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VINO responds to Lorna G. Smith’s FB letter to our Esteemed Chairman

Virgin Islands News Online, one of the few media houses in the Virgin Islands known for its fair and balance professional reporting and for being non-partisan, has again been attacked this time by Mrs. Lorna G. Smith and the Premier Dr. the Honourable D. Orlando Smith. The Territory’s first family has extended the personal attack to the Chairman of the Board of Advance Marketing and Professional Services the parent company of Virgin Islands News Online Chairman the Esteemed Julian Willock. Image: VINO/File
In keeping with his National Democratic Party Administration’s history of hostility to press freedom the Premier of the Virgin Islands (left) Dr. the Honourable D. Orlando Smith attacked Virgin Islands News Online on Facebook over an article about his wife’s employment with the government. Many believed Dr. Smith would have gained more credibility if he had used the opportunity to simply explain to voters, taxpayers and all concerned how much we are saving by hiring his wife from 2012 under the “arrangements” and list her accomplishments/ achievements to both the Financial Services Sector and the Ministry of Finance. Photo: GIS/File
In keeping with his National Democratic Party Administration’s history of hostility to press freedom the Premier of the Virgin Islands (left) Dr. the Honourable D. Orlando Smith attacked Virgin Islands News Online on Facebook over an article about his wife’s employment with the government. Many believed Dr. Smith would have gained more credibility if he had used the opportunity to simply explain to voters, taxpayers and all concerned how much we are saving by hiring his wife from 2012 under the “arrangements” and list her accomplishments/ achievements to both the Financial Services Sector and the Ministry of Finance. Photo: GIS/File
Our news room and the Chairman of our Board of Directors Mr. Julian Willock have been overwhelmed with phone calls, text messages and ordinary citizens from all walks of life stopping the reporters very disturbed by the personal attacks on Mr. Julian Willock and on the news site by Mrs. Lorna Ginevra Smith and Dr. the Honourable D. Orlando Smith.

Mr. Willock does not write for VINO

It has been long established that the Chairman of the Board for the parent company that owns Virgin Islands News Online; Advance Marketing and Professional Services the esteemed Julian Willock does not write stories for the news site.

Yes we do have some four reporters employed!

In fact for the past 4 plus years of the site’s operation Mr. Willock has never written a story, notwithstanding that from time to time he will pass on information given to him by the public to the news room.

Or at times when sensitive articles are published on the news site Mr. Willock may do his own checks and verifications to ensure that VINO maintains their long cemented history and record for accuracy and objectivity.

While preparing this statement we consulted with Mr. Willock as it was an attack on him and the news site. Therefore, we know our news room can speak for Mr. Willock as while he served as a Permanent Secretary like Mrs. Smith did, he had always looked up to her as a mentor and someone that he wanted to follow in her professional footsteps.

So it was unfortunate to read of her erroneous claim on Facebook that Mr. Willock had intentions to vilify Mrs. Smith.

In fact in speaking to Mr. Willock he recalls when he went to the Water and Sewerage Department as the Director the first speaker at his staff meeting was Mrs. Lorna G. Smith. Then when he became Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Communications and Works his first motivational speaker at his staff meeting was again Mrs. Lorna G. Smith.

This alone can speak volumes to the respect Mr. Willock has for her and how much he admires Mrs. Smith in her professional capacity. So perhaps Mrs. Smith needs a moment to reflect on their relationship history and not allow malice, politics and bad advice from her newfound friends to cloud her judgment and react based on misguided emotions.

Dr. D. Orlando Smith - his record

As for Dr. Smith while we know that he has a right to defend his wife Lorna his own Administration has a history of hostility to press freedom, with one of his Ministers spending the first year in office after the 2011 general elections doing nothing for the people, but attacking the online news sites. The National Democratic Party (NDP) Administration has the legacy of bringing and passing a Bill in the House of Assembly to silence the press and this also speaks for itself.

A Cyber Bill we may add that has been condemned by the International community, the Media Unions in the region and the local populace therefore no one was surprised of his own attack on Virgin Islands News Online.

