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'I strongly detest & disagree' with attack in HoA on Hon Turnbull- Deputy Premier

- condemns recent chastising by Hon Walwyn of Hon Turnbull; Said NDP Gov't is at a crossroads & Hon Turnbull has a right to speak his mind
Deputy Premier and Minister for Natural Resources and Labour, Dr The Honourable Kedrick D. Pickering (R7), centre, has stood firmly in defence of Second District Representative Hon Melvin M. Turnbull, right, for publicly speaking up against his boss, Premier and Minister of Finance Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL) in the HoA on December 13, 2017. Hon Pickering also condemned the ensuing attack on Hon Turnbull by controversial Minister for Education and Culture Myron V. Walwyn (AL), left. Photo: VINO/File
Fifth District Representative Hon Deloris Christopher, left, and Leader of the Opposition Andrew A. Fahie (R1), right, had previously stood in support of Hon Melvin M. Turnbull (R2). Photo: VINO/File
Fifth District Representative Hon Deloris Christopher, left, and Leader of the Opposition Andrew A. Fahie (R1), right, had previously stood in support of Hon Melvin M. Turnbull (R2). Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- 'Madam Speaker, I sat here the other night and listened to the attack on one of my colleagues sitting on the Backbench. And it would be almost remiss of me, Madam Speaker, as a senior Member if I was not to lend my voice to that particular issue and to say that I strongly detest and disagree with that kind of behaviour."

It was during the continuation of the Twelfth Sitting of the Second Session of the Third House of Assembly (HoA) of the Virgin Islands on December 20, 2017 that one of the most senior members of Government, Deputy Premier and Minister for Natural Resources and Labour, Dr The Honourable Kedrick D. Pickering (R7) stood firmly in defence of Second District Representative Hon Melvin M. Turnbull for publicly speaking up against his boss, Premier and Minister of Finance Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL) in the HoA on December 13, 2017.

Hon Turnbull had accused Dr Smith of neglecting his district following hurricanes Irma and Maria and stated that he was of the opinion Minister for Health and Social Development Hon Ronnie W. Skelton (AL) should be given the portfolio of Finance.

Hon Pickering also condemned the ensuing attack on Hon Turnbull by controversial Minister for Education and Culture Hon Myron V. Walwyn (AL), who accused the young Representative of disrespecting the Premier and threatened to leave the National Democratic Party (NDP).

At the time, only Fifth District Representative Hon Deloris Christopher and Opposition Leader Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) expressed their support of Hon Turnbull and disagreement with Hon Walwyn's attack.

All is not well in the NDP

But, according to Hon Pickering, there is no question that the Territory is at a crossroads and there is no question that the National Democratic Party (NDP) Government is at a crossroads.

"We would like to pretend otherwise but it is obvious, and the last vote just proved it, that all is not well in the house that governs as we speak," the ever level-headed Hon Pickering said, referring to the earlier vote on the Motion to borrow some $65M from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) where one NDP Backbencher, Hon Christopher, voted against the Motion, and two other NDP Backbenchers, Junior Minister for Trade and Investment Promotions, Hon Marlon A. Penn (R8) and Sixth District Representative Hon Alvera Maduro-Caines, abstained.

And according to the Deputy Premier, every Member of the House of Assembly has a right to speak, to speak clearly and succinctly, without anyone having to attack them, and the Member for the Second District is no exception.

"And I want to say publicly that I support the Member for the Second District for standing up in this House and speaking his mind. Debate in the House is the bedrock of parliamentary democracy and we must never try to silence any Member."

Hon Turnbull has a right to speak his mind

Hon Pickering continued that all elected Members are equal in the House because all were elected by constituents, and the one thing constituents expect of their representatives is to be able to look out for them and defend them.

The Deputy Premier recalled when serving in the Backbench between 2003 and 2007, and asking his then colleague, the then Minister for Communications and Works, the late Paul P. Wattley, a formal question in the House pertaining to issues in his district.

"So there is nothing unsual about a Member in the Backbench speaking up against his Government. In fact, the Backbench, their responsibility is to hold the Frontbench accountable. The Backbench has a responsibility to keep Cabinet in line. If we losing sight of that then we losing sight of the very nature of the parliament we are trying to build.

"The Honourable Melvin Mitch Turnbull has every right to speak his mind, even if he is speaking against the Premier of this country. He was elected as a Member to do just that. All of us know when we are crossing the line and being disrespectful to one other and each one of us have a right to apologise when that is necessary but none of us have a right to tell another to shut up, so to speak."

