By Esther Durand, BVI News Staff
Premier Dr D Orlando Smith’s move to sack legislators who conspired to form a new political party while still being part of his administration is largely a popular decision with some residents.
Former NDP legislators Ronnie Skelton and Archibald Christian were fired from their ministerial posts; making way for government backbenchers Marlon Penn, Hubert O’Neal and Alvera Maduro-Caines to accept responsibility for the portfolios that subsequently became available.
BVI News roved the territory’s capital of Road Town this week and sought the opinion of locals on the recent spate of events.
“They coming with their new party [so] I do agree with Premier. Fire them skin, yes. He did the right thing,” said Walter Smith, a technician from Harrigan Estate.
A government employee from Long Trench who opted not to give his name also said he supported the Premier’s decision.
“He’s the Premier, you know? He is the big man. He fire who he wants. You messing up — fire them. He should fire all of them how them man rolling.”
Wayne Todman, a resident from Horse Path told BVI News: “For me, he had to do what he had to do. But, guess what? The Premier ain’t calling the shots, is his wife.”
If you leaving, leave
Meanwhile, an attorney from Solider’s Hill also said the sacked NDP defectors were unreasonable to think they could have remained halfway in and halfway out of Smith’s administration.
“If you leaving, you leaving. You cannot leave and be upset about the Premier’s decision. He had to fire them. That’s like God kicking Lucifer out of heaven and Lucifer saying ‘because my voice so good I thought you would have allowed me to sing on the choir’.”
The attorney continued: “But, with this incident, I am yet to understand how you are going to resign from a party and remain in the position that you were placed in by the party.”
A female civil servant from Crabbe Lot also sided with Dr Smith, who is serving his final stint as Premier.
“They should not expect to stay. He (the Premier) had a right to fire them,” she said.
A plumber over on Jost Van Dyke also shared his perspective with BVI News, stating: “It’s just like they say: ‘If you got a bad hand, you got to cut it off or else it would poison the whole bunch’. They had to go. It could be a big problem in the long run.”
While most agreed with the Premier, other residents who spoke with BVI News had mixed opinions.
Another government employee from Long Look said: “First of all, they shouldn’t let the Premier fire them. They knew what they were doing. But the Premier had to do what he had to do. They had to go. As a man, I would go to the Premier and say something, if you say ‘I got nothing to do with you’, [then] I got nothing to do with you.”
Meanwhile, an English entrepreneur residing in the territory said she believes it was virtually pointless to reappoint new persons into the ministerial posts that became vacant.
“They should just call the election,” she argued.
Similar sentiments came from another woman from Fahie Hill who, like most of the respondents, opted not to give their name.
She said the new appointees “are not going to have that position for too long”, adding that she isn’t particularly concerned.
The new appointees
Eighth District Representative, Penn, took over the Ministry of Health and Social Development which was, up to recently, held by Skelton. Dr O’Neal took on the post of Junior Minister of Tourism from Christian while Maduro-Caines is now the Junior Minister for Trade — a post held by Penn up till the point he was appointed as Health Minister.
Skelton was sacked because of a media report that cited him admitting to being the head of a new political party called the Progressive Virgin Islands Movement (PVIM).
Christian, on the other hand, was booted from his position after he had tendered his resignation from the NDP — the party under which he was elected nearly four years ago. He too is now ‘officially associated’ with the PVIM.
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