to be pushed around
    • Thanks Smith (03/06/2018, 18:42) Like (8) Dislike (2) Reply
      Dr P was out of line glad, utter nonsense was running from his mouth.
  • At (02/06/2018, 16:52) Like (31) Dislike (17) Reply
    the rate things going, Doc will soon be the leader of one...himself.
  • eye (02/06/2018, 17:03) Like (21) Dislike (15) Reply
    Blame the BackBenchers for not putting Dr. S. out of his miseries. Now look at his party today?
  • Likable (02/06/2018, 17:15) Like (27) Dislike (11) Reply
    But it’s time for him to throw in the towel. Politics is not for him.
  • Boss (02/06/2018, 17:56) Like (13) Dislike (4) Reply
    Your time up. Step aside.
  • Wow? (02/06/2018, 22:39) Like (14) Dislike (1) Reply
    They didn’t reshuffle now daya buckle.
  • BRAD BOYNES (03/06/2018, 06:03) Like (10) Dislike (1) Reply
    Internal cannibalization-self destruction-power struggle .Envy-Jealousy- Burden-Sorrow. The need becomes a greed.
  • zoe (03/06/2018, 08:50) Like (8) Dislike (2) Reply
    Ndp must go bottom line
  • Political Observer (PO) (03/06/2018, 11:30) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
    The amendment to the Sanctions and Anti- Money Laundering Bill passed by the HC and HL and affirmed by Her Majesty is a serious issue that can adversely impact living in the BVI. Specifically, it can adversely impact the economy, the level and quality of government service, employment..............etc. As such, government should have a consistent message in regards to the Bill. Moreover, as a minister when does personal opinion and public business begin and end and how does the public sift through what is personal and public. Government minister should be deliberate, discipline.......etc. Moreover, the March should have been lead by the People; government should have been highly interesting observers. People power should have been the engine that drove the March train. Instead things got muddled with government participation into it.
  • Fake News (04/06/2018, 13:59) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
    There were about 500 people at the March
  • musa (04/06/2018, 21:03) Like (0) Dislike (3) Reply
    Team work ndpwill win

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