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Virgin Islands Party 3

- It is time for the Virgin Islands Party to bury the hatchet
Dickson Igwe. Photo: VINO
Dickson Igwe

The Grand Old Party appears to have finally settled into a mould ready for governance. The next [British] Virgin Islands General Election is in two years. That is a very long way off. The transition from Honourable Ralph Telford O’Neal OBE to Honourable Andrew A. Fahie (R1), a leader more “liked” by members of the Virgin Islands Party, and the wider country, has certainly not gone smoothly.

Too many years of fratricidal struggle between the two factions in the Party may have finally ended. Honourable Julian Fraser RA (R3) has fought the good fight. He has earned his medal. A long vacation: the “proverbial world cruise,” is his best medicine now. It is time for his troops to go home and heal. This Old Boy’s “informers” tell him that Virgin Islands Party Members appear satisfied with the results of their leadership election of November 30, 2016.

Now make no mistake, Honourable Andrew A. Fahie, the Member for the First District, is now on a clear path to the Premiership of the [British] Virgin Islands. The next General Elections will be called, up and until sometime in 2019. However, a VIP victory is no done deal.

Fahie and Dr Natalio D. ‘Sowande Uhuru’ Wheatley, the Party’s new president, have a steep mountain to climb if they hope to achieve national power in two years. That path to power goes up a formidably high precipice and through dangerous and wild country. It will be a difficult, exhausting, and unpredictable journey and climb, to the Promised Land of Political Power. And it is an odyssey that begins with winding, treacherous and deadly terrain. It will be a backbreaking trek over jagged rock, deep ravines, unforgiving precipices, and thick jungle. Predators will be lurking and waiting to pounce at every turn. It will be a journey fraught with unpredictable events and unexpected turns.

And there is both good news and bad news for the Virgin Islands Party. The bad news is that Fahie has “trust issues.” These matters of trust are based on solid antecedents. His foes on the opposite side of the fence know this. They will use it against him.

The good news is that unlike his predecessor, the New “King Kong,” is considered likeable and people friendly. That is always a good thing in politics.

Fahie simply has to cultivate the right circles and walk a circumspect path over the coming months to overcome his trust deficit. Still, that will not be as simple as it sounds. Many of his “Old Friends” will only be too willing to offer him poisonous advice. Traps will be laid. He will trip over the unexpected tree stump. He will sink his feet into deep mud. The road to power is never an easy route. 

Another way Fahie will neutralise the trust deficit is to focus on policy and not personalities. The new leader will recall that at the last General Election in 2015 the VIP had a long menu of policies and ideas. However, the NDP stole the narrative. The VIP allowed itself to be defined by the NDP, which clearly enjoyed the benefit of greater resources.

There was the VIP proposal for a maritime academy integrated into the primary and secondary school system; a housing plan for first time home buyers; a negotiating with the United States Virgin Islands to harmonise the tourism infrastructure in the USVI with the tourism market here in the [British] Virgin Islands; this was to be done by removing transportation, customs, and immigration barriers between the two territories; an expansion of the Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport to cater for large jets; making the VI a digital hub for the Caribbean in the same vein as Silicon Valley in California; pursuing full university status for the Hamilton Lavitty Stoutt Community College; and much more.

Pursuing the Party agenda with laser focus will place the feet of the new Leader on solid rock.

The good news for the Virgin Islands Party is also a boon to the National Democratic Party. The present political climate favours both parties. The Virgin Islands as a result of demographic factors, the nature of politics, and the dynamics of organisations, is today a solid two party territory. This is so now, more than ever before. It is not going to change. In fact, it may not change in our lifetimes. Whether this is good or bad is for the reader to decide.

Consequently, anyone, attempting to form a third party is, well, simply wasting their time. All the antecedents show that any third party will hit the “proverbial kerb” and stray into the nearest ditch where it will be stuck for good. The era of the independent candidate is over.

The next General Election will be a “shootout at the Ok Corral” between the Virgin Islands Party, and the National Democratic Party, period! Consequently, the centre of political gravity will remain the two parties. There will be two polarities, not three or four. The best supporters and enemies can do is “choose their side” and go into battle.

The reason for the preceding is that brand is everything these days. The men and women who control the political brand run the show. Brands take decades to develop. Coke and Pepsi did not become the world’s most powerful and universal brands overnight. It took decades of “slick marketing” and complex organisational management to build both brands into colossal global businesses. The NDP too are masters at building their brand.

OK. The Virgin Islands Party has a good chance of winning the next General Election. However, never make the mistake of underestimating the propensity of men to do stupid things. If a day is a long time in politics, two years is an eternity. There is a lot of time ahead for dynamics and trends to change for the better or worse, and that is despite the fact that at present things look very good for the VIP.

And remember the last general Election? What did it prove? The National Democratic Party could be described as one of the savviest political organisations in the Caribbean. The NDP does not take prisoners. The powerful organisation systematically demolished the VIP at the last General Election in 2015. In fact the job was so thorough that some VIP Candidates appeared to go into “hiding” for a very long while. It was an embarrassing repudiation of the Leader and his soldiers by Joe Voter.

Then, the NDP still enjoys demographic advantages that stem from 30 years of migration from Caribbean Islands into the country to service the rapid growth in financial services and tourism. The party appeals to newcomers. The Party further enjoys the support of a large section of the youth population who grew up in NDP country. These are young men and women who were children when the VIP was last in power. Their mature years were lived under NDP governance. They know nothing else but NDP.

Another matter is the state of the global environment. There are bigger “King Kongs” out there who “run things” in a world where globalisation is still very much the main game in town. The New VIP will have to understand the complexities and nuances of getting the best for this country in that “bigger and much more unforgiving world.” The New leader will have to negotiate with “seasoned officials” in the UK and elsewhere who do not have the same love and loyalties he may have for these Tiny Spice Islands.

And presently, the trust Virgin Islanders and residents have for their politicians, is at rock bottom.

Consequently, the VIP, including those who came out of the November 30, 2016 elections with the short end of the stick will have to bury the hatchet. The party will have to unite around Honourable Andrew A. Fahie and his team. If not, 8 years in the political wilderness will increase to 12.

That will be a terrible thing indeed!

Yes! This thing is far from a done deal!

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5 Responses to “Virgin Islands Party 3”

  • DON Q (10/12/2016, 08:18) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    He making sence
  • pat (10/12/2016, 11:53) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Hope some of Fraser supports read this
  • Welcome back to the Virgin Isles (10/12/2016, 14:26) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    A good assessment of how things are panning out on the ground; however, VIP have to still prove, once again, that they are worthy of receiving the people’s trust; that they are capable of taking our country off the ledge and moving our country, once again, from good to great. Two years of hard, ground-pounding, work ahead in such tumultuous times of uncertainties.
  • ? (10/12/2016, 19:01) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
    Do you all think that the BVI will ever elect andrew as premier?


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