BVI News

How these party heads feel about forming a coalition gov’t

These four all want to become premier. From left: Fahie, Walwyn, Skelton, Fraser.

By Davion Smith, BVI News Staff

With five known political parties contesting the upcoming general elections and at least four having a leader eyeing the Office of the Premier, a strong possibility now exists that no one party will command a clear majority at the end of the 2019 General Elections.

This then opens up the possibility for a coalition government running the territory for the next four years. Section 52 of the Constitution says for that to happen, elected members from two or more parties must agree to align to form a government.

But, not all of the four known party leaders hoping to become premier — Myron Walwyn, Andrew Fahie, Julian Fraser, and Ronnie Skelton — are open to the idea of a coalition.

Fahie opposed to coalition

Virgin Islands Party chairman Fahie, is one of those leaders who is unwilling to explore a coalition.

“Even if I was not participating as a candidate, I never promote coalition governments,” Fahie made clear to BVI News. “Research has shown that every country that has gone into a coalition government, it has not worked … It brings chaos because when you put together people of different teams with people of different mindsets, different political methodologies, different political philosophies to run a country, it’s very difficult to do.”

Fahie further said the BVI does not need a coaliation government at this time, especially given the international challenges facing the territory’s main revenue-earner — the financial services.

Skelton open

Progressive Virgin Islands Movement chairman, Skelton, on the other hand, is not ardently opposed to the idea.

He described a coalition as something he is willing to subscribe to once it is to the territory’s benefit.

“If you have people getting together for the common good of the country, I don’t think you’d have a problem … I am happy to do what my colleagues say that I should do once it’s in the best interest of the country,” Skelton told our news centre when invited to comment.

Walwyn, Fraser guarded

Neither National Democratic Party leader Walwyn or Progressives United chairman Fraser were willing to entertain any real discussion about the possibility of a coalition.

“My position would be that we cross that bridge when we arrive,” Walwyn said. “My interest right now is to show the people of the Virgin Islands that the NDP’s slate of candidates is the best ones to lead the country forward.”

Fraser, whose party has only four known candidates so far, said: “I don’t even contemplate looking at coalitions at this stage … I am the kind of guy who always lived my life refraining from predicting the future, especially when I have a dog in the fight,”

“If nomination day comes and I have less than seven candidates, that’s an appropriate question to ask me,” he added.

Can a coalition government work in modern-day BVI

Constitutional attorney Gerard Farara explained to our news centre that the territory would be sent back to polls if no single party gets a clear majority of at least seven elected members, or if no seven elected persons can agree to join to form a government.

“The governor has to be satisfied that ‘Elected person A’ has the support of at least six other persons who have been elected to sit in the House of Assembly,” Farara said.

“And if no one has the clear majority and the governor is satisfied that no one can command the majority, then that’s likely to lead to another general election because then you cant form the government,” he added.

Section 52 of the Virgin Islands Constitution.

Farara, however, noted that, in a sense, the BVI has had coalitions before.

“For example, Willard Wheatley became Chief Minister (premier) where he associated with members of another party to form the government and likewise did Cyril Romney who I think, at that time, was an independent candidate. So that is a kind of coalition,” the attorney said.

And while weighing in on the feasibility of a modern-day coalition in the Virgin Islands, Farara said it was difficult to predict. However, he noted that “coalition governments can work”.

“There are certainly inherent potential issues that could arise when members of two or more parties come together to form a coalition government but that is not that unusual.”

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

52 Comments

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  1. Scarey days coming! says:

    None of these parties (or party heads) seem to have any dynamically different political views whatsoever (socialist, conservative, etc.). The only views that are different between these gentlemen are their individual personal agendas which we are not privy to.

    Like 41
    Dislike 5
  2. Wellsaw says:

    Dont need no dam coalition Government. What happen is that the system failed. The people responsible for investigating the Government and enforcing the Law did not.

    Look at the bS. They were allowed to audit them selves and the Audit say the investigation was inconclusive and my goodness still no commission of inquiry is been done.

    Elect people of good character. We all knew that these men were business men who was for they own interest. We knew that even if we liked them.

