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On Virgin Islands Party at large nominations & demographics

Dickson Igwe. Photo: VINO/File
By Dickson Igwe

ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- The Virgin Islands Party delegate will make a second critical decision with regard to the 2015/16 General Election very shortly. That decision will be the selection of candidates to fight the British Virgin Islands General Election in the coming months. The first decision was appointing Honourable Julian Fraser RA, its leader, a few months ago.

Many supposedly in the know have marked their calendars sometime in July 2015 for a general election. This Old Boy is not that certain. He still puts his money on 2016. Or maybe his ducks are giving him the wrong signals in their paddling routine.

One exceptionally savvy political player stated over drinks at Pussers Road Town Bar and Restaurant, that the key ducks to watch on the political pond are the completion of a major aspect of the pier project very shortly, the Queen Elizabeth Park Project, a 16 million dollar open check, breaking ground on a clinic in Virgin Gorda, and the completed hospital.

In any event, Jack and Jill Delegate had better “think very carefully” before deciding who to select to fight the election on behalf of the VIP. There is a lot of unhealthy hubris in the VIP presently. Over confidence is always a mistake.

He has already heard one name mentioned that should fill any delegate with any common sense with total apprehension. Putting the wrong team together, especially at the At Large level will send the party into 4 more years of drought: the wastelands. This Writer does not believe that Jane Voter will put anyone in office in 2016 without the right substance, and good credentials.

The NDP possesses a very competent and savvy At Large team. Its district candidates are also very seasoned and competent players, with new, very talented additions. At the At Large level especially, the NDP will have to be matched by the VIP, for the VIP to have any hope of election success.

At the District Level the race will be extremely competitive. The VIP may have a slight advantage in the districts. However, the At Large vote outcome is the most unpredictable factor in the upcoming race. The At Large vote will almost definitely determine the general election outcome, and which party will preside over a GDP that will amount to between 4 and 5 billion dollars, with public revenues in excess of 1.3 billion, in the next political cycle.  

The decision to place Julian Fraser in the seat of Leadership of the VIP some full moons back was the right decision, despite reservations from certain quarters. Fraser has matured as a politician. Fraser is the most intelligent and seasoned politician in the VIP. Fraser is aging well, and the talk on the proverbial street corner is that he is looking very much the statesman.  

This Old Boy firmly believes that Fraser will make an excellent Premier in the current social and economic environment, if given the chance. Fraser is a strong, intelligent, and tough man: with a clear vision of where he wants to take the country. That is what is needed in today’s British Virgin Islands to tackle the many complex issues with regard to the society and economy. But that is just this Old Boy’s opinion. He is not endorsing any politician in this story.

And he has a lot of respect and admiration for the present Premier, who is a thoughtful, likeable, and shrewd man. Dr Orlando Smith is a tall and charismatic national figure. The Great Man possesses panache, chutzpah, and pedigree. He is an excellent ambassador for these pristine islands. Both Smith and Fraser are lions in the political jungle.

Now, the Virgin Islands General Election to be held shortly is extremely unpredictable. There are two reasons for this. Both are demographic. One is the shifting demographic that has created a new and young generation of voters with peculiar features. Many of these are first time voters. They are the children of migrants, and are very concerned about their futures, in an economy where job growth is very slow owing to global deflationary pressures.

The second is migrants that have been granted status over the past ten to twenty years, and who can vote at a General Election. There are enough of these to swing most districts one way or another, and decide the At Large outcome.

Now the preceding assertions are all anecdotal. One can only make general allusions on BVI demographics: guesswork so to speak! This is owing to the dearth in statistical figures. The actual numbers of the two groups – voters aged between 21 and 40, and migrants given voting status- is unknown. That makes for an election that will turn out to be a game of poker, with a touch of Russian roulette. There are too many jokers in the pack to make any type of prediction, one way or another.

There is more on demographics. Women, it appears, will play a critical role in the upcoming war for power. Any party that ignores the gender factor will sink like the “Titanic”. This Old Boys frequent encounters with the opposite sex on political matters, shows a new and very healthy determination that their voices will be heard loudly and clearly in the upcoming elections. Women expect to be placed in key positions in the next government, and rightly so.

Now a number of names have been mentioned as potential VIP at large election candidates. Three at large possibilities that have been either cabinet members or government backbenchers and seasoned politicians are Dancia Penn QC, Irene Penn O’Neal, and Keith Flax. It is unclear whether Mrs. Penn the QC, will be on the VIP ticket. Her selection as an at large candidate would clearly be a boon to the VIP considering her lofty credentials. Time will tell. Time always does.

However, brand new names that get this Political Watcher excited include Charmaine Rosan Bunbury, Roxie Romney, Stephanie Faulkner Williams, Neville Smith, and Elton Sprauve.

Vincent O’Neal is another name that is worth looking at. O’Neal is another savvy and intelligent player. The man has aged well. He was once a firebrand type known for his tough and no nonsense management of the country’s Immigration Department. A new and serene maturity is good for his political future. There are many others that could have been mentioned. But this Old Boy has been warned to keep his stories short.

OK. This Old Boy considers Bunbury and Romney exceptionally savvy and intelligent types who are great assets to the VIP. They may be green to party politics and political skullduggery, but they both possess serious credentials in business, society, and otherwise, and will be assets to Virgin Islands governance as they mature politically. They will also help the VIP garner the female vote: critical to election success.

This Old Boy has never met Elton Sprauve. But the man is well spoken of as a charismatic leader, as well as one Neville Smith. Zoe McMillan appears to have been slotted to fight at district level. Zoe, like Shaina Smith, is another exceptionally gifted Virgin Islands female with national leadership credentials.

So the VIP certainly has a party membership to match the NDP’s. Whether King Delegate makes the right choice in picking the best and most astute players for the upcoming match remains to be seen.

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4 Responses to “On Virgin Islands Party at large nominations & demographics”

  • cay (11/04/2015, 10:52) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Good points
  • foxy (11/04/2015, 16:51) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    There should be no free lunch for anyone. Whether forced upon the voters or not, like everything else, most people gradually get used to orderliness after it is practiced.....
  • open wide (11/04/2015, 17:13) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    we need help in the BVI in the areas of providing water, waste management, recycling technologies, and also various venture initiatives....this i call the bigger issues
  • wahoo (13/04/2015, 19:32) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Igwe as usual formulates a good analytical piece of writing.
    Good food for thought and commentary.

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