BVI News

Even split | What happens if another gov’t member moves to opposition?

NDP legislator Dr Kedrick (second from foreground) playfully sits on the side of the parliamentary opposition during a recess of the House of Assembly recently. (BVI News photo)

By Davion Smith, BVI News Staff

It is no longer a secret that the newly-formed Progressive Virgin Islands Movement (PVIM) is gunning for Deputy Premier Dr Kedrick Pickering to join the movement and possibly seek re-election under that party’s banner.

A question to be considered now is how the current political landscape would be affected if Dr Pickering was to align with the PVIM and, subsequently, cross over to the opposition side, which currently comprises five members in the House of Assembly.

For starters, there would be a six-for-six split majority between Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, and the governing National Democratic Party (NDP) — the side on which Dr Pickering currently sits.

Queen’s Counsel and local expert in constitutional law, Gerard Farara, said there is nothing in the Virgin Islands Constitution that speaks directly to this scenario.

Minority gov’t

He, however, said if that scenario plays out, the NDP administration, “in a sense”, could be interpreted as a ‘minority government’ of the House.

“They (the NDP) wouldn’t have a clear majority because they would need seven to have a clear majority. But, that in and of itself does not necessarily trigger a ‘vote of no confidence’ and it does not necessarily trigger a general election,” Farara told BVI News in an invited comment.

“A very outside possibility, for example, is that another member (in addition to Dr Pickering) crossed the floor and you have a situation where the government has five and the opposition has seven. The members of the opposition, although sitting in the opposition could, technically, then go to the governor and say that … ‘the government is a clear minority government and the House ought to be dissolved and elections declared’,” the attorney reasoned.

He continued: “Or, there could be a situation where they go to the governor and say ‘the premier clearly does not command the majority support in the House’ which is what the constitution requires in order for somebody to hold the Office of Premier. And if that is the case, then the governor probably would be dissolving the House and calling General Elections.”

“I don’t want to speak for the governor as to what he will do but those are some of the scenarios that could arise. It is speculative at this point in time,” Farara noted.

Bad time for BVI to be in political/legislative limbo

The attorney said the NDP administration could completely lose its ability to pass legislation if any other of its members were to join former government legislators Ronnie Skelton, Archibald Christian, and Melvin ‘Mitch’ Turnbull by crossing over to the now five-man parliamentary opposition.

This, in itself, might have damaging repercussions for the territory which, as at Monday (December 10), has 21 days remaining to implement an important piece of financial services legislation that is required to keep the BVI off the European Union’s blacklist of tax haven jurisdictions.

An NDP government unable to pass legislation now — at such a critical juncture for the BVI — could lead to a ‘motion of no confidence’ against them. And if this motion is successful, the territory would then be forced to have an even earlier-than-planned General Election.

“You don’t know what will happen if there is a motion or if there is a particular piece of legislation up for debate,” Farara said. “We don’t know how the people who would have left the NDP are going to vote on that. They might actually vote with the government and not with the opposition. Or the opposition might consider that piece of legislation as ‘important and proper’ that they, too, support it … We have to wait and see how it develops.”

Just last week, PVIM leader Skelton told members of the media that he would welcome Dr Pickering ‘with open arms’ to his movement.

READ: PVIM has seven election candidates + Dancia Penn

Though admitting to having a number of political discussions with the deputy premier, Skelton said he will leave it to Dr Pickering to say whether he will join the PVIM.

Back in August, Dr Pickering made it clear that he was loyal to Premier Dr D Orlando Smith.

Editor’s Note:

Typically, the House of Assembly comprises 13 legislators. But, with the untimely death of Fifth District Representative Delores Christopher back in October, the House now only has 12 living elected representatives. This unusual state of affairs will exist until the next General Election, which must happen by April 16, 2019, the latest.

Copyright 2020 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

38 Comments

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  1. The Hooded Claw says:

    New Challenge: What’s your best meaning for the abbreviation PVIM. Mines is POWER VULTURES IN MOTION. Who can top that? Lol

    Like 47
    Dislike 6
    • Mufasa says:

      How about Petty Vindictive Immature Ministers?

      Like 38
      • NO says:

        You are sooooo petty. Look at all this attention SMH. LOL

        Like 2
        Dislike 8
        • @NO says:

          You guys are so blinded by the quest of power you don’t realize how foolish this all looks to the public, especially the voting public. Keep thinking the backlash is just an NDP or VIP thing. When the results are in you guys would have realized that the people that have been voicing their opinions against this so called movement was far more than just politics as usual. This is not just about who is better out of Ronnie or Myron, this is about principle. These guys were all together with NDP up until June. NDP was good enough for them to campaign for the top 2 spots in the party, this was only 5 months ago! Now they have a massive launch and expect people to just shut up and support? The people are not stupid, tell us what changed in NDP within 5 short months.