    Like 16
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  3. badmindedness says:

    That f*t one knows he cant work with nobody because he is known for undermining…….Nobody is going to trust him period.

    Like 27
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  4. coalition says:

    I can see ronnie and fraser working together along with kedric or myron working with fraser. Andrew cant work with anyone else

    Like 25
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    • @coalition says:

      The few negative post about Andrew makes no sense because he is the only one who has a full slate of 13 quality candidates who are working with him. That tells who the real leader is in the bunch.

      Like 16
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      • @ coalition says:

        Online dictionary defines the word quality as;

        the standard of something as measured against other things of a similar kind; the degree of excellence of something. He has 13 candidates, but you cannot use the word quality

        Like 14
        Dislike 4
  5. Have the Debate already says:

    I want to see Myron and Ronnie debating. Ronnie, man up and face Myron on the stage. He is ready for you Ronnie, he is going to shut you down Ronnie.

    Like 23
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  6. strictly local says:

    SUPPORT YOUR OWN

    Like 9
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  7. seek a bay says:

    Hon Fraser is the better man to lead this country because he is not corruptible

    Like 1
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  8. Hmm says:

    @ I meant to hit like

  9. BS says:

    Everyone calling for the coalition, I hope they get it and see what a disaster it will be.

    Like 12
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  10. Want2Kno says:

    Are the “working in the best interest of the people” or themselves?

    If, IF they are TRULY interested in country, it can work!!

    Like 24
    Dislike 4
  11. VOTER says:

    Every day we, the voters are getting valuable insight on why we should not vote for certain Individuals. I don’t care about the others but Ronnie is on target. If you are refusing to work together how can we build back this country? The focus is too much on self power and that’s where corruption comes in. No one wants the other to see and know what the next one is doing. I say we need a coalition Government this time around. Time to stop politics recycling NDP and VIP. Vote for the best thirteen persons and let them work together with the people in the best interest of the country. Split your votes this time around. Do not vote all the way like some are chanting. BVI people open your eyes and minds and see what is their intention to keep us blinded by their greed and corruption. Beware of their tactics or we will be no different come May. Think critically and vote intelligently.

    Like 31
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    • Sense says:

      I could not have said it better myself. Stop recycling NDP/VIP! Mix it up!

      Like 14
      Dislike 5
      • 284 says:

        You know better, stop spreading crap on line. The NDP10-2 is doing the same thing the VIP did when it was Dr.Picko and Smith in the oppression. People don’t vote party straight this time. We had a mix government under Lavity,did it kill us or made us stronger?

    • Really says:

      Says the one who formed his own party because he did not get what he wanted
      Now that is working together. Right?

      Like 13
      Dislike 7
    • Haha says:

      It sound good in theory but in reality it will be difficult to make it work. Everybody will want to be Premier then after they figure that out the rest will want to be a minister. Nobody will want to be in the opposition. The team with the most party members that were elected should get the first choice but since they dont have enough to form government somebody will hold the government hostage to get their way. Even if the figure out who holds what position the Ministers cant just have their own agenda. They have to follow the directive of the Premier who will want to go according to his party’s agenda. It will be good if everyone can make it work but the potential for disaster is high especially with this group. Fraser didn’t want to work with Fahie. Skelton didn’t want to work with Myron.

      Like 16
      • RealPol says:

        @Haha, in a coalition government, the parties maintain their individual party status while being part of government. Prior to forming the coalition government, each party will leverage its strengths to pursue what each wants. Each party may not get all it wants so there must be compromise. A coalition government is not about the parties but rather about the people, about the country. Agree that there will be a fierce battle about whom will be Premier or minister. Nonetheless, the needs of the territory has to come first. Those that put country first will compromise and those that put self first will reside in the wilderness.

        Like 5
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  12. Albion says:

    By definition a coalition government is a failure – it is the compromise that we reach when no party secures an overall majority.

    Coalition governments are very frail. If either party in the coalition decides that they don’t like something, they can withdraw from the coalition and the government falls (and so, unless a new coalition can be formed quickly, we get fresh elections).

    Coalition governments usually mean lack of progress. It is hard to build consensus for anything across different political parties. Plus every other party knows that if they can persuade enough politicians to change allegiance, then they can remove the Government and take over without the need for another election.