There has never been a debate about his wife Lorna's stellar contributions to the Virgin Islands, as she worked under both Virgin Islands Party and NDP Administrations and was a model public officer that was known for her creativity, getting things done, productiveness, and professionalism.

Mr. Willock brought to our attention that during his own civil service career he worked closely with Mrs. Smith on Public Sector Reform, where her solid achievements still prevail today in bringing about long overdue reform to modernise the civil service.

However, it was sad to see the Premier in bringing attention on his Facebook page to his wife’s open letter to our esteemed Chairman Mr. Willock took the opportunity to play the usual old, dull, tired, boring and divisive politics that have become the signature of his NDP Administration that has left the country socially and morally bankrupt.

If he had demonstrated leadership he could have simply explained to voters, taxpayers and all concerned how much we are saving by hiring his wife from 2012 under the “arrangements” and list her accomplishments/achievements to both the Financial Services Sector and the Ministry of Finance.

The Board of Directors of Advance Marketing and Professional Services, the news room and Mr. Willock have no personal issues with either the Premier or the First Lady, however, we stand by our story published on July 10, 2014 ‘Is Lorna Smith wife of the Premier a government consultant?’

Most readers will agree that the story published by VINO was fair and balanced and sought and received comments from the relevant government officials including the Premier himself and his Acting Permanent Secretary.

We humbly and politely suggest that before the first family Mr. & Mrs. Dr. The Honourable D. Orlando Smith get too emotional with routine checks and balances which is the role of the media in all democratic societies, and the people’s right to know, especially, once their hard-earned taxpayers monies are being spent, they will live up to what they both promised us; they “have nothing to hide.”

36 Responses to “VINO responds to Lorna G. Smith’s FB letter to our Esteemed Chairman”

  • ccc (13/07/2014, 10:42) Like (23) Dislike (9) Reply
    Vino you hit it out the park
  • Jelnick (13/07/2014, 11:18) Like (13) Dislike (6) Reply
    VINO please publish the letter as a link to this article. Great article by the way.
  • pat (13/07/2014, 11:39) Like (37) Dislike (7) Reply
    Word of advise to the smiths: avoid a fight with the press
  • zoe (13/07/2014, 11:48) Like (10) Dislike (8) Reply
    Bam
    • @Zoe (13/07/2014, 13:55) Like (16) Dislike (28) Reply
      I will say this over and over and over. You are a puppet and I really hope that you are not running for office because if your only comment is bam and you want to represent people well imagine you in our house of assembly. Your only answer to your debates will be BAM so I hope the people don't waste a vote for your pre-recorded puppet actions.

      BAM!!! LOL!!!
  • Lait 521 (13/07/2014, 12:16) Like (28) Dislike (5) Reply
    cant believe Dr. smith via face book was justifying hiring his wife shame on he
  • jtv (13/07/2014, 12:18) Like (7) Dislike (3) Reply
    tic for tat can we all just get along?
  • rattie (13/07/2014, 12:25) Like (18) Dislike (7) Reply
    "However, it was sad to see the Premier in bringing attention on his Facebook page to his wife’s open letter to our esteemed Chairman Mr. Willock took the opportunity to play the usual old, dull, tired, boring and divisive politics that have become the signature of his NDP Administration that has left the country socially and morally bankrupt" this is deep yall
  • bam (13/07/2014, 12:26) Like (31) Dislike (5) Reply
    First round goes to Vino. An honorable man or woman should know how to respond professionally and gracefully in any situation or circumstance must less the leader of a territory. Any government official with a high position where your decisions affect the lives of an entire territory should expect to come under public scrutiny from time to time. When the media comes for your head you show them your heart. If your intentions are good you should have nothing to hide. Vino is actually one of the only local websites that do some kind of investigative reporting and not just waiting for a press release or for the news to happen. Recently the people have come to see just how important this is as information seems to be deliberately omitted or only released after decisions that affect us all have been made.
  • Premier or not (13/07/2014, 12:47) Like (31) Dislike (7) Reply
    I was so ashamed that the Premier posted that letter on his facebook page. He really isn't acting like he's the leader of these beautiful islands. SAD!
  • ok (13/07/2014, 13:04) Like (23) Dislike (2) Reply
    Public Officials have become so personal and petty. Never saw anyone in the last VIP administration behaved like this, despite the licks they received from the press. It appears NDP preferred the days when they could spend the public' purse however they wanted and everyone was fast asleep. Get it together Officials. Times have and changed and things are different now. Good job VINO, continue to bring these matters to light. It's the public funds, we have a right to know who they're dishing it out to. We have a right to know!
  • Bvi man (13/07/2014, 13:05) Like (17) Dislike (0) Reply
    Certain things you just leave alone!!!!!
  • uHuh (13/07/2014, 13:11) Like (16) Dislike (1) Reply
    Conflict of Interests seem to be the order to the day. This has to stop! There are others that could perform these services to the government. Actually, why is a consultant needed if you already appointed a Head. This is double paying for the same thing. VINO, you need to publish the amount of her contract that they accrued back in 2012, that affords her the opportunity to carry out these services today. This service is not FREE as they would want us to believe. Do they take us for fools???! I love the dear first lady, but come on man............
  • The Brits Are Coming! (13/07/2014, 13:28) Like (43) Dislike (1) Reply
    I wish I could have posted a comment on the first lady's Facebook letter but I hope she can read my statement.