Speaking quite a mouthful on the matter, Hon Pickering said the things Honourable Turnbull was speaking about are maybe things that needed to be said. "It is not like he said anything out of turn, and that is what troubles me. He hasn't been saying anything out of turn. I might not necessarily agree with the way he might have said some of what he said. I certainly don't agree with him standing up publicly if he disrespected the Premier...but the Premier had a right to respond to him and he did and the two of them have certainly settled it privately."

The future of Territory lies with young people like Hon Turnbull

Further defending Hon Turnbull and parliamentary democracy, Hon Pickering said the future of the Territory lies with people like Honourables Turnbull and Penn, two of the younger serving Members of the House.

"The reason why they were elected is because the people, especially within their community, see leadership in them, and it was remiss of them to come in here and fall in line. If the system needs shaking up, they have a responsibility to shake it up. People like myself and the Member for the Third District [Hon Julian Fraser RA (R3)] who been here [a long time], when we getting out of line the younger people need to tell us that we getting out of line. Because the future don't belone to us, the future belongs to those who are coming after us."

Let the problems be exposed

There is no question that the NDP has been having internal issues, especially with its leadership. Premier Smith has already survived an attempt, led by former legislator and party spokesperson Eileene L. Parsons OBE, to strip him of his Finance portfolio and giving it to Hon Skelton. And then a long serving member of the party, Bishop John I. Cline, was sacked after he publicly agreed with the notion to have Premier Smith replaced as Minister of Finance.

And, according to Hon Pickering, who has been a Member of the NDP from the inception, if the Government has issues to be aired publicly, they should be aired publicly.

"If Irma taught us nothing, Madam Speaker, that is what Irma taught us today, exposed us. Irma exposed this country. It exposed me in every possible way...So if Irma exposed the problems in Government, let it be exposed because that way it will be fixed. We can't continue to go down a path pretending like all is well and we are not necessarily on the same page in that regard."

Premiership an institution

Further, Hon Pickering made a case that the Premier is not beyond criticisms and if there is anyone qualified to defend Premier Smith it is him [Dr Pickering] as he has been at Dr Smith's side for the last 31 years, since 1986.

"For the last 25 years, basically in more ways than one, being his number one supporter, professionally, politically and otherwise. If anybody could stand up and defend him is me, but the Premiership is not about a person. The Premiership is an institution...and it just can't be respected in terms of who the person is. I shall say no more.

"I will say this, and I will say it loud and clear. I don't want to be part of an organisation where people think that the organisation belongs to them that if things not going right they must walk out on it," Hon Pickering said, in another direct hit to Hon Walwyn.

"I am a founding, original member of this organisation, been here through thick and thin...when this organisation was flat on its back...been here, been there, see this organisation bounce back from where it was. We can't just come now and take it and believe it belong to we and we could do what we want with it. Give me my space, Madam Speaker, been around this here long enough. Something just not right and some things have to change, but it dosen't have to change for me or anyone else, it has to change for the greater good."

Further giving weight to what he had to say, Hon Pickering said he holds the distinction of being the first person to be elected under the NDP banner as when the votes were counted in 1999 the Seventh District was the first one to be declared.

"I been here in the House, struggling, made mistakes, said things you had to apologise for and was even scolded.

"It's a learning process. Hopefully some of us will learn it is not about me, it's about us and doing our best to help the country as we go along."

Surprisingly, Hon Walwyn, who is always in defensive mode, had nothing to say on the matter when it was his turn to address the HoA under Any Other Business.

Meanwhile, Hon Turnbull, was not in the HoA on December 20, 2017, and had previously indicated he would have been unable to attend. 

24 Responses to “'I strongly detest & disagree' with attack in HoA on Hon Turnbull- Deputy Premier”

  • Well said (21/12/2017, 10:09) Like (25) Dislike (13) Reply
    Hon. Picko,
    Good job in the manner, which you spoke... keep the party in check and remind them of their duty to serve WE the people. No one should take shame for anything said, I see it as an inspiration and motivation to get things fix and hope next year will be better.
  • ndp youths (21/12/2017, 10:17) Like (34) Dislike (2) Reply
    its about time some on stand up to funny man. Clap Clap Calp to Hon Pickering
  • my two cents (21/12/2017, 11:07) Like (20) Dislike (9) Reply
    Hon. Pickering, Hon. Skelton, Hon. Mitch, Hon. Penn, Hon. Christopher.... Please continue to stand up to the foolery! To the others that straddle the fence, get some courage and take a stand! Two the three ministerial bullies, especially the one that like to pray on young minds to ensure his votes are accounted for, you are in for a rude awakening!
  • Welsah (21/12/2017, 11:20) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
    Fire !

