By Davion Smith, BVI News Journalist
In what can be described as a shocking address, Government backbencher Melvin ‘Mitch’ Turnbull yesterday declared that Premier Dr D Orlando Smith should not be Minister of Finance.
The first-time politician said Ronnie Skelton rightly deserves the finance portfolio, adding that most other government ministers agree that Premier Smith is not fit to handle the territory’s finances.
“[For] members of the caucus, majority have said – inclusive of our the Deputy Premier – that there needs to be shift in the way we do things in government,” Turnbull said.
“I am saying to my Honorable Premier, as we have all agreed before… we need to chart the way forward [with someone else] to lead the Ministry of Finance. I am saying it publicly to my Honourable Premier that that person should be Honourable Ronnie Skelton,” he said in the House of Assembly last evening.
Turnbull made the statement just months after he and all other government members voted against Opposition Leader Andrew Fahie’s motion to have Dr Smith removed as Finance Minister.
But the government backbencher and representative of the Second District claimed yesterday that, back then, he was simply not sure.
“I am no longer staying quiet because I am uncertain. And If I stay quiet it means that I agree. So, I am saying it publicly in front of this Honourable House and people of the territory; I am saying to my Honourable Premier.”
Turnbull and the NDP leader Dr Smith, have been at loggerheads for the last few days.
It is said that Turnbull drew first blood when he claimed that government had neglected to assist his badly-battered constituency with post-hurricane cleanup.
The Premier fired back this week stating that Turnbull’s statement was not true and that his government specifically sought to clean up Turnbull’s district.
The Premier further claimed that even the Rotary Club got involved.
Though admitting that Rotarians and residents with heavy equipment briefly assisted with cleanup immediately after the hurricane, Turnbull retorted in the House of Assembly that: “To date, no other heavy equipment has come down [to my constituency].”
“No other person has come down. The Rotary Club is not a government organisation… [So] the report that my honourable premier gave was a complete and utter misrepresentation of the truth.”
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