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O’Neal, de Castro, Wheatley to square off in 9th District debates

Three candidates vying to be the next Ninth District Representative are set to square off in a political debate on Wednesday.

The debate kicks of at 7:30 pm at the Catholic Community Centre in the Valley on Virgin Gorda.

The participants are Dr Hubert O’Neal — the sitting district representative seeking re-election under the National Democratic Party — Virgin Islands Party’s candidate Vincent Wheatley, and Progressive Virgin Islands Movement (PVIM) candidate Jose de Castro.

PVIM’s deCastro said, if given the opportunity, he would push to eliminate the disconnect between the sister islands and Tortola, particularly where banking is concerned. One solution the political newcomer is proposing to address the district’s banking woes involves inserting a policy stating that banks looking to operate in the BVI must open a sister island branch.

Wheatley, in the meantime, told BVI News that he intends to tackle the district’s high unemployment rate, their banking woes, and the use of alternative energy.

On the other hand, Dr O’Neal, who was recently appointed Junior Tourism Minister told this publication recently that his intentions for the district involve using his new post to improve the tourism product in the constituency. Dr O’Neal blames the 2017 disasters and the subsequent closure of major Virgin Gorda resorts as the reasons he failed in delivering many of his campaign promises in the last General Election.

The debate

Debate organisers Sasha Flax, Trevor Bridgewater, Shea Alexander, Rea Vanterpool, Adrianna Soverall and Akeem Lennard said they moved to host the political event because they believe plans to build the Ninth District should be “based on reason, regardless of political affiliations”.

“The voting public should be aware of its options and conscious of respective ideas to then decide the best fit for upward mobility thus the call for the debate,” a media release from the debate organisers said.

The debate will allow for each candidate to present opening and closing statements. It will also include a question and answer segment.

Participants will be allotted two minutes to make their presentations and another three minutes to answer questions that were submitted prior to the debate.

The three men will also be required to respond to questions from social media

“Each candidate will be asked one question before moving along in sequence. All responses in the form of rebuttals will be allowed if desired by one candidate per question for a maximum of one minute. Candidates will give closing statements within a minute and a half each,” the release further said.

The debate will be broadcast live on social media and will be accessible via a Facebook page called ‘Representing the 9th’.

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22 Comments

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  1. queen shereen says:

    “3 blind mice”

  2. LOL says:

    He will force banks to open a branch they don’t need? WTF? These guys are delusional!!! Why should you be forcing banks to open sister island branches when our own local branch, National Bank doesn’t have any? The solution would be getting the board and management at National Bank to show something for those huge salaries and turn the bank into a real bank of the people, including having a satellite location on VG! Why are we crying and begging international companies to do what we can do ourselves here? Think before you speak man!

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    • Alternative says:

      It’s not about forcing banks, who are beholden by the profit rather than service. It’s about catering to the needs of the people. It’s hugely inefficient, not to mention risky, to require businesses to go to Tortola to make deposits, do payroll, etc on a regular basis. Without a bank, everyone goes to cash. You don’t think that has been noted by those inclined to help themselves to others’ belongings?

      Outside businesses require trade licenses, and in the case of banks, part of the application process would be to require them to have a presence in sister islands.

      Worth considering is dissolving the National Bank altogether. What is it doing for the people of the BVIs (besides those few that get the salaries).

  3. big sht says:

    mash dem up jose’

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    • Welp says:

      He might be smart but he only started talking to people when he decided to run in this election. I nah vote he. Where was he when he was supposed to be at the center after hurricane helping out, he was walking round eating food

      • Bvi says:

        Vote for who can do the job and not just who you like

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      • Really? says:

        @ Welp: You don’t have to vote for Jose, but it is not necessary to have to use defamatory language. Where was Dr. O’Neal after the hurricane? His advice in North Sound when he finally got there afterwards was that people should be thankful for whatever aid they got because the government was unable to help them.

  4. Newcomer says:

    I’m Happy to see the young people in VG is leading by example..Good move Guys never let the Politians rule society..The People is Power..

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  5. Political Observer (PO) says:

    The purpose of the debate may be well-intentioned but the timing is premature, for the HOA is not dissolved, election date not set nor nomination day set. Does this premature action say that the die is already rolled for the D-9 and other filings do not matter? What is the group expecting to get from the debate? Save for MAJOR gaffe(s) or obvious lackluster performance, debates, though a seemingly de facto part of the electoral process, don’t typically engineer substantive changes in the position of voters.