    Madam First Lady, with all due respect a lady of your stature and in the position you are currently in as "First Lady" DOES NOT RESPOND to allegations made by anyone who may find it worthy of writing a story about you. You let the facts speak for itself by letting those responsible for the different departments you are representing address the matter of any concerns of your involvement with them.

    You posting on Facebook justifies that there is reason to seek information on your involvement with any entity of Government which you do not see "First Ladies" around the world doing on contractual basis. You are one in a million who will ever be paid for services while being "First Lady" as a consultant to her own husband who is the Premier of a country. This is a blatant "CONFLICT OF INTEREST" whether you like it or not in the eyes and on purse of the public and just like all politicians who must declare all of their government asset and interest before being seated. I am 100% sure you are not apart of your husband declaration of interest and assets with the Government of the Virgin Islands.

    I don't believe anyone envy your position but there is room for concern of how this current administration is operating that calls for immediate investigation and it is the MEDIA right to seek such information but as the person involve, you can easily counteract by NOT responding directly.

    I have a question and hope you can answer it on your Facebook since you already made an unnecessary public statement.

    1. Who seeks who?

    (A) Is it you that go job hunting just like all of us out here looking for work and because of being "First Lady" you get preferential treatment for the job?

    (B) These entities come to you seeking your services on their behalf?

    If the answer is (A) well again I believe that you should consider the perception it have on you as "First Lady" doing what you do and getting paid is a (CONFLICT OF INTEREST).

    If the answer is (B) well let these entities defend your hiring for service and keep your mouth shut and fingers to yourself or on your work you are hired for.

    My advice to you is NOT to get caught up with addressing allegations with the media because you will always loose. Freedom of speech and freedom to investigate any matter that involve the public purse.

    Just to let you know that I am PROUD to be a BVIslander but take heed that the WORLD is watching us and have access to these statements made.
  • Eh? (13/07/2014, 13:47) Like (12) Dislike (1) Reply
    I don't see what is the big fuss Lorna!

    Vino writers do the stories that catches everyones attention and that is what sells.

    Look at the other media houses like the Beacon! Does Russell write for them? Yet he is the Chairman of the Tourist Board and that place is in a MESS. So why attack our esteem Chairman Mr Willock?

    Just tell us how what you are doing and how much you are milking we the people for. After all your Hon. Husband said in a recent Press Conference that he can't help everyone but he is surely helping your pocket. Or is it both of you all pockets? You are married so you are considered ONE!

