Social commentator Julio ‘Sam’ Henry has rubbished claims by NDP leader Myron Walwyn that persons vying to become Premier should only run ‘At-Large’ and not at the district level.
According to Henry, former Chief Ministers H Lavity Stoutt, Dr Willard Wheatley, and Ralph T Oneal were all elected as district representatives during their respective times as government leader. He further said they were better leaders than present-day At-Large representatives such as Premier Dr D Orlando Smith.
“They (the former Chief Ministers) did a remarkable job building a very powerful nation,” Henry wrote.
“The foundations that we are living off of now were built by those few individuals that I mentioned earlier— all district candidates and persons the people felt confident in,” he added.
NDP has failed
Henry said the current administration has failed – a sentiment, he claims, is widely accepted in the territory.
“The people believed At-Large candidates would be better represented as a leader, hence Dr Smith was elected. [But], in my opinion, and that of many others, Dr Smith and the NDP haven’t delivered,” he said while rebutting Walwyn’s assertion.
Walwyn – an elected At-Large representative – had said persons vying for premiership should not ‘hide’ behind the voters of a single district.
He said running At-Large provides the ideal opportunity to learn whether the territory embraces or rejects a person as their Premier.
Walwyn’s statement follow Opposition Leader Andrew Fahie’s announcement of seeking another term as the First District representative.
Henry said Walwyn’s comment is an attempt to distract voters from the NDP’s four elected At-Large candidates who he said has failed to “represent and deliver good governance to the people of the Virgin Islands”.
Henry challenges gov’t
Henry then challenged Walwyn and the so-called ‘missing in action government’ to revise the ‘no-visa for China nationals’ policy, rebuild the fishing complex in Road Town, and build new ones in East End and Virgin Gorda.
He also said the NDP should focus on rebuilding all the schools, conducting an independent financial audit into the controversial cruise ship dock as well as the wall around the Elmore Stoutt High School.
He further challenged Walwyn to develop a real interest in agriculture and food production, establish a food depot similar to the fishing complex, restore the West End ferry dock, and bring back the economic energy in the areas mentioned.
Henry pointed to other areas he believes should have been given priority such as road and sidewalk repairs, beautifying Main Street, implementing freedom of information and consumer protection laws, among other things.
The next general election is constitutionally due in 2019 but is anticipated to happen sooner.
Whenever elections roll around, all voters are eligible to cast their ballot for an At-Large candidate. But, only voters registered to a particular district in the territory are eligible to vote for candidates vying to become the representative of that district.
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