By Davion Smith, BVI News Staff
Before Second District Representative Melvin ‘Mitch’ Turnbull cut ties with the National Democratic Party (NDP) to join the Progressive Virgin Islands Movement (PVIM), he had asked to be awarded a ministerial portfolio if/when the Myron Walwyn-led NDP was re-elected into government.
Turnbull, in a PVIM press conference on Wednesday, admitted to making that request, to which he said Walwyn responded: ‘we will talk’.
But, the first-term legislator made it clear that was not the only thing he and the NDP chairman spoke about nor was it the reason he quit the party to help form the PVIM with Ronnie Skelton.
Turnbull maintained that his reason for aligning with the PVIM was that the NDP had ‘lost its way’.
“I am the one that reached out to the chairman (Walwyn), the deputy chairman, and the other ministers of government — who happened to also be NDP members — to have a meeting and to have personal conversations to understand where the direction [of the party] was heading. That meeting with the chairman lasted close to two hours so if the only thing that came out of that meeting was that I asked or demanded a ministry, that is absolutely false.”
“I did ask that I be seated as a minister within the next government. That was clear. But, again, I want to make it clear there was an almost two-hour meeting [and] a number of things were discussed,” Turnbull said.
He continued: “I made my position clear to the chairman of the party: if we are going to go forward, I need to understand, first, your vision. I need to understand how we are going to address the issues with the airline (BVI Airways), the pier park, [and] with the wall so that, if we get in a battle and I stand with you or behind you, I know how we are going to lead this country forward.”
Turnbull said he resigned the party after getting no forthcoming answer from Walwyn and after seeing a worsening NDP trend as it relates to a lack of transparency, accountability, and integrity.
Notably, his and Skelton’s breaking point happened after they lost their bid to become the NDP’s leader and deputy leader.
PVIM formed three months after defeat in NDP internal elections
Skelton told members of the press on Wednesday that he began forming the PVIM “approximately three months” after his defeat in the NDP’s internal elections in June 2018.
“I must add that a lack of cohesion [within the NDP] did not start with the party’s internal leadership election in June. I am not bitter or angry at anyone. I will forever have many friends in the National Democratic Party,” Skelton said, adding that he has no thirst for money or power considering that he is a successful businessman.
“I reached a point where it became clear to me that I had to take another road in my journey to continue to work and serve the people of these Virgin Islands.”
The PVIM, which Skelton said does not have a full slate of candidates for the upcoming general elections, will officially launch on Friday. The party will reveal its election candidates at that time.
The next General Election must happen by April 16, 2019.
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