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Shaina & the National Democratic Party

Dickson Igwe. Photo: VINO/File
By Dickson Igwe

Shaina Smith is an attractive and intelligent British Virgin Islands television and media personality. She is an engineer, popular Op Ed journalist, and political party candidate. The following article is first of two stories shining light on the two main political parties in the British Virgin Islands.

Shaina’s decision to join the National Democratic Party of the British Virgin Islands is the right call. It is furthermore an endorsement of Two Party politics, or even better stated, it is recognition of a two party political hegemony in the country.

Two party politics in the BVI is getting increasingly entrenched into the social geography. Shaina, in joining one of the two major political organisations has at the very least secured her long term political future. Shaina possesses star quality. She must now define her own social and economic philosophy within the NDP’s vision for the BVI.   

The NDP Team going into the next General Election is presently complete. The NDP is a cohesive and resilient political organisation.

The following story is the simple opinion of the writer. It is not an endorsement of any political party, or politician.

OK. In an online story of March 30, 2015, on BVI Platinum News titled, ‘NDP TAKES FIRST JUMP: New Candidates Confirmed Following High Level Meeting,’ the names Shaina Smith, Kevin Smith, and Melvin Turnbull, were put forward as contesting the early 2016 General Elections.

This Old Boy still believes the NDP Government will call the election early next year. He might just be wrong. But that is how he sees the ‘proverbial ducks' lining up.

Now this was a good move by Shaina Smith. Why? Because notwithstanding what happens at the next General Election, both the Virgin Islands Party, and the National Democratic Party, are not going anywhere. They have become institutions. They are part of the 'permanent’ BVI political landscape. Both parties are part of a strongly evolving two party system of governance in the British Virgin Islands. That means they stand a very good chance of ‘being around’ for a very long time indeed.

Shaina, Melvin, and Mitch, represent a new generation of NDP leaders: they are young, articulate, talented, and dynamic.

Shaina would have been a good candidate for the opposition Virgin Islands Party as well: such is Shaina’s versatility and gifting. However, the NDP culture, product, and brand, appealed to the young woman. Based on the story of March 30, it is clear who the NDP will be fielding come the next General Election.

The Virgin Islands Party announcement on its candidates is yet to be made. However, certain names being called, if validated, will make for a very competitive race indeed, when the time comes.

A popular and likely VIP candidate, who is young, intelligent, and attractive, with a super personality, is Zoe McMillan. Zoe appears a sure bet for the VIP, and she is part of the young generation of VIP leaders.

At the core of the VIP is its Chairman and Leader, Julian Fraser. Fraser is a highly intelligent, conviction politician. Fraser is a Populist. His statements on economics put him on the Demand Side of the economic debate. Fraser is focused on building a secure and prosperous middle class through targeted stimulus. Fraser believes that the middle class is the ultimate driver of an economy. A strong middle class is the pathway to consistent and strong economic growth, according to Fraser. The preceding appears to be Fraser’s governing philosophy.

Fraser is backed by the Former Minister of Education Sports, and Culture, Andrew Fahie, and a strong party apparatus. Both politicians are pugnacious, savvy, and experienced: both are fighters. It would be very unwise underestimating these two men.

There have been an unusually large number of persons that have sought nomination as VIP General Election candidates, both at, At Large and District Level. This too is recognition of the power of two party politics. The BVI Voter waits to hear an announcement on candidates selected to run on the VIP ticket with baited breath.

Ultimately, the election race will be a two party affair. It will also ‘boil down’ to issues, policies, and party philosophies. The crucial question asked by Jack and Jill Voter is this one: which party has the more appealing vision for the country? And which party possesses a plan to achieve that vision?

The NDP, from objective observation, thinks of itself as the party of business. It considers itself the party that will promote private and foreign investment. Its leaders state the obvious: that foreign investment is crucial to the success of the BVI. The VIP is by no means business and foreign investment unfriendly. It simply appears more discerning over what type of investment the country needs.

The NDP is made up of savvy professionals and prominent businessmen. It also appears to possess a business first agenda. It views spending on developing national infrastructure that supports business, as the way forward. Its economics model appears to be supply sided.

That means the NDP, in its economics, is producer focused. The businessman and business woman are viewed as the main protagonists in the national economy: the starring actors. What is good for business is automatically good for the British Virgin Islands.

That appears to be the NDP’s economic philosophy. Production and supply determines demand. Production and supply also drives economic growth.

However, supply Side Economics has been criticised as creating exponential wealth inequality globally. It is also the model from which the ideas of austerity and trickle down get their blueprint. Austerity has plunged Europe into a vicious deflationary cycle, with high unemployment, and stagnant economic growth.

Many in the NDP may dismiss the notion that the NDP is Supply Side oriented. That is a reasonable posture. However, to this Old Boy, ‘the proof of the pudding is in the taste; if it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it’s a duck.’

Next week’s story will focus on the VIP.

To be continued...

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