          Like 16
          Dislike 3
          • LAWD says:

            I see you have not been listening. SMH. I wont repeat it. All the information is there for you to assess. You aren’t convincing anyone but yourself. TOO MUCH VENOM in your words. So you must be from VIP or NDP or for a particular leader. You don’t see anyone from PVIM Mudslinging or attacking characters or families, just revealing the TRUTH and commenting on your NASTY HATE. What had to be done was done, that done gone, moving along to BUSINESS and PLANS. Yes, the people aren’t stupid, so keep Blogging falling on DEAF EARS. Principle HAHAHAAHAHAHA BOOOOOOOOLLLLL. If making a stance is not on principle, you my friend are Confused.

            Like 4
            Dislike 14
          • @ LAWD says:

            Ok Shania.

          • Ralph says:

            Simple.

            They do not like Myron because he is not a pedigreed “indigenous” Virgin Islander–even though he “bahn hey.”

            It is Xenophobia reserved for and against their own Black West Indians, which has a very old and long history extending way before the 1930s.

            I know; and am quite intimate with the “Nativist” mentality. But have never subscribed to nor agree with it.

            Shameful.

          • @@no says:

            I don’t get it? Are you suggesting the new leader of the VIP is able to be relied on as honest or truthful when he him self is so dishonest?

    • Good says:

      You win!!!

      Like 3
      Dislike 1
    • NDP says:

      NATIONAL DICTATORSHIP PARTY 🙂

      Like 9
      Dislike 7
    • Sam the man says:

      great meaning! how about Poor Vengeful Infant Minds!

      Like 13
    • Ralph says:

      Prejudiced Virgin Islands Minions.

  2. @The hooded Claw says:

    Has our politics really sunk that low??

    It is believed and even evident that most to all are in the field for accumulation of wealth, power and prestige, but have our politics really devolved to the level of vultures?

    If all that is true, then to paraphrase the words of a late former VG business man: “that is big s**t i tell you!”

  3. lol says:

    Pickering, I love your sense of humour.

    Like 5
    Dislike 2
  4. son of the soil says:

    We don’t want no island man for premier

    Like 8
    Dislike 19
    • Bayside says:

      is Tortola a continent??? you are an illiterate fool. If he is from the island where are you from a cay???

      Like 19
      Dislike 5
    • Island Man says:

      Who or what is an island man? The BVI has a constitution and laws. That’s the basis of governing officials, it’s not your provocative language. Son of soil, I think you pants is soiled.

  5. daygo says:

    The cuban looking better over there.

    Like 9
    Dislike 1
  6. Hmmm says:

    Why would any of them move haven’t you all seen what has happened many project for rich foreign interest has been passed. He wont cross.

    Ronnie you are not listening to the people you said you would welcome Kederick with open arms. You are not listening to the people who feel that this country is been sold out especially by a particular minister.

    Like 7
    Dislike 1
  7. Carisma says:

    He likes the power and attention he is getting, he won’t be making any moves until the house is dissolved. He is the Deputy Premier and Minister of Natural Resources and Labour. He is not going to give that up to sit on the side with the spoil child, excuse maker and waste of time former jr minister of clean up.

    Like 13
  8. Voter says:

    nothing will happen as the speaker can vote if there is a tie.

    Also Pick not going give up his travels for them.

    • @Voter says:

      The speaker cannot vote. She is appointed not elected

      Like 1
      Dislike 2
    • @@Voter says:

      Stay in your lane. That why we having these problems. Everyone has an opinion but no facts and don’t know the rules.

      • . . . from the Constitution says:

        Section 75(3) of the Constitution specifically provides that the person presiding shall have a casting vote. The only time the Speaker, as an unelected member, cannot vote is in relation to those matters outlined in section 75(2), namely to elect or remove the Speaker or Deputy Speaker and on a motion of no confidence in the Government.

        Education is key! We must educate our people.

  9. Political Observer (PO) says:

    Was an even split HOA (6-6) such a remote possibility that it was missed by those who were drafting and negotiating the 2007 constitution? Who played an instrumental role in drafting the 2007 constitution? Was the solution for an even split an oversight? IMO a 6-6 split does not leave the NDP as a minority government. There is one vacancy so even if there is one more defector, the combined Opposition will still not sum up to a majority, making the government a minority government; it will still be 6-6.

    The whole thing is a royal hot mess and BVI residents deserve better. The electorate have had enough of amateur hour; dis is a serious time and ting. Time is up. So, Dr. the Hon Premier Daniel Orlando Smith (AL), dissolve the HOA, set an election date and let the people vote. Set an election date for mid to late January 2019, not Apr 2019. Fellow Virgin Islanders, voting is a right so exercise it. Vote. In the interim, the NDP should deliver just routine services and address genuine emergencies. Any major legislation should be left for the new incoming government. The next constitutional review should address the current even split possibility.

