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Premier: I won’t give up finance ministry

 Premier Dr D Orlando Smith (left), and Ronnie Skelton

Premier Dr D Orlando Smith (left), and Ronnie Skelton

Following calls from senior National Democratic Party (NDP) member Eileen Parsons for the Ministry of Finance portfolio to be handed over to Ronnie Skelton, Premier and Minister of Finance Dr D Orlando Smith has made it clear that the ministry will remain under his leadership.

Dr Smith however noted that there may be changes in terms of the other ministerial portfolios and responsibilities.

“Any government changes from time to time in portfolios of ministers for the good of the people. What I can say is that there may be changes but certainly not regarding the Ministry of Finance,” he said.

The premier, who was speaking on ZBVI radio this morning, did not elaborate.

Meanwhile, in a leaked letter addressed to the 11 elected NDP officials in November, Parsons said: “It has become obvious to all, outside, that all is not as well as it should and could be in our State of BVI. For instance, it is being said louder and louder that our finance portfolio would be better served by being moved from the Office of the Premier to his Minister of Health [Ronnie Skelton]. It would not be a ‘loss of face’ but it would be a good service to the country.”

Eileen Parsons

Eileen Parsons

Parsons – an NDP stalwart – also lamented that there is a ‘lack of structure’ in the political organization.

“All of you have known it forever,” she added.

“For years, it has been known and sho-shoed that the party needs leadership, and more serious leadership… While we expect the 11 of you to manage our affairs and manage them well, we cannot expect you to also manage the affairs of the body politic.”

While conceding that the NDP is a male-dominated organisation, Parsons also made suggestions that a woman should be considered to head the party.

“It is obvious that it is a man thing at the head and heart of my selected party, but it does not seem to be working at the head of the organisation. It is women who work their butts off to get you gentlemen elected, and we are in serious need of a leader,” she asserted.

Parsons went on to remind her colleagues that BVI voters need ‘constant stroking and that is what the NDP organisation is failing to do’.

“We are not a group that is alive and well, and we are not perceived as feeling our brothers’ pain. All that can and should be adaptable to change.”

Parsons continued: “I know all of the above (in the letter) will ruffle all feathers, but who cares? I care for the country for which I gave up an American passport.”

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