    It is just a recipe for political infighting and backstabbing. It also means nothing gets done because the politicians spend all their time and energy squabbling and fighting for yet more personal power.

    Like 16
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    • Diaspora says:

      @Albion: “By definition a coalition government is a failure – it is the compromise that we reach when no party secures an overall majority.” True, a coalition government results when one party fails to command at least a simple majority of seats in the legislative body. This can be for a variety of reasons, including the dispersal of political talent among a myriad of political parties. Currently, there are 5 parties slated to compete in the general election that must occur no later than 16 April: VIP, PVIM, PU, NDP and RAA. This dispersal of talent can contribute to one party not commanding the 7 seats needed to form the government.

      A coalition government can work and has worked in the BVI, ie, the Willard Wheatley government from 1971-1979. Dr. Wheatley was the 2nd Chief Minister (the iconic HL Stoutt the 1st) and first minister of finance. The art of governing is compromise and for a coalition government to work there must compromise for the common good. Failure to compromise results in a stalemate as is currently happening in Washington,DC. Of late, the BVI has had a poor track record with lopsided/one party government, ie, VIP from 2007-2011(11-2), NDP from 2011-2015 (9-4) and NDP from 2015-2019 (initially 11-2, now 7-5 with 1 vacancy). 7-6 or preferably 8-5 ratio is better for effective governing.

  13. Hmmm says:

    Whether you want to hear it or not there will be a coalition government 2019, but VIP in my opinion will win the most seats but not enough to form government therefore Andrew Fahie will be the leader…. Any one agree??

    Like 14
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  14. VOTER says:

    Questions: Why was the VIP Government voted out seven years ago?
    Why are we now being told to vote out the NDP?

    Think about it. Weren’t they both a one party Government?

    When these elections are over and the next term comes around, would we, the Voters be told again to vote out whichever Government is seated?

    Think about it.

    Like 14
    Dislike 4
  15. Where's Waldo says:

    It’s time for some big new ideas. It’s time for new leadership.

    Like 10
    Dislike 2
  16. SMH says:

    Ronnie couldn’t work with NDP and he talking about coalation! Wawyln thinks he is head hancho, and feels that only his decision counts. Hmmm, unless this separation is just a tactic to reduce votes intended for another Party!

    Like 9
    Dislike 9
  17. Hah says:

    NDP failed. This is not alternative facts, it is not political bias. Not only has NDP failed their constituents on a number of issues they even loss the faith of their own party members publicly and privately. (refer to Ms P and most members of the PVIM) They loss the faith of the UK (refer to the establishment of the RDA and the first time the Governor has ever exercised his power to seize our funds to give to the Police)We need to start treating government like its our personal money that they spending and things would be lot better. NDP was willing to take risk with foreigners that owed us money for years instead of locals despite preaching about empowering “our people” NDP lost their way thinking they were untouchable because of the landslide victory.

    Like 20
    Dislike 5
  18. Political Intelligence says:

    Alot of them politicians needs to be gone and nearly all in the house of assembly now and the ones vying to be in the house are individuals this country does not need to form any coalition government. As a matter of fact, they should not form any kind of government, they just needs to be gone.

    I can understand Walwyn’s and Fahie stance on this matter. Why form a coalition with people who would not even stab you in the back, but stab you in the front whilst looking at you full in the eyes.

    Like 12
  19. Now look says:

    It is time for a Woman to run this Country.

    Like 23
    Dislike 6
  20. Ok says:

    Some of them don’t want coalition because they don’t want to be accountable…they want a bunch of yes man behind to do stupidness

    Like 14
    Dislike 3
  21. Sense says:

    I could not have said it better myself. Stop recycling NDP/VIP! Mix it up!

    Like 7
    Dislike 3
  22. WOW says:

    Team NDP all the wayyyyyy.

    Like 11
    Dislike 16
  23. hmmm says:

    a terrible bunch of heads in that photo!