    Challengers and candidates lagging in the polls normally advocate for as many debates they can get. Runaway front runners avoid them, for their is no big price to pay if they skip them, ie, the Trumpster avoided the Iowa debate during the Republican primary in 2016. Who is the front runner among the trio? Is there an unannounced wild card waiting in wings? Nonetheless, I will have a front tow seat at the debate supporting me cuz.

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    • Think! says:

      Why are they campaigning before the house is dissolved? Why are they having open mics before the house is dissolved? You are making absolutely no sense. If the debate should not be held before the house is dissolved, then the campaigning should STOP.

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      • PO says:

        Debates are normally part of the campaign process. And debates are universally held among combatants for a position, ie, president, prime minister, premier, governor, member of parliament, senator, district rep, at large rep…..etc. However, in this situation, there may be more candidates for the D-9 seat, for nomination day has occured as yet. IMO, the organizers should be interested in hearing from all D-9 candidates on the issues.

        As such, they should wait for the full slate of candidates. How can all candidates be evaluated fairly if only a few are heard from. Delaying the debate does not stop candidates from campaigning. In truth, they should be full speed ahead campaigning. Candidates typically who are out the gate first have an advantage; candidates should not wait until the HOA is dissolved and election date set to start campaigning. After election date is set, the time until election should be used to close the deal.

      • @ Think says:

        Your comment makes no sense.

        • Think says:

          I am sure that the organizers want to hear from every candidate who seeks to represent the 9th District. If you say that debates are a part of the campaign process and that candidates should be full speed ahead campaigning, I fail to see why the debate should not proceed as well.

          You say that candidates who are out the gate first have an advantage and that candidates should not wait until the house is dissolved to begin – you are making my point! If ALL of these things can happen without the house being dissolved, why would you put such strict parameters on the debate?

          The only organization that HAS to wait for nomination day is the elections office – so they know who all to include on the ballot. Other than that, the candidates who have declared are already making their case to the public. The debate is just another opportunity to do the same. To the person that said my comment made no sense, I would love to hear your reasoning.

      • Well says:

        Every one of those parties campaigning. Come up with something else

  6. Straight says:

    Hubert will win that seat again with ease. Vincent will be no different to All Out last time where he looked good until he opened his mouth and as you can see Vincent already put his foot on his mouth even before the campaign started. Jose will be no contest, young and promising youth but PVIM will be his downfall.

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  7. NEED MORE DEBATES says:

    Look we want to see several debates this year. We want to see the Premier Candidates debate, the deputies debate and the At Large Candidate debates. These candidates need to work for the people’s vote this time.

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  8. Too late says:

    Who is deputy in public works. Jose? Is he working with a budget? And can’t even help VG.? Now wants to run for politics? He will accomplish nothing. Too late.

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    • um says:

      how can he help if he was pushed on the side? Deputy but with a head and he can only do what is approved. He knows exactly what needs to happen in VG and now wants to get in a position where he can do so.

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  9. EV says:

    Tomorrow, Virgin Gorda and perhaps the entire BVI will host its first ever political debate. Such a pre-election event signifies political growth and maturity.

    Therefore, it is hoped that such a critical event in politics will continue onward.

    Meanwhile, a vote, unlike cycles before shall not be taken for granted anymore.

    Though some still do, but mostly gone are the days when votes were cast solely on personality, family and party allegiances, like or dislike for a candidate and other reasons.

    Today, a greater segment of the population is educationally advanced, politically mature, knowledgeable and exposed.

    Thus, the appeal is now for territory wide debates beginning in the next cycle.

    This will enable the mature intellect as well as the average layman to better decipher the best politically intellectually capable candidate to ascend to leadership.

    • EV says:

      And so, my fellow elected and prospective officials:

      Ask not and seek not what your country can do for you — but seek out and do what you can do for your country and people.

      Speak not to the people as though they are fools.

      Appease not the people with empty elect me rhetoric, but speak truths that you will uphold if placed to do so.

      If called, use that command to bring good to others.

      Use it to justify injustice.

      Bring right to those who have been wronged. Bring justice to all who have been treated unjustly.

      Bring prosperity to all, and you being the least

      Bring good ethics and morals back to our paradise; our politics; our lives and state of being.

      Bring us forward to where we were.

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