Leader of the Opposition Julian Fraser and his known supporters were noticeably absent from a ‘Mix and Mingle’ event hosted at R&R Malone Complex in Pockwood Pond last evening to improve camaraderie within the Opposition Virgin Islands Party (VIP).
In their absence, recently elected Chairman of the VIP Andrew Fahie appealed for all estranged party members and supporters to return ‘home’, adding that he will initiate attempts to calm the tumultuous relationship he has been having with Fraser.
Both men have been at loggerheads for years, but things deteriorated in recent times following clashes for chairmanship of the VIP, as well as for the constitutional post of Leader of the Opposition.
This month, news emerged that Fahie, who recently dethroned Fraser for VIP chairmanship, is now trying to also replace him as Leader of the Opposition.
Addressing the latest spat over the Opposition leader post for the first time publicly, Fahie last evening told patrons at the ‘Mix and Mingle’ event that he respects Fraser, adding that he will extend the proverbial olive branch in an attempt to find common ground.
“The honourable member for the Third District (Julian Fraser); he is a man that I have a lot of respect for. I am going to sit him down; we going to talk; we have to find common ground… We going to sit down; I am going to try and find common ground.”
Fahie further stated that persons will be asked to mediate between him and Fraser, and Fraser will be required to meet him halfway.
“I am going to report to you (persons at the Mix and Mingle event). I am going to invite other people to come and be the mediator between us, because at the end of the day we need everybody to move forward,” Fahie said.
He continued: “I don’t think that I have all answers. I could go the 50 percent of the way, and he (Fraser) is expected to meet 50 percent of the way. I don’t see the problem with something in someone that cannot be bypassed – people are making it that way. All we have to do is stay focused on what our purpose is and how we will get there.”
Fahie, in the meantime, used the opportunity last evening to make a ‘political altar call’ for other members of the VIP to return to the fold and help enhance the political organization.
“I give you this political altar call to let you know, come home. Ye who are weary, come home… And I want to tell you from now, welcome home,” Fahie said.
He however cautioned that persons with ulterior motives will not find comfort.
“I am not gonna hide from any challenge from the party. I am going to do my best and try to solve it like a man. But I also want you to know that you can’t be the head and be the tail. But you have to know where to compromise. And I come from a village of parables; so you will understand… Will I be a stubborn head? No. But, at the same time, you can’t be given the confidence of the people and then give it up out of fear. Nobody going to bully me,” Fahie further declared at the well-attended ‘Mix and Mingle’.
Here are some of the photos captured at the event:
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