    Come on First Lady, FEEDOM OF THE PRESS. THIS IS NOT CUBA OR VENEZUELA OR ANY OTHER COUNTRY IN THE MIDDLE EAST THAT DON'T HAVE THIS TYPE OF FREEDOM AND THE MEDIA IS CONTROL BY THE GOVERNMENTS.
  • xxxxxxxx (13/07/2014, 14:04) Like (7) Dislike (2) Reply
    Lorna leave this thing alone hire Ms. barnes or glover park to put the right spin on things
    • golly (13/07/2014, 22:56) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      tek it from me, Barnes nor Glover Park cant help she right now.

      she need pastor c for rehabilitation.
  • -------------------- (13/07/2014, 14:33) Like (11) Dislike (1) Reply
    Now they have me curious as to what they are trying to cover up…hope the opposition ask a question in the house on the 22 July if the NDP speaker do not block it!
  • I was hacked! (13/07/2014, 14:38) Like (17) Dislike (1) Reply
    Da wasn't Lorna who wrote that statement on Facebook mehson!

    Da was somebody name Alcohol talking da man!

    Don't believe every ting ayo read. For all you know it is another conspiracy theory by the NDP.
    • lol lol lol (13/07/2014, 22:30) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
      Lawd you got me here cracking up! Some body name ALCOHOL! LOL LOL LOL

      NOW WHO COULD THAT BE?

      ALCOHOL make you do things that you can not justify after so please drink responsibly! LOL LOL LOL

  • FB (13/07/2014, 17:30) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    People using Facebook an unprofessional site to destroy relationship and cloud people mind. LMFAO. Shame on the First Lady and gullible followers to entertain this story. Keep things moving Vino hope Willock and the First Lady rise above and settle difference
  • farmer brown (13/07/2014, 18:42) Like (9) Dislike (2) Reply
    Lorna and willock use to be tight look how this down island politics destroyed a lot of friends
  • ABC (13/07/2014, 20:04) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    This is a direct result of allowing others to manipulate and dictate your very actions which is rather unusual for Lorna. Yes, Dr. Smith writes and says what his advisors and Ministers tell him to say and do. It has and will continue to cost him dearly. Kenney Rodger says it best; "you have to know when to hold and when to walk away." Dr. Smith, learn from your mistakes, you have a brain, use it. Those who appear to be eating out of your hand will eventually leave you without a hand.
  • what (13/07/2014, 21:05) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    F L you must me transparent in your dealings. Was the services tender
  • Dubious (13/07/2014, 21:49) Like (13) Dislike (2) Reply
    I can't believe I am defending Willock but who do the Premiere and the First Lady think they are fooling with an open letter on Facebook. In the land of victimization that is the BVI most people are not going to say what they really think about the administration on Facebook. Posting a letter on a social medium that does not even have a dislike function does not prove anything. They will learn how people feel about their administration at the ballot box when they can vote anonymously. I mean really, who defends their credentials and creditability on Facebook. FYI, Facebook is best used for trivial things like determining if your old girl friend is fat now, checking out pretty young things you should not be looking at, and verifying rumors about who is sleeping with who, its not a vehicle for defending your good name. It will take more than an open letter on Facebook to convince people the government treasury is not being used as an open check book whenever a consulting engagement is "required".
  • @@@@@@@ (13/07/2014, 22:10) Like (18) Dislike (1) Reply
    Lorna you are the first lady behave as such i never see mrs oneal acting this way and i doubth mrs fraser will act so next year!
  • parole buddy (13/07/2014, 23:12) Like (3) Dislike (7) Reply
    This is what you get when this country pay for expats education.
  • Little Boy Blue (14/07/2014, 10:09) Like (15) Dislike (1) Reply
    Lorna you showed your cards. You need to take a page out of Michelle Obama hand book. There has not been a first lady in US history that has been vilified, ostracized, disrespected punched and kicked like the present first lady. She took every punch, every kick with grace and class. She never responded to the media the way you and the leader of this country responded. Have you ever seen the president in a dog fight with the media over what they say about his wife? I have no doubt that some things might make them both angry, but they have a responsibility to uphold the integrity, respect and professionalism of the institution of the Presidency. Premier your office is not an individual, it is an Institution. You were elected to that office to Lead, but you have been a sorry disappointment. You have fall short Dr. Smith. Vino thanks for fair, balanced and accurate reporting.
  • fish (14/07/2014, 13:03) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Dem open an aut ness keep off vino boss
  • Mrs. Obama (14/07/2014, 15:53) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Can someone please pleeaaze search Michelle Obama on Facebook and Twitter just check her conduct. Classy lady!!


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