    Like 7
    Dislike 1
  24. E. Leonard says:

    Coalition government? In the BVI, election fever is in the air and the fever may break as late as 16 April. And increasingly it seems throughout the territory given the number of parties (5 so far)competing in the next General Election,
    the term coalition government is being bandied about. But what is a coalition government? Simply, in a parliamentary democracy, when one party does not command a majority of seats to form the government, several parties can join together to form a government.

    Coalition government (unity government) also can occur during a national crisis. Well, the territory is at a crossroad and may be in crisis post the devastation Sep 2017 hurricanes (Irma and Maria) so a coalition government may at this juncture be the prescription for what ails the territory. Coalition governments require compromise, unity, commitment to work unselfishly for the will/interest of the people and the common good. Coalition governments are not uncommon around the globe, ie, Europe, South America……etc and can be stable and workable. As the learned jurist Gerard Farara noted, the VI have had coalition governments before, ie, Willard Wheatly government…..etc. Duting the Wheatley government, the territory was weaned off grant-in-aid.

    Moreover, political parties should not be averse to or luke warm about or write off a coalition government as a possibility. Nonetheless, at this juncture, understand individual party(s) firstly advocating fiercely to form the next government. Fellow Virgin Islanders, register to vote and vote; every vote counts and every vote matters and can make a difference.

  25. Short walk says:

    Dem will never be a coalition. BVI Ministers too darn fast at crossing de floor!

  26. VOTER says:

    Why we don’t allow the voters to decide because at the end everyone will vote for the candidate of their choice.

  27. Hi says:

    What is needed is a strong opposition. Talking like 7: 6 or 8:5

    Like 5
    Dislike 1
  28. Women United Front Party says:

    Yes ladies, it is time to form a Political Party. We have to step up and save the Country.

    • Lol says:

      Have you ever seen how women behave towards each other in an office setting especially when one has a position of power?

      Like 10
      Dislike 1
      • @lol says:

        That’s because the ladies below don’t support the lady in position. Finish speak the truth. Need a survey done? The pleasure is all yours.

        Like 3
        Dislike 1
      • Women of Purpose says:

        Not all women behave like that. Only the immature and petty ones do. Women of purpose with like minds actually work tovether for the common good.
        I’ve seen both sides and Powerful women get things done because the don’t have time to be squabbling over petty bs.

  29. I've seen it before says:

    St. Maarten has had coalition governments for the past decade plus. With 6 parties vying for 15 seats, their the district seats the votes get first thing and people get elected from different parts of the spectrum. They join up and say “I’ll work with you” then 3 months later… power grabs start coming from all sides. The problem is egos. These politicians talk about for the people but it’s just pure BS. If you find good character then that’s rare. Coalition is a waste of time. We still need to vote for people who have a real plan. Not for fluff and empty promises.

    Like 1
    Dislike 1
  30. Anonymous says:

    A coalition gov’t won’t work in the BVI, simply because workers in key positions will undermine works not put forward by their party choice.

    Another way is when bias media houses put a negative spin on works not carried out by their preferential party.

    Example headline: Tax payers $7.2 M squandered on BVI Airways story: Ministers puts money in pocket vs headline: BVI Govt scammed 7.2 M by BVI Airways company. story: Gov’t invested $7.2 entered into an agreement with company that promised direct flights between Beef Island and Miami to accommodate persons traveling to the Territory…

    It won’t work! The House of Assembly will be turn up. The Queen’s army will have to come to referee.

  31. up..up says:

    Women United FRONT Party….how much do I pay to join??????

  32. Women United Front Party says:

    @up..up, this is no joke my friend, in due time you will find out the real deal. We are already planning for next Election season. Watch,the BVI is going to have a Female leader real son.

    • Can you all please come out now 2019 please ! says:

      Can you all please come out now 2019 and save us from this demons that sold there sold to lead us in hell !

  33. limit says:

    da kind of government will not wok it will certainly have a big collision at da cross road ,
    churches do not work together so how da will to many bosses, dem 2 headed snakes ga babys snakes,das all da young candidate was born wid venom cud kil a elephant wid one single bite , da all will have da same mind set,it look like we need a nex IRMA 2 open una eyes , don’t be fool by all dis talk ,same trend ,only round election u c work going on for da locals ,dem boys playing us ,wake up dis is not a friend ting.

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