    "We would like to pretend otherwise but it is obvious,
  • Smith destroys Tola (21/12/2017, 11:24) Like (24) Dislike (3) Reply
    At the rate Smith going ..Tolians will soon be cutting cane for a living in nearby islands !
    • facts man (21/12/2017, 12:07) Like (31) Dislike (16) Reply
      the big mistake was elected the likes of Myron the country has been going down ever after
  • very well (21/12/2017, 11:40) Like (26) Dislike (1) Reply
    Very good speech Hon. Pickering. Inspiring and informative indeed. There’s still hope for our Territory.
  • Im comming (21/12/2017, 12:03) Like (33) Dislike (6) Reply
    Myron, I never cared for you and now I could care less about you. You are a big bully with your chest pushed out like the big bad bull dog on the Tom and Jerry cartoon. Turnbull have a right to speak. I don't know who put you in charge Myron or what makes you think that you are in charge. Remember this Myron, Turnbull is 100% son of the soil can I say that about you?
    • Hmm really (21/12/2017, 22:28) Like (3) Dislike (2) Reply
      What does 100% of BVI soil have to do with anything.
      • She knows (22/12/2017, 07:33) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
        EVERYTHING! We have a right to protect the interests of native BVIslanders and who better to do it than one of our own?
  • Windy (21/12/2017, 12:08) Like (16) Dislike (4) Reply
    mehson do not mess with the Cuban when he hit its hard. Myrun is no match for the veteran
  • wize up (21/12/2017, 13:19) Like (5) Dislike (5) Reply
    we need to get the rid of the district system because of the district leader are very selfish minded( it's all about there district)....there are persons from a given district now residing through this territory: if you desire to a political leader in this BVI then run at large and all voters will have such an opportunity: I will say until proven wrong(not partisan political talk...facts) let the member for fist likewise of the 3 run at large come 2019 then let the chips fall were they may( put to f(@& up or shut to fu@$ up) that then prove me wrong
  • The Streets (21/12/2017, 15:34) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
    Still waiting for him to lend his voice in behalf of the unnecessary laying off and firing of workers..
  • Good try (21/12/2017, 15:49) Like (7) Dislike (1) Reply
    Nice try. Trying to keep the failing party together. Too late.. Poor Myron..
  • BossWho (21/12/2017, 16:10) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    The People of the Virgin Islands is his boss not the Premier!!!
  • believer (21/12/2017, 18:35) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    Only God can save us now. People ought to take their eyes and hopes from all politicians. It's ridiculous that in these troubling times they have the time and energy to fight among themselves.Let's pray for these islands. Only God can save us now. Man is after power and control but it's time we become wise and see these politicians for who they really are. .
  • Ponche Cuba Rum (21/12/2017, 18:55) Like (4) Dislike (2) Reply
    Myron always remember this you are not considered a true BVIslander. You will be used then get abused. Stay out of the Bull and Smith pen. Let them f¥(k themselves.
  • ABC (21/12/2017, 20:01) Like (6) Dislike (3) Reply
    Walwyn you shouldn't be in we house so hush
    • Prohetic (22/12/2017, 06:39) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
      @ABC The last time someone sought to own the "House" it was destroyed. Such wicked comment shows that we have not learnt the lesson the storms was meant to teach us and I hope we will not be made to repeat it.
  • guy hill (22/12/2017, 04:13) Like (15) Dislike (0) Reply
    These politicians at some point if they have not learn, need to learn how to agree to disagree, agreeably. In the end game, the respect and playing field will be level vibes. Hope they try (ada) at some point going forward. Be bless. Be brave. Be safe. Happy Holidays to all, not some, to ALL.
  • Prophetic (22/12/2017, 06:33) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    Smart move.? The ship is sinking so the crew is abandoning it one by one. Another ship to be launched?
  • I shall not be moved (22/12/2017, 19:18) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
    That young giant will not be moved. 2nd district don't waver this is just the beginning of what is to come from this young man. Great Potential just give him some time. Watch and see I tell you from district to premiere in a few more elections.
  • pain (22/12/2017, 19:53) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
    Abused ppl often become the abuser.Myron is a perfect case.Only he and
    few others know what I'm talking about.Stop abusing your position/The BVI..geez man.

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