  10. Florencia says:

    People, Death and Life are in the Power of the Tongue. You declare all these negatives over our elected representatives yet you expect them to live.
    This is an open invitation for our churches to come together and canvas Heaven for all declared and to be declared candidates for this up and coming election.
    We are at a junction where we need Divine Intervention.
    Lord Help us!!!!

    Like 5
    Dislike 1
  11. Oopa says:

    So who is the Queen’s real opposition? So many people are posing or positioning for that seat. With the mind set of some folks of this bvi continent going forward will so easy. Yet one party who seems to be against islanders wishes the Cuban join their round table. Lol!

    • @Oopa says:

      I have come to the same conclusion. When these same people were giving Dr. Pickering blowssss about his nationality it hurt him badly.
      Now look at the stupidness that he is doing.

      Furthermore if he Dr. Pickering wins they might not even give him back his post, worst the Premier’s post.

      He should therefore stay out of that dangerous game of crossing the floor.

      The above picture is not funny. It makes them look like high school boys who are playing around while the teacher is not looking. They do not seem to know any better.

  12. even says:

    Even if six six. In my mind NDP would still hold the majority for now. The opposition is split into different parties.

    I am guessing that Pickering is loyal to Smith but not Myron (shrug of shoulders)

  13. @even says:

    Confusing logic. Why, they both are of foreign parents, but Black, African Caribbean West Indian, and of local birth right status.

    With regards to the latter, has not enough time elapsed and the standards of education excelled and the minds of the people grown exponentially, enough to at least know the difference between authenticity, hybridity and divisionism?

    The truth is, if every jack wagon standing up here today taking about birth right issues were born in America, every last one of them would’ve sucked up that citizenship privilege before baby was half way out!!

    In hind sight and current existential intellectual acumen and political experience, both men are equally qualified, in every respect, to lead us forward if need be and called upon, and should be given the privilege to do if the voting populace agrees.

    We, the people have so many issues with keeping ourselves at mediocre world political and human sensibilities, because of our trained hatred for each other, while we bow down to and honor those who do not look like us or give a flying fish whether we live yesterday, today or tomorrow.

    Example, 99.9% of us are more comfortable with a European and Chief of Police Head of State than one of our own. That says mountains about our level of human, intellectual and political maturity.

    Such realities notwithstanding, we would rather have an experienced mind at the “tiller” to navigate treacherous waters than novices from the MPP camp.

    The newest undeclared unquantified political party or sherade, your choice to quantify. So, what is the new political MPP camp you ask?

    Those are the hopefuls who hope to learn political science after being elected. But no disrespect to the young aspirants, however.

    Just that knowledge, experience and wisdom supersedes blissful enthusiasm, and should be the measuring stick for political hopefuls..

    Those are the now candidates who, from all indications, fall under the acronym, MPP, or money, power and prestige, while masquerading with untruthful speeches relative to genuine concern for country, people, professionals and the economy.

    Most importantly, the poor, needy, victimized, economically oppressed and victimized, the trained professionals who have been victimized for an entire career, will all be looked to to give them a seat at the economic, power and prestigious table.

    And thereafter, those same folk and their man made and administrative created issues will continue to exist in a sea of discontent and misery and much intellectual dissent and anger.

    Why? because there is not one candidate declared or not who have come from the people first oriented stock, who have deposited any hope in anyone relative to the future of economic survivability, where consumer protection from the greedy and crooks is a political crime by the business community, and who contributes huge sums to their campaign, that those in need will be protected from them. In fact, highly unlikely until the sun pours down purple rain..

    In such a political reality, the average man and family will cast a vote for the rich, business and powerful, but never for the poor and middle class. As the former are used only for votes, never for their upward progress.

    So, vote if yo so chose, but vote wisely or not at all!

    This is our new political and economic paradigm.

    • @@even says:

      i thought i was the only one that made this observation. You hit the nail on yhe head, which is why there will never be a sensible discussion on self determination due to the vitriol in the current environment.

  14. @Oopa says:

    I have come to the same conclusion. When these same people were giving Dr. Pickering blowssss about his nationality it hurt him badly.
    Now look at the stupidness that he is doing.

    Furthermore if he Dr. Pickering wins they might not even give him back his post, worst the Premier’s post.

    He should therefore stay out of that dangerous game of crossing the floor.

    The above picture is not funny. It makes them look like high school boys who are playing around while the teacher is not looking. They do not seem to know any better.

  15. Roger says:

    The first get out of a sunken ship are the rats.

  16. @The Hooded Claw says:

    How about: POOR VISION IN MOTION

  17. Wow that definition suits Myron Just fine. Every time I hear him say that his government will operate in a new way I cringe. That term "new way" is not settling well with a lot of people. says:

    Lover of